Matt Bowen is one of the best analysts at ESPN if you want quality content that goes well beyond just surface-level detail. In a recent article where he highlights the best cornerbacks and safeties at various roles in the defense, Bowen pegged John Johnson as the best “split-field” safety, referring to those who play the best when splitting the back end of the field with another safety.
“The Rams have played split-safety coverage on 35.2% of opponent dropbacks and rank third overall in quarters coverage snaps — which is an easy fit for Johnson given his downhill traits versus both the run and the pass. Johnson will cut the crossers, drive the in-breakers and showcase the transition speed to close in a hurry. Plus, he can fill the alley as a run defender on edge schemes.
With Johnson paired with rookie Kendall Fuller, the Rams now feature one of the top safety combos in the league. And in Brandon Staley’s system, they are set up to limit middle-of-the-field throws.”
Johnson was named the top dog ahead of Minnesota’s Harrison Smith, who has long been one of the gold standards at the position.
The Rams have done a tremendous job of building this secondary around Jalen Ramsey with players selected in the later rounds of the draft, which is the best way to build a strong defense for the future.
Now for today’s links.
Bret Stuter believes the Rams need to find a recipe for success without Jared Goff (Ramblin’ Fan)
Sean McVay expects Cam Akers and Michael Brockers to play on Thursday (The Rams Wire)
Check out the latest comments from the podium (TheRams.com)
Complimentary football is the goal for the final month of the season (TheRams.com)
Todd McShay and Mel Kiper debate the top 10 picks of the 2021 draft (ESPN)
Josh Allen is the AFC Offensive Player of the Week (Pro Football Talk)
Dez Bryant tested positive for COVID-19 prior to Thursday Night Football (ESPN)
Odell Beckham Jr. remains bitter about his split from the Giants (Pro Football Talk)
Week 14 NFL power rankings (NFL.com)
The Ravens ran all over the Cowboys on Thursday night (CBS Sports)