The defense of the Los Angeles Rams has stepped up big time in the postseason, meaning Wade Phillips deserves a ton of credit.
Back in the offseason, there was plenty of hype surrounding the Los Angeles Rams to make a serious run at the Super Bowl when looking at all of the talent they had to work with on both sides of the football, especially on defense.
Shortly after Sean McVay was hired in 2017 as the new head coach of the Rams, one of his first moves was hiring Wade Phillips as the team’s new defensive coordinator after all the work he put in to helping the Denver Broncos put together a top defense in the league.
Right away, Phillips was able to help Los Angeles emerge as one of the best defenses during the 2017 season, with having Aaron Donald to work with on the defensive line making his job a little easier to deal with.
Flash forward to 2018 when the Rams added numerous talented players in Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters, it was easy to understand why expectations were so high for the unit once again heading into this season since they clearly looked like a stronger squad.
Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go according to plan on the defensive side of the football for Los Angeles during the regular season, especially when it came to stopping the run.
Between allowing opponents to average 122.3 rushing yards per game along with the defense in general giving up 24 points per game, it’s easy to see why there were some concerns heading into the playoffs in regards to the unit.
However, whatever adjustments Phillips made from the end of the regular season to the start of the playoffs has clearly been working when looking at how much of an impact the Rams have made on defense during impressive wins against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.
One week after holding Ezekiel Elliott to just 47 rushing yards on 20 carries, Los Angeles watched Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combine for only 46 yards on the ground during the NFC Championship.
Now, the next task for the Rams becomes whether the defense can continue playing this well when it matters the most against the New England Patriots with a Super Bowl title on the line.
Just like the Cowboys and Saints, the Patriots are loaded with plenty of talent for Tom Brady to work with, especially in the ground game after seeing the kind of seasons Sony Michel and James White have put together on offense.
Luckily for Phillips, the defensive coordinator will have a little extra time to prepare before Feb. 3 arrives to make sure his unit will be ready to go against the AFC Champions in the Patriots. Knowing Phillips and the way Los Angeles has been playing in January, there doesn’t seem to be any reasons for concern since the defense should be ready to go once again.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News