LA Rams Justin Hollins is more dangerous than you might think
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams starting outside linebacker Justin Hollins may not get much press coverage, but that should not lead you to believe that he is simply a role player in this LA Rams defense. Quite the contrary. He is very likely far more dangerous than you might think. Best of all, everything should come together for him this season.
So why should anyone care about a young man who has played in 39 games, recorded 71 tackles, six quarterback sacks, and eight quarterback hits over the past three seasons? Well, your time is precious, so I’ll give you the abridged version.
It comes down to experience, maturity, and opportunity. In his first season, he was inexperienced for the Denver Broncos. He was a rotational player, who saw limited action as the team, and his positional coach, Brandon Staley, wanted to ease him into the NFL.
When Brandon Staley landed the defensive coordinator role with the LA Rams, he quickly brought in Justin Hollins. The Rams needed a bridge to cover both the outside linebacker and inside linebacker positions, and Hollins was a fit for both roles. Not only that, but much like veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, Hollins played for Staley and understood how Staley envisioned the role of outside linebacker.
Hollins never started in 2020, but he quickly proved to be very effective in the role. As a rotational player, he proved that he had the mindset to flourish in the role. In less than 350 defensive snaps, he racked up three quarterback sacks, 28 tackles, and five quarterback hits.
He was the best option for a starting role for the team the following season, and that was a huge opportunity to showcase his stuff. In week one, he put up two quarterback sacks and six tackles. But having won the starting role at outside linebacker, things took a rapid downturn. In his next two games, he was limited to two tackles in each game. Making matters worse, he suffered an injury that would sideline him for the next ten weeks.
When he returned, the Rams had traded for veteran Von Miller, and Hollins was reduced to a rotational role. But Von Miller is gone, and Hollins is healthy.
Hollins is ready for a big season because he was at the cusp of a great year when he fell to injury in 2021. Not only did he get healthy, but he spent half the season learning from veteran Von Miller.
Do the LA Rams need more pass rush? The coaches and front office do not seem to think so. That means that they are very confident in the ability of Justin Hollins to handle the role this season.