I – Safety
While I continue to see weaknesses in starting safety Taylor Rapp’s play, clearly the coaching staff has not been witnessing the same shortcomings in his performance. But what about the NFL Playoffs last year? With both Rapp and Fuller out, the Rams enlisted the aide of two-year retiree Eric Weddle and lined him up alongside backup safety Nick Scott. The result? The best secondary four-game performance over the long season.
While we know that Weddle returned to the comfort of retirement, what about the other safety position? Fuller will return and take over at Weddle’s spot, and without the pressure of serving as defensive captain, I expect that Fuller’s performance will be his best ever.
Taylor Rapp on the other hand, is in the last year of his contract, is more hard-hitter than pass coverage, and is coming off a serious concussion that benched him for a month last year.
Complicating the matter even further, the LA Rams have both Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones covering the middle of the defense, a spot that DC Raheem Morris loved to place Rapp to help cover passes over the middle as well as add run support.
Even more curious? In the 2022 NFL Draft, the LA Rams added both UCLA S Quentin Lake and Kansas St S Russ Yeast:
Pick 211: SS Quentin Lake
Pick 253: S Russ Yeast
Both Lake and Yeast were lauded for their pass coverage skills in their college play. If the LA Rams were concerned about filling the void created by Taylor Rapp, the team should have prioritized run support, right?
It seems that Taylor Rapp’s optimal role is coming in with sub-packages to add an additional defensive back. We’ll see how it all plays out, but after witnessing Nick Scott’s play last year, I really cannot see how he stays off the football field. And if so, that opens up a spot for either Quentin Lake or Russ Yeast.
After all, training camp is all about competition, right?