The Los Angeles Rams were among the hardest-hit teams by injuries during the 2022 season — especially on defense — as the likes of Aaron Donald, Jordan Fuller and A’Shawn Robinson all missed a significant amount of time.
Coupled with the poor play of Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis, both of whom were eventually cut, the Rams’ pass rush did not live up to expectations last year. Leonard Floyd was the only constant of the group despite suffering a knee injury in practice prior to Week 2.
Floyd, who underwent ankle surgery after the 2021 season, appeared in all 17 games and registered a team-high nine sacks. The 30-year-old played 85% of the total defensive snaps and was a mentor to some of the younger players on the roster, including Daniel Hardy, Michael Hoecht and Keir Thomas.
Floyd revealed that he enjoyed working closely with some of the Rams’ up-and-coming pass rushers, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic:
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s slow start was due to a significant hyperextension in his knee that gave teammates a scare during practice at the start of the season. He didn’t feel healthy until after the Rams’ bye week, he said, but then also dealt with issues with his surgically repaired ankle (he played through a serious ankle injury in 2021). Floyd finished the season with nine sacks and didn’t miss a game, and he also played 85 percent of the total defensive snaps. By the end of 2022, Floyd was essentially the last man standing in a pass-rush group that was without Aaron Donald and also had cut the two outside linebackers who were supposed to emerge as starters opposite Floyd: Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis.
“It was kind of like I ended up being alone,” Floyd said. “It was an opportunity for me to play with the young guys and work with them and help their game.”
As Floyd noted, it’s never easy being the last man standing in a group that was plagued by injuries, but he took it in stride and used it as an opportunity to help some of the younger pass rushers who were thrown into starting roles.
Hoecht, who played in all 17 games and made six starts, finished fourth on the team with 4.5 sacks, behind Floyd, Bobby Wagner and Donald.
Aaron Donald confirms he is returning to Rams for 2023 season
As speculation ran rampant that Donald could retire this offseason, he recently confirmed he will returning to the Rams next season.