LA Rams HC McVay ‘would be surprised’ if Kiser plays against 49ers

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

LA Rams injury update: Shallow ILB depth forces the LA Rams to grind starter ILB Kiser to ‘banged up’ status once more

The LA Rams just got thinner at the very thin inside linebacker position. While that is going to be a nagging problem for the rest of the season, it’s one we have pointed out often. Whether healthy or not, the LA Rams have placed inside linebacker Micah Kiser into an impossible no-win situation this year.  When he plays, he plays 100 percent of the defensive snaps.

But when he plays 100 percent of the snaps in the middle of the Rams 3-4 defense, he gets banged around a lot. And so far, that’s the course this year. He was injured in week four against the New York Giants, missed the following week against the Washington Football team, then returned to face the San Francisco 49ers.

Back for more punishment

Thanks to a well-timed bye week, the Rams got four more full-game starts out of Kiser until facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that game, he had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter. At the moment Kiser left the game, he had played 558 defensive snaps. The total number of defensive snaps so far this season is 648. No other player in the front seven has played as many snaps, even with Kiser missing a full game and segments of two other contests.

What is Kiser’s current status? Oh boy, here we go. The report on Micah Kiser is an injured knee and that he ‘is banged up right now’. Those words are a flag, as it’s what has been used before.

So what does that mean? Well, without a solid diagnosis, it could mean anything.

Reeder or Young?

Where does that leave the Rams defense this week? During his last absence, the LA Rams turned to ILB Troy Reeder and ended up getting three sacks out of the seldom-used linebacker. He does not possess Kiser’s cover skills, but in his brief work against Washington, he proved to be a surer tackler.

Reeder succeeded because he was able to generate surprise at the line of scrimmage. That may have been a one-time event.

Practice squad patch?

The Rams cannot possibly audition, sign, and clear COVID-19 protocol testing and wait periods in time for this week. That means that the team can elevate Derrick Moncrief and or Christian Rozeboom from their practice squad to help out. Keep in mind that Moncrief joined the active roster for the Miami Dolphins game. He was limited to action on special teams in that contest. He certainly could fill that role once more this weekend. At 6-2 and 220 pounds, he has plenty of bulk to rotate in. But he will likely be used on special teams once more.

To date, the Rams have not called up Rozeboom. He is an undrafted linebacker who showed some promise in training camp, at times seemingly leapfrogging LB Clay Johnston. Rozeboom may be raw, but he has some upside and could become another viable option.

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The Rams have three inside linebackers on the roster and play a 3-4 defense. The team continues to add edge rushers, signing both Justin Hollins and most recently Derick Rivers to the team. All the while, the middle of the defense is left unaddressed. And the worst part is, even if Kiser heals up once more, it will happen again. The Rams need another quality linebacker on the roster.