LA Rams: Unpacking what we learned via joint practice with Cowboys

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /


The LA Rams may have the reputation for the best defense in the NFL from a season ago, but that carry-over won’t matter because there are a lot of new faces on the team this year. One of the new areas that will take a lot of heat in the season is the Rams’ third cornerback. While some may not have appreciated Troy Hill, he certainly was a very active member of the strong pass coverage.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

Right now, that will likely fall upon David Long Jr., and he will certainly get tested a lot. Long seemed to start off slowly, but he warmed up quickly against the Cowboys’ best receivers. Long is clearly a front-runner for the third cornerback spot. But Kareem Orr was making some great plays too. Keep in mind that Robert Rochell and Bobby Brown III were not participating in the joint practice, and they both can change the dynamics. Donte Deayon made some nice plays too. Is this his year to get a roster spot?

Greg Gaines, folks, is a beast, and he is going to create problems for offensive lines this year. He seems like an immovable object, and that is huge for this defensive front. Of course, much was said by the Cowboys coverage about a fracas that developed between Aaron Donald and fighting-for-a-job offensive lineman Conner Williams. Donald didn’t like Williams face masking, and that led to the scuffle. Of course, Williams didn’t like being pushed repeatedly 5-6 yards into the backfield on each play, either.

It’s pretty clear that Justin Hollins has the pole position to start at the outside linebacker position. But in one-on-ones, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo made some impressive rush moves. I suspect that whoever is named the starter opposite veteran Leonard Floyd, the rotation will be very rapid and will involve a number of players.

The inside linebacker position appeared to be very strong indeed. Kenny Young delivered a blow that was heard everywhere. Troy Reeder and Micah Kiser both had tackles for losses.  Jake Gervase worked with inside linebackers, a new twist. With strong showings by the Rams returning veterans, the inside linebacker competition is thrown for a loop one more time.