Suddenly, the value of Von Miller to the LA Rams has doubled

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have been quite successful under head coach Sean McVay. In five years of leading the team, McVay has been able to launch the struggling Rams organization from an underachieving team to one of unparalleled success. The team has not had a losing season yet, and the team’s 54-26 record has been very impressive.

So too has the team’s post-season record of 4-3. It seems as though this team has unlimited potential. And yet, the LA Rams have competed in just one Super Bowl so far. Super Bowl LIII to be exact. The team competed, and the defense showed up.

But the offense didn’t show up, and the team was denied their one and only chance to win the ultimate objective of each and every NFL team each season. But let’s be clear. If the NFL player’s name is not Tom Brady, that player likely does not ever get to compete in a game of that magnitude throughout their NFL Career. If they do, it is a rare event.  It is an even rarer event indeed if that player wins that game.

Let Von Miller be the guide

Veteran outside linebacker Von Miller was in such a game. Von Miller contributed to the winning performance in a Super Bowl. He changed the outcome of the game. And now, he is a starter for the LA Rams.

So here are the LA Rams: A successful team that has never known the ultimate Winner’s Circle in the NFL, and the team just added a player who has been there before. In fact, his performance helped to carry the Denver Broncos to the victory.  And here is a fun fact: He is playing as well for the Rams as he did in 2015 for the Denver Broncos.

In 2015, he finished the 16-game season with 55 tackles and 11.0 quarterback sacks. In three postseason contests, he put up an additional 13 tackles and 5.0 sacks.

For the 2021 LA Rams, he has played eight games this season and recorded 31 tackles and 5.0 quarterback sacks. In one postseason contest, he has already amassed six tackles and one quarterback sack. In the past five games (including one playoff game), he has 6.0 quarterback sacks.

Double down on the double-team? Double jeopardy

The LA Rams organization and fanbase has sought a complementary player who could help shoulder part of the burden that has rested squarely on the shoulders of defensive lineman Aaron Donald. That hope fell short, even in the company of star defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. But this time, the team may have hit the bullseye. In the past five games, Aaron Donald also has 6.0 quarterback sacks.

That now forces offensive coordinators to make decisions over which star they will double team on each play. If they double on Donald, Miller will get man-on-man blocking. If they double on Miller, then Donald will get man-on-man blocking. If they double on both? Then their route runners will be diminished by one receiver, and the rest of the defensive line is guaranteed to get single blocking.

That will force offenses to modify their gameplay to slow down the pass rush of the Rams defensive front. So the Rams will see plenty of short routes, screenplays, draw plays, and gadgetry intended to use deception and misdirection to move the chains.

That’s okay with me. Forcing Brady into throwing screenplays means that it’s Advantage: LA Rams.

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