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Phillips has High Expectations for Versatile Secondary

Much has been made about the way Los Angeles added to its defense over the course of the offseason. And most of that conversations has centered around the strong personalities of cornerback Aqib Talib, cornerback Marcus Peters, and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.

But more than the fact that they're strong players individually, each is expected to aid the Rams' collective improvement on defense. That's particularly in the secondary, where Los Angeles already had emerging young players.

When training camp begins on July 26, the Rams will have Talib and Peters opposite one another at cornerback, Lamarcus Joyner and John Johnson at safety, plus Nickel Robey-Coleman as slot corner.

According to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, those players add a lot to the unit's versatility as a whole.

"Not only the two corners, our two safeties are outstanding players and they can cover man to man," Phillips said during minicamp earlier this month. "So, it gives you so many possibilities to double cover somebody and put the pressure on one of those guys to cover his guy by himself."

Given how L.A. is expected to generate pressure with its defensive front along with the cover skills of those in the backend, Phillips figures he's going to have a lot of options to attack offenses in 2018.

"[I]t opens up a lot of things for you to play. I mean, I can think of a lot of things to play, but I haven't always had the players to play those coverages and so forth, and these guys can," Phillips said. "So we've got a lot of versatility there and we can put pressure, we can match up guys. Both corners can play both sides, either side. And Robey's a tremendous nickell-inside player, and the two safeties are outstanding."

Phillips finished by surmising all of that information fairly succinctly.

"I'd be surprised," he said, "if we weren't really good on pass defense."