Fans have plenty of reasons for optimism over LA Rams DC Chris Shula in 2024

Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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The LA Rams have hired a new defensive coordinator, and he is long-time Rams positional coach Chris Shula. But he is the first LA Rams defensive coordinator who must face opposing offenses without All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald on the line of scrimmage. Talk about talking one step backwards before he even gets to call his first defensive scheme.

But isn't that the way for the Rams after all? When the team hired ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn, the team cleared the slate of special team veterans, allowing Blackburn the opportunity to create the special teams units in his own image, adhering to his specifications. But without returning veterans, and only one rookie prospect hearing his name called out in the 2023 NFL Draft, the outcome proved to be less than desired.

But the defense will take it's own journey in 2024. While the Rams have enjoyed a wide range of defensive coordinators under HC Sean McVay: Venerable DC Wade Phillips, innovative DC Brandon Staley, and personable DC Raheem Morris, the team is taking a new approach by turning to new DC Chris Shula. After all, Shula is a positional coach who has risen through the ranks of the Rams coaching staff. He has the genetics of elite NFL coaching as the grandson to the late great NFL coach Don Shula. But perhaps best of all, he brings a new and unifying perspective to this defense at a time when a new chapter is being written:

Let's not kid ourselves, taking on the reigns of the Rams defense in 2024 is not nearly as attractive as the role had been in the past. At one point in time, the Rams defense boasted three All-Pro veterans in DT Aaron Donald, ILB Bobby Wagner, and DB Jalen Ramsey. In 2024, the defense has just one former All-Pro in DB Tre'Davious White, and he is trying to reclaim his elite production after a series of injuries left his future in question.

This is not the same juggernaut defense that fans have become accustomed to in the past. And that is what new DC Chris Shula faces, or perhaps is counting on.