Takeaway V – Rested defense plays very well
It has gotten to the point where after every game, the calls to fire defensive coordinator Raheem Morris hit social media en masse. Folks, it’s just buzzing. Of course, the Rams have played some less-than-admirable games from the purely defensive perspective. But there is more going on, and wrong, with the team than whether or not Jalen Ramsey covers the opponent’s top receiver on each play.
There is that simple matter of time of possession, that three downs and punt perspective from the offense that puts the defense back onto the football field in record time. If you were told to work two eight-hour shifts to another employee’s one eight-hour shift, would you be okay with being blamed for problems? What if the other employee left the place in a mess, and you had to spend much of your time cleaning up their mess before you could even get to your work? Would you be warm and fuzzy about that scenario? Now, imagine the boss threatening to fire you because you worked longer hours, drawing the conclusion that you were the problem?
In all four losses, the team committed multiple turnovers. In all but one loss, the opponent had the football a significantly larger share of the time. In all but one loss, the Rams offense gave seven points to the opponent without the defense ever stepping onto the football field. In all four losses, the opposing team took over deep in LA Rams territory.
The best defense is a strong offense
There is no defense in the NFL that succeeds in those circumstances. If you want to do a bit of research, the LA Rams boasted the top defense in 2020 because the offense was far better at keeping them off the football field and fresh. Per TeamRankings.com, the LA Rams are the 28th-ranked team this year in terms of Time of Possession. In 2020? The Rams were the fifth-ranked team in terms of the time of possession. In fact, the 2021 Rams are the worst version of Time of Possession in the five years of being coached by Sean McVay.
What difference does a rested defense make? All the difference in the world. Thanks to having a 7:30 time advantage, the LA Rams defense played their best game of the season, surrendering just 197 yards and just seven points. While the Jacksonville Jaguars are not a good offense, that score is less than half of their season average.
The game literally slowed down for players like rookie inside linebacker Ernest Jones, simply because they weren’t grabbing the crash cart and trying to stop their opponents from scoring in the Red Zone as they stepped onto the football field. The defense played at a playoff-caliber level because they were rested and given a much better field position to work with. It seems that the offense plays a strong role in just how well the defense plays. Huh. Go figure.