There may or may not be reasons for the LA Rams to put defensive back Terrell Burgess onto the field over Taylor Rapp in upcoming games, but the list of reasons to do so is getting longer with each game. After all, Rapp was fine when he had a secondary dedicated to defending the pass. That allowed him to play a role in jumping routes, sliding into the box, and playing a loosely defined role in the pass defense.
But now, the LA Rams pass defense needs all defensive backs to be able to break up the pass. Unfortunately, Taylor Rapp is not able to answer the call. It’s not so much a slam on Rapp as it is a simple statement that he is not cut out for the role that he is asked to fill on the defense.
In Week 5, Taylor Rapp recorded just one tackle, no pass defenses, and he was horrific in pass coverage all night long. Not just a bad play or two. He was a liability all night long.
Rapp rapped Darious Williams
But why I urge the Rams to start Terrell Burgess over Taylor Rapp is not just because Burgess is far better suited for this defense. It’s not because Burgess is far better in coverage. It boils down to the fact that Taylor Rapp put his knee into teammate Darious Williams’ helmet, knocking his own teammate out of the game.
And that is simply unacceptable. Was it a deliberate move? No. Was it preventable? Absolutely.
It was reckless, plain and simple. It was a mishap that was completely preventable. Had Taylor Rapp not launched himself full force into his teammate’s helmet? The play was already over, and Williams would have been playing for the rest of the game.
Rapp is not part of the solution yet
Now the question is: If Taylor Rapp was that reckless on a play that was completely whistled dead and over, how much discipline does he exhibit on pass plays where he needs to play his zone or stick with his receiver in press coverage? Answer: Not much. Rapp’s grade from Pro Football Focus so far before that Thursday Night Football game was 53.7. John Johnson III’s grade at the same position in 2020? 85.6 for 2020.
While it truly is not fair to place the entire blame on Taylor Rapp for this season’s defensive lapses, he is most assuredly not part of the solution. He was to fill a need to stop the run while offering enough pass defense to get by. So far? He has done neither.
But the foolish style of play that results in injuring a teammate needlessly should not be swept under the rug. It was a stupid play. Just plain dumb. And it’s the type of poor decision-making that the Rams should not and cannot tolerate this year.
Unfortunately, we do not have an update on Darious Wiliams’s health status yet. What originally appeared to be a concussion was later attributed to an ankle injury.
Even if Terrell Burgess is an inferior player, which I would argue he is not, Rapp needs to be placed into a more suitable rotational role. It’s bad enough that he is not exactly stopping the opposing offense. But when he is taking out his own teammates? He needs to be pulled off the football field. If not for his own good, for the sake of the other 10 guys out there.
Taylor Rapp took Darious Williams out of the game in Week 5. That should be enough reason to take Rapp out of the game for Week 6.