New Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner will be counted on to make an impact on the defensive side of the field when the 2022 season eventually kicks off.
Wagner came home to Southern California for a shot to compete for another Super Bowl and immediately steps in as the best linebacker they have had in years. Despite being older, Wagner remained one of the most productive inside linebackers during the 2021 season and should be effective playing under defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
The veteran is well-regarded for his preparation and ability to diagnose plays, so it was no surprise to hear him talk about how fun it was to play the Rams with all the offensive adjustments they make game to game, via Cameron DaSilva of USA Today:
“I always liked playing against the Rams because they watch stuff that I do on film and I know they’re gonna put it in the next game,” he said. “And so there was one particular game where I was playing the Rams, whenever they motioned the running back out, I knew they weren’t throwing them the ball. And I kind of didn’t really play it because I knew they weren’t going there.
“So the next time we played them, I knew they saw that. So I was like, ‘All right, they’re gonna run a running back screen at some point.’ So that kind of chess moves where it may not happen this game, but it will happen the next game. I remember it, I know they’ve seen it. I’m like, knowing them, I know they’ve seen that. They know they didn’t throw it to that running back and I wasn’t even acknowledging it because I knew they weren’t going to throw it. I knew going into that next game, they were gonna find a way to put that in there just to have me play it honest.”
When playing against someone like head coach Sean McVay, defensive players must be able to identify the play quickly or risk them making an explosive play. Wagner was a formidable opponent who made several downs difficult for the Rams, but fortunately, he is on their side now.