Last week, the Los Angeles Rams defense struggled with the Arizona Cardinals. It appeared the Rams were not able to adjust to the Cardinals’ scheme or personnel. However, most can agree that the Rams need to be more creative with their defense. Below are some differences between last year and this year.
2020 (Full Season) – 159 (4 game average = 39.75)
2021 (4 games) – 49
Blitzes per drawback
2020 (Full Season) – 25.4%
2021 (4 games) – 26.1%
2020 (Full Season) – 45 (4 game average = 11.25)
2021 (4 games) – 25
2020 (Full Season) – 53 (4 game average = 13.25)
2021 (4 games) – 12
2020 (Full Season) – 77 (4 game average = 19.2)
2021 (4 games) – 24
Total Air Yards per completion
2020 (Full Season) – 1505 (4 game average = 376.25)
2021 (4 games) – 659
Yards after catch
2020 (Full Season) – 1672 (4 game average =418)
2021 (4 games) – 633
Surprisingly, the Rams have brought more blitzes and quarterback pressures compared to last year. However, they are missing more tackles this year, which has allowed more total yards per completion, and more yards after the catch.
After further evaluation, the incongruency begins with the substantial increase in total yards per completion. The Rams are allowing twice the total yards per completion compared to last year.
The reason for this increase is ternary. First, Jalen Ramsey is being used differently than last year. Second, Darious Williams and David Long Jr. have not found their groove from last year. That’s not to say these players cannot do the job, they clearly have the talent—based on last year’s performance (speaking more on Williams, who was a starter). Third, Taylor Rapp has struggled in coverage as a safety.
These struggles must be remedied by Raheem Morris. Quickly too! Possibly use Ramsey as a pure shutdown corner, and maybe less soft coverage. . . .
The Rams are missing more tackles this year. They have played some tough opponents, but they are missing tackles at critical points. Again, this isn’t a player issue, rather an issue that needs to be addressed by Raheem Morris. The Rams did not have a complete defensive personnel turnaround, so this should not have been an issue. Regardless, it’s still early in the season, and this should be remedied.
Subsequently, with missed tackles, there is an increase in yards after the catch. This is another category that has substantially increased for the Rams—by almost 200 yards. These two categories are clearly some weak spots that need to be addressed before the Week 5 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.