ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The answer is no. The Rams, from top to bottom, don’t have nearly as much talent as most of the other squads in the NFL. Heck, they don’t have as much talent overall as some of the other teams in their own division.
But building a championship club from the ground up isn’t about getting 53 Pro Bowlers overnight. It’s a slow and methodical process that takes time.
You have to start somewhere. And the Rams have begun in the right place.
That would be the defensive line.
Other than quarterback (I repeat, OTHER THAN QB) of all the units on a football team—running backs, receivers and tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and secondary—if I had to pick one to build first I’d choose the D-line 12 out of 10 times.
Think about it. What other position can have that much impact all by itself? Running backs are only as good as their offensive line allows them to be. Wide receivers and tight ends are only as good as their quarterbacks. And I don’t care of you’ve got the greatest O-line in the world...if your backs can’t get to the hole in time...it won’t matter.
On defense, linebackers have a big place in stopping the running game but requires the defensive line’s help in occupying blockers. If guards don’t have a problem going through the defensive tackles on the way to the linebackers that hinders their ability to do their job. And the secondary, obviously, has minimal effects in the running game.
But a D-line? If you’ve got studs across the board they can wreck havoc in the running game and the passing game. 4 big boys blowing up tackles, guards and a center gives RBs nowhere to go. If a quarterback has 2 seconds to get rid of the ball before someone is knocking him down, it really doesn’t matter who you’ve got in your secondary.
Just look at the New York Giants the last several years. Remember when they beat the Patriots (the first time) in the Super Bowl...thereby ruining a potential perfect season? Well, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora led a unit that had a ridiculous 53 sacks that season. The rest of that defense was just so-so.
That’s how dominant one unit can be if the right talent is there.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is trying to create similar impact with athletic ends Chris Long (13 sacks last season) and Robert Quinn (5 sacks as a rookie) and run stuffing tackles in Kendall Langford and 1st round pick Michael Brockers.
Many Rams fans are frustrated that this organization has spent so many high picks the last 10 years on defensive linemen, specifically tackles. Well, there’s a reason. It’s a very important unit where, if you build a great one, you can get much better much faster as a team.
They’ve got the pieces they want in place. Now? Let’s see how good they are.