Film Room: The Rams Defense

By John Ellis

Earlier this week, the OPP Film Room examined the Rams’ third-down offense, highlighting some of their highs and lows from Super Bowl 53. It’s time to take a closer look at the other side of the ball.

What do the Rams like to do on defense, particularly on third down?

There has been some roster turnover on defense for Los Angeles since last year. ILB Mark Barron was a liability in the run game and is no longer with the Rams. He was undersized and had trouble getting off blocks, as you will see in the film. New England, much like Seattle, pushed Barron around in the Super Bowl.

Veteran DE/DT Ndomukong Suh is also gone, replaced by Sebastian Joseph-Day. Los Angeles is also high on their fourth round draft pick, NT Greg Gaines from Washington. At 6-1, 310, Gaines has the ideal frame to play the “nose” in  their 34 base.

The Rams also signed Clay Matthews, the former Packers all-pro who can still bring the heat from the edge at OLB. Former first-round pick Dante Fowler can be a force at the WILL position, a spot from which defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will look to turn the former Jaguar loose: EDGE pressure off the weak-side. Fowler came on strong in the playoffs, and looks like to be a mainstay at that position.

Veteran safety Eric Weddle replaces the athletic but often inconsistent Lamarcus Joyner at FS. The addition of Weddle should help to improve the play of cornerback Marcus Peters, a playmaking weapon on the perimeter who was plagued at times in 2018 by blown assignments and double moves.

We chose to take a look at this particular game, as we believe Seattle’s offense was closest thing the Rams faced to Carolina’s versatile approach  offensively in 2018. Here’s a closer look at how the Rams fared against such an offense: