Reason I: Rams pass rush will be a high-priority this offseason
Before we step away from this topic, I would be remiss if I did not at least touch base on how the selection of Coach Chris Shula can dictate the direction of the LA Rams defense both now and into the future. Even with this first step, the team has made a deliberate and distinct investment into their 2024 defensive priorities. That appears to place the team's pass rush among their top priorities for 2024.
Coach Shula has had a variety of roles on the coaching staff, and it's almost a certainty that his strong background with outside linebackers and most recently with the pass rush played a significant role in his hiring as the new DC. Looking back, Coach Shula is to the LA Rams defensive coordinator role in 2024, as Coach Brandon Staley is to the defensive coordinator role in 2020.
The Rams pass rush in 2023 was not as disappointing as you may initially think. For 2023, the Rams' investment in their linebacker corps was the least in the NFL. In terms of edge rushers, the team was the 31st-least invested. If you spend beer money, don't expect to be sipping top-shelf champagne. If you fast forward to 2024, the situation does not improve. Perhaps we should factor in that least-paid fact into the assessment when viewing the defense's 41 quarterback sacks in 2023 (25th ranked in the NFL) as criteria for the team's struggles on defense.
But cutting checks is not going to fix that issue. It's simply a way to spend more. To be more effective at getting to the opposing quarterback, the team has to adopt an entirely new defensive strategy that involves stronger investment, better player development and production, stronger secondary and pass coverage, and a large dose of patience.
It starts with having the right coordinator in place who has a solid vision for which direction the team, and the defense, must take now and moving forward. After all, interviews for the LA Rams DC role included two head coaches with strong defensive backgrounds, two DB coaches, one DL coach, and one LB/Pass rush coach. it's no mere coincidence that the Pass rush coach is the choice for the role.
The more I have pondered Coach Chris Shula, the more appreciative I am becoming over what he brings to the role. I believe that the LA Rams made the right choice. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page.
And thanks for reading.