Not many things have gone right for the St. Louis Rams defensively, but their fierce pass rush has been the lone exception. Many expected the Rams to have a stellar year getting after quarterbacks in 2013. Even though they have lived up to those expectations for the most part it’s gone mostly overlooked due to their overall defensive ineptitude. Defensive end Robert Quinn shouldn’t be brushed aside so casually, however, when it comes to picking out the most impressive players in the NFL this season.
The Rams’ 29 sacks thus far have them tied for third in the league at the season’s midway point, and the distribution has been very even amongst the crew of pass rushers. Defensive end Chris Long has 5.5, reserve defensive end William Hayes has three of his own, and defensive tackles Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford have 3.5 and three respectively. Despite this entire unit being relatively productive, Quinn has stood above the rest with 10 sacks on the year ranking fourth in the NFL.
Still just 23 years of age, Quinn is merely a baby by NFL standards. He is already in his third year in the league, however, and that experience is showing the variety of pass rush moves he has developed. To go along with the impressive sack total he also has four forced fumbles already with seven stuffs. Those numbers eclipse his output from a year ago by leaps and bounds, and the season is only halfway completed.
There’s no doubt the potential is off the charts for this young man, and that’s why the Rams gambled on him with the 14th overall selection back in 2011 when many teams were scared off by his medical report. A benign brain tumor caused a number of questions from potential teams picking in the top 10 that year, and despite having the ceiling of a No. 1 overall pick Quinn slid to St. Louis. Thankfully those medical issues have been put behind the 6-foot-4 264-pound quarterback terror during his career thus far.
After cracking the 10-sack plateau a year ago it seems highly possible that Quinn could raise the bar even higher this season. It’s convenient for him that a potential All-Pro season could coincide with the year where Quinn will be able to negotiate a new deal under the new CBA. Pass rushers are at a premium in the league today, and there’s no doubt Quinn will command top dollar given his massive potential and still very young age.
There hasn’t been much to be happy about as a fan of the Rams this season, but Quinn has certainly provided a welcomed caveat to that point. Hopefully his production continues to provide hope for a better tomorrow to a franchise that desperately needs it.