II – DC Raheem Morris
The odds of LA Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris making a positive impression right out of the gates was next to nothing in 2021. Not only did he inherit the top-ranked defense from former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, but he faced a roster with a number of free agency losses on the secondary, limited draft picks, and the fact that offenses had learned that attacking the middle of the defense translated into victory.
While he was learning the limits of the defense and the personnel, he continued to experiment with a very cold reception from the fans. His defense is based upon a more physical defensive strategy, that focuses on turnovers and stopping offenses than deception and forcing hesitation.
The problem was that he did not inherit the personnel who matched up with his type of defensive philosophy. That created an ongoing problem for a defense that was never really settled, faced a lopsided time of possession, and didn’t have the right personnel to execute the defensive strategy that Morris deployed.
Over time, Morris did get players who aligned with his defense, injured starters got healthy, young players stepped up, and the Rams won nine of their final ten games. This year, the Rams roster has aligned with Morris’ style of defensive play.
Troy Hill was acquired for cheap from the Cleveland Browns, and he is a former starting defensive back who excels in zone coverage – a staple of Raheem Morris’ pass defense. The Rams added veteran ILB Bobby Wagner, who will immediately stiffen the Rams’ run defense, give the Rams better pass coverage against crossing routes, and improve the Rams’ chances of forcing the offense to punt.
The defense should perform better this season.