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Staley, Rams Defense Won't Change For Washington's QB Switch

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins (58), left, and middle linebacker Micah Kiser (59), center, tackle New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during an NFL football game, in Inglewood, Calif. The New York Jets and Giants are both 0-4 for the first time since 1976, and victories might be tough to come by this season. That has left the fans of both teams frustrated, disgusted and already looking to next season just four games into this season. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File)

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins (58), left, and middle linebacker Micah Kiser (59), center, tackle New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during an NFL football game, in Inglewood, Calif. The New York Jets and Giants are both 0-4 for the first time since 1976, and victories might be tough to come by this season. That has left the fans of both teams frustrated, disgusted and already looking to next season just four games into this season. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File)

Washingtons change of starting quarterback will not result in major adjustments for the Los Angeles Rams defense, other than the film they have to study this week.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.: Washingtons change of starting quarterback will not result in major adjustments for the Los Angeles Rams defense, other than the film they have to study this week.

For a group that is still evolving under first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, it is a welcome development.

I think my comments from after the Dallas game would still prove true. Were encouraged but far from satisfied, Staley said Wednesday. I think weve shown a lot of good moments in all four of these games. Im excited about the the type of group that we have, the type of men that we have on our defense.

Much of that initial success has come from the ability to mix and match defensive personnel. The Rams (3-1) had nine different players make a tackle for loss or sack in the 17-9 win over the New York Giants, with reserves Morgan Fox, Obo Okoronkwo and Justin Hollins accounting for three of the defenses five takedowns of quarterback Daniel Jones.

Being able to substitute defenders is critical, Staley said, especially up front. The impact of that rotation becomes apparent in the fourth quarter, where five of the Rams 12 sacks this season have come.

We kind of look at the front as a basketball team, you know. The more rotations that you can have, its going to allow new guys to come in, Staley said. I think its stressful on the offensive line because youre getting guys that have different speed. You can get used to blocking the same guy the entire game. Sometimes when you have to block a different guy, that just changes the pace on an offensive lineman.

Much as Staley wants to make opposing offenses account for multiple challenges, he will be preparing for a quarterback that has yet to throw a pass this season after Washington coach Ron Rivera benched Dwayne Haskins on Wednesday. Kyle Allen will make his first start since following Rivera from Carolina to Washington as a free agent, which will have the Rams looking at the 12 starts he made for the Panthers last season.

Allen went 5-7 in those games, completing 62% of his passes for 3,322 yards and 17 touchdowns against 16 interceptions.

A lot of good tape on him, Rams coach Sean McVay said. He did a lot of good things, hes got some comfort and familiarity with (Washington offensive coordinator) Scott Turner and running the system that they want to be able to activate, so Kyle is a good football player. Well be ready and it doesnt change too much, except for youre going to go back and look at that inventory more than maybe you would have otherwise.

Staley arrived in Los Angeles wanting stability with the quarterback of his defense, which is why he made safety John Johnson III the primary play caller. Traditionally a responsibility given to a linebacker, Staley didnt know who would be on the field regularly because of inexperience and turnover at the position.

Instead, he turned to Johnson, knowing the Boston College product would always be on the field.

When you meet this guy, youve got all the qualities that you could ever want in a signal caller, Staley said. I know Ive been telling you guys, but I love talking to John Johnson on that headset. It gives me so much confidence to know that hes on the other end of that line. Hes so steady. Hes so calm. Hes such a competitor.

Johnson is the perfect person to relay not only the given call but the energy Staley delivers it with.

Sometimes, its translating that with the right spirit, with the right emotion, and being able to say things the right way and give that last extra reminder to the guys, and hes just been awesome, Staley said. And I could tell you that Im surprised and that would not be the truth because hes just the best and has given us a big lift in that role.

NOTES: McVay will decide later this week whether to activate rookie linebacker Terrell Lewis (knee) off the non-football injury list. Lewis, a third-round pick from Alabama, had exploratory surgery on his right knee last month. Offensive lineman Bobby Evans (shoulder) and linebackers Micah Kiser (groin) and Kenny Young (knee) did not practice because of injuries sustained against the Giants. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and defensive tackle Aaron Donald got Wednesdays practice off to rest.

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