LA Rams D may be stronger than 2021’s after signing Bobby Wagner

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Free Agency Von Miller
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Miller’s production came at Floyd’s expense?

It was the lack of depth at the outside linebacker position that prompted the interest of the LA Rams for veteran Von Miller. Miller joined the Rams roster in Week 9 and would play twelve consecutive games for the Rams at the outside linebacker position. During his first three games with the team, Hollins was on IR.  OLB Terrell Lewis stopped playing altogether in Week 13. Hollins fell to a rotational role. And Okoronkwo was used even less sparingly.

But the real tale-of-the-tape is discovered when you look at the week-by-week performance of veteran Leonard Floyd before the arrival of Von Miller and then examine his performance on a week-by-week basis after.  By the end of Week 9, Floyd had amassed 7.5 quarterback sacks and 40 tackles. From Weeks 10-17, Floyd had just two quarterback sacks and 30 tackles.

During that same Weeks 10-17 stretch, Miller had five quarterback sacks and 31 tackles. It was almost as though the Rams’ defense had designated Miller to be the pass rusher. And to offset that new designation, Floyd was redirected to a coverage, much like he had to take up with the Chicago Bears defense when they added OLB Khalil Mack.

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Floyd is quite capable folks

While this is not a call to negate the impact of Von Miller’s four quarterback sacks and 14 tackles in the NFL playoffs, it’s important now not to embellish that production too heavily. Until Miller arrived, Floyd was holding down the fort quite well and was on pace for a career-high season.  That is certainly within the realm of possibilities for 2022, as long as the team can settle on a healthy and durable combination/rotation of Floyd, Hollins, Lewis, and second-year OLB Chris Garrett.

Miller brought a lot of bonus attributes to the Rams as well. He was a very likable guy who played outside linebacker to textbook perfection. He was a solid mentor and resource to a host of younger players on the team. He was even a counselor and confidante to the likes of Aaron Donald, helping to encourage him to lead through the post-season.

But in his wake, I expect that Floyd can pick up the pass rush to nearly his level. Now, the only challenge for the team is reinforcing the rotation to endure a 17-game season.