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Rams DL coach Eric Henderson is leaving to become USC co-defensive coordinator

Henderson has been the Rams defensive line coach since 2019

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Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams have had one of the most feared defensive lines in the NFL for most of Sean McVay’s tenure. While a big part of that is obviously the presence of Aaron Donald, another reason could be their defensive line coach Eric Henderson, whose units have been a model of consistency since his arrival. Henderson joined the team after a stint with the Chargers, taking over as the Rams DL coach in 2019. He then took over additional responsibilities as the run game coordinator in LA’s 2021 Super Bowl winning season and beyond.

After recognizing the talent of both rookies Byron Young and Kobie Turner in this year’s draft, Henderson was able to develop and get the best out of his young players this season. Turner led all rookies in sacks with nine, and Young was right behind him with eight of his own. Due to his success, Henderson was named the co-defensive coordinator at USC on Monday. In addition, he will also be taking over their run-game coordinator and defensive line coaching positions as well.

This could potentially be a significant loss for Los Angeles, as Henderson’s defensive line groups have finished in the top 10 each of his five seasons in LA (they finished ninth this season). He was also a favorite among players, including superstar Aaron Donald, who had this to say about his position coach heading into the 2021 season:

“I love playing for him,” Donald said about Henderson “He’s one of those coaches that understands how to communicate things to his players. As far as teaching certain techniques that I felt like is going to take my game to another level, just having two years with him and having two camps with him and being able to take his coaching and the things he’s trying to teach me and the way he breaks down film and things like that.”

Henderson looks to bring his strengths to a struggling USC unit that is in desperate need of help on that side of the ball. USC had a 56.3% stop rate in 2023, which was ranked 105th in the entire NCAA. He will be missed on the Rams coaching staff, and it will remain to be seen who will fill the void left by his departure.