3 reasons why OLB Michael Hoecht is due for the Floyd effect in 2024

What is the Floyd effect? It could prove to be a way to unleash OLB Michael Hoecht's true potential for 2024.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams. Michael Hoecht
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams. Michael Hoecht / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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The fix lies in the Floyd-like effect

So how do the Rams fix this problem? Relegating Hoecht to the bench is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hoecht can play, and by comparison is a competent edge rusher. But the team cannot continue to rely on Hoecht to blanket top NFL wide receivers in one-on-one pass coverage this season.

What can be done?

When the LA Rams added veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in 2020, the team was able to instantly amplify his pass rush effectiveness by limiting his role in pass coverage. Whether that translates into a nickel backer playing behind him to assume the pass coverage tasks, or simply putting Hoecht into a more traditional hand-in-the-dirt defensive end role on passing downs, there are a variety of ways for the team to get him out of the pass coverage role when it's obvious that the opposing offense plans to target him.

After all, I refuse to believe that if the Top-9 edge rushers average less than 25 percent the number of targets as Hoecht, that the defense cannot rescheme him out of so many passes thrown at him. And the team already has experience in how instantly that reformulation can take effect. When Leonard Floyd's number of targets fell from 17 to seven, his quarterback sack totals rose from 3.0 to 10.5.

Just to place this dilemma in proper perspective? Over the course of three seasons, OLB Leonard Floyd was targeted 31 times. That 31 passes thrown his way over three years is equal to the number of times Michael Hoecht was targeted in 2023 alone. Floyd allowed 27 of those passes to find their target, resulting in 246 yards.

Conversely, Hoecht only allowed 24 passes to find their mark for 232 yards. The lone difference is that Hoecht did allow one touchdown.

I believe that the Rams will find a way to free up Hoecht from pass coverage duties, and in the process free him up to tee off on opposing quarterbacks once more.

Thanks for reading.