If you have been following the career of LA Rams OLB Michael Hoecht, you might be fascinated by the young man out of Brown University who signed on with the Rams as an undrafted rookie after the 2020 NFL Draft. A defensive tackle by trade, Hoecht was a curiosity, a fast defensive down lineman who struggle to crack the Rams rotation.
But that all changed in 2022.
With next to no production from their veteran outside linebackers, the LA Rams opted to part ways with several pass rushers and cross-train Michael Hoecht from a down lineman to an outside linebacker. That switch seemed to give Hoecht and his NFL career a new lease on life, as he recorded 4.5 quarterback sacks over the final six games of the 2022 NFL season.
Hoecht has something to say in Week 7
Unfortunately, that spike in production did not carry over into 2023. And if you pay attention to the Rams forums, comments, and social media, you would think that the Rams would be a much improved team by cutting Michael Hoecht from the team and simply playing 10 defenders plus an orange pylon. Thankfully, the Rams did not take the advice from the fans.
The LA Rams appear to be in another defensive struggle, this time it's Week 7 and their opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The greatest fear that I had about this game was how could the LA Rams possibly slow down the pass rush of Steelers T.J. Watt. But I got it all wrong.
The question is: How can the Pittsburgh Steelers slow down the suddenly unstoppable Michael Hoecht in Week 7? At halftime, Hoecht led the Rams with four tackles and 2.0 quarterback sacks. No other Rams defender has a sack in this one.
Does that mean that Hoecht is suddenly worthy of praise? Has he even played well enough to get himself off the hot seat? Perhaps not. But it does give one more example how, in a rush to judge Rams players negatively, we should be thankful that fans are not pulling the strings of the Rams roster.
In Week 7, the player that nobody was happy with is doing his most to keep the LA Rams in a close game.