The LA Rams defensive line is a bigger problem than you may realize
By Reese Evans
Headlined by perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald at defensive tackle, the LA Rams defensive front has been a force to be reckoned with for the last few years. The addition of outside linebacker Leonard Floyd has been complimentary to Donald's game, forming usual triple-teams into less frequent events. Rams fans were confident that the defense, specifically the pass rush, would be the backbone of another run to the Super Bowl.
That was not the case last season. According to statmuse.com, the Rams ranked 21st in the league in team sacks in 2022 compared to 3rd in 2021. The Rams compiled just 38 sacks this season as opposed to the 50 the previous year. The LA Rams' defense has a problem with the lack of pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald has anchored the line for the Rams since 2014, putting together a Hall of Fame-caliber resume. Now, the "best" needs some help. Donald was out due to injury for the final seven games of the 2023 season. The Rams recorded zero sacks in three of those seven games. The pass rush was non-existent in a few weeks of the season, which is a problem for defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and the Rams' defense.
This year's defense resembled nothing of previous Rams' defenses, like the 2020 squad, who recorded 53.0 sacks, according to ProFootballReference.com. The LA Rams received a top-3 grade from Pro Football Focus, a reliable source for player and team performance grading for the NFL.
Two ways come to mind when picturing the solution to the Rams' problem with the defensive line. The simple truth is that with the lapse of contracts on a number of key players, the team must look to adding players. The LA Rams can choose to do so either through free agency or the NFL Draft. In-house development is also an option for the Rams to fall back on, but the team has been slipping on developing young players to assume larger roles on the team in recent years.