5 reasons to look for much better LA Rams defense in 2023
By Bret Stuter
Reason III: LA Rams returning key core players
Guess who's back? That's right, a very hungry and perhaps a bit miffed Aaron Donald. And he's not just back to earn another NFL Defensive Player of the Year. After winning Super Bowl LVI, the LA Rams were on cloud 9. But after a disappointing and substandard season, it's ironic how quickly the LA Rams have returned to the team that gets little respect. And all of those old tired narratives are back as well. You know the ones - The Rams mortgaged their future and now the bill has come due. The LA Rams front office has squandered draft picks. The LA Rams have lost their window, and must now blow up the entire roster.
That's all poppycock.
The LA Rams limped into the 2022 NFL season. Some players suited up and were still not at 100 percent, like OLB Leonard Floyd. Other players suited up but fell to injury and sat out a majority of the season, like All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald. And some units, like the LA Rams secondary, never did get ahead of their injuries and rotating lineups that seemed to change weekly.
Rams defensive stars will shine in 2023
The LA Rams have some incredible stars on this roster, and many of them are on the defensive side of the ball. I am not just talking about the Great One, Aaron Donald, either. Some seem to have associated the Rams depending upon Jalen Ramsey to be the duct tape for the defense as a sign that he has lost a step. He delivers in so many ways. Did he surrender more TD passes than ever in his career in 2022? Sure. But he was also at a high point in his career for QB sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles. In short, you can't have it both ways. If the LA Rams want the 'shut down corner,' personna of Jalen Ramsey to return, then the defense needs to get him out of all the other aspects of the defense that he is now depended on to deliver.
The Rams have two of the most dangerous inside linebackers in the NFL in the tandem of ILBs Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones. They combined for 254 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick. How quickly the Rams 'no defense in the middle' is forgotten, when the Rams seemed to consider the inside linebacker role as an afterthought. Now, it's a true strength of the defense, and as the other defensive components come on line, the Rams defense will begin to shine once more.