LA Rams LB combo of Ernest Jones/Christian Rozeboom feels right
By Bret Stuter
Yes the LA Rams want to find the right combination of inside linebackers to excel on this roster. Unfortunately, they have a healthy number of combinations to sort through, and each combination offers something a little bit different to the defense. The problem is that the combinations that offer the team the most experience for 2021 also hold the greatest chance of not being with the team in 2022.
So there is that sense of trying to walk a tight rope right now. The coaching staff needs to place two linebackers onto the field and see which combination may work out for the best. Due to Travin Howard’s injury last season, the Rams have Micah Kiser, Troy Reeder, and Kenny Young coming back after plenty of experience from 2020.
Next are Travin Howard and Derrick Moncrief. Howard has significant experience for the Rams in 2019, and Derrick Moncrief has substantial experience from his playing days for the Canadian Football League (CFL).
In the raw and untested category is rookie linebacker Ernest Jones and returning undrafted linebacker Christian Rozeboom. Well, previously untested.
In this training camp, it is very likely that they will all get a chance to compete with the first-string defense at some point. While it likely won’t happen, I would be thrilled if the LA Rams settle in on two inside linebackers who could make their debuts on an NFL defense – rookie Ernest Jones and second-year linebacker Christian Rozeboom. Why two young guys?
Los Angeles Rams
Well, I’m a bit pragmatic. The Rams are looking at expiring contracts for practically all other linebackers. So it would be a huge advantage if the two youngest and least experienced players earn the right to start in 2021. Okay, that’s the finance guy in me talking.
Now for the football guy. Rozeboom is a dynamic sideline to sideline guy who is as adept at pass coverage as run stopping. He Is a 6-foot-2 230-pound hole-plugger who showed flashes of potential despite having just a crash course version of training camp in 2020. This year, he has a chance to build on that solid first impression. He is a fast-moving hammer on defense.
Ernest Jones may be a rookie, but he has the football IQ of a cutting edge central-processing-unit (CPU). He is also 6-foot-2 and 230-pounds, and his forte is leading the defense from the moment he steps foot onto the football field. That’s significant because the Rams relied upon safety John Johnson III To dictate coverages. But he does more than call the shots, he dishes out the punishment as well. He is the anvil on defense.
Will the Rams see it my way? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Having two young players lined up side by side and learning together creates a long-lasting bond that gets stronger over time. Of course, the Rams want to win it all now. But sometimes, a team can do both. Pairing up Ernest Jones and Christian Rozeboom on this defense feels like one of those times, and feels right as a result.