LA Rams 5 regressing players who must show up big after bye week

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Samson Ebukam
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

OLB Ebukam

OLB Samson Ebukam has been that type of player who has done well on the depth chart on a rotational basis. When he finally had a chance to start for the team, the Rams changed their defensive scheme slightly. The result of those changes has seriously impacted Ebukam’s ability to play on the edge. In short, he is falling from 2019 totals of 4.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and 48 tackles to a 2020 projection of 1.0 sacks, two quarterback hits, and 26 tackles.

He rotated for 51 percent of the team’s defensive snaps a year ago but is now down to 40 percent of the defensive snaps this season. Ebukam was the guy who was projected to step up for the Rams this season. Now playing in his fourth NFL season, that seemed to be an easy progression. Funny how that obvious path on paper seems to be so difficult to find on the football field.

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Future considerations

Ebukam is on the last year of his rookie contract, and that is generally when players put up their best performance. So far, this has been without a doubt Ebukam’s worst season. He has looked confused, missed tackles, and less like the player who showed so much promise in the NFL. Ebukam is an edge rusher who is in the final season of his rookie contract. While there are sound reasons that he will play next season, his role depends a great deal upon these next eight games.

He is in luck. Teams in the second half of the season have poor offensive lines. The Cardinals, Jets, and Seahawks are all working with less than they hope for in the trenches. So Ebukam can certainly salvage the season and garner some interest from the Rams or another team to play a part in defense next year. He needs to generate more pressure, certainly something that seems possible after the Rams line up A’Shawn Robinson at nose tackle.