Upgrade III: DB Quentin Lake
The LA Rams secondary has quite honestly performed better than expected so far. But that has not been the case consistently in the 2023 NFL season. You see, the Rams defense has struggled to avoid shooting itself in the foot, often committing penalties that extend opposing offensive drives
In nine games and one start so far, Quentin Lake has played in just 188 defensive snaps. But he is trending in the right direction, as he did get his first start of season in Week 9. In that game, he parlayed 43 defensive snaps into six tackles.
Rams nickel back just became more valuable
So far this season, Lake has generated 25 tackles, 3 pass defenses, and one fumble recovery. In terms of pure pass coverage, Lake has allowed just 12 of 20 targets to find the intended receiver for 80 yards and no touchdowns. He has limited receivers to just 6.7 yards per reception, including a total of 36 yards after the catch.
A safety by trade, Lake has assumed a role as an extra defensive back in the Rams pass coverage, flipping DB Cobie Durant to the second cornerback position in the Rams secondary, opposite DB Ahkello Witherspoon.
This is Lake's second season with the LA Rams. His first season was marred by injuries that limited him to just nine games. But he has no health restrictions this season, and his promotion into a starting role in the Rams defense is a great sign for both the Rams defense and Quentin Lake himself.
While the move has demoted DB Derion Kendrick, I believe that the pause in Kendrick's performance will allow him to catch up to NFL receivers with a wiser and less 'handsy,' strategy moving forward. In the meantime, the Rams have unleashed Quentin Lake onto the NFL, and that could mean much better pass defense going foward.