The past two weeks the Rams defense has struggled quite a bit, especially against the run. Coming into the season the Rams defense was likely going to be the strong point of the team, but that has not been the case thus far. However, Rams fans should not be alarmed for a number of reasons.
Rams new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable minds in football. In over 40 years in the NFL, Phillips has lead some incredibly successful defensive units. His 3-4 system is known for being very aggressive, always looking to put pressure on the quarterback. With all of his experience, Phillips can make adjustments with the best of them.
Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is one of the most disruptive players in all of football. He displayed his talents on the Rams final defensive snap of Thursday’s victory, tearing through the 49ers offensive line for the sack. Donald struggled in his first game in week two but showed significant improvement in week three. Without a doubt, Donald will just keep trending upwards as he continues to settle back into football. Once he is back at his best, there is no offensive lineman that wants to line up across from Donald.
The Rams underwent a shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this offseason, putting a lot of players in new positions for the first time. Robert Quinn is playing Outside linebacker instead of defensive end, Mark Barron is playing middle linebacker instead of outside linebacker, and Alec Ogletree is no longer alone at middle linebacker. With many players adjusting to new positions for the first time in a new base defense, their will, of course, be growing pains.
Rams fan have voiced many concerns about the defensive play thus far in the season, and for good reason. However, coordinator Wade Phillips has been around the league for longer than most of his players have been alive. Without a doubt, Phillip’s experience has given him the knowledge to make adjustments and help his defense through their growing pains.