Do the LA Rams have 1 good ILB? No. They have 2 . . .
By Bret Stuter
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. The LA Rams are very good at the inside linebacker position.
In 2018, the LA Rams’ leading tackler was inside linebacker Cory Littleton, who recorded 125 tackles, 4.0 quarterback sacks, and three interceptions. The following year he bested that tackles total, recording 134 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions. Those 2018 totals were good enough to get Littleton a Pro Bowl nod as well as All-Pro second-team honors. No other LA Rams inside linebackers had gotten to or broken that 100-tackle barrier, until now.
This year, the Rams did not have one inside linebacker reach that monumental feat. This season, two LA Rams have done so: Veteran Bobby Wagner has 126 tackles (and a bit more) with two games remaining. His teammate, second-year linebacker Ernest Jones, has 100 tackles (and a bit more). Neither was named to the NFL Pro Bowl.
Funny how that works . . .
The LA Rams have two more games to go, and if both ILBs stay healthy and on track, the Rams ILB tandem will end the 2022 NFL season with more than 250 tackles, seven quarterback sacks, and four interceptions between them. That’s just huge, folks.
The Rams ILB pair is arguably the best in the NFL
So why isn’t anyone touting the Rams inside linebacker play this season?: Well, the LA Rams have not been as successful as expected, and at 5-10, plenty of people want to lay the blame on someone. There has never been much acceptance of defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Even in the Rams Super Bowl season, the post-game social media discussions called for his ouster without cessation. This season, those cries to be rid of Morris are even worse.
It’s a shame, because the Rams’ defense is pretty solid, particularly against the run. After 15 games, the LA Rams boast a Top-5 NFL run defense, allowing just 104.5 yards per carry. That’s in a season in which the Rams have lost DL Aaron Donald for four games, and DL A’Shawn Robinson for five games, and have even pivoted to giving younger players a chance to perform in the last four games of the 2022 NFL season.
Both Wagner and Jones are contracted through the 2024 NFL season. While not many envision the Rams as competitors now, the Rams only needed two seasons to win a Super Bowl after a disappointing 2019 season. If the Rams are going to win another, they will need to play solid defense. Right now, that is exactly the type of play that the Rams are getting from the inside linebacker position.
In stereo . . .