Bobby Wagner already stands at threshold of LA Rams legends

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

When the LA Rams signed veteran inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, there was some excitement, but that was intermingled with some confusion as well. The Rams had lost outside linebacker Von Miller in a bidding war with the Buffalo Bills. And that delayed decision by Miller not only eliminated the Rams from extending him but allowed other NFL teams to exhaust the NFL Free Agency market of viable alternatives.

The LA Rams were the team in the NFL game of musical chairs that was left without an outside linebacker option to reinforce the defense. That left the Rams with a few outside-the-box options, and that is exactly the path taken by the team.

For the defense, the Rams pivoted rather quickly to former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro ILB Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks wanted to go younger, and Wagner was a veteran who no longer fit their profile.  Wagner was a new direction for the team, insomuch that the team has devalued the play of the inside linebacker. But with new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, the inside linebacker role was valued once more.

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Is another LA Rams LB legend about to be born?

The LA Rams have one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL right, pairing veteran Bobby Wagner with inside linebacker Ernest Jones.  In 16 games, the pair have combined for 242 tackles, six quarterback sacks, three interceptions, seven deflected passes, and 12 tackles for a loss.

Right now, Bobby Wagner needs just 10 tackles to set the LA Rams All-Time Single Season record for tackles, currently held by LA Rams great LB James Laurinaitis.

That’s pretty outstanding work in his debut. Or to put an image to it?

The LA Rams team may not have ended the 2022 NFL season with the hoped-for final record that earned postseason play. But the Rams have plenty of oomph back on the defense with their inside linebackers.

Can the Rams leverage that expertise in 2023? I think so. The team could focus on IDLs who are blocker gobblers and let the Rams ILBs roam free. Or the team could emphasize pass rush, knowing that the two inside linebackers can stuff the run effectively.

Bobby Wagner stands at the threshold of setting a franchise record. But I don’t think this is the only time that happens. Still, it’s a very impressive development in his first season with the Rams.

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