The defense for the Los Angeles Rams is one of the best in the league. In 2016, they finished ninth in the league. Not bad for a unit that was constantly on the field. Will 2017 be better? New Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is an automatic improvement. What else can they do to improve?
The run defense of the Los Angeles Rams will need to improve in 2017. Especially if there are plans to make the jump towards a successful season. Last season the Rams finished 16th against the run. The opposition averaged 104 yards per game. With three number one picks on the defensive line, there should be no reason that this team is not a top 10 run defense every year. The only thing that could attribute to lack of success is coaching. Now the Rams have one of the best in the game. This alone should vastly improve the run defense.
The Rams pass rush is usually at the top of the NFL defensive board as well. However, in 2016, they were in the bottom half. They finished 25th. That is well below the standards of this defensive line. 2017 is going to see a marked improvement in this area of the Rams defense. Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn should see their sack totals grow. The addition of Connor Barwin should help with the pass rush as well. All this along with the aforementioned Wade Philips will bring a new found love to the rush in LA.
The secondary of the Los Angeles Rams is an area of need. In 2016 they lost free agent corner, Janoris Jenkins. In 2017, Trumaine Johnson is playing under the franchise tag. Opposite him, they have an unrestricted, journeyman free agent atop the depth chart. Minus a solid pass rush, it is could be difficult for the Rams secondary. If the Rams want to make a surprise move and noise in the NFC West they are going to need this secondary to step up in 2017.
Wade Phillips has his work cut out for him in 2017. Aside from the tremendous front seven, there will be a struggle. However, he is a defensive genius and will get this team in positions to succeed. If the defense of the Los Angeles Rams can improve from last season, they could be a surprise team in 2017.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.