II: Rams ILB Christian Rozeboom appears ready to play
The competition over who lines up next to inside linebacker Ernest Jones may not be decided just yet, but it was clear that inside linebacker Christian Rozeboom wanted to lay claim to that role. And in the first preseason game of the season for the LA Rams, the inside linebacker position is one that will certainly have incredibly fierce competition.
While Rozeboom may be the leader in that competition, he has players breathing down his neck already. Just to set the mark, Rozeboom accounted for four tackles and was the more productive player in the heart of the Rams defense. Still, without Ernest Jones suited up, it's tough to get a focused image on the Rams linebacking corps, or how effectively this team will compete this year.
Rams ILB rotation
But what of the others? Well, to compare, let's take a look at their snap counts in this one.
- Deandre Square - 14 snaps - 4 tackles
- Jake Hummel - 29 snaps - 4 tackles
- Jaiden Woodbey - 26 snaps - 2 tackles
- Kalechi Anyalebechi - 18 snaps - 3 tackles
- Ryan Smenda Jr. - 11 snaps - 1 tackle
It was pointed out in our post-game wrap up that the Rams defense struggled to stop the run. But much of those struggles can be linked to the absence of hole-plugging inside linebacker Ernest Jones.
It's clear from the rotations listed above that the Rams were rifling through as many inside linebackers as possible. When that happens, it's very difficult for players to get into the rhythm of the game. The inside linebacker position could be the key to the Rams stiffening on run defense. But don't draw any conclusions from the opener. Let's see how this group circles the wagons in upcoming preseason games.