Is the LA Rams pass rush the real deal?
Belief in the LA Rams' ability to get to opposing quarterbacks was definitely at an all-time low point before the season started. And yet, the Rams coaching staff and front office remained steadfast in trusting the rookie outside linebackers. Of course, that unit has the benefit of the "Aaron Donald Effect," and more than one Rams defender exclaimed how that has helped them jump out to a solid start for Week 1.
But even the great and dominating impact of All-Pro Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald can only carry this young group so far. At some point, they have to make plays. So how did they do? Well, Pro Football Focus NFL analyst Sam Monson has a handy-dandy graphic to illustrate:
The upper right quadrant, where the LA Rams Week 1 impact is plotted, is the "Aggressive & Effective" region. To understand more fully, the X-axis plots pressure percentage, with the right equating to more quarterback pressure. The Y-axis is the pass blitz percentage, with more blitzes elevating the data plot. Interpreting the Rams' data point suggests that the Rams pass rush was modestly effective with a light usage of blitz packages.
To get a better handle on the Rams ability to generate a pass rush, let's approach this from a different angle. We know that the LA Rams recorded 2.0 quarterback sacks in Week 2. But how well did the Rams pressure Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith?
Very well, it seems.
But one data point is just that: One data point. To truly gauge how well or not weel the LA Rams pass rush is equipped to get to opposing quarterbacks this season, the Rams will need to match their impressive numbers against the San Francisco 49ers. Luckily, the Seahawks employed a 49ers tactic, targeting the short passing game and trying to get yards after the catch.
More questions will lead to more answers. But so far, the LA Rams seem to be well prepared and having fun this season. In the end, perhaps that is the answer that trumps all questions after all.