LA Rams fans social media fury over team's latest move in free agency

Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Hoecht adds far more than pass coverage to the defense

The image of Michael Hoecht attempting to cover a wide receiver has been difficult for many fans to shake off. But statistics simply do not support the 'he stinks,' consensus among Rams fans right now. Hoecht allowed just 24 of 31 passes to find their target (77.4 percent completion rate) for 232 yards and one touchdown. He recorded 81 tackles, 11 QB hits, seven tackles for a loss, and 6.0 quarterback sacks in 2023. He forced one fumble and even broke up two pass plays.

By comparison, rookie Byron Young allowed 13 of 17 passes to find their mark (76.5 percent completion rate. Nick Hampton allowed one of two passes to find the mark (50.0 percent completion rate). Ochaun Mathis was never targeted. Finally, Zach VanValkenburg allowed one of two passes to find the mark (50.0 percent completion rate).

What does all of this tell us?

Two things. First, it reveals that Michael Hoecht was targeted move than all of the other outside linebackers on the roster, combined. But what is also shows is that Hoecht dropped into coverage far more often than he should have, and far more often than fans realize. Hoecht was targeted more frequently because he was schemed by opposing offenses, and not protected by the Rams own defensive schemes.

But fans do not give him any credit for his willingness to do whatever the team wanted. Many prefer to penalize him for his willingness to become a defensive lightning rod and attract the lightning bolts that are tossed at him.

Thankfully, The Athletic's writer Jourdan Rodrigue stepped up to defend Hoecht against the fans backlash. Check out what she says specifically:

  • He helps out the team in a couple of areas
  • He sets the tone at practices
  • He has done every job they've asked him to do

Wouldn't it be incredible if the LA Rams could roster All-Pros at every position. But some defenders have to gobble blockers. Some offensive players have to play decoy. Other offensive players must block. Finally, some defensive players must cover, and not rush the passer.

Championship teams are as much about role players as stars.