Let's just throw it out there, the Rams secondary is bad this year. Injuries have really hurt this unit as 8 CBs have been put on IR by the Rams this season. The preseason top 3 corners: Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy, were all put on this list. This put players, like Justin King particularly, in a position they should of never been put in. I think King is being unfairly judged, because honestly, he just shouldn't be a starting corner, but has to because of injuries. People have said he is worthless to a football team and should just be cut. I think that this is untrue. Is he playing well? No, but he isn't playing in a spot that favors his style of play best. After the jump I will grade each player and the secondary as a whole.
Since I already had my main arguments before the jump let's just start with him.
Justin King- D+
As said before he has played badly, but he hasn't been put in a position where he is most likely to succeed. He hasn't been a total failure, but he still is playing badly. Remember when he gave up 3 1st quarter TDs? Sheesh!!
Al Harris- A
Where would the Rams secondary be without Al Harris? He has found the fountain of youth and is playing very well. He has brought stability to the corner spot for the Rams and his leadership is so valuable to the other young corners. He has by far exceeded my expectations that I had for him.
Rod Hood- N/A
He hasn't recorded any stats for the Rams this season and he has barely played. It would be unfair to give him a grade right now in my opinion.
Josh Gordy- B
Gordy has looked very impressive in his first season of action. The Rams picked him off of the Packers practice squad. He played especially well in the game against the Saints. He looks primed to get the starting corner spot currently occupied by Justin King (honestly, I have no idea why he hasn't gotten it yet)
Marquis Johnson- Incomplete
He's only played in two games and in limited action. There isn't enough of a sample size to adequately grade him.
Bradley Fletcher- B+
Before he got injured, Fletcher was on pace to have his best season of his career. He was starting to look like a very good corner. He held one of the better WRs, Hakeem Nicks, to 4 catches for 38 yards. Unfortunately, he picked up yet another torn ACL and he is starting to pick up the label of injury prone. Hopefully, he will come back next year, healthy and be able to continue on his good form.
Ron Bartell- N/A
Bartell never got to start his regular season as he picked up yet another injury. He has been very injury prone over his career and his return to the Rams is questionable at best right now, as his injury, a fracture in his neck, may be career threatening.
Quintin Mikell- B-
Mikell has been solid so far this season. He is the only consistent safety the Rams had. I don't know if his production is worth the mammoth contract the Rams gave him though. He is known as a guy who gets his hands on the ball, but he's only caused 3 turnovers and 2 pass defenses. He had double digit pass defenses the last two years. His production is good, not great, but his stats might be better if the secondary was better. Not to start a debate but I would of rather had the Rams keep OJ Atowge.
Craig Dahl- D
Dahl is felt off awful in coverage, just a fact. He struggles mightily in that area and many teams have taken advantage of it. He was so bad at the beginning of the year he lost his job to Darian Stewart. He is a good run defender though and he is a guy I like to see playing WIL LB in nickel packages, but as a S he is a huge liability.
James Butler- F
James Butler has done absolutely nothing for the Rams this year. One of the first guys who Spags brought in has been a major disappointment. He only started his first year and has been largely unimpressive. He has barely hit the field this year. He restructured his contract that would of called for him to make $3 million this year, but I'd be willing to wager he still gets paid a lot more than an undrafted rookie, who would bring the same level of production. This will be his last season with the Rams.
Darian Stewart- B
Darian Stewart won the starting job over Craig Dahl a few weeks ago and for good reason. He is a hell of a lot better in coverage. He isn't great, but he is dependable. He's a guy who could be a starting safety for about half of NFL teams. He made a huge play in the Saints game to seal the deal for the Rams; picking off a Drew Brees pass for a TD. He has had a knack for getting his hands on the ball with 9 PDs. Hopefully these will turn into some more turnovers in the second half.
Total Secondary Grade- C+
The secondary was bad in the beginning of the season, but they have improved. I think they have been made a scapegoat by many, but honestly, with all the injuries to the CBs, they've done as good as can be expected. They are actually 12th in the league in passing yards per game (222.2 yards per game). Shocking, right? But if you think about it, most of the games where the Rams gave up a lot of points, the run defense was to blame, which is ranked last despite having good games the last two weeks. Overall, this unit has played well this year. Al Harris has been a real key factor in this, in my opinion. He came in and brought stability to the whole secondary by giving them a good starting CB. Also, as mentioned before, his leadership is invaluable to the secondary. Could they have been better? Of course, but considering how it started, I think the unit is doing well.