The Los Angeles Rams defensive unit has been a pleasant surprise. Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator for LA, absolutely deserves credit. While speaking with some media members recently, Morris says that “we underestimated” the potential of this young group of players. Morris continues to be in head coaching conversations, and the performance of this season’s defense could make his departure all the more likely.
Has Morris’s defenses been as turnover hungry as when Wade Phillips had Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib? Has Morris’s unit finished number one overall in key defensive categories like when Brandon Staley led the group? What I know is Morris has a Super Bowl ring with Sean McVay. I also know that Morris is helping to lead this team right now to a potential playoff spot. An accomplishment very few can say they saw coming when the Rams were going into their bye week at a 3-6 record.
LA’s defensive coordinator gives an informative press conference, and its around the six minute mark when the coach downplays his own importance, but does talk candidly about the position that this young team is in.
“I don’t want to give myself too much credit for getting these guys to do things...we just, we underestimated, their ability to play as well as they’ve played. Alright, and we can play better. You know, we talk about that every week, you know like just certain things you can do better, but I really think...you never, in football, you know it’s just unpredictable...it’s just the nature of the beast when you talk about the National Football League, and how great this game is. It’s why we’re all fans...it has certainly been gratyfying, it has certainly been fun to be relevant...”
When Morris says “we underestimated their ability to play as well as they’ve played” I think he means the coaches weren’t sure how quickly the rookies would pick up playing in the NFL, and how quickly this new defensive group would mesh together. I don’t think he means the coaches didn’t believe that this group could be great. This team’s ability to play was more about a matter of when, not if.
This fresh defense has looked NFL ready moreso than not. Morris is asked about who deserves the credit for the above expected performance, and he gives a great answer about coaching in the NFL.
“Sometimes you get too much credit, sometimes you get too much blame so...nature of the beast of what we do.”
Whoever deserves blame for the 3-6 start, and whoever dererves credit for the turnaround, the Rams are here with a 7-7 record, and they’ve got a chance to make the playoffs. LA’s entire positive narrative can change with a loss this Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, but for now this team is humming. Let’s see if they can sing, and let’s see who wants to underestimate this group any longer.