No. 2: Running Back Matt Breida
Want to know one of the Rams’ subtle weaknesses? It’s against the run.
The Rams defense is solid enough, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is one of the most experienced defensive play callers in the NFL today. Despite that, Los Angeles’ defense is primarily built to stop the pass, which would explain some of the league’s better interior pass-rushers (Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh) being on the roster.
It’s not a bad approach in today’s pass-happy NFL, and the Rams still have the league’s seventh-best scoring defense.
Yet this unit is also allowing opponents to rush for an average of 4.8 yards per carry — 28th in the NFL.
Last week, C.J. Beathard showed teams need to respect his deep-passing abilities, connecting on two deep touchdowns to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. With Goodwin healthy and on the field, the Rams defense can’t cheat towards the box.
In turn, this means running back Matt Breida should be slated to have a nice game for himself.
Breida is averaging a league-high 6.8 yards per rush, and his ability to bump outside and get away from the Rams’ well-known interior defenders should be a crucial X-factor for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive game plan.
Plus, an effective ground game would help keep L.A.’s more-than-potent offensive attack off the field as much as possible.