The Los Angeles Rams have had one of the best offenses in the NFL over the last two seasons, and while their defense has been solid, it has been their Achilles heel at times.
This offseason the Rams sought to fix their defensive woes and were able to do that by signing two veteran players in Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. The pair bring a collective 22 seasons of experience and have played critical defensive roles for many of those years, being named to multiple Pro Bowls each.
Now in Los Angeles, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been pleased with the duos contributions to the team during offseason workouts and is excited for what they can bring to his defense, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com:
“Matthews and Weddle both give us a veteran influence coming in, and are both still really athletic and can play their position well, but it gives you a lot of experience,” Phillips said during Los Angeles’ minicamp. “Weddle especially, I think in the secondary gives you a lot of things that you can do as far as changes and working against our offense, which gives you a lot of problems.”
Weddle spent his first nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers before signing with the Baltimore Ravens. Over his career as a safety, he has amassed 29 interceptions, including four returned for touchdowns, eight forced fumbles, and 1,067 combined tackles.
Phillips praised Weddle in particular for his defensive IQ. He cited specific examples of when the veteran safety made adjustments to not only himself but other players during the middle of practice.
A deep field defensive presence like Weddle could help elevate the Rams to new heights. The team gave up the eighth-most passing touchdowns in 2018, despite having the third-most interceptions.
Matthews has been one of the NFL’s premier linebackers that can rush the passer throughout the course of his career and the Rams are hoping he still has a couple of good years left in him.
With both players on board, in addition to the likes of Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler Jr., Michael Brockers, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, John Johnson III and Cory Littleton, the Rams should be a force to be reckoned with.