The LA Rams lost both Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp in the Week 18 game with the San Francisco 49ers. Fuller to a season-ending ankle injury caused by 49ers center Alex Mack, while Rapp entered the NFL concussion protocol, a protocol that remains to this day. To prepare for the worst, the Rams added two players who know a thing or two about playing safety for the LA Rams: Eric Weddle and Blake Countess. In the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs, we will find out how much either player remembers about the role.
It’s an odd strategy if the LA Rams do not expect to win this one. Weddle was certainly strong enough in his final NFL season to compete another year or two. But the roster was shaping up to start John Johnson III and Taylor Rapp, and Weddle simply had no interest in practicing without the likelihood of starting. Faced with that scenario, the 13-year NFL veteran decided to retire.
Now, he’s back. He played for the LA Rams in 2019.
The career path of Blake Countess is not nearly as long or as heralded. He carried over from his 2016 rookie season with the Rams to play two more years with the team, including the Super Bowl team that lost to the New England Patriots. He has played for the New York Jets in 2019, and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020. Countess has playoff experience with the LA Rams, primarily in special teams.
So now the question is, can they help the Rams?
It depends on how much the Rams ask of them and in which role? Clearly, the depth of the Rams’ deep defenders is all shot to hell in a handbasket right now, losing both Fuller and Rapp simultaneously. The Rams need players who can hold their own on a rotational basis, and I believe that Weddle can do that. It also allows the Rams to reinforce their special teams’ coverage unit.
The good news is that if the Rams advance, the team will likely benefit from the return of Taylor Rapp. There is even hope that Robert Rochell and Sebastian Joseph Day will near a return to the team. If only the LA Rams can get just enough out of Weddle and Countess. Or was this a scarecrow tactic? Have the LA Rams baited the Cardinals to pass the football despite the fact that their own star wide receiver, De’Andre Hopkins, will not play?
With Hopkins playing, the Cardinals have been 8-2. Without him this season? They are 3-4. Much is being said about the return of defensive lineman J.J Watt, and his ability to turn around the franchise’s recent struggles. Let’s be honest, the bigger impact, the greater loss, to the Cardinals occurred when Hopkins stopped suiting up. Hopkins is not suiting up for Wildcard Weekend, but the LA Rams may have baited the Cardinals offense into going full aerial assault without him.
Stay tuned folks…