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Rams Roster Preview: LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar

Looking to bounce back after a dismal 2013 season, will Jo-Lonn Dunbar have what it takes to man the strong side?

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Roster Battle:

Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who is entering his 7th season will hopefully have a banner year. With "new" defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whom Dunbar played under with the New Orleans Saints, Dunbar already has the HMIC of the defense pulling for him. Despite a subpar 2013 season, Dunbar has all of the tools necessary to earn his starting spot in camp. Dunbar missed four games last season due to a suspension, and he was subsequently cut by the Rams. Jo-Lonn was resigned by the team after his suspension concluded, but his season didn't ring of past years. Dunbar will have to have a good camp in order to hold onto his starting gig on the right side.

Ray-Ray Armstrong will look to unseat Dunbar on the outside. Armstrong may have gone undrafted, but he cemented a spot on Rams special teams with his tough, hard hitting game-play and he saw time as an occasional substitution. He recorded 12 solo tackles and 1 assist. Ray-Ray has plenty of fans calling for him to start over Dunbar. At this point there isn't any competition of note behind Ray-Ray, so it is a two horse race for the starting position.*


Look for Jo-Lonn Dunbar to retain his starting job. With the addition of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Dunbar will surely resurrect his 2012 form. The Rams run defense went from being dismal to serviceable upon Dunbar's return from his suspension. Fans must also consider that Ray-Ray was limited to just 21 snaps last season, so his learning curve is greater than the sum of his abilities at this point. That being said, I expect to see Armstrong on the field a lot more this season. His aggressive play and hard-hitting tackles will greatly appeal to Gregg Williams. Williams will have to hone the youngster's ability and craftiness during camp and preseason.

Will He Make the Roster?

No doubt. The only way Dunbar is not on the active roster come week one would be because of injury. Dunbar is still a significant piece of the linebacker corps, and will be there week one in the starting role.

*If Will Witherspoon signs with the Rams there will likely be three outside linebacker spots on the 53 man roster.