So far this season, sixth round pick defensive back E.J. Gaines has been the most productive Ram of the 2014 draft class. He has started both games at cornerback, due to Trumaine Johnson’s knee injury. Gaines had a tall task (no pun intended) against the Bucs, having to cover the likes of Vincent Jackson and fellow 2014 rookie Mike Evans who both stand at 6’5". For someone who tops out at only 5’10", Gaines more than held his own.
E.J. finished with 5 solo tackles in the game, and limited the success of the tallest wide receiver duo in the NFL. Somehow, Gaines was not awarded a piece of a 2nd quarter sack of Josh McCown. When Trumaine returns, E.J. will likely move to the nickel spot, giving the Rams and Gregg Williams a lot of flexibility in the secondary, and on defense as a whole.
A first round selection, defensive tackle Aaron Donald did not have a major impact on the stat sheet, registering only one tackle for loss. He did however provide consistent penetration versus the Buccaneers. Donald his great hands and block shedding techniques for such a young player. Those active hands were a staple during his college career.
He will continue to earn more time and you better believe quarterback sacks are coming sooner, rather than later -Watch out Tony Romo. Undrafted defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks got the first action of his career, thanks in large part to defensive end Chris Long being sidelined due to an ankle injury. He didn’t register any official statistics. Look for Westbrooks to continue to get 15-25 snaps per game.
Second overall selection Greg Robinson failed to get on the field at all against the Bucs. On one hand, it’s good that we aren’t in the position in which we have to play a guy on the offensive line that isn’t ready. On the other hand, the 2nd overall pick should be ready to not only play, but start. That’s just my opinion. The transition from Auburn’s scheme to an NFL playbook is clearly taking some time to adjust to, and rightfully so.
Good things come to those who wait. I expect him to earn a starting spot at some point during the season, if he isn’t inserted in the lineup to account for an injury.
Safety Maurice Alexander and corner back Marcus Roberson contributed on special teams. Running backs Tre Mason and Trey Watts, defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and tight end Alex Bayer were inactive.
On to Dallas!