LA Rams secondary has been pounded by injuries already
By Bret Stuter
We know the LA Rams’ secondary started the season with a great deal of optimism and confidence. But after losing to the Buffalo Bills in the home opener by a score of 31-10, that optimism and confidence plummeted. It wasn’t as though the Rams’ defensive backs didn’t do their job, mind you. They held what could arguably be called the best offense in the NFL to 26-31 passes for 297 yards, three TDs, and two INTs outing. The problem was, the LA Rams offense was a shambles in the opener, scoring one touchdown and throwing three interceptions.
The Rams came back to win in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, but only by clinging to a precariously thin margin of victory. The starting defensive backs for that game were: Jalen Ramsey, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, and Troy Hill.
What that game set into motion was a series of defensive back injuries that tested the LA Rams depth chart across the secondary. Hill was injured early, forcing the Rams to play rookie Cobie Durant.
But Durant fell to injury as well. That strained an already thin secondary. But the LA Rams, as we’ve come to learn over the years, is perhaps the best NFL organization at reloading on the fly.
LA Rams depth chart pushed to the limits
So who is next up? The Rams had to turn to rookie Derion Kendrick and second-year defensive back Robert Rochell. But the team had also signed DB Shaun Jolly and promoted DB Grant Haley as well.
So what is the prognosis? The Rams faced their NFC West Division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, and were without both David Long Jr., Cobie Durant, and Jordan Fuller.
It looks like the LA Rams’ secondary is already to Tier 2 and 3 players. Against the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams started Jalen Ramsey, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, and Derion Kendrick. Kendrick would leave the game due to the NFL concussion protocol, and the Rams would finish the game with Robert Rochell. The team also played recently promoted DB Grant Haley as well. Even seldom-used DB Terrell Burgess enjoyed some playing time.
Rookie DB Derion Kendrick, much like rookie teammate Cobie Durant, came up with big plays in his debut.
So where does that leave the LA Rams depth chart now?
LA Rams secondary can still (pleasantly) surprise you
The LA Rams still are looking at Jalen Ramsey, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp for Week 4. Right now, their fourth starter is either Derion Kendrick if he clears the NFL concussion protocol, or Robert Rochell if he does not. The Rams will augment their secondary with Grant Haley, Shaun Jolly, and Terrell Burgess as needed. Will it be enough?
I think so. The Rams know their Week 4 opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, very well. The Rams’ defense is surprisingly stout against the run, the bread and butter of the 49ers’ offense. And the Rams have Niners’ nemesis, Bobby Wagner, across the middle of the defense.
Yes, the LA Rams depth chart is being pushed hard. But so far, the Rams’ young defensive backs have shown up huge at critical moments during the game. You should look for that to continue in Week 4.