After bringing in an unknown commodity in Brandon Staley to replace the great Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, the Los Angeles Rams should look a lot different on the defensive side of the ball in 2020.
One thing that will not change though is the presence of one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Jalen Ramsey, who the Rams acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the middle of last season.
The former No. 5 overall pick has been named an All-Pro once and Pro Bowler three times in his four-year NFL career, so there’s no denying what he brings to the table.
When talking about Ramsey for the first time, Staley discussed how enamored he has been with him during virtual offseason meetings, via J.B. Long of TheRams.com:
“I love coaching this guy,” the Rams new defensive coordinator told reporters in a virtual media session. “It has been one of the unique parts about this whole thing, the relationship that I’ve been able to form with him in a short time.”
One thing in particular that Staley has been impressed with is Ramsey’s ability to lead:
“(Jalen) has been really, really fun to work with. He has got high capacity to learn; he’s got a high capacity to lead.”
“He’s got command of all the positions in the defensive backfield,” the first-time NFL defensive coordinator continued. “You know, I do not look at him just as a corner. I look at him as a (defensive back). This guy can do anything. He thinks like a quarterback. This game means a lot to him. His craft, his focus, his commitment… I couldn’t be more impressed with this guy.”
Ramsey has mostly played on the outside throughout the course of his career, consistently locking down No. 1 wide receivers. Staley believes he can be more versatile though and plans to unlock that in 2020:
“I think there’s a lot more in him than he’s shown in the NFL. I mean, he’s shown himself to be one of the premier guys. But I know there’s a lot more in him for him to showcase,” Staley said. “Certainly, looking for him to provide a lot of leadership and production in that defensive backfield.”
Playing in a division with a premiere tight end like George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers means it’s not unlikely that Ramsey sees more time inside for the Rams.
If he has the ability to move around and shut down whoever is doing damage to the Rams defense then that should make them much more formidable in 2020 and beyond.