The Los Angeles Rams were able to fill the void left on the edge by Dante Fowler Jr. after signing Leonard Floyd in free agency.
Fowler had provided the Rams with plenty of bang for their buck in the 2019 campaign by enjoying a career year with 40 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a recovery that he returned for a touchdown. It is safe to say that he has left some rather big shoes to fill for his successor.
Floyd is coming off an underwhelming tenure with the Chicago Bears after struggling to fit the billing as a former first-round pick. Regardless, it seems he is not feeling any sense of pressure to perform at a certain level in Los Angeles.
According to Greg Beachem of the Associated Press, Floyd is focused on doing what he can to take on an integral role in the Rams defense for the 2020 NFL season:
“I don’t feel pressure to match (Fowler’s) level,” Floyd said Monday in a video conference call. “I just want to come in and play at my level and try to help the team win games, trying to dominate on defense.”
Floyd added that his versatile skill set should make him a seamless fit for defensive coordinator Brandon Staley:
“I’m a guy that can do more than one thing on the field,” Floyd said. “I can set the edge in the run. I can drop in coverage, and I’m coming to LA to continue to work on my pass rush, to elevate that even more.”
It is encouraging to see that Floyd is adamant about blocking out the noise and doing what he can to contribute for the Rams. Fortunately, this approach could help pay huge dividends, as it did for his predecessor.
Like Floyd, Fowler had also struggled to live up to the hype of being a top-10 pick and eventually fell out of favor with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being traded to the Rams during the 2018 campaign. The change of scenery turned out to be just what he needed after following up his trip to the Super Bowl with a career year to earn himself a lucrative three-year, $48 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
Floyd is now hoping he is the one that can get his career back on track in Los Angeles. He will need to take full advantage of the opportunity to help this team spark a potential resurgence at SoFi Stadium if he hopes to secure a long-term deal. It will help that he is already familiar with Staley due to their time together in Chicago.