When the Los Angeles Rams hired Raheem Morris as their defensive coordinator in 2021, many wondered how the defense would evolve under his leadership. Morris inherited a unit that ranked first in the league in total defense in 2020, and expectations were high. As we dive into the Rams’ defense under Morris, we’ll explore the changes he has implemented and how the unit has continued to perform at a high level.
Adjustments to the Defensive Scheme:
Raheem Morris brought a wealth of experience to the Rams, having previously served as a head coach, defensive coordinator, and defensive backs coach throughout his career. While the Rams’ base defense remained a 3-4 scheme, Morris has made several adjustments to better utilize the talent on the roster and create a more aggressive, attacking defense.
One of the most notable changes in the Rams’ defense under Morris has been the increased use of blitzes. Morris has not shied away from sending additional pressure, utilizing linebackers and defensive backs to create chaos in opposing backfields. This aggressive approach has led to more sacks and quarterback pressures, which in turn has resulted in a higher number of turnovers.
Emphasis on Versatility:
Raheem Morris has placed a premium on versatility within the Rams’ defense. Players like Leonard Floyd and Terrell Lewis have been used in multiple roles, lining up both as edge rushers and dropping into coverage. This flexibility has made it difficult for opposing offenses to predict where the pressure is coming from, forcing them to constantly adjust their protection schemes. Jalen Ramsey was also used in the “star role” requiring him to be lined up all over the field instead of the usual man-on-man coverage he was used to. Versatility is something they’ve used to evaluate talent in the draft to fit his scheme.
Development of Young Talent:
One of the most impressive aspects of Raheem Morris’ tenure as the Rams’ defensive coordinator has been his ability to develop young talent. Players like cornerback Cobie Durant and linebacker Ernest Jones have thrived under Morris’ guidance, emerging as key contributors on the defense.
Improved Run Defense:
While the Rams’ pass defense has remained strong under Morris, the run defense has also shown significant improvement. The defensive line, led by Aaron Donald, has been stout against the run, and the linebackers have done an excellent job of filling gaps and making plays at the line of scrimmage.
Raheem Morris has successfully evolved the Rams’ defense, building on the unit’s existing strengths while implementing his own aggressive, attacking philosophy. The results have been impressive, as the Rams’ defense continues to rank among the league’s best. With a talented roster and a strong coaching staff, the Los Angeles Rams defense is well-positioned for sustained success under Morris’ leadership.