The expectations are through the roof for the St. Louis Rams defense and why not. They have returned all 11 starters from a solid defense a year ago and have added defensive tackle Nick Fairley to the mix.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams thinks the continuity of everyone coming back and him being in his second year as DC will help the Rams get off to a fast start on the defensive side of the ball.
"It’s light years on where we were last year because they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them," Williams said, via ESPN.com. "Just from a terminology, are we speaking the same language? Do we understand what we really want? It took a little bit of time for all of us to get acclimated last year. Now we’re hoping we can start off faster this year because there’s a knowledge, a base of information that we all know is the same.
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"The other thing is, and I’ve said this before to you guys, ‘When will it ever be more important to them than to us?’ The good teams that I’ve ever been on and some of the greatest defenses I’ve ever been a part of, it was much more important to them than it was to me. These guys have kind of taken ownership in that, so it’s been fun."
The Rams coaching staff went above and beyond this offseason to help prepare the players for the regular season. The staff put together video of each player individually so they have things to work on during training camp.
“There’s also more of a buy-in when a coach talks to you individually," Williams said. "It’s one thing for a coach to talk to all the defense. It’s one thing for a coach to talk to just to his position area. But the coaches went the extra mile, each one of the assistants that work for me, and went to an individual report on an individual player because not all players are the same."
The defense will likely be ahead of the offense once the season starts, but if Nick Foles and the offense can find their rhythm together, the Rams could be a dark horse team to make the playoffs in the NFC.