Will LA Rams reunite with key players in time for NFC Championship Game?
When the LA Rams took the football field to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NBC broadcast booth, the tandem of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, announced that the Buccaneers defense was at full strength. The 11 players intended to start for the team at the beginning of the 2021 NFL season were all healthy, and all playing.
But what of the LA Rams?
Well, that was not covered as much, now was it? This was a team whose defense was short of their starting inside linebacker (Ernest Jones), both starting safeties (Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp), nose tackle (Sebastian Joseph Day), rotational defensive back (Robert Rochell), rotational running back (Darrell Henderson Jr.), TE2 (Johnny Mundt), starting left tackle (Andrew Whitworth), starting wide receiver (Robert Woods), and a handful of other players injured who remain unavailable to the team.
The Rams roster has been a patchwork quilt
The LA Rams are heading to the NFC Championship Game, an honor bestowed upon two NFC teams each season. But this year, the LA Rams did not razzle-dazzle their way there. This has not been a season of gadget plays, but rather has been a series of ever more difficult gut-checks. It was never an easy task, but this year the fates have deemed that this team must show a little bit extra along the way.
Most teams use five offensive linemen in the course of a season. Perhaps six if one falls to injury. The LA Rams have used nine offensive linemen in a starting role so far in the 2021 NFL season, and now into the post-season.
The Rams offense has made use of as many as 10 wide receivers, four tight ends, and five running backs as well. This team has been banged up, COVID quarantined, written off, and yet they keep coming back. They have been described as ‘soft’, and yet the team has won 14 of 19 contests, and are just two games away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.