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Michael Brockers' return changes things for the Rams defensive line

The St. Louis Rams' defensive line is getting some welcome relief this week with the return of Michael Brockers.

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Michael Brockers will be a welcome site in the middle of the St. Louis Rams defensive line, this week, or next, or whenever he actually does get back into the mix. The Rams' first-round pick, No. 14 overall, has been on the shelf with an ankle sprain since the last week of the regular season, but he is back on the practice field and one step closer to picking up where he left off, which happens to be in a very good spot said head coach Jeff Fisher.

"Yes, he was coming on," Fisher said of Brockers' preseason progress. "[He] got a little tired there at training camp, but he improved since the rookie minicamp all the way through camp. Coach Waufle is doing a great job with the hands and the pass rush and all those kinds of things."

The LSU product surprised everyone when he declared for the 2012 NFL Draft as a red shirt sophomore. The draft advisory committee, typically stingy with its prospect rankings for underclassmen, gave him a first-round grade. Watch his tape at LSU, and it's not hard to remember the kind of excitement his selection was for Rams fans anxious to see a good defensive line evolve into a great one.

"If he's back and able to play, he would have an impact on our front from a pass rush standpoint and as a run defender," Fisher said. "Now he's, obviously, clearly behind because he has missed some valuable time, but he's very talented. That's why he's here."

Brockers isn't too far behind, though. The Rams have kept him working while he recovered from the ankle sprain suffered in the fourth week of the preseason, on an illegal block by a Baltimore lineman.

"He's been studying," Fisher acknowledged. "He knows exactly what to do. He's maintained his upper body strength throughout, so he should be in good shape when he returns."

If Brockers does get on the field in Week 4, his reps might be limited. After all, the rookie himself acknowledged that his ankle was not quite at 100 percent. Even as part of a rotation, that talent should give the interior line a boost in the power department and help keep all of the linemen fresh throughout the game.