THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – New Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris (virtually) met with the media for the first time Thursday afternoon, covering a number of topics including his vision for the unit and maximizing the talents of defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, among others.
Here are some of the top takeaways from that virtual media session, which you can watch in its entirety below:
»When it comes to scheme, Morris said the Rams "are going to look like a 3-4 base team." Meaning, three down lineman and four linebackers. The key words, though, are "look like."
Former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley kept the 3-4 system the Rams ran under Wade Phillips and added his own wrinkles, as seen with the variety of subpackages Los Angeles used throughout the 2020 season. Morris' comments alluded to a similar approach and aligned with Rams general manager Les Snead's about wanting to keep the bones of Staley's system in place, with Morris adding his own twist to it.
»Capitalizing on the versatility of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey will be a priority. As long as they are in their prime and with the Rams, it's going to be asked of every Rams defensive coordinator: What are your plans for deploying Donald and Ramsey? Coming off of All-Pro seasons in which both were used in multiple ways, Morris wants to continue to make that happen.
Morris praised Ramsey for his leadership, versatility and toughness, nothing he is a player who could defend the slot or go outside and be a shutdown cornerback. Like Staley, Morris was already well-aware of Donald's talent and wants to be able to scheme as many one-on-ones for him as possible.
»Morris will give input on pending defensive free agents, but knows the final decision lies with decision makers like Snead and Rams head coach Sean McVay. The start of free agency is just under five weeks away (March 17), with key starters like safety John Johnson III, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and cornerback Troy Hill scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and cornerback Darious Williams a restricted free agent.
Morris recognizes the integral part they played in the Rams' top-ranked 2020 defense and would like to have them back, but also understands there are other factors at play that both Snead and McVay will have to consider, "whether it be money, whether it be the new cap, whatever their situations are in how you can bring people back."