As of now, LA Rams newly signed LB Justin Hollis will be active for game one. But will he show up?
The LA Rams will be a defense versed in plenty of smoke and mirrors this year. Watch for the Rams to do this? And the team will very likely show up and do the opposite. And so it begins already, as the Rams have a need at outside linebacker, where rookie edge-rusher Terrell Lewis is currently unable to suit up with a knee injury. And the Rams opted to go with just three inside linebackers on the 53-man roster, with only Micah Kiser, Kenny Young, and Troy Reeder.
So the Rams needed one player who could toggle to both the inside and outside of the defense of an NFL defense. He also needs to know how to execute Brandon Staley’s version of the 3-4. He needs to be able to defend the run, deflect a pass, rush a quarterback and set the edge. If the Rams could find such a player at an affordable price, this defense would be much more dangerous.
Ready aim fire!
The Rams found him. Now the question is, how soon will he see action. To be honest? I expect he’ll rotate into the Rams linebackers in game one. Will he be ready? Let’s go to the experts for that answer:
The Rams know that to stop the Cowboys, the defense needs to neutralize running back Ezekiel Elliott. Stopping Elliott is more than stopping his running game. He can be a dangerous receiver as well. So the Rams will need a run-stopper and a pass-stopper linebacker. Micah Kiser can stop the run. Now the LA Rams may be counting on Justin Hollins to stop the pass.
Knows Staley’s defense
How can he possibly get up to speed that quickly? Much like OLB Leonard Floyd, he knows Staley’s defense intimately. And as long as the Rams intend to keep his snap count limited to specific down and distance scenarios, he can be quite effective. And because he already knows Staley’s D, he can ad-lib when the offense throws a wrench into the works.
Thinking that the Rams cannot possibly place Hollins onto the field in game one is exactly why I think they will place him out there. The Rams defense is nothing if it is not predictable. The Rams need to set the stage for their mystery in game one, and putting Justin Hollins out there is an early way to do so. The Rams may not have improved their defense by signing Hollins. Or the team may have improved the defense significantly.
The only way to know is to find out on week one. So that is just what I believe the Rams intend to do.