IRVINE, Calif. – It's not just the fast-twitch movements Michael Hoecht has to have anymore.
As the Rams outside linebacker dedicated his offseason training to his new position, he also had make sure his endurance and top-end speed were where they needed to be as well.
Yet he also still needs the same quickness he used to generate pressure as a 3-technique defensive tackle.
As he continues that training and technical work during Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union, striving for that balance remains the goal.
"At 3-tech position, you do a lot of get off twitch, off the ball immediately," Hoecht said. "And I think this offseason, specifically, I focused on more top-end speed and running more distance, because there's gonna be times when I'm dropping into coverage, have to run a little bit more. But I also didn't want to lose my fastball, because I'm a speed-to-power off the edge guy and that's what I like to do. So trying to thread that needle between those two."
In terms of both training and learning the position, Hoecht already had some experience to draw upon.
He played his first game at outside linebacker in Week 12 against the Chiefs last season and remained there for the Rams' final six games of the season. Across Weeks 12-18, Hoecht generated 23 of his 24 pressures in 2022, according to TruMedia, and his 24 pressures were third-most on the Rams' defense behind outside linebacker Leonard Floyd's 54 and defensive tackle Aaron Donald's 40.
He also kept his role on special teams last season, which makes the distance running in his training more doable.
"I've always been a runner," Hoecht said. "I mean, I played running back in high school and had a 99-yard touchdown my junior year. So that was pretty cool. And kickoff all of last year, sprinting down. So I've always been a runner, always been a top speed guy, but more of a focus on it specifically on defense rather than special teams."
A longtime special teams contributor, Hoecht will juggle leadership in that phase with earning reps and helping the outside linebackers have ownership of their position group as well. As his position switch shows, though, he's willing to do whatever it takes to help the Rams.
"I've played a ton of special teams, so as much as I can help, especially on punt, some of the protection looks and all that stuff," Hoecht said. "As much as how much I'm gonna play special team versus defense, not really sure yet. But if it was up to me, I'd play every snap of offense, defense and special teams if I could. But you know, we'll see. But yeah. As much leadership and as much as I can help with any of the special teams stuff, definitely going to."