LA Rams Coach Henny’s DAWGWORK pays off with young bucks on DL
By Bret Stuter
Overlooked diamonds in the rough
The LA Rams have made it a point to count on having the best positional coaches in the NFL, allowing them to select raw but talented prospects either late in the draft, or after the draft concludes, and still be able to rely upon getting significant contributions from those players in the future.
The LA Rams have started and stopped defensive end, Jonah Williams, multiple times. He was an early-season starter in 2021, recording five tackles in fives games played, before he was released to make room for a returning player from IR on the active roster. He managed to find his way back to the Rams practice squad, where he remained until February 2022, when the LA Rams needed his services once more.
So far in 2022, the 6-foot-5 275-pound defensive end has seen more action and been more productive as a result. Primarily a special teams player, Williams has been getting the chance to start on the defensive line in the absence of Aaron Donald. As a result, he has gotten action in 269 defensive snaps and gotten 20 tackles, 0.5 quarterback sacks, three quarterback knockdowns, and four quarterback pressures.
DT Marquise Copeland has been a true defensive force at the line of scrimmage for the Rams. Unfortunately, he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Las Vegas Raiders and has been unable to suit up for the Rams defensive front ever since.
That’s a bit disappointing because he was putting together quite a solid season for the Rams this year. He signed on with the team after the 2019 NFL Draft and has been steadily enhancing his role and defensive snaps ever since. The 6-foot-2 285-pound interior defensive lineman is another blocker-gobbler, a defensive lineman who is particularly effective against the run because he engages multiple offensive linemen, allowing the linebackers playing behind him free range to make their plays.
That is not to say that Copeland does not make tackles. He played 13 games in 2022, starting seven, and saw action on 271 defensive snaps. From that, he has recorded 23 tackles, 1.0 quarterback sacks, one QB hurry, one QB knockdown, and three quarterback pressures. He is projected to become an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA), but I cannot foresee the LA Rams not extending him.