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The Rams Defense Has L.A. on the Cusp of Another Deep Playoff Run

The Los Angeles Rams defense is one of the best in the NFL. Perhaps that’s not too surprising, given it touts a pair of All-Pros in defensive tackle Aaron Donald (a two-time Defensive Player of the Year) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. However, success wasn’t guaranteed—this offseason, the keys to the unit were handed to Brandon Staley, a young, relatively unknown former linebackers coach taking over for well-liked, veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Turns out the 38-year-old Staley is more than qualified—the Rams defense finished fourth in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA ratings and dominated the Russell Wilson–led Seahawks in the team’s 30-20 wild-card win. Heading into the Rams’ divisional-round matchup with the 1-seed Packers, the Rams are once again on the cusp of a deep playoff run—but this time, it’s not thanks to an unstoppable offense, but an immovable defense. Staley deserves credit for maximizing a defensive unit boasting immense stars while also elevating the abilities of lesser-known players who’ve developed into commodities.

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