These Rams aren’t Lambs on defense
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~Last year, in the Packers 15-1 season full of wins, the St Louis Rams held the Packers to their lowest point total in any of those wins, in a 24-3 Packer win back in week six, at Lambeau Field.
Through six games this season, the Rams rank fifth in scoring defense and seventh in total defense in the National Football League.
Scoring defense ranks teams according to points allowed; total defense ranks teams according to yards allowed. The Rams are allowing 18.5 points and 311.5 yards a game this season. So even though the sample size remains relatively small with 10 games still to be played, the defensive turnaround has been just short of astounding so far.
“I’m pleased with where we are,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “But we have a lot of work to do. We have clearly over the next (few) weekends significant challenges. So ask me that question again after the next three games.”
For Packer fans expecting Aaron Rodgers and company to waltz into the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and easily march up and down the field, I have news for you: Be prepared for more of a struggle more along the lines of what you saw in Seattle and Indianapolis in the second half.
This is a solid defense with a very good coach.
Led by the addition this year of the antagonizing cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the Rams defense has been very much improved, including beating Robert Griffin III a few weeks ago.
“We take pride being out there with the game (on the line),” safety Craig Dahl said. “We’ve just got to find a way in some of these close games on the road to come up with a big play. Maybe a scoring opportunity on defense where we strip something out, a ball gets knocked loose and we pick it up and scoop and score.”
“I knew the talent we had here last year — the guys they kept around,” he said. “And the additions they brought in here this year have just been tremendous. Also, we’ve got (Michael) Brockers back now which is a huge impact on our defensive line. And for the most part we’ve stayed healthy in the secondary.”
The Rams run defense has allowed only 64 yards on 36 carries over the past two games — against Arizona and Miami.
“We’re attacking the line of scrimmage,” Fisher said. “We’re setting our edges. And we got the safeties involved. It’s just something that we have to continue.
“It was an emphasis of ours as soon as our Thursday game (against Arizona) was over. We came back and said we have to run the football and stop the run over this next month to put ourselves in position to win games… So we have to keep that going.”
Fans know that if the Packers offensive line plays well and gives Aaron Rodgers a lot of time, he will probably carve up the Rams secondary.
But this Rams defense will be pulling out all the stops to get after Rodgers, as they did against Drew Brees last season when they battered him around in a Rams upset of the Saints.