Some fans have expressed concerns about the LA Rams lack of a pass rush. Well, it you want to see just how scary a challenging pass rush can be in the NFL, you are about to witness it first hand. The next two games for the Rams are the Cleveland Browns, (34 QB sacks, 9th most) and the Baltimore Ravens (47 QB sacks, 1st most). So the Rams will not only witness those scary defenses, but plan ways to limit the disruption they can bring to the Rams offense.
When it comes to a formidable pass rush, in 2023 you have to give credit to the Cleveland Browns. Their defense boasts eight defenders who have more than 1+ quarterback sacks on the defense, and 12 players on the roster who have gotten to the quarterback at least in part in 11 games in 2023.
For comparison purposes, the LA Rams have six defenders with more than 1+ quarterback sacks in 11 games. And the Rams have nine players who have gotten to the quarterback in part this season.
With the Browns facing uncertainty at the quarterback position, it's obvious that the Browns defense is feeling a lot of pressure to bring their A game, and get to LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford as quickly and as often as possible. So how can the LA Rams hope to counter the Browns defense?
Rams can copy the Colts game plan
The LA Rams faced nearly an identical set of circumstances when the team had to face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4. At the time they met, the Colts were an impressive 2-1. The Rams travelled to face the Colts, who were playing behind rookie QB Anthony Richardson. The Rams held a solid lead for nearly the entire game, but allowed the Colts to tie it up and send it into overtime. The Rams won that game by scoring in overtime on a pass to rookie WR Puka Nacua.
The Rams won because the Rams were committed to running the football. By the game's end, the Rams had passed 40 times but had nearly matched that by running 36 times. And it was RB Kyren Williams's first 100+ yards game, a game in which he rushed for two touchdowns. The Rams also mixed in some savvy passing, connecting with rookie WR Puka Nacua on 9 of 10 passes for 163 yards.
Better still, the Rams have discovered that this team can gain tough yards from RB Royce Freeman as well. In that Week 4 contest, the Rams allowed a powerful Colts pass rush to only get to Matthew Stafford twice, far fewer than their average 3.3 QB sacks per game average.
Even if the Rams do not opt to go with their 12-personnel package, they can still find yards by rushing between the Browns tackles. That is a tried and true method to slow down practically any effective NFL pass rush.
Can the Rams slow down Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett? Well, the Rams have to prepare for a Browns team that will want to win the turnover battle, control the game clock, and force the Rams to take unwise and unnecessary chances. If the Rams can put up a lead on the scoreboard and run effectively, that will neutralize their pass rush.
Will the Rams have enough discipline to plan that type of offense to defeat the Browns? Just look back to Week 4 and you will find your answer. You see, that's exactly how these Rams defeated a scrappy Indianapolis Colts team earlier in the season.