Is newly acquired free agent ILB Bobby Wagner the perfect inside linebacker for DC Raheem Morris’ version of the LA Rams defense? We’re all about to find out. After all, he was never on the radar screen, at least not until the Seattle Seahawks decided to cut Wagner to shed salary cap dollars and make room for younger players.
The LA Rams signed Wagner, and in the process, bet against the Seahawks’ decision. After all, Wagner is the template for an inside linebacker that Morris had tried to replicate by drafting ILB Ernest Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, Morris would have the prototype in his defense.
Morris’s defense was built for Bobby Wagner
When the LA Rams hired Raheem Morris to be the team’s defensive coordinator, the reception was less than . . . warm. That was not exactly shocking, considering the fans had just one year to fall in love with former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
You see, although a rookie defensive coordinator, Staley’s deceptive and disguised novel NFL defense led the NFL. In fact, he was one of the most popular members of the LA Rams coaching staff before he packed up all of his belongings after just one season and set up shop across town as the LA Chargers head coach. Morris inherited Staley’s top-ranked defense and all of the holes that it held.
Staley’s philosophy was to invest heavily in strong powerful defensive linemen and defensive backs. Linebackers simply had to . . . be. It wasn’t long before offensive coordinators began to test the durability and performance of the Rams linebackers, and found success by hammering at the position with runs and passes to keep the Rams inside linebackers out of position and on their heels.