5 improvements for the LA Rams defense after off-season additions

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Improvement II – Stuff the run

Of course, if an opposing running back can move the chains in short-yardage situations, then there is every likelihood that they can get solid gains on any down. While the Rams’ defense was relatively stout against the run overall, the team allowed 18 rushing touchdowns in 2021, which was only the 22nd-ranked scoring run defense in the NFL.

That has to improve. And it will, I’m certain of it.

But before we sound foolish or send anyone off half-cocked, the Rams run defense was pretty good in 2021.  The Rams run defense was the fifth-ranked defense, allowing just 4.0 yards per rush.  That was not because offenses abandoned their rushing attack. The Rams defended 443 rushing attempts in the 2021 NFL season.

Trending. There’s something about LA Rams All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner. light

Rams rush defense: From good to great

That worked out to surrendering just 103.2 yards per game, which was good enough to be sixth-best in the NFL. But there are ways to improve.

Teams learned that the Rams’ pass defense became rather stingy in the red zone, so they geared down and attacked the defense, oftentimes loaded with defensive backs, with their ground game. That sank the Rams’ rush defense to the 23rd-ranked scoring defense.

Offenses won’t be able to lure Bobby Wagner out of position to score in the red zone. Rather, Wagner plays his best when his back is against the wall. One example? Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner scored just two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks on the ground. His first required two attempts to run it in from the half-yard mark. The second score was a one-yard plunge at the one-yard mark after defensive pass interference.

Against the Rams, Conner ran for a one-yard, an eight-yard, a one-yard, and a two-yard scoring plunge.  The difference? Bobby Wagner.