A team being down both of their starting edge rushers is very bad, being without those players when the team is about to go against the best-rushing quarterback since Michael Vick is a recipe for disaster.
The Los Angeles Rams edge rushers are facing just that possibility in this upcoming week. Both Michael Hoecht and Byron Young were listed as ‘limited’ participants during Friday’s practice, the Rams final practice of the week before facing the Ravens on Sunday.
Rams Edge Rushers Performance Review
The Rams pass rush has been tricky to judge this season. They have generated the 10th lowest pressure rate in the NFL, 20.3 percent. This number is actually heavily skewed. The Rams have achieved much better pass-rushing results than that in eight of 12 games. If you look at only those eight games the Rams would have the 5th best pressure rate in the league, 25.8 percent. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you take their worst games, they would have the worst pressure rate in the league by far! 11.4 percent. It certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Rams lost all four of those games.
The Rams pass rush hasn’t put up a stinker since playing the Philadelphia Eagles, generating pressure on 23.8 percent of dropbacks in the four games. But much of that pressure is attributed to interior rushers rather than Young and Hoecht. They each have a sack and 14.5 percent of pressures in those four games.
Rams Edge Rushers Versus Mobile QB’s
Lamar Jackson presents yet an even more unique challenge as a dual-threat QB. Flushing him out of the pocket can present even worse outcomes for defenses. The Rams have faced two legitimate dual-threat QBs so far this season, Anthony Richardson and Jalen Hurts and it did not go well. Richardson ran for 56 yards, three first downs, and a touchdown. Hurts ran for 72 yards, eight first downs, and a touchdown.
Richardson’s ground production doesn’t look as impressive as Hurt’s, but that’s because the Rams got pressure on him at the teams highest rate of the season; 30 percent. Hurts was pressured at the lowest rate of the Rams season; 4.7 percent. Much of that has to do with the talent of the Eagles offensive line. Baltimore’s offensive line is as good as Philly’s, if not better.
Jackson has the most rushing yards of any non-running back-ball carrier this season. He has the most missed tackles forced, the most rushes of 10 or more yards the second-most first downs (Hurts is first in large part due to the so-called brotherly shove), and the fourth-most touchdowns
It’s going to be a long day for any Rams edge rushers, let alone two banged-up starters or their inexperienced backups. Speaking of backup Rams edge rushers, they are Keir Thomas, Ocaun Matthis, and Nick Hampton. They have played a total of 121 snaps this season. Matthis and Hampton are both rookies and Keir Thomas is in his second season with the team.