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elaine95 Nov 8

All the additions (and subtractions) the Rams have made through free agency and the draft suggest they’re serious about upgrading their run defense." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteTurf Show Timesa Los Angeles Rams communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpSectionsLibraryMastheadCommunity GuidelinesNFL OddsStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteSections 2019 offseason2019 free agency2019 NFL DraftFull ArchiveLibrary 2019 NFL calendar2019 Rams regular season sched2019 Rams preseason schedMasthead Community Guidelines NFL Odds StubHub ✕Filed under:2019 Los Angeles Rams OffseasonWhat was the theme of the Los Angeles Rams’ 2019 offseason? Improve the run defenseNew Infant Dakota Allen Jersey ,37commentsAll the additions (and subtractions) the Rams have made through free agency and the draft suggest they’re serious about upgrading their run defense.CDTShareTweetShareShareWhat was the theme of the Los Angeles Rams’ 2019 offseason? Improve the run defenseBenny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsAfter looking at the offseason in it’s entirety, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Los Angeles Rams have taken a serious interest and intrigue into improving the run defense.In 2018, the Rams allowed 116.3 rushing yards per game (18th in the league) and 4.8 yards-per-carry (27th in the league). The first value (YPG) isn’t terrible per se, but it’s also not extremely valuable because of how potent the Rams’ offense was. When a team is consistently behind by two or three scores, they’ll obviously abandon the run and that’s why the YPC metric is more appropriate when evaluating a run defense (with other stats to boot). The Rams were nearly dead last in that regard.So what did they do in the 2019 offseason?They revamped the defense. They let NT Ndamukong Suh walk in free agency and replaced him with fourth-round pick Greg Gaines from Washington. Gaines is a noted run-stopping specialist who figures to get plenty of playing time sandwiched between DT’s Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers.They signed OLB Clay Matthews in free agency, and though Clay isn’t the player he once was, he still holds value by way of leadership, effort, and the ability to compete in the run game. Matthews’ addition slides former starter Samson Ebukam to the bench. For comparisons sake, Matthews has averaged 0.85 tackles-for-loss per game in his career Discount Dakota Allen Jersey , Ebukam only 0.25 per game. Matthews is a clear upgrade all the way around, but especially as a run defender.The Rams replaced FS Lamarcus Joyner with veteran FS Eric Weddle who they signed via free agency. The signing wasn’t some massive upgrade in the run department per se, but it does allow the Rams to feel more comfortable and versatile allowing either Weddle or incumbent SS John Johnson III to play more freely near the line of scrimmage. Weddle is a football player who reads coverage's well, has a high football IQ, and can be trusted to survey the field properly on the backend. That will allow Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips more freedom to call run blitzes without leaving the Rams defense as vulnerable as it was last season on the backend.Arguably the biggest addition will be inserting fifth-round rookie draft pick in 2018 ILB Micah Kiser into the lineup. The Rams decided to cut Mark Barron prior to free agency, and though that was a tough decision, it’s one you can’t disagree with. Barron was once a ferocious, tough, and dependable player regardless of position. The past two seasons have been injury-riddled and far too costly, making his release inevitable. Barron was being phased out of the defense in 2018 as he was replaced by SS Marqui Christian on third downs with Christian logging over 350+ snaps in his role. Kiser — who will now replace Barron at inside linebacker — is built like a brinks truck Super Bowl Dakota Allen Jersey , and he excels at two things: stuffing the run and blitzing quarterbacks. I even wrote an article last year about Kiser potentially replacing Barron, and though it never came to fruition, it very well could have. Kiser’s ability to play in coverage is a major unknown at this point, but Barron didn’t offer anything as a coverage player anymore either, so Kiser should be a welcomed addition by way of his improved play against the run and versatility to blitz.All of that brings me to my last point: inside linebackers being replaced by safeties? Perfect, that’s where newly-drafted second-round pick S Taylor Rapp comes into play. Rapp wont see starters minutes because of the solid starting duo the Rams already possess in Johnson and Weddle, but he can certainly replace the 400+ snaps that Marqui Christian and Blake Countess offered the Rams in 2018. Rapp has the potential to sub in for Kiser on passing downs, making a major impact as a defender on limited snaps.Now that the 2019 offseason has essentially come to an end, we can fully evaluate the Rams’ plan from the start. And in my opinion, the priority was to fix the effectiveness in stopping the run. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp had a huge role in the Rams offense over the first half of the 2018 season Johnny Hekker Jersey , but he wasn’t around for the back side of the team’s run to Super Bowl LIII.Kupp tore his ACL in Week 10, which forced the team to make adjustments to their offense and put Kupp at the first step of an extended recovery process. That process hasn’t flagged over the last few months and Kupp has progressed to doing some on-field work as he tries to get back to 100 percent in time for next season.“I feel good. I don鈥檛 think we like to talk about being on pace or off pace, ahead or behind or anything like that, but I think I’m where I’m supposed to be,” Kupp said, via the team’s website. “Now, to get back on the field and put cleats on for the first time since the injury, it feels like it really just kind of refreshes things and gives me some new motivation to be able to go attack this thing.”Kupp caught 40 passes for 566 yards and six touchdowns in eight games before his injury and getting that kind of production back into the offense would be a welcome development in Los Angeles.

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