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Man Crush Monday: Protecting Your QB

The Rams gave up no sacks on Sunday, but that's not the type of protection I'm referring to.

Michael B. Thomas

Yesterday was embarrassing for the Rams on several levels. Putting aside players criticizing Brian Schottenheimer and allowing a comeback of that magnitude, Jared Cook's Terrell Owens-like outburst on the sideline was unfortunately the pièce de résistance. If you haven't seen the GIF, take a look...

So many things about this situation are deplorable. You have Cook, who just dropped an easy TD, losing control with his QB (who was playing pretty damn good) and drawing the ire of Defensive Ends William Hayes and Robert Quinn. On top of that... you have Shaun Hill inexplicably applauding the entire situation in the background. It was the culmination of everything that Rams fans have experienced through a frustrating start to the season.

For his part, Davis took the high road and refused to escalate the situation... again showing the leadership that endears him to fans. When Hayes confronted Cook, it immediately showed me that the veterans on the team respect Davis; no small feat for the 25 year old.

Oddly, my man-crush this week stems from this situation: William Hayes. When Chris Long went down, we all knew that it was a big blow to the defensive line, but some overlooked that he was one of the key veteran leaders (the other being JL55) on the unit. When Hayes stepped in yesterday, he showed that he's not only filling in for Long on the DL, but also in the locker room.

Normally, I try to focus on player performance, but I'm man-crushing on Hayes because he has whole-heartedly stepped up to fill in for one of (if not the most) influential player on the team. Long left huge shoes to fill when he was injured, and Hayes is filling them better than any of us could have ever anticipated.

Yes, the defense underwhelmed yesterday. But Hayes showed that not all hope is lost with this once-hyped (and still supremely talented) unit. He demonstrated that he has the gumption to be a leader on this team when it matters most.

Amidst all of the drama in the today's NFL and yesterdays collapse, seeing him respond like that was a much needed breath of fresh air.