4 options to restore the LA Rams pass rush in 2023

LA Rams pass rush
LA Rams pass rush / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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The LA Rams love to get after the quarterback, and the fans love to see the Rams pass rush bring down opposing quarterbacks. In fact, it's one of the LA Rams signature defensive plays, a huge pass rush from Aaron Donald sealed their win in the NFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. The oddest part about that play is the fact that almost everyone in SoFi Stadium knew it was coming. And yet, nobody could stop Donald from stopping the Bengals.

Here we are, just one year later, wondering what the LA Rams need to do to restore their once lauded pass rush. It was not just one player, it was everyone, a collapse of such significance that it affected the teams ability to cover opposing wide receivers. Just one year ago, the LA Rams finished the season with 50 quarterback sacks, and seemed to leave even more on the football field. In 2022, the Rams finished the season with just 38 quarterback sacks.

So why did Rams roster divest from pass rushers?

How bad was it? Well, if you strip out the starting outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (9 sacks) and the late surge by defensive lineman turned outside linebacker Michael Hoecht (4.5 sacks), the remaining Rams outside linebackers, as a group, delivered just two quarterback sacks the entire season. The LA Rams parted ways with multiple pass rushers in 2022 who were deemed to be ineffective:

OLB Chris Garrett
OLB Takk McKinley
OLB Justin Hollins
OLB Terrell Lewis

That is a serious divestment for a team that was already struggling to find quarterback sacks, was very limited in options to man the position after their departure, and in a position that is considered a premium role an any NFL defense. In the end, the Rams were ejecting players who were blocking the development of younger players on the Rams roster. And the Rams were able to take such drastic steps after the revelation that seldom-played defensive tackle Michael Hoecht could cross-train and quickly outperform many of his teammates on the edge.

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But was that a flash in the pan? Or do the LA Rams need to land some key reinforcements for their pass rush in 2023? That's a puzzle that finds Rams fans weighing in with many varied options.

One thing remains clear. If you want to improve the LA Rams defense, then investing in the team's pass rush certainly seems like a logical place to start.