We've been trying to postulate just what exactly the Rams defense is going to do, going to look like, and what results they're going to get for the last six months or so...six months or so without actually having seen actual football being played. At this point, my head's spinning from thinking through the seven million cause and effect scenarios that may or may not result with the Rams defense.
Needless to say, until we start seeing the new and improved (?) unit running plays at full speed in camp and then, of course, in game situations, it's almost impossible to tell. Football, particularly defense, lacks a good bit of the statistical assumptions that baseball fans can so easily take for granted. The piece in Sunday's PD about the Rams' defense gave a pretty good summation of "where we were" and "where we hope to go" while underscoring the slippery business of trying to see the future.
Football is a game of balance, the ying and yang of offense and defense, run and pass, etc. merge to give us the results we see on the score board at the end of each game and team's record at the end of the season. Although it was never explicitly spelled out, nor was it hiding between the lines, something hit me while I read that article. We have a pretty solid reason to believe that the run defense is improved; although, we don't know to what extent at this point. Thus, I think we could likely see some slide in the pass defense, as teams are forced to throw more often when their starting running back and the back-up are no longer guaranteed 100 yard games. It's mostly a reflection on the laws of average and balance: more things to defense against mean more chances for error or just plain getting beaten occasionally by a superior WR/QB combination. Add in that Fakhir Brown is out for four games and the youth in the defensive backfield, and that conclusion's not a stretch.
I mean it as no slight to our defensive backfield, which I think will still be strong and combined with a more solid presence on the d-line contribute to the overall effectiveness of the defense.
One thing the Rams are counting on is improved play from the younger members of the defensive unit that flashed promise and potential last season. One area where this factor is likely to be felt is preventing big plays that often happen because of mental lapses or mistakes, as Haslett points out in the article. That should be a huge boost for the Rams.
One other tidbit from the article worth noting is Haslett's decision to rotate Wroten and Glover. I like it.
Here's an excellent look at the state of sports media coverage and the ESPN monopoly.