LA Rams must resist myopia over personnel decisions

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams roster
(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Defense farm system

The Rams defense will experience highs and lows throughout the early part of the season. That is the normal cycle for young players, and the Rams defense is filled with them. The Rams have three first-time starters on defense with inside linebackers Kenny Young and Micah Kiser, plus safety Jordan Fuller.  That is over 25 percent of the defense. That’s a lot of youth.

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The team also has young Samson Ebukam promoted from a rotational to a starting role at the outside linebacker position.  Joining him in the rotation for defensive snaps are Jachai Polite, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Natrez Patrick, Justin Hollins, and soon to return rookie Terrell Lewis.  While young, they get more experienced with each game. But experience is not always good outcomes. There will be mistakes.

Commitment to developing players

The call to either bench or outright cut players is myopic. Unless the Rams are willing to commit to a new player from free agency, the team is limited to the current players on the roster. And unless the Rams see evidence in practice that a player is ready for a larger role on defense, the Rams are committed to their current players and current rotations.

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The commitment to young players comes with the commitment to develop them.  Any team that cuts players after they struggle in a game merely sends all of their stars to free agency or other teams. Each player has had that one “oops” play or that one game that they wish they could do-over. The quality of coaching uses those moments in a player’s career to train, coach, and develop them to improve. That can only happen if the player continues to play, to learn, to fail, to be coached up, and to go out and play again. Without that commitment, players just fall by the wayside.