Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The Rams wanted their defense to go as the defensive line goes? So how have they gone?
The defensive line is the strength of the Rams. It features 3 first round picks and one high priced free agent. It is obviously the most talented unit the Rams have. They started off the season on fire, routinely getting to the QBs, but they have slowed down tremendously over the last few games. It's no coincidence that the Rams have been losing. Grades so far?
B: The defensive line has plenty of talent, but they aren't a front four made to dominate game in, game out. Long's a high motor, relentless player, but he's not Dwight Freeney. I'm more impressed with Michael Brockers, the first DT the Rams have drafted in a long time who may have a chance. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if Fisher continues to add talent here.
D+ They aren't living up to the hype huh? Michael Brockers isn't bad, but he's not generating double teams as much as we thought he would. If we are talking about disappointments, Chris Long and Kendall Langford have been extremely silent. Robert Quinn and sometimes the backups show up to play. If it wasn't for Robert Quinn, this defense would be horrible. People wanted to give this group, that only had one great collective game a nickname? How about the replacements.
B: This unit for the Rams is the closest the team has to being a Top 10 group. Chris Long has garnered double teams all season, and Robert Quinn has been stellar at times. They seem to suffer against top offensive tackles, and the game this week against the best offensive line in the NFL (the 49ers have 4 mid-season All Pro choices on their OL) will be their biggest challenge of the year. Kendall Langford and rookie Michael Brockers are getting better with every game as an inside duo. The Rams - 49ers game will be decided by the play of the Rams front four. What makes this group the best the Rams have had in the last decade is position depth. Hayes, Cudjo, Sims, Heard and Conrath have played well when called upon.
B : This is a very strong group that has the potential to be one of the Best in the NFL if they continue to progress. Quinn is a bonified pass-rushing specialist, and Long is one of the most complete 4-3 ends in the NFC. Brockers is as advertised so far, he will need to continue to develop his pass-rushing skill set, and learn to read run plays a little better. This should be no surprise however, this is what Fisher does best.
B: Long and Quinn are getting pressure on the QB (though Quinn sometimes runs past everyone) the run D is better than last year. At least one facet of the Rams is pretty decent, I think when they play together longer, they'll gel more.
B: Robert Quinn has really started coming into his own this season, and although Chris Long hasn't been as productive as expected he has been getting pressure on opposing QB's and it's only a matter of time before his sack numbers come up. At DT, Langford and Brockers have certainly helped improve upon last years' atrocious play from the interior of the defensive line. The only thing keep this group from getting an "A" is a lack of consistency.
B+: Robert Quinn and Chris Long have combined for 11 sacks. That number is lower than expected, but teams are starting to move to a quick hitting, short pass game when playing the Rams, to great effect I may add. Long and Quinn (God, we need a nickname for them) have changed the way offenses play the Rams, they have done their job. Michael Brockers, who oozes potential, and Kendall Langford have been above average in the middle, and lately have been doing a much better job stopping the run. Watch out for Brockers everyone, he's on his way to being on of the best interior linemen, and when that happens....*faints from glee*
LB's are next y'all.