PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a postseason defined by stellar quarterback play and late-game comebacks, the Los Angeles Rams iced Super Bowl LVI with their defense.
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald broke through the line of scrimmage, grabbed hold of Joe Burrow and tossed him to the turf as he threw a hurried incomplete pass to seal their title win.
In 2022, the Broncos will count on former Rams secondary coach/pass game coordinator Ejiro Evero to help bring their defense to a championship level. For as important as the Broncos' additions of Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett were to the team's chances, Denver's new defensive coordinator will also play a large role in determining the outcome of the season.
At the NFL's Annual Meeting, Rams head coach Sean McVay said he believes Ejiro will thrive in his new role.
"He's got a great steadiness about him," McVay said. "He's so smart, he's so self-assured, but he's a great collaborator. I think one of the things I really enjoyed watching with [Rams defensive coordinator] Raheem [Morris] and 'E' was their ability to work in coordination, figure out the best ways for our defense to be able to operate. He's got such a clear vision of what he wants it to look like. He's been around great coaches that he's been able to learn from and I'm really fired up for 'E' and I know he's going to do a great job. He's been somebody that I've worked with for such a long period of time, and you just watch the growth that he's had as a coach. He'll do a great job connecting and really help make guys better players. He'll be able to adjust and adapt accordingly — he'll do a great job for the Broncos."
The Broncos also hired Special Teams Coordinator Dwayne Stukes and Defensive Line Coach Marcus Dixon from the Rams, and McVay spoke highly of all three men.
"You guys take three of our best coaches," McVay said. "Dwayne Stukes, what a great leader, what a great command he has. Another guy that does a great job being able to connect with the players. And Marcus Dixon, what a special story he has. Understanding guys that can really stay resilient, overcome adversity. He's such a great and special human being. He is also a guy that I think he's going to earn the credibility with his players because he played the game, he understands it. He did such a good great job learning from one of the best to do it in [Rams defensive line coach/run game coordinator] Eric Henderson. That's three special coaches. We're going to miss those guys and love them. Happy for the opportunity in Denver. Nate [Hackett]'s going to do an awesome job too."
As the Broncos look to match the Rams' success, they'll do so with several of their former coaches on their staff.
• San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke highly of defensive linemen D.J. Jones and cornerback K'Waun Williams, who both signed with Denver this offseason.
"Good football players, two really good guys, two guys I hate to lose, but very happy for them," Shanahan said. "Those are as two good of guys that we've had in our building and as consistent of football players as we've had. They got two good ones."
• Packers head coach Matt LaFleur spoke Tuesday about Hackett's evolution as an offensive mind during the last three seasons in Green Bay.
"He was pretty established when he came to us," LaFleur said. "Shoot, he's been calling plays longer in the league than I have. It was great to have a guy that had done it before. We were constantly bouncing ideas off each other. It really, when we came together, it wasn't about my offense or his offense. It was about, 'How do we make this the Green Bay Packer offense?' That takes obviously the talent of the players that you have, certainly some of the things that [Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] likes to do was a big part of that. It was a lot of fun working with him for three years. He did such an outstanding job with helping to keep me organized. We're certainly going to miss him. He's a tough guy to replace."