Jets elevate DL Tanzel Smart to face his former team, the LA Rams

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

In LA Rams News:  Jets elevate former Rams defensive lineman Smart from their practice squad for Sunday’s match-up

The LA Rams had to make some difficult choices in 2020 leading to this season. While the team re-signed as many offensive players as possible, the strategy for the defense was a bit different. You see, the team hired a new defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley, and he had a new and unique philosophy about how to design his version of the 3-4 defense.

The Rams needed strong defensive linemen, strong and fast edge rushers, jack-of-all-trades at interior linebackers, and versatile defensive backs to make this defense work. One player who the Rams wanted to re-sign for the 2020 NFL season was the promising young defensive end, Morgan Fox.  To make room for Fox on the roster, the team needed to release a player. That resulted in the Rams’ decision to release defensive lineman Tanzel Smart.

Smart stampedes to Buffalo, then Jets to NY

That was not an easy decision for the LA Rams but happens far too often in the NFL as teams reconfigure their roster to match team needs to the 53-man roster. Since the Rams released Smart early in the process, he had plenty of time to sign up with a new team.

Smart originally landed with the Buffalo Bills, but they waived him to get down to their own 53-man roster. He slid onto the Cleveland Browns practice squad temporarily before finally landing on the New York Jets practice squad. He was elevated once to face the New England Patriots. The Jets played well in that one, losing by a score of 30-27. Smart played just eight defensive snaps but recorded two tackles in that game. Now, he will face his former team.

That will be an interesting subplot for this game.

Smart to get second shot, at Rams

Defensive lineman Tanzel Smart was drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the LA Rams with the 189th pick.  He was most heavily used in his rookie season, where he played on 306 defensive snaps. He played all 16 games, and started four, generating 14 tackles and one quarterback pressure.

But Smart was seldom used in 2018. He saw action in 13 games in 2019, but again recorded just seven tackles. For just eight snaps with the Jets’ defense, he is much more productive now. Hopefully, that will not be the case in this one, as he will face the Rams. The Jets announced that they had elevated Smart, LB Sharif Finch, and LB Noah Dawkins for this one.

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I hope Tanzel Smart all the luck in the world. Just not when he faces the LA Rams.