Even as the Rams Scrooged their defense, Morris still shines
That all changed in 2023. The LA Rams committed to pare down the salary expense, in a huge way. The Rams outright cut veteran OLB Leonard Floyd, mutually agreed to part ways with ILB Bobby Wagner, traded away DB Jalen Ramsey, and made no effort to extend a handful of defensive starters who had contributed significantly in 2022 and in their 2021 Super Bowl winning season.
And yet, that trademark smile that is in almost every photo of Raheem Morris never faded.
How bad did it get for the LA Rams' defense? Per Over The Cap.com, the LA Rams spent just $51.7 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2023. That was not just the least expensive salary for any NFL defense in 2023, but it works out to be less than half of the amount spent by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills in 2023 on their defenses.
Less than 50 percent? And he was expected to get the Rams' defense prepared to compete in 2023? Not only did he come through for the Rams, but the defense proved to be very formidable. In terms of yards allowed, the Rams defense ended 2023 as the 20th-ranked defense. Points allowed? The Rams had the 19th-ranked defense. Passing yards per game? The Rams were the 20th-ranked defense. Rushing yards per game? The Rams were an amazing 12-ranked defense in 2023.
Much like the Miracle of Feeding the Multitude, Raheem Morris was able to take the least amount of salary dollars spend, and yet coach up his players to become an NFL Playoff-worthy defense.
At less than half the cost of two other NFL Playoff teams.