DC Raheem Morris
While many LA Rams fans have applauded the recent hiring of LA Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, the truth is that Morris was a coordinator that truly played the hand dealt to him better than many realize, and certainly far better than many of us have given him credit for.
Let's revisit his past accomplishments: He was a key individual in the LA Rams success in winning Super Bowl LVI for the city of Los Angeles, California. If you recall, the Rams entered the 2022 NFL Playoffs without starting safeties Jordan Fuller or Taylor Rapp. It was Morris who lured veteran safety Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement to return to the Rams roster in time to play and eventually lead the Rams secondary.
But perhaps an even greater risk was starting seldom played safety Nick Scott. It was Scott's hit against San Francisco 49ers WR/RB Deebo Samuel that crumpled Samuel like a paper doll, and changed the entire momentum in that NFC Championship Game in the Rams favor.
Raneem Morris was a defensive coordinator who knew that the defense would not get the same attention from the Rams front office like the offense would. In 2021, the LA Rams led into the draft by selecting WR Tutu Atwell with the 52nd overall pick. In 2022, the Rams entered the draft by selecting IOL Logan Bruss with the 104th overall pick. In 2023 the Rams opened the draft by selecting IOL Steve Avila with the 36th overall pick.
Per OverTheCap.,com, the Rams positional spending over the past five NFL seasons has been, and is projected to be:
$ on offense
Offensive spending rank
$ on defense
Defenisve spending rank
With the exception of 2022, the LA Rams have been among the bottom three teams in the NFL in terms of defensive spending over the past four seasons. So what was the anomaly in 2022? In 2022, the LA Rams paid over $58 million to three defensive players: DT Aaron Donald ($27 million), DB Jalen Ramsey ($23 million) and OLB Leonard Floyd ($8 million). The Rams were also on the hook for nearly $10 million paid to DT A'Shawn Robinson, as well as the rest of the Rams roster on the defensive side of the football.
In retrospect, Rams fans should be less disturbed over how DC Raheem Morris was unable to motivate the Rams defense to play better, and be a bit more appreciative over how the guy was able to coach up the 30th paid defense to win Super Bowl LVi, and how that same defensive coordinator was able to motivate the least paid defense in the NFL to earn the sixth-seed berth in the 2024 NFL Playoffs.
Clearly, the Atlanta Falcons football organization realizes how effective the man was at turning water into wine in terms of NFL salary dollars.
So, does anyone else see the projected disparity in the projected positional spending of the LA Rams in 2024? At the bare minimum, I see a need for the Rams to shave about $30-40 million from the payroll on the offensive side of the football, and spend about that much on the defensive side of the football. Perhaps that is a topic for another day.
The Rams have been lulled into some bad spending habits with DC Raheem Morris' ability to 'make do' with whatever the Rams front office spends and sends to the defense. But with Morris gone, can the Rams count on the Rams defense to remain effective with so little investment?