Communication is often an overlooked aspect of defensive line play. While verbal contact between a quarterback and his receivers is much more visible, the connections along a defensive front — while less acknowledged — are equally as important.
For this reason, when defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh joined the Rams this offseason, one of his primary focuses was on building chemistry and communication with the players he would be lining up next to — namely fellow defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
"To play this game you have to have your teammates and they have to have you, so [it's about] creating that camaraderie, being out there with Brockers and all the different guys," Suh said recently. "You probably don't see it as much as you see it from a quarterback's perspective, but as a front, for us all to be on the same front, we have to communicate."
In order to build up chemistry and be able to communicate effectively, it's important to understand personalities off the field.
For Brockers, that meant looking past Suh's reputation around the league, one that sometimes sold him as someone who could be a bit overly aggressive.
"You hear all the tabloids about him, being mean, tough. [But] if you get to know him, sit down and really just get to know him as a person, everybody enjoys him," Brockers said. "He's a smart guy, a great guy to be around, [and] a great guy to come into this building with, so it's been awesome."
But six weeks into working with each other, Brockers and Suh feel good about the foundation they have set between them. And as both look towards training camp in July, they recognize how important it will be to keep their conversations going.
"I would say [it's about] overall communication," Suh said. "Understanding where people are lining up, how things are going to move, how he likes to play, and different things of that nature. It's pure communication at its best... Just finding opportunities to get better, building camaraderie, and finding ways to continue to be successful going into camp."
The Los Angeles Rams teamed up with 24 Hour Fitness to host a 'Sideline Challenge' for individuals to test their agility and skills with multiple fitness stations and NFL Combine drills.