The Los Angeles Rams come into the 2018 season with remarkably high expectations. A young team with the youngest head coach in the NFL at the reigns, the pressure is on. Fresh off of their first playoff appearance in quite some time, the Rams made some major offseason moves that have a lot of people looking at them as the number two team in the NFC behind the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, is their cause for concern within this young team? Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur now resides in Tennessee, taking a job with the Titans so that he could take over the playcalling responsibilities. McVay no longer has a young, spry offensive mind in his back pocket. Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson is now the offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. Olson’s impact on Jarod Goff cannot be understated, the young quarterback’s turnaround was remarkable.
So yes, there is cause for concern with the young Rams team. Take, for example, the Miami Dolphins a few years ago. Adam Gase had just taken over the reigns and his first season went quite well, carrying the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. However, round two did not go so well for Gase and company last season, they were offensively stunted and the league seemed to figure out Gase’s new style, high powered offense. Could McVay fall to the same demons?
Believe in the D
However, all of those concerns can be alleviated with one word, defense. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is the best in the game, and he has been around the block. Now, look at the talent that the Rams possess on the defensive side of the football. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald is the single best defensive player in football and can dominate any man (or two) lined up across him. Ndamukong Suh is not far behind him, a beast on the inside who clogs up run lanes. Michael Brockers I recently deemed one of the most underrated players in all of football.
While that front three is menacing, the secondary may be just as scary. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib patrol the corners, both of whom are a threat to pick off any pass thrown their way. The hard-hitting, quick on their feet duo of LaMarcus Joyner and John Johnson III is deep at safety, not afraid to get their hands dirty or make a big-time play.
So, if you find yourself nervous about the Rams offense… think of the defense. By the end of the season in 2017, Phillips had turned a far inferior unit into a dominant force. If/when the Ram offense quivers this season, just wait for the defense to come in and pick up the slack. After all, offense sells tickets… defense wins championships.