LA Rams DT Bobby Brown III 6-game suspension has a silver lining?

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are going to have to face the start of the 2022 NFL season without the help of young defensive tackle Bobby Brown III. Are you shocked? Surprised? Angry? Disappointed? It’s a tough gig to be in the NFL, not only from the workout, nutrition, hydration, sleep, and mental health aspects but there are a host of medications that, for one reason or another, are viewed as performance-enhancing substances.

And Bobby Brown has been determined to have violated the NFL’s policy about such substances. And so, it’s a six-week suspension without pay for the young defensive lineman.

But didn’t I recently name Bobby Brown as one of four LA Rams players who will make noise this season? I did indeed, and I’m sticking to that prediction.

"This year, he has less urgency to hit a timetable, but more urgency to hit his developmental marks. I expect him to hit them all, and assume a solid backup DL role similar to that filled by Greg Gaines in the past."

So how will that all work? Well, it could have a few silver linings in that stormcloud. How so? Well, this is actually not being overly optimistic. Just a tad more practical.  After all, the defensive line is one of the strongest units of the team heading into 2022. But this could yield some better-than-expected benefits.  Huh?

Three unexpected benefits to Bobby Brown III’s suspension

The LA Rams have faced adversity throughout the 2021 NFL season, and it already seems as though 2022 will offer no respite from another round of unprecedented misfortune once more. The Rams have already had to face the untimely foot injury of RB Kyrem Williams, and now a six-game suspension of DT Bobby Brown III.  And training camp has not even begun yet.

Still, I wouldn’t break out the worry beads just yet. After all, the LA Rams have not begun their annual training camp just yet. So how can I have any cheerfulness in the face of such disappointing news? I see some silver linings, and you can too:

III – Rams will have a chance to vet young defensive lineman

LA Rams Running game coordinator and DL Coach Eric Henderson does not rock his life away and cheer on All-Pro Defensive Lineman Aaron Donald. Quite the opposite, in fact. He is one of the most valuable positional coaches in the NFL because he grows his own stars. He is not about demanding first-round talent. Instead, he sets a standard of qualities and intangible that he would like to see in his players, and lets the front office add them during and after the NFL Draft.

That often means an ample supply of young defensive linemen who are eager to learn and happy to put in the work. It will also allow the Rams to carry a temporary 53rd player until Brown is restored to the active roster, giving a solid six weeks for someone who may not have made the roster to have time to showcase reasons to remain with the team.

II – Rams starting three behemoths unaffected

The LA Rams will start Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, and A’Shawn Robinson this year. While that may not seem to be overly related to the news of Brown’s suspension, it serves as a reminder that the team’s starting corps is unaffected.

That will allow the team to wiggle-waggle the number of defensive snaps for rotational defensive linemen. We’ve talked about the chances for Jonah Williams to have a huge surge this season in production.  I’ve also mentioned Marquise Copeland and Michael Hoecht as two defensive linemen who are eager to earn larger roles this year. And perhaps one other . . . ? Now, no spoilers from me, just yet.

I – Bobby Brown will play the equivalent of an 11-game season

Because the LA Rams will have their BYE Week in week 7, Bobby Brown will return to the LA Rams in time to practice over the BYE and prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers on Week 8, on Sunday, October 30, at 1:25 pm PT in SoFi Stadium.

From that point on, it’s an 11-game gauntlet for the team until the NFL Playoffs. If the Rams fail to lock in the NFC Top-seed, that will mean a season of six games, a BYE week, and then 14 games, a media circus week, and then if they are able to win the NFC Championship game, competing in Super Bowl LVII.

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