St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn, the 14th pick in the 2011 NFL draft, is developing into a force.
He finished with 10.5 sacks last season to help the Rams tie for the league lead with 52 sacks. Quinn turned in a monster game against the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener, finishing with three sacks, three hits and two forced fumbles.
“Robert played very well for us last year,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “As a rusher, he was outstanding. As a run defender, he’s really improved. He’s a complete end for us.”
Quinn and Chris Long, who had 11.5 sacks last season, give the Rams a bookend set of defensive ends.
In some passing situations, they will play four defensive ends together by adding William Hayes and Eugene Sims with Quinn and Long.
“On occasion, it allows us to get good pressure,” Fisher said. “They work well together. They understand (stunts). They understand protections, and they do a good job of getting on the edge. It’s a situation where it creates more work, more study time and more preparation for offensive linemen.”
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who was sacked three times Week 1 at New Orleans, has been impressed by the group.
“It’s a good NASCAR package when they put four really good pass rushers in the game,” Ryan said. “They do a great job of rushing the passer individually, but also working off each other in doing some of the (stunts) that they do. We’ve got to be on point. We have to be rock solid up front. I think our guys are up to the challenge.”
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also is impressed with Quinn and his comrades.
“That’s tough because they put four really good pass rushers out there,” Koetter said. “A lot of teams are going to that. St. Louis just happens to be a team that has four good pass-rushing ends. They are off to a fast start this year.”