Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay Reveals Blueprint: “Ideal Scenario” Outlined for Remodeled Defensive Line

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Los Angeles Rams starting edge rushers, Byron Young and Michael Hoecht finished 5th and 6th in snaps played among edge rushers. Aaron Donald and Kobie Turner finished 7th and 24th among defensive linemen.

This is describing the opposite of what, head coach, Sean McVay wants for his defensive line;

“You know this as well as I do Jourdan [Rodrigue],” McVay told the media scrum post practice on Tuesday, “If you can have depth where guys can really be able to spell one another and not feel like you have to play as many snaps as some of our guys did last year that’s going to be the ideal scenario.”

Los Angeles Rams Acknowledge 2023’s Lack Of DL Depth

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
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Last season the Rams relied heavily on the four Rams D-linemen listed above, particularly Young and Hoecht. No other single-edge Rams rusher played more than 96 snaps of the 1134 defensive snaps last season. No tandem in the league played as much as they did.

Further moreThere was a nearly exclusive five-man rotation for the three interior spots as well. Donald and Turner lead the way, with Jonah Williams playing 53 percent of the time and Bobby Brown and Larrel Murchison about 25 percent of the time.

Donald’s retirement means they, at the bare minimum, need to replace his 865 snaps. And that won’t come from one solitary player. The Rams spent significant draft capital attempting to bolster the defensive line over the last two seasons, specifically through the draft rather than free agency.

The Rams used five of their 14, 2023 draft picks, including Turner and Young, to attempt to find answers. This year they used their first top-32 pick in eight years to draft Jared Verse as well as trading up in the second round to draft Braden Fiske. They also drafted two more defensive linemen this year.

Who Looks to be the Next to Step Up for the Rams

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McVay expanded on his answer to Ms. Rodrigue’s question;

“I really love the depth that Joe Coniglio is establishing. You look at Byron Young, Michael Hoecht, [they] played a bunch of snaps last year. Those two have done a really good job. I’ve really been impressed with Jared Verse. He’s done a great job of really imposing his will, continuing to learn. Brennan [Jackson’s] done a lot of the same things. I’ve seen Nick Hampton take strides in the right direction. Those guys on the outside have really done a nice job to be able to provide us with some depth.”

“Then on the interior, Giff Smith, AC Carter done a great job. Kobe Turner has been a steadying force. I’ve really been impressed with he and Bobby Brown. Larrell Murchison is still there. I think Braden Fiske has really just started to step up. You’re starting to feel him in these practices. He’s getting comfortable with what we’re asking. Tyler Davis has done a lot of good stuff.”

“But you know there’s guys that I’m leaving out. But really, I’ve been really impressed with the group as a whole. Once we get into these padded settings is when we’ll start to get a better evaluation in addition to the preseason games.”

OTA Coach Speak Deciphered

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
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Coaches, especially this time of year, go out of their way to make sure to talk up all team members to the press. And that seems to be what McVay is attempting to do here.

Reading between the lines, McVay has last year’s starters at the top of mind. His praise of Verse is notable. McVay lumping Bobby Brown in with Turner could be seen as a good sign, but Brown has yet to prove he can take on a greater workload come gameday.

I’d keep an ear out for what is said about rookie second-rounder, Braden Fiske. The fact that McVay’s highest praise is that he is just now starting to ‘step up’ is not promising.