The LA Rams secondary is no longer led by All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Whether it came down to affordability, return on investment, or simply the whims of LA Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, the Rams opted to trade Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins. In return, the Rams acquired the 77th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and a seldom used tight end, Hunter Long.
While Hunter Long has done nothing for the LA Rams so far, as he was on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury, that 77th overall pick was used to select rookie outside linebacker Byron Young. While the jury is still out, I have to admit that I'm becoming increasingly bullish on the future NFL career for Young.
The problem that arose in that process is the fact that the LA Rams did not saturate the roster with defensive backs in the 2023 NFL Draft. The only defensive back added was former TCU DB Tre Tomlinson, After eight weeks of play, Tomlinson has seen just 13 defensive snaps.
The Rams pass defense is much better than you might think
While the LA Rams pass rush is not exactly topping the charts in NFL defensive rankings, the Rams pass defense is better than you might think. If not for the horrific timing of penalties from Rams defensive back Derion Kendrick, the team could be in much better shape. Kendrick has repeatedly been flagged with penalties that have moved the chains even as the Rams defense had stopped their opponent to force a punt.
Despite the lack of investment into the secondary, and the penalties by Kendrick, the LA Rams have held their own against some of the more formidable passing offenses in the NFL. Well, if you scratch out Week 8, that is.
Still, the collapse of the Rams' secondary was not just bad luck. One of the more impressive defensive backs in the Rams' secondary, defensive back Cobie Durant, left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Durant was injured, and he is one of the Rams best defensive backs.
How will Rams adapt to Durant's injury?
That injury did not get a great deal of press coverage but could have a huge impact if Durant is out for any length of time. You see, Durant and veteran DB Ahkello Witherspoon make up the backbone of the Rams' secondary, along with safeties Jordan Fuller and Russ Yeast.
The Rams do have DB Duke Shelley, who has been promising in limited action so far this season. In just 26 defensive snaps, he has been targeted six times and allowed just two completions. He also has two passes defensed as well.
The Rams also have four defensive backs waiting in the wings on the team's practice squad, including a recently re-signed defensive back who had a very promising training camp, DB Shaun Jolly. The Rams need to address Derion Kendrick's insane trend of commiting penalties that hurt the team, and may need to fill in for an injured Cobie Durant.
There is no question that LA Rams defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant will get the most out of his players. The question now is: Does Coach Pleasant have sufficient talent to work with to get the job done?