The St. Louis Rams starting defense looked different on Saturday night. There was the obvious change, the one we knew was coming, with Will Witherspoon in at linebacker over newly suspended Jo-Lonn Dunbar, now in Jeff Fisher's dog house. More of a surprise, Rodney McLeod got the start over Darian Stewart alongside T.J. McDonald.
Fisher chased some of the mystique away from McLeod's start. He replaced Stewart who had a tight hamstring. Stewart's hamstring kept him out the lineup last year, in training camp and the preseason. That muscle may have opened the competition again this year.
Stewart, along with a number of other starters, has struggled with tackling through the preseason. McLeod took full advantage of the opportunity to start on Saturday. He hauled in an interception that was negated by a pass interference penalty. At another point, he chased down Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who the Rams struggled to contain all night, from behind to bring down the big man.
McLeod stayed with the second team defense after the starters began rotating out of the lineup.
Undrafted rookie Cody Davis also continue his strong play. He finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. Helping his case for the final roster, Davis also blocked a field goal ... but it still managed to go in.
Two weeks ago, it looked like Stewart had a lock on one of the starting safety jobs. His hamstring may have opened the door for a full-fledged competition. Deja vu all over again.