With the official signing of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the Los Angeles Rams defense is sure to undergo a change in scheme this offseason. However, the degree to which that change will come is not presumed to be drastic, despite the expected switch from their usual 4-3 base defense to Phillips’ renowned 3-4 scheme.
Los Angeles has arguably one of the most talented defensive lines both in terms of skill and depth in the entire league, which in past years has compelled them to throw in four down lineman. Regardless, Phillips does not believe the switch will deter the team’s progression in any way, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN:
“Four out of the last six teams I’ve gone to were running a 4-3, and we went to a 3-4 and went to the playoffs every year, and they hadn’t been to the playoffs the year before,” Phillips said. “I think we can fit whatever we need to fit in. And if we couldn’t, we would change. But that’s the way we’ve done it. We’ve got our defense where we can utilize any kind of personnel in any way. It’s just what the players can do best. Same with coverages, and same with the linebackers, and same with the D-line. You try to get the best players on the field and don’t make many mistakes. That’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we plan on doing.”
The Rams will have some tough decisions to make in terms of free agency this offseason, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety T.J. McDonald currently on the market, Los Angeles will monitor their $40 million in cap space closely.
However, with players like Aaron Donald and a healthy Robert Quinn to help anchor the defense, Phillips will have a solid foundation to build his new scheme on.