Heading into their Week 2 match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, much of the focus for the Los Angeles Rams defense will be on second-year quarterback Jameis Winston.
The former Florida State product is one of the rising stars in the league at his position but the Rams have the potential to be a difficult challenge for him. Los Angeles got the better of Winston in their meeting last season hitting him 12 times despite throwing a career-high 363 passing yards.
“I got hit a lot. They have a great defense," Winston said. "And it was a fun game – people remember it as the ‘ketchup and mustard game,’ that’s why I remember it. It was a very fun game. The Rams just have an excellent defense.”
The Rams saw a huge improvement from an embarrassing loss in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers as the defense had consistent pressure on Russell Wilson throughout the game getting nine total hits on him including a pair of sacks and a forced fumble.
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter sees the challenges that lie ahead facing Los Angeles' defense under Gregg Williams' aggressive game plan that includes many blitz packages and varying formation at the line of scrimmage to keep opponents unbalanced.
“I did coach with Gregg in Jacksonville, and the challenge is that Gregg always got plenty up his sleeve," Koetter said. "He’s always multiple, he’s always going to give the quarterback a lot of looks, he’s willing to bring pressure from any place on the field, he’s willing to bring unusual pressures. Everywhere he’s been, his guys on that defensive unit play extremely hard for him. They’re well coached across the board, and anytime you’re going up against a Gregg Williams defense, you know you’re going to have your hands full all day.”
However, the Rams will have their hands full trying to contain Winston and the Buccaneers' offense that has the potential to put up points in a hurry. Albeit they will be without the services of Doug Martin, who had a rebirth campaign in 2015 finishing second in the league with 1,402 rushing yards, Tampa Bay has a more than capable quarterback under center.
“We’re just out there competing. I don’t really try to shy away from guys, I just try to do my best to challenge them and compete against them," Winston. "It’s the game we play and that’s our offense. Our offense is basically us against them. There’s no reason to be scared, I just have to be more smart.”