LA Rams secondary just got a bonus boost of synergy

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams secondary has been a kaleidoscope in recent years. Never the same, oftentimes the mix and match of new faces in starting roles have crossed seasons and begun to impact the game by game roster.  Next to the offensive line, perhaps the secondary is one of the most vulnerable units on a team to continuity.

The defensive backs who compete in a defensive secondary must be able to communicate, but also rely upon the instinctive knowledge and trust of what their teammates are doing in response to any given offensive play.

We know the terminology when it all falls apart. In nice terminology: Miscommunication. In less nice terminology: Blown coverage. There is any number of descriptive terms that mean that the ability of two different defensive backs to coordinate their reactions to any given play has failed. So why do we, as fans, still believe in the mirage that a defensive back is an individual?

Reunited and it feels so good

In reality, he is only as outstanding as his teammates. How so? Recall the 2020 version of the LA Rams defense? Opposing quarterbacks seldom threw the football at anyone covered by defensive back Jalen Ramsey. That is due to the fact that they were looking for an easier matchup, a player in the secondary who they felt could result in a positive play.

The Rams have taken a step towards that continuity this year, adding former teammate and defensive back Troy Hill to play opposite Jalen Ramsey. And how good will this turn out?  Well, a picture is a thousand words.

Now, I’m not saying that just placing the two veterans on the field will be enough to amp up the pass coverage, but it’s a great step in the right direction. It’s clear that the pair of defensive backs have positive history. And the last time they played together in the same secondary, they helped lead the entire NFL in that category.

Of course, some things have changed.  But it was vital for the LA Rams to establish two starters early, and then allow the competition among younger defensive backs to establish the rotation and slot cornerbacks.  Am I being too optimistic? Or is there an underappreciation of just how well the pairing of Ramsey and Hill had synched up in the past?

Time will tell. Realistically speaking, there is no way that the LA Rams land a starting on the cheap any other way than they did by trading for Hill.  I think this will prove to be a significant development for the Rams’ defensive performance for 2022.

Heaven knows with the Rams scheduled opponents, pass defense will be vital to ensure success.

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