Aside from getting the new faces acquainted within the organization, the Los Angeles Rams prepare to get the familiar ones ready for a number of different schemes. With the arrival of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, that means transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense.
Fortunately, that transition will be led by All-Pro’s Aaron Donald and Alec Ogletree. According to Myles Simmons of Rams, last year’s defensive captains are more than ready to make the adjustment:
“It’s a 3-4, but it’s still a nose tackle, it’s still a three technique, and things like that,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said Monday. “It’s called a 3-4 because, I guess the guys on the side” — outside linebackers — “are standing. But like I said, it’s the same for us. We’re still doing what we’re doing, penetrating, getting up field, and trying to make plays in the backfield.”
Ogletree is no stranger to scheme change after making a seamless transition from outside linebacker to middle linebacker last season in which he earned second-team All-Pro honors. He understands that there is plenty of responsibility that comes with playing the Mike and is excited to learn the ins and outs of Phillips’ defense:
“I feel a great deal of responsibility,” Ogletree said. “In my first year starting at middle linebacker, that’s what I did — I took pride in getting ahead of the curve and trying to learn as much as I can before the meetings actually took place. I tried to do that this offseason as well, to learn a couple of things here and there before the first day we get here.”
There are expected to be some growing pains as with any team undergoing the kind of overhaul the Rams have this offseason. However, fans can take solace in the fact that they have some of the most capable players on defense to help lead that transition.
After a 4-12 record in their first season back to Los Angeles, Donald and Ogletree are determined to help the franchise get back to their winning ways.