While this may not be as much of a surprise to some as to others, the fact that Taylor Rapp was named the team’s starting strong safety may be at least construed as a quick decision at a hotly contested role. After all, Rapp certainly did not prove to be the same player in 2020 that he appeared to be in 2019.
Los Angeles Rams
But that’s where this decision likely was based upon. The rookie Taylor Rapp certainly filled the shoes well enough of an injured John Johnson III in 2019. At that time, he even seemed to outhustle and outplay veteran defensive back, Eric Weddle. It was probably the emergence of Rapp that prompted Weddle’s decision to retire. It’s better to go out as a starter than to sit for a year on the bench and wait for the contract to expire.
But that all changed the following season when Rapp was forced to play the other safety position or at least attempt to. Left was right and right was wrong, or so it seemed when he took the field. He seemed at times to miscommunicate, to break on the wrong guy, to be a bit turned around in coverages. Jordan Fuller was the better starter. Terrell Burgess was the better player to take over when Fuller was not on the field.
But this time it is JJIII who is not on the field. And so, this falls right into Taylor Rapp’s wheelhouse. No, he is not John Johnson III, but he has nearly a full season’s experience at playing his position on the football field in real NFL games. Has he corrected everything that seemed to go wrong in 2020? There’s no telling just yet. We do know that he fits new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris’ scheme better. We can expect him to toggle between covering the back end of the defensive and lining up in the box. Everything else will need to wait for the season opener against the Chicago Bears.