LA Rams: It’s more than Terrell Lewis’ knee that is troubling

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Rams Training Camp Terrell Lewis
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

As the 2020 NFL Draft approached, the LA Rams felt that the team needed an outside linebacker who could develop into a true NFL starter. He needn’t hit the ground running but should be able to make a solid case to start by the end of the season. The Rams had lost both Clay Matthews and Dante Fowler Jr. in the offseason and had signed veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd to anchor one side of the defense.

It was Brandon Staley’s debut as defensive coordinator of the LA Rams. His defense, based upon the principles of mentor Vic Fangio, required strong and physical defensive linemen, versatile outside linebackers, and deceptive defensive backs.  When the LA Rams named Terrell Lewis from the University of Alabama, they were gambling on the belief that the potential upside of his skillsets and measurable far outweighed the potential downside of his medical history.  Right now, it appears that the Rams may have lost that gamble.

Staley was an outside linebacker’s coach. If ever there was a coach who could deliver on Lewis’ true potential, Staley was the guy. He coached Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears and  Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. He knew how to discern and coach greatness at the position. He also took a head coaching job with the LA Chargers.

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Terrell Lewis is entering his second year with the LA Rams. He still has tremendous potential upside. But the unfavorable medical history is becoming an unfavorable present-day reality. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 262-pounds. He is big enough to place his hand in the dirt and play defensive end, or stand up and play outside linebacker. That is tremendously versatile for a defensive edge rusher. That affords the defense to mask coverages, blitzes, and defensive fronts. Tremendous potential upside.