3 Rams who shocked everyone with their transformation in 2022
By Bret Stuter
If you never look up in the dark of night, you will never see the brilliance of the stars that shine in the nighttime sky. The LA Rams certainly had a dark night of a season. The Rams’ record ended at 5-12. The Rams’ roster was plagued with injuries throughout the 2022 NFL season. But things are looking up. What do I mean? Well, the LA Rams discovered three young players on their roster whose performance showcased the potential to become future NFL stars. Like who?
Well, jumping right into it would not be fair. After all, shouldn’t we have some dramatic drum roll or preface?
Okay, bad idea. But as I had intermittently mixed into my messaging throughout the season, player injuries created opportunities for other players to show up and shine. They did indeed, but not in the positions you might think. And, of course, there were players on the LA Rams roster who returned and confirmed the early suspicions that they would indeed be ballers in their NFL careers.
Player III: Ernest Jones
The LA Rams made up their minds to elevate the play of the inside linebackers from frequent eye rolls over the fact that they were often playing out of position and missing tackles to making great plays and getting fans up out of their seats and cheering wildly.
Linebacker play is one of the positions in my mind that I associate with a tough and physical defense, and the truth of the matter is that the Rams’ linebacker play showcased a tougher line of scrimmage in 2022. Even as the team lost veteran defensive linemen to injury, the linebackers continued to patrol and tackle any ball carrier in the vicinity. Second-year inside linebacker Ernest Jones continued his ascent to the elite NFL linebacker tier, despite his view of how he performed in 2022:
Rookie inside linebacker Ernest Jones was well on his way before the arrival of All-Pro inside linebacker Bobby Wagner. But now that he plays next to the great one, his performance has skyrocketed. He nearly doubled the number of tackles he made, jumping from 66 to 114. And he was active all over the field, recording four tackles for a loss, getting two quarterback pressures, one quarterback knockdown, one interception, two pass breakups, and even one forced fumble.
Jones is a tough sonofagun who loves to put the smackdown on running backs, and he is quite capable of doing so. His play is improving in each successive season, and he is about to enter his third NFL season, the year when most NFL stars take that huge leap forward as the game slows down and it all makes sense.