Ramsey is no longer a lone star

Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey will be splitting their time at the STAR Photo credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams

Last year, particularly when fan panic was at its highest, criticism was leveled at the unemployed, much-maligned, weekly defensive coordinator. Rahim Morristhis Jalen Ramsey must be a locking wedge. This came into play when they faced a team that had a superstar receiver and like John McClane or Snake Plissken, he was the only man who could stop them. This was not quite true last year and it remains false this year.

Ramsey occupies a unique role implemented for the first time under Brandon Staley in that it does not play a traditional wedge role but a STAR. The STAR role where he moved around the pitch and took away the ability of the offense not to go his way because Ramsey could be anywhere on the pitch, even on running plays where he regularly made incredible tackles in the backfield. Now, going into this off-season, there was a bit of angst (when isn’t there?) about what cornering depth would look like.

There were times when fans were foaming at the mouth like Homer after eating decades-old baking soda, for the team to sign Tyrant Matthew. That didn’t happen as he opted to go to New Orleans with Huell, so the speculation continued.

Maybe the Rams would try Stephen Gilmore (no, he went to Indy for the shrimp cocktail), Charvarius District (no, I went to San Francisco for the Rice-a-Roni), and JC Jackson (technically in LA for the pizza?), but despite their reputation, the Rams didn’t go for the big name. Via the draft, the Rams restocked the closet at the corner position with young ET brought in a familiar face to relieve Ramsey’s pressure and give their LONESTAR his BARF.

Welcome Home Troy!

The Rams made a trade, but it wasn’t for a brand name but an old friend in Trojan Hill who left last season for Cleveland in free agency. During his last visit to Los Angeles, he was not always warmly welcomed and many fans volunteered to take him to the airport. That said, he’s become a leader in Cleveland’s defense (along with the dearly departed John Johnson) totaling 48 tackles, two sacks and a pass deflection.

The numbers don’t immediately scream the STAR position, but he seemed to be playing better than he did in his first period of service in Los Angeles and given that he was traded for a 5th round pick, he admitted that he arrived with a token the size of the LACMA rock on his shoulder.

He already knows the defense and if the Rams can use not one but TWO players in the STAR role, it not only takes the pressure off Ramsey, it makes life easier for young corners and provides rotational flexibility that extends. to the safety point. . Hill and Ramsey can have autonomy and, depending on the game, they can play with their safeties and reduce the possibility of the offense exploiting a lag.

Last year, when David Long and Darious Williams (now in Jacksonville) were efficient there were times when the misdemeanors were able to take their lunch money. The Rams team as a whole aims to have as much flexibility as possible, which is the secret to their success. Sure, they’ve got a ton of stars at the top of the call sheet, but they’ve also done a terrific job of finding support players on the sidelines that buff those players. Trojan HillRamsey’s presence makes Ramsey even better than he already is and he’s a guy who played all season with messy shoulders and always shut receivers down.

YOUTS

Much like the safety position, the Rams devoted offseason resources to rebuilding their depth around the corner. There was no Eric Weddle-style event to motivate this, but a cap. They knew Darious Williams was probably done for and David Long was both the new scapegoat and a victim of the 2023 cap, so they have to move on to the draft.

Last year they found a young corner on an erotic trip from Milan to Minsk in Robert Rochel (Rochelle), and before switching to IR towards the end of the season, he looked like a future stallion. He compiled 14 tackles, 4 pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a pick. Not bad for a fourth-round pick. So far at camp he has shown growth in his second year and that bodes well for the long term when he will likely take over from David Long next year.

In this year’s draft, they found two potential diamonds in the rough that have already turned heads in camp. Their fourth-round pick Decobie Durant and sixth-round pick Derion Kendrick not only impressed the coaches, but also Ramsey himself. Obviously, the vets should gas their younger counterparts, and the boot camp buzz is as reliable as the ComicCon buzz (see “Jonah Hex”), but the way he gassed them says it all.

Of Durant and Kendrick Ramsey said, “Honestly, rookies are ballerinas,” Ramsey said. “They do their thing. It’s probably going to be one of the deepest secondaries I’ve been in, in terms of depth, how many people can actually play on Sundays for us. He went on to add “And on top of that, they’re so smart,” he said. “They’re way ahead of where I was as a rookie in terms of their knowledge of the game and their mastery of the playbook, so they’ve been impressive so far.

To quote Nic Cage “That’s high praise”.

What’s more intriguing about Kendrick is that he could be a big steal. After all, he was respectfully part of two title teams at Clemson and Georgia, so he’s used to being in a winning culture, and if not for a few unfortunate disciplinary issues, his draft stock would have been much higher.

Assuming he has a better head on his shoulders, he could be a star corner alongside Ramsey and even take his place one day. If Kendrick, Durant and Rochelle thrive over the next two years, the Rams secondary is in excellent shape for the future.

Jalen Ramsey is a singular talent but it no longer has to bear the weight of being a singular entity. The Rams understand that star players can’t be successful without help, at least not in the long run. Troy Hill acts as a bridge that can also take on the role of Ramsey so that he can be used either as a stopping corner or to wreak havoc elsewhere.

The young corners on the list all have their own ability to play and with a year or two under their belt, they could be the future in that role as Ramsey gets older. Once again, the Rams took a weak position and immediately set it up for success in the future and remain competitive long after their stars are gone.

Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey will be splitting their time at the STAR Photo credit: Brevin Townsell |  LA Rams
Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey will be splitting their time at the STAR Photo credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams

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