Who will defend the LA Rams flank in Week 4?

Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams made it official, placing three-game starting outside linebacker Justin Hollins on Injured Reserve for what appears to be the next 10 weeks or so. Of course, that creates a void, a basic question of who will be called upon to step up? After all, the LA Rams depend heavily upon their outside linebackers to get pressure on the quarterback.

Leonard Floyd and Justin Hollins have been rather productive, getting two quarterback sacks apiece. But entering Week 4, Floyd continues to nurse a sore ankle, and Hollins is recovering from surgery. So the LA Rams must get production from new sources.  When pressed on who comes to mind, LA Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris dropped some names:

So let’s examine how that will work, and who else may be involved?

The cavalry

Option I: Ogbonnia OkoronkwoThe LA Rams have designated both OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and OT Tremayne Anchrum to return from IR. The Rams now have 21 days to activate both players. That creates a bit of a snag considering the 53-man roster is at 53 players.  We talked about some options for the LA Rams to shuffle their roster, so there is no reason to repeat ourselves here. But we should point out that Obo has not played on this defense yet, so he will likely be limited a bit in this role.

Option II: Earnest Brown IV. The LA Rams are carrying rookie Earnest Brown IV on the practice squad. The problem is that the Rams need help at the outside linebacker spot, and Brown is a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end.  Now, the Rams could go off script and flex into a 4-3 hybrid front, but I don’t see that built around a rookie. Will the Rams elevate Brown for this one? That would certainly be a curious development. But even more intriguing is how will the Rams use him in Week 4 if they do?

Option III: Terrell Lewis.  The LA Rams need Terrell Lewis to hold it together long enough to play the lion’s share of defensive snaps in this one. When Hollins left the game in Week 3, it was Lewis who did step up and played 34 snaps. In that time, he recorded two tackles and did manage to get one hit on Tom Brady. Hopefully, there is more where that came from, as the Rams will need a large chunk of work to come from Lewis in this one. All signs are that he can deliver the needed 50+ snaps. It would be nice if he showed up in a big way in this one

The bullpen

BP Option I: Chris Garrett. Was it by accident that Raheem Morris neglected to mention rookie outside linebacker Chris Garrett when asked? Or was it some coachspeak attempt to mislead the Arizona Cardinals? While I would certainly agree that Garrett is not ready to start, he did get a taste of the defense in Week 3  with four defensive snaps. I can’t see that being any less this week when the need is that much greater?  I ballpark Garrett in the 10-20 defensive snaps for this one. More if he plays surprisingly well, less if the Rams get good performances from either Obo or Lewis. But Garrett will see some action this week. He could just be fast enough off the edge to terrorize Kyle Murray all afternoon.

BP Option II: Jamir Jones. Hurry up, get off the plane. Get a hotel room. Here’s your gear. Now, go out and show your stuff. That is the frenzied pace necessary to get newly acquired Jamir Jones onto the football field for the LA Rams in Week 4. But, then again, stranger things have happened. Ultimately, the Rams could be a bit desperate this week, and Jamir Jones would serve as that guy who could be drafted to play the position long enough to give others a chance to catch their breath.

Trending. Tread carefully. LA Rams face formidable Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. light

The Rams will need to cobble together whatever pass rush they can for the next two weeks. The Rams face Kyler Murray in Week 4, followed by Russell Wilson in Week 5. Logistically speaking, this week is the toughest, because the Rams have not had much time to work with either Obo or Jones. By Week 5, both players will have become familiar enough to be viable options for playing time. But for Week 4, the LA Rams defense will have to sort out the answer to the one nagging question on everyone’s mind.

Who will defend the LA Rams flank in Week 4?