Did LA Rams ILB Troy Reeder play himself into a starting role for 2021?
The LA Rams certainly had a solid audition for 2021 inside linebacker starters simply from the way the 2020 NFL season played out for the defense. Before training camp even began, the team decided that the starters would be ILBs Micah Kiser and Travin Howard. When Howard fell to injury, the LA Rams promoted Kenny Young to the starting role. The team had one healthy linebacker left on the roster. That was Troy Reeder.
Reeder was the last off the bench, coming in as the next-man-up promotion for an injured starter Micah Kiser. And much like the last play picked in a playground baseball game, Reeder did not show much early. Well, let’s rephrase that. The Rams customized his linebacker role for the Washington game so that he was able to focus upon a limited set of options.
He blitzed frequently in that game and emerged with three quarterback sacks in addition to eight other tackles on the afternoon. He would go on to start in seven games for the Rams in 2020. The Rams were 4-3 in games when Reeder started.
His season was as up and down as the Rams record when he lined up. The New York Jets completely embarrassed him. He was out of position on a number of pass plays, aiding them to a 13-3 halftime lead, and ultimately to a 23-10 lead by the end of the third quarter.
One bad game. To some, the image of a bad game defines the player. It burns a permanent image into the memory that becomes the basis of their perception, and therefore, their reality. Some see the name Troy Reeder in a headline and simply think ‘He sucks!’ without reading anything that could force them to rethink their views. Nowadays, our perceptions are more important than our knowledge. But Reeder is still improving. Dare yourself to give him another chance.