The presumption that the LA Rams defensive front is great each and every year thanks to the performance of All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is an easy and unquestionable statement to make, particularly to those who are only casual observers of this team’s roster and depth chart.
But examining the LA Rams defensive line as it has evolved over the past few seasons leads me to believe that this is the best defensive line roster that head coach Sean McVay has ever had lining up for him. So it’s no wonder that the guys in that unit are feeling a bit confident this year. But it’s more than just Aaron Donald, folks.
— NFL (@NFL) July 31, 2022
So let’s put credit where the credit is due. Long before the LA Rams offense began to flirt with combining dissimilar skillsets to elevate the effectiveness of their wide receiver group, Coach Eric Henderson was already mixing varying levels of strength, speed, agility, and leverage on the defensive line to amplify the effectiveness of the group. And it’s been that cross-sectional strength of mix run stuffing, pass rushing, and blocker gobbling guys up front that not only makes this year’s defensive line so very dangerous but sets the stage for eight other guys on defense to step up and make plays.
Yes, Aaron Donald will dominate this year. The guy continues to play at an unfathomable level, and he seems to play his best after he gets paid. And he just got paid. His tackle totals jumped from 45 to 84 last season.
But this year, the team is also welcoming back nose tackle Greg Gaines. Gaines is a vastly underrated fireplug in the middle of the Rams’ defensive front. But if he needs to run down a quarterback, he has proven the ability to do so, even from behind. His tackles totals skyrocketed from 18 to 55 last season.
And then there is the sleeping giant, A’Shawn Robinson. He has revitalized his career because he has found the LA Rams to be the perfect fit. This team loves Robinson’s ability to stomp a mudhole in his opponent, and then roar in like flood waters to ravage the backfield. His tackle totals ballooned from 18 to 67 last season.
Behind this group waits a host of young players who has been coached up for a year or two, ready for the moment that it is their time to step up and run with the pack. In other defenses, the fun happens when players get to play. In the LA Rams defense, the fun happens during each day of the grind. The blood sweat and tears on most practice football fields are the sweat and loud laughter on the Rams practice field.
Coach Henny’s #DAWGWORK is back in action. And the pack will be running wild in less than six weeks. Get ready.