4 Rams who did not end 2020 season on a good note
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams have given inside linebacker Kenny Young plenty of opportunities to solidify a starting role in the middle of the defense this year. With the exception of a flash of dominance against the New England Patriots, he has remained virtually invisible all season. And that’s very disappointing in a season where he was the lone starting inside linebacker who played in all 16 games for the Rams.
Young showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. So much so that when the Rams traded ill-suited starting cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens, they settled for a fifth-round draft pick and Kenny Young. At the time, the Rams knew that former starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton would sign a huge contract to play elsewhere. It was a good plan with solid forethought.
A funny thing happened…
When the Rams sorted through inside linebackers for the 2020 NFL season, it was Micah Kiser and Travin Howard who stood out in training camp. That was a bit disappointing, particularly after Young showed such promise with the Ravens. In fact, Young was the primary backup in Baltimore to take the start whenever they had an injured starter. He seemed to flourish in that Raven defense, showing good range, solid pop when tackling, and he even shed blockers well.
That is not who showed up for the Rams defense this season. In fact, Young recorded three or fewer tackles in 10 games this year. That’s just not good production for a player who lines up at the heart of the defense. While he only missed 5.5 percent of his tackles, the horror is that suggests that he was out of position to make the play. He was no more promising in coverage, allowing 23 of 28 passes to find their mark. Pro Football Focus noticed, and graded Young with a 41.7 mark for the season, no better than 80th out of 90 possible linebackers.