PFF loves Coach Henny’s work: Projects LA Rams DL tops in NFL

Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

While the folks at Pro Football Focus have had some questionable rankings, their most recent projections have begun to make far more sense. When they ranked the LA Rams running backs as the 31st ranked group in the NFL, there is truly no concrete physical or statistical evidence that says otherwise. But now, on the flip side, the same folks at Pro Football Focus have lauded the LA Rams defensive line group as the top defensive line unit in the NFL.

And they have this one correct as well.

Of course, it’s easy to plant the flag on any defense that features Aaron Donald as a Top-5 unit, PFF looks beyond the giant performances of Aaron Donald and includes other defensive standouts from the 2021 NLF season as Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson in the discussion as well.

While we have not been shy to praise the efforts of LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson, let’s press the pause button and revisit just what he has meant to the LA Rams defense since arriving.  The LA Rams starting defensive line, the core of this projected Top-Ranked 2022 Unit, is made up of three key players:

  1. DT Greg Gaines with the 134th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft
  2. DL A’Shawn Robinson was a modest FA signed in 2020
  3. DL Aaron Donald was the 14th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

With the exception of Aaron Donald, there is no blue blood or elite pedigree jumping off the page about the Rams’ defensive front. They simply boil down to a group of hungry and dedicated NFL players who embrace the grind and toil of playing on the defensive line of the NFL.

Coach Henny instills the mantra of #DAWGWORK into rookies from the day that they arrive, and it’s that mindset of claiming challenges that has Henny uniquely positioned to lead this group to greatness year after year. He was named as the NFL Defensive Line Coach for 2021 for good reason.

Each year, it seems that the LA Rams jettison very good starters, only to pivot to the young developing players on the roster to fill annual vacancies. This year, look for second-year Bobby Brown to be a key to the LA Rams’ defensive line rotation.

But most of all, look for incredible seasons from the LA Rams starting three defensive linemen. Each has proven that they are not about finding the spotlight, but are about stepping up to face the next challenge.

This year, the spotlight will find them.

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