Entering the 2023 season, the Los Angeles Rams are lacking a lot of bite in their pass rush as they’ve got several unproven players at outside linebacker.
Aaron Donald of course is going to be the biggest threat to getting after the quarterback, but after parting ways with players like Leonard Floyd and Bobby Wagner in the offseason, the Rams are going to be incredibly thin and inexperienced at key positions. However, there are a couple of bright spots to watch out for, namely Ernest Jones who appears to ready to step into a bigger role as a leader and player.
Jones is entering his third year and is coming off a somewhat quiet year where he only recorded one sack and four QB hits in 11 starts. Jones ceded time to Wagner, who served as the Mike linebacker, but it was still surprising to see him muted defensively.
With all the roster turnover and a lack of pass rushing options, Jones said he expects to be blitzing more often next season, via the Rams’ official YouTube:
“Yes. Yes. That’s definitely going to happen. We’ll be getting down in there this year.”
Jones has shown the ability to wreak havoc in the backfield before, so hearing that he’s going to be used more as a blitzer is a welcomed development for a defense that needs as many quality pass rushers as it can get. Raheem Morris has a tall task ahead of him trying to generate more pressure off the edge, so it makes sense for him to utilize someone like Jones who’s got the traits and experience to get the job done.
The third-year linebacker will need to really step up in all phases in order to help the Rams beat their early offseason projections. Most are counting Los Angeles out due after their offseason, but perhaps the team can come together and put together a meaningful season with the help of their youth.
Jordan Fuller prepared for leadership role in secondary
Like Jones, a larger share of the burden will shift to Jordan Fuller who is expected to be fully healthy after appearing in just three games during 2022 due to a hamstring injury.
The secondary took a major hit after the Rams traded away Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins, so Fuller has got to step up in his place. While it appears daunting, the safety is taking his new responsibilities in stride and is prepared for a leadership role in the secondary.