The Rams Defensive Line

The Rams defensive line has struggled so far in 2009, there is no doubt about it.  They have 1 sack through 2 games and have given up 4.4 yard per carry for 292 yards on the ground in 2009.

So, what is going on with these guys?

Let’s take a look, player by player for an early progress report after the jump.

I’m officially worried about Chris Long. He’s disciplined and smart and always in the right place at the right time for a screen or a run play.  Spagnuolo uses him to rush the passer out of the DT position and dropping back in coverage, but he hasn’t had the impact so far in 2009 that you would expect from his lofty draft position in 2008.  I certainly hold Long to a higher standard than the rest of the defensive line.

Leonard Little was a beast in training camp and the limited time in the preseason, but it is obvious he has lost a step and his speed rush was his greatest weapon.  Just like Long, Leonard Little has been put in coverage in zone blitzes as well, and looks as lost as he was when he came into the league as a linebacker.

DTs Gary Gibson and LaJuan Ramsey were the Rams best defensive linemen in the Washington Redskins.  Gibson beat out a hobbled Adam Carriker in training camp and he was signed as an under the radar free agent before the 2009 season.  LaJuan Ramsey was picked up on waivers after the first game of the year.  Ramsey so far looks to be a good pickup.

Clifton Ryan has been quiet but solid and Hollis Thomas has been in the game only sparingly and hasn’t made a impact consistent with his size.

James Hall was the Rams best defender in 2008 as he was used perfectly in a part-time role.  He was credited with the Rams first sack of the season on Jason Campbell at the 1 yard line.  He will continue to be solid in a rotation role.

DT Darell Scott and DE Victor Adeyanju were both inactive for Sunday’s game, which is suprising considering the hype around Scott after the draft and Adeyanju’s ability to stop the run in the previous 2 seasons.  The Rams could have used any run-stuffing ability so far in 2009.  Adeyanju has been surprised both weeks that he was put on the inactive list.


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