Baldy’s Breakdowns: “What is (LA Rams DB) Taylor Rapp doing?”

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams’ secondary has been struggling of late, and the results are obvious. Deep cushions and an inability to clamp down on opposing teams should the Rams find themselves with a late lead seems to be the rule, not the exception, this season. Of course, late leads are not happening frequently this season.

But the Rams’ defense continues to squander those rare late leads. That arms the detractors of LA Rams DC Raheem Morris with more ammunition to renew calls for the team to dismiss him, less than a season after helping the team win Super Bowl LVI. Of course, the Rams’ secondary was stocked with veteran DB Eric Weddle and Nick Scott. This year, the team has been forced to play Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp’s ability to play zone pass defense is… quite limited.

Just check out this latest analysis from one of the best in the business, NFL analyst Brian Baldinger, who calls out the complete lack of support by the Rams safeties on a game-winning TD pass from Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith to his WR DK Metcalf. While DB Jalen Ramsey had a good position on the play, his teammate Taylor Rapp seemed to be lost in la-la land even after the football left Smith’s hands.

Baldy’s Breakdowns: “What is Taylor Rapp doing?”

And Brian Baldinger caught it all on his latest episode of Baldy’s Breakdowns. And as Baldinger poses the question, “What is Taylor Rapp doing? What is he guarding?

LA Rams veteran defensive back Taylor Rapp is one of the most frequent perpetrators of simply playing out of position and having almost no feel for the position that he is tasked with playing this season. He often simply fails to react to the play in zone pass coverage, leaving his teammates out to dry as they look for help. Rapp is oblivious, and even former Rams QB Jim Everett has seen enough!

Taylor Rapp can defend in the box. He has the right temperament to fill the void as a hybrid LB/DB type who can creep close to the line of scrimmage in passing downs. But with the tandem of Bobby Wagner/Ernest Jones playing inside linebacker, that need for an extra man in the box is much less than in previous seasons.

Rapp appears to be a liability in coverage and offers his teammate Jalen Ramsey nothing on this play or many others. The Rams DB Jordan Fuller remains on IR, and the team had already released DB Terrell Burgess. But much like the way the Rams failed to get WR Tutu Atwell involved until recently, and failed to detect the potential for DL Michael Hoecht to flourish as an Edge rusher, how can we trust the decision to keep sending Rapp onto the football field despite these egregious lapses of judgment?

Rapp has had multiple occasions of missing a basic understanding of his role in zone pass defense, to the point where he simply may not be capable of doing better. His contract expires at the end of this season, but the Rams should sit him and see if a rookie safety can offer more pass coverage.

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