Option III: DB Coach Aubrey Pleasant
The LA Rams reported lost the services of DB Coach Aubrey Pleasant when the team had a vacant defensive coordinator position, and Pleasant was not tapped for the job. He eventually left to take on a similar role with the Detroit Lions. That chapter did not work out for him as planned, which led to the most fortuitous circumstances when he was hired to resume his work with the LA Rams young defensive backs.
Much like the concerns over Brandon Staley resuming his role as LA Rams DC, Aubrey Pleasant's secondary is not formed around the same All-Pro talent of DB Jalen Ramsey. Without that lynchpin of universal coverage in the secondary, the Rams defensive backs were not nearly as formidable as Pleasant's past chapter working with Rams players.
But let's not get all wrapped up in comparisons that only lead to disappointment. The Rams spent next to nothing on the secondary and got amazing results from so little investment. Per Spotrac.com, the LA Rams spent just $9.8 million on the secondary, which comes in as the 30th-least amount spent by any NFL team in 2023. That works out to serving a five-course dinner to a family of eight using nothing but rice cakes, tofu, flour, and salt.
You could see Pleasant's thumbprints all over the Rams pass coverage. Rams DBs no longer played soft. Rather, they were aggressive and violent, far more challenging both quarterbacks and receivers than in the recent past. Sometimes the performance of young DBs were a bit too aggressive, as the penalties tossed against Derion Kendrick illustrated. But the Rams were a far more formidable pass defense this season, and certainly could be categorized as over-achievers when considering the Scrooge-like investment made by the team.
One thing you can be sure of. Any defense led by DC Aubrey Pleasant is going to be as tough as nails, won't back down from any challenge, and will fill down to the last man until the final whistle sounds. I do believe that Aubrey Pleasant will make a good DC someday, perhaps a great one. But the LA Rams may have even better option in the queue for DC should the need arise.