The safety position has been a problem for the Rams over the past several seasons. Quintin Mikell and O.J. Atogwe weren’t bad, but other than those two players the others have been terrible including Craig Dahl. Snead and Fisher weren’t huge fans of Kenny Vacarro and like Austin and Ogletree a little better. The Rams were given an honorable mention in worst safety group in the league my NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, but is it true?
If it’s one player the Rams will miss the most this season, it very well could be Quintin Mikell; not Steven Jackson. The Rams could resign Mikell, but with the small amount of cap space that they have left it is highly unlikely that they will have room. Darian Stewart and T.J. McDonald will be forced to take over and will be expected to excel in their roles.
Darian Stewart has limited NFL experience in his 4 year career. Last season Stewart had 10 combined tackles and no interceptions or forced fumbles, and has 111 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and only 1 interception in his entire career. T.J. McDonald had 109 tackles, no forced fumbles, and only two interceptions last season at USC. The Rams had troubles with turnovers last season, if these two players cant figure out how to turn over the football, the Rams could be in for a long season. That’s one thing the Rams might miss the most with Mikell. Mikell didn’t intercept the ball often, only having two INT’s in his short tenure in Saint Louis, but he forced nine fumbles and recovered another one.
T.J. McDonald was one of the hardest hitting safeties in the past draft, but it takes more than just being able to hit hard to be a safety, especially in today’s game. Don’t be surprised to see McDonald get flagged more than a couple times for hitting a “defenseless” receiver. McDonald isn’t great in coverage and is seen as a pure in the box safety. He obviously brings a physical presence to the defense and leadership, but he could falter in coverage. The Rams may just have another Craig Dahl on their hands.
Gregg Rosenthal may have a point, but he forgets that Jeff Fisher is the head coach. Fisher and Snead wouldn’t have drafted guys or let guys go if they weren’t confident that they didn’t player that could step up and complete the job. The Rams still have a hole at safety, but the two that they have on the field will be ready to go when the season starts and I will guarantee that they wont let down the defense.