Optical Illusion: How bad was the LA Rams defense?

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Raheem Morris
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Rams mantra in the face of defeat: Fire Raheem Morris

So what has created this rather massive insistence that the Rams defense has been so bad all season that the many urged the team to humiliate their reputable defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, send him packing, without a single shred of better in the role options to replace him?

Well, over the course of the 17 game season, the Rams suffered five losses. That’s pretty good for a team that played in the NFC West and was good enough to win their division. But perhaps more than that, it was the number of losses expected. We held to our projection that the Rams would need 12 wins in 2021, even when the team was 7-4 with six games remaining.

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Five losses, five reasons to fire Raheem Morris?

Did anyone expect fewer losses? Was there some over/under of three or four losses that fans would tolerate, but five losses was one too many? Whatever that magic number in the minds of fans, there are three things that were almost guaranteed upon the event of an LA Rams defeat:

I – The offense committed more turnovers than the Rams defense could create
II – The ground attack of the Rams offense was effective but significantly under-utilized
III – Social media and LA Rams forums erupted with another round of “Fire Raheem Morris”.

And amidst that surge of social media outrage over the Rams defense, there is really not as much hard data to support the public outcry for this team to jettison their defensive coordinator and start a new search. Morris did not inherit Staley’s defense.

He inherited a fraction of Staley’s defense. Morris did not have Hill or JJIII in the secondary. He did not have either DL Michael Brockers or Morgan Fox on the line of scrimmage. And he did not have OLB Derek Rivers or Samson Ebukam in the rotation at outside linebacker.