The Los Angeles Rams are preparing for a pivotal NFC West showdown versus the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
There is no question that the Rams have a number of issues to fix on offense following their disappointing showing during the 23-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last weekend. Fortunately, their defense continues to play at an extremely high level heading into the final stretch of the 2020 NFL season.
Regardless, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley faces a unique challenge in Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. It is safe to say that his efforts under center have not gone unnoticed.
Murray’s skill set as a bonafide dual-threat gives the opposition limited options when it comes to containment. Staley spoke on some of the challenges he brings when coming up with a game plan, per Stu Jackson of the team’s website:
“The thing that’s unique about Kyler (Murray) is that he’s faster than a lot of the spies that you may have on field. This guy’s got real speed.”
Safety John Johnson III echoed Staley’s comments regarding Murray’s speed outside of the pocket:
“It’s like the road runner, you know? It doesn’t look like he’s covering a lot of ground, but he is, because he’s taking a lot of steps.”
There is no question that the Rams will have their work cut out trying to keep this talented Cardinals’ offense from finding their rhythm. Not only is Murray capable of making plays at any moment, but having a wide receiver of DeAndre Hopkins’ caliber adds another intriguing dynamic to this group as a whole.
Fortunately, L.A. is well-equipped to match up with whatever Arizona may try to throw at them. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey has proven to be one go the league’s premier shutdown corners and he will undoubtedly be tasked with shadowing Hopkins throughout the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the onus will fall on the rest of the defense to make Murray feel as uncomfortable as possible. There is good reason to be confident that they will be able to do just that with defensive tackle Aaron Donald leading the way up front.
Given how well this group has performed this season, it is easy to be optimistic that they will show up to do their part. The biggest question is whether or not the offense is ready to start holding don their end of the bargain by putting some more points on the board.