For the last few years, the Los Angeles Rams have been the most talented team in the NFC West. Last year, they had a 13-3 record and reached the Super Bowl. Their talented defense played a huge role in last year’s successful season.
While their division rivals all improved their defense, the Rams still have the best defense in the NFC West. Here are several reasons why:
The Rams’ talent is so much better than the other teams in the division. It starts with defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He is one of the most talented defensive players in the league. The secondary also has a ton of great players in cornerbacks Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Nickell Robey-Coleman. They also added talented veterans, such as Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. If these guys can produce, they can make the defense one of the best in the league
None of the other teams have similar talent. No one has a player as talented or disruptive as Aaron Donald. The Rams also have the best secondary in the division. In contrast, the Seattle Seahawks traded one of their best defensive players, Frank Clark, during the offseason. The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are still building their defenses. This huge talent gap helps make the Rams defense the best in the division.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips
Making the defense even more dangerous is Wade Phillips. Phillips is one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. He won the 2016 Super Bowl as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, one of the most talented defenses ever. His defenses put tons of pressure on quarterbacks and create lots of turnovers. Last year, his Rams’ defense created the third-most turnovers in the league. Expect his talent-filled defenses to create nightmares for opposing teams.
The other teams in the division are not in as good of a position. While the Cardinals hired Vance Joseph in the offseason, he is joining a whole new coaching staff. He will need time to install his coaching scheme and for his players to learn it. While Seattle’s Ken Norton Jr. is a good coordinator, he is not at the same level as Phillips. And the 49ers’ Robert Saleh did not have a good 2018 as a defensive coordinator.
Offense helps out
Helping the defense out is a good offense. If an offense can’t stay on the field, it forces defenses to stay on the field too long and wears them out. An offense that can score points lets the defense take more risks. Scoring a ton of points makes defensive mistakes less costly.
The Rams have one of the best offensives in the league. ESPN ranked them as having the best offensive weapons in the league. Jared Goff is continuing to develop as a great passer. They have three excellent receivers in Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Todd Gurley is one of the best running backs when healthy, and the Rams have capable backups in Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson. Also, Sean McVay is one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL. His offenses put pressure on opposing defenses by scoring tons of points.
No other team in the division can match that level of talent. The Seahawks lost wide receiver Doug Baldwin in the offseason. They also don’t have many offensive weapons for quarterback Russell Wilson. While the 49ers continued adding talent, their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a serious knee injury and is still developing. The Cardinals are rebuilding their entire offense. While quarterback Kyler Murray may become a star one day, he is still a rookie.
The lack of talent mitigates talented young play-callers like Kyle Shanahan (49ers) and Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals). The combination of the Rams’ talent and McVay’s play-calling helps keep the Rams’ defense fresh and lets them play with a lead.