Sebastian Joseph-Day has become an outstanding run defender for the Los Angeles Rams since he was elevated to a starter role in 2019, consistently clogging up running lanes in the middle of the defensive line. His job as a nose tackle is just that – to stop the run, primarily on first and second down.
But in order for him to turn into one of the best interior defenders, he’ll need to elevate his game as a pass rusher. He’s well aware of that and worked hard this offseason to improve his pass-rush ability.
“It’s my pass rush. That was my biggest thing because I know my role my first two years starting, where it was first and second down, stopping the run,” he said on Monday. “That was a big thing for me and a big thing when I talked to Coach Henny was, I think he really wanted me to hone in on pass-rush ability. Working on moves and working an edge and seeing things quicker. So, a lot of my offseason was spent on that.”
Joseph-Day obviously works on pass rushing during practice when the Rams are in OTAs, minicamp and training camp, but he puts in a ton of work on his own with defensive line specialist Eddie McGilvra in Thousand Oaks. McGilvra trains defensive linemen across the league, including a bunch of Rams players.
Improving agility, quickness and footwork is a focus of his training plan, which should help Joseph-Day as a pass rusher this season and beyond.
“I was working with Eddie a lot, Joseph-Day said. “I was working with him from February to now. He helped a lot. A lot of stuff that I struggled with, he watched the tape of myself, things I wanted to work on, I told him, and we worked at it one day at a time. Kept working on it and worked on counters, worked on strengths, weaknesses. That’s another thing I feel like with pass rush. I was saying earlier, I feel like I had this conversation before, but with pass rush, everyone pass rushes differently. It’s just like everyone’s different, everyone’s body is different. You have to kind of find what suits you. What’s your foundation? What’s your go-to? Then some counters off of it. Your strengths, kind of like that.”
Joseph-Day has three career sacks in two seasons as a starter, but if he can wrap up the quarterback four or five times this season, it will go a long way toward helping alleviate pressure from Aaron Donald and lifting the overall play of the defense.
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