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Man Crush Monday: E.J. Gaines

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Once thought of as a fill-in for the injured Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines has arguably had the biggest impact of any Rookie on the team.

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August 23rd. That was the evening when the sky was falling in St. Louis. Sam Bradford re-tore his Left ACL (sniff) and Starting CB Trumaine Johnson suffered what appeared to be a devastating knee injury. Both looked to be lost for the season, leaving gaping holes on both sides of the ball. Fans were left wondering whether a promising season had been washed away before a meaningful snap had been played. Fast forward roughly 2 months and both of those holes have been filled by unexpected shoes.

At QB, we all know what Austin Davis has done for this team. He has lit a fire under the offense and earned the starting QB role for the rest of the season. He has consistently put the team in a position to win games and the team would likely be 3-1 if not for a few untimely drops by Rams receivers. I see the raw emotion this kid has, and it makes me believehe can carry this team. He has this 'never say die' attitude that endears him to fans. No one expected this from Davis, but here we are with him as our starting QB.

At CB, no one was really sure who would step up to fill in for Johnson. The Rams had a lot of depth at CB, but nearly all of the depth was unproven talent. In the end, E.J. Gaines beat out fellow rookie Lamarcus Joyner and Brandon McGee to earn the starting job opposite Janoris Jenkins. He would be responsible for holding down the fort until Tru was healthy enough to return to his starting position. But Gaines has done much more than that. He has shown that the Rams have quality depth at a position that was considered one of the major question marks heading into the season.

It would be one thing if he was performing well against scrubs...but Gaines has held Mike Evans to under 50 yards and had a pick when covering Jeremy Maclin. He's had his fair share of rookie gaffes, but overall he has played excellent and has well outplayed his draft status as a 6th round selection. You could argue that he has outplayed every rookie on the team, though that might not last long with Aaron Donald earning more snaps on the DL.

He has played so well that questions have begun to arise about whether he should keep the job when Tru is 100%. I don't know that my Man Crush is THAT big yet, but he has definitely earned that consideration, as well as the nickel duties when Tru comes back.