Los Angeles Rams New DC Chris Shula Discusses Defensive Plans for 2024: “With Us, It’s Killing Blocks. It’s Tackling. It’s Takeaways It’s Pursuit to the Ball.”

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams hired Chris Shula after Raheem Morris was hired to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Shula has been with the Rams since 2017 when Sean McVay was hired, but their ties go back even further. The two met at Miami University of Ohio where both played on the football team. Shula has dutifully paid his dues over the seven seasons serving under three different defensive coordinators before getting the nod.

While Shula is perhaps the most informed person about the Rams, his defensive philosophy is a mystery outside the building. Since he has never led a defense of his own, the question since his hiring is what will he do to field a competitive squad.

Shula was interviewed for the first episode of Behind the Grind, the Rams in-house docu-series, and shared some glimpses into who he is as a coach and the players he is charged with preparing.

Chris Shula’s Experience Under the 3 Los Angeles Rams DCs

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
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“I’m lucky we’ve had three great D coordinators since I’ve been here that I’ve been able to work under all in different capacities.”

“We had Wade Phillips first. He kept it simple he let the guys play fast and he let his coaches coach.”

“Brandon Staley came in. He was always studying the game and he was very innovative. We were always trying new things and he wanted to challenge the players and do different stuff. It was almost like a different aspect where you saw two different ways but they both worked.”

“Obviously Raheem [Morris] [is a] great relationship person, loves football, is a great teacher, and somebody you just want to be around all day.”

Chris Shula as a Coach, in His Own Words

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
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“Really, I take stuff from all three of them. I like to think I’m a combination of all three.”

“Football as a coach really is your life. I love the game-planning aspect of it. I love the teaching aspect of it. I love the relationships with the players. My belief is you get what you emphasize. With us, it’s killing blocks. It’s tackling. It’s takeaways and it’s pursuit to the ball.”

Chris Shula on the Los Angeles Rams Defenders

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
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“We use Kobie Turner as an example all the time. He’s a guy that plays with great effort in that pursuit to the ball. Byron Young‘s another guy that I would say plays that way. Ernest Jones is also a great tackler.”

“We’re lucky that we have a lot of good young players back that provided some great examples for us to learn from.”

“Thinking about bringing on free agents or even the draft if they work hard and love football we’ll make it work here.”

“Darious [Williams], he’s a guy that’s got a well-rounded game. He can play “on,” he can play “off” from versions of man. In Jacksonville, he learned a lot of different stuff where he can play some zone and play some vision stuff and now seeing him two years later watching his tape it’s just interesting to see how he’s evolved as a player.”

“[Kamren Curl has] those core fundamentals we were talking about he’s got all that, getting to the ball, tackling. He’s going to be a guy that brings guys with him on the field. He’s got a great play energy about him. Safety in this defense can be a playmaker. That’s what we see him as.”

“When Trey [Tre’Davious White] came in for his visit we spent about three or four hours with him, watching tape and really just talking about leadership and his journey and where he’s at. He’s at a place where he feels like a lot of guys helped him along the way and now he feels like he can pass that knowledge along. He’s just a complete player.”