Darian Stewart: St. Louis Rams Safety Is Poised for a Breakout Season in 2012
The 23-year-old emerged from obscurity in 2011 to record 84 tackles, notch three sacks, force a pair of fumbles and snatch an interception. In a secondary torn apart by injuries, Stewart still managed to be a playmaker.
He was a useful weapon in ex-head coach Steve Spagnuolo's fire-zone pressure packages. Those blitz skills should appeal to Spagnuolo's successor Jeff Fisher and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis.
Both men have strong roots in the blitz-happy 46 defense. They should have no problem using Stewart as a key part of attack-minded eight-man fronts.
Aside from applying pressure, where Stewart might make the most difference this season is in run support. The 5'11", 214-pounder packs a real punch as a force player.
Stewart is always eager to step up and deliver a big hit and has already displayed the knack for quickly diagnosing plays. He has impressive closing speed from deep zones, allowing him to swarm to the ball-carrier before running plays have a chance to cause significant damage.
The Rams were ranked second to last against the run in 2011, surrendering a whopping 152.1 yards per game. Having a safety like Stewart with the instincts of a linebacker and the tackling force of a defensive tackle gives the Rams a great chance to improve those woeful numbers.
If free-agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan and rookies Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson can handle man-coverage responsibilities, Stewart will have more license to play closer to the line. That will take full advantage of his downhill, attacking instincts.
A lot of the attention regarding the Rams' new-look secondary will focus on Jenkins and Johnson. However, it is Stewart who can play the most significant role. The active, all-action safety is primed to thrive in Fisher's new schemes.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?