5 2024 Rams who are better than the brochure, including that gnat, Boston Scott

That pesky giant-killing gnat, Boston Scott, leads a field of five LA Rams veterans in line for an outstanding season in 2024.
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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Ninja I: The boss is back in the secondary

Much of what the LA Rams accomplished in 2023 can be viewed as two sides of the same album. Early in the season, the team trialed and experimented with a number of combinations until the coaching staff figured out what worked best. On the flip side, in the second half of the season, the team started veterans who understood their roles, and leveraged continuity to allow the team to improve week by week.

Almost identical to the story of veteran WR Demarcus Robinson, the Rams did not give veteran defensive back John Johnson III any chance to impact the outcome of football games through the first eight weeks of the 2023 NFL season. But in Week 9, and thereafter, Johnson's role grew larger until he started the final seven games.

And much like Demarcus Robinson, the Rams are bringing veteran John Johnson III back for another season:

Do you find it odd that the team's incredible winning streak in the second half of the 2023 NFL season coincided with so many subtle but outstanding decisions about who to start and who to bench? Clearly the team's coaching staff worked overtime during the Week 10 BYE to ensure that the players who took the football field for the second half of the 2023 NFL season comprised the most competitive group on the roster.

I am not about to equate JJ III's 2023 season on par with his 2020 season that should have earned him Pro Bowl honors, but I will say that his presence on the football field was one of several contributing factors that allowed the team to string together some hard-fought victories.

And I argue that his return places a fan belt on the defensive wheels, pullies, and gears that will keep everything operation smoothly and cohesively in 2024. After all, Johnson played for the Rams Super Bowl team in 2018, a team that faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. He was also a great teammate to All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey in 2020, a year when this Rams defense topped the NFL.

Now he is back again, reuniting with former teammate Darious WIlliams in a secondary that was incredibly effective and deceptive in 2020. Does the return of JJ III mean a better secondary in 2024? Well, it can't hurt. Johnson allowed just 61.5 percent of passes targeting his receiver to find their mark, a catch rate that was the best among the team's safeties.

The key to every team is to place the best 11 players on the football field for each play. While these five veterans are not lauded for outstanding play yet, I can see each having a better than the brochure type of season in 2024.

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