How effective can this LA Rams defense be in 2023?

Raheem Morris, Sean McVay
Raheem Morris, Sean McVay / Harry How/GettyImages

Whether it was the timelines of social media, the venting frustrations in the comments section, or the passionate and open criticisms in LA Rams fans' forums, there has been no shortage of nasty comments about the LA Rams defense and perhaps more importantly, the LA Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris.

The incessant vitriol hurled a Morris had just enough grains of truth to them to offer some level of debate and dependability. But in a Super Bowl-winning season, too few gave him credit for the miraculous strategy of un-retiring defensive back Eric Weddle and starting backup Nick Scott as one of the keystones to winning it all. It was.

The LA Rams defense in 2023 will no long have DB Jalen Ramsey in the secondary. The edge will no longer have veteran Leonard Floyd stalking quarterbacks. The heart of the defense will no longer be patrolled by future NFL Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner. The defensive front will no longer by held by veteran Greg Gaines. For the most part, those vacated roles will be filled with young players, perhaps rookies, who will learn the ropes as they go.

Rage at Rams defense in 2023

The focus of fans' frustration on the Ram defense in a year when the Rams' offense bounced along the bottom of the NFL was a bit astonishing to me. This was not the 2020 LA Rams offense, a balanced offensive attack that controlled the game clock with an effective running game. This was an offense that seemed to specialize in three downs and punts, with game plans against the NFL's toughest pass defenses that focused on passing the ball.

The Rams were able to run effectively. You saw it during the games. Rushing averaged better than 3.0 yards per carry. It was simply a Rams decision not to run the football. The team often fell behind in the score. Once that happened, opponents knew that the Rams would pass almost exclusively.

There was no such certainty for the Rams' defense in 2022. But that will all seem like a walk in the park compared to 2023. Right now, the only sure-thing starters on the Rams roster are DL Aaron Donald and ILB Ernest Jones. It's likely that the Rams will start Bobby Brown III and Marquise Copeland. Likewise, the odds of the Rams starting DBs Jordan Fuller and Cobie Durant are probably even money or better. But the defense may not even have half of the starters on the Rams roster yet.

As a child, my father's stern admonishments included the phrase: "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." Perhaps the same can be said of some Rams fans who were overly critical of the LA Rams defense to this point.

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Disappointment does not come from what happens. Curiously, disappointment can only occur when what happens falls short of expectations. Right now, the expectations for this Rams defense should not be set very high. In the end, the only way to halt the Fire Raheem Morris imay not be for the LA Rams defense to play better. It may only be possible to lower fans expectations.