As the LA Rams have fought their way back to .500 football, let's pause a moment to gives some credit to LA Rams Defensive Line Coach/Defensive Run Game Coordinator Eric Henderson. Since that is quite a mouthful, we'll just go with Coach Henny for the rest of the way.
This is not the first time that we've touted our praises for the NFL's best DL coach, and I am quite certain that it won't be our last. But it's a bit overdue this season, and for good reason. To judge the sensei, you have to be able to just the dojo. Now, with 12 games behind us, we have a solid body of evidence that allows us to understand the nature of the Rams defensive front, and of the Rams ability to defend the run.
In a word, the LA Rams are far better than expected this season. After parting ways with All-Pro ILB Bobby Wagner, DL A'Shawn Robinson, NT Greg Gaines, and reworking the entire Rams defense around All-Pro DL Aaron Donald. As good as Donald is, the task of rebuilding a defense around him with entirely new players is not something that should be attempted by a novice. But you can have confidence in the LA Rams this season, as Coach Henny is a master at his craft.
Rams gave Coach Henny quality prospects in 2023
Even with a master craftsman, Coach Henny needs players to work with. After all, a building depends not just on the architect, but on the materials used in the construction. The LA Rams front office finally delivered to spec from the 2023 NFL Draft. The Rams drafted former Wake Forest NT Kobie Turner with the 89th overall pick, and then doubled down by selecting former Toledo DL Desjuan Johnson with the 259th overall and final pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Was it a modest investment? Not in the hands of Coach Henny. After all, he is the guardian of #DAWGWORK, a philosophy that has become quite popular with the Rams defense and with the Rams fans as well. So how have the Rams reinvented their defensive line for 2023? Beyond the structure, what can LA Rams fans expect from this defensive front going forward?