If the LA Rams don’t make it back to the Super Bowl this year, it won’t be difficult to work out why they came up short in 2022. Not because of an offense that is still making hay on the strength of Matthew Stafford’s connection with Cooper Kupp. Instead, fingers will be pointed at a defense ranked 20th in points allowed and 17th in yards and struggling for consistency during a 2-1 start.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills offense torched defensive coordinator Raheem Morris’ D’ in Week 1. One week later, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota, WR Drake London, and the rest of the Falcons offense almost repeated the trick a week later.
The Rams ultimately held on for a 31-27 win, but the Falcons nearly coming back from 28-3 down sent Morris a clear message, despite some improvements during Week 3’s 20-12 win over the Arizona Cardinals. His unit needs more impact players. Fortunately, one veteran who fits the bill is still on the market and knows the Rams well.
Of course, I cannot be blind to the fact that the Rams helped their opponents out, coughing up the football a ridiculously generous seven times in the first three games. Only two NFL teams have given the ball away more often, and both the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots are struggling at 1-2 records.
So, is it Suh time yet?
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh remains a free agent, but Heavy.com’s Matt Lombardo reported “approximately three to five teams” have shown interest, “according to multiple league sources.” Lombardo named the Rams as a logical fit for the three-time All-Pro.
It makes sense since Suh helped the Rams reach Super Bowl LIII after the 2018 NFL season. He formed a terrifying tandem with all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald as the cornerstones of Wade Phillips’ defense.
The Rams need Suh again to help provide what Lombardo dubbed “an infusion of championship mojo.” The Rams’ defense could benefit from the 35-year-old’s continued ability to stuff the run and push the pocket. Those things may sound elementary, but the Rams haven’t done enough of both through three weeks this season. After three games, the Rams have just seven quarterback sacks.
A defensive front featuring Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, and edge Leonard Floyd isn’t getting into the backfield often enough against the run, nor putting consistent heat on opposing passers. The latter problem is the greater concern, and while Donald is naturally getting a lot of attention from blockers, it’s harder to beat double teams without somebody else to split an offense’s focus.
Suh used to be the guy who took attention away from Donald. It’s what happened on this sack of then-Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from 2018 when the Seahawks slid their protection toward No. 99 and left Suh one on one:
A combination like this is the game-breaking element the Rams seem to be missing defensively this season. A greater level of pressure from the interior would make life easier for the veteran stalwarts behind the line, particularly inside linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
That has to be worth offering Suh a one-year, incentive-laden deal to see if he can recapture the old magic. It’s not as if the Rams don’t have room under the salary cap, with Spotrac.com crediting them with $6,104,125 worth of space.
Suh wants to play for a contender, per Lombardo, and the Rams still qualify as one, despite their less than convincing start.