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Los Angeles Rams vs Minnesota Vikings: Stock report not positive for defense

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The down section of the stock report will not be so kind for the defenders.

Los Angeles Rams v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Stock Down

OLB Robert Quinn

Quinn just isn’t the player he once was. He has 2.5 sacks on the season, zero in the past four games, and only one sack in the past seven games which was an unblocked sack against the Seahawks. Though Rob did have a few positive plays (TFL, and ran down an RB for a 30 yard tackle), he once again struggled rushing the passer. He routinely takes wide angles to the QB, and is on the floor far more often than in the QB’s face. Look:

DT Tanzel Smart

Tanzel Smart has been very quiet since receiving more playing time. With Michael Brockers moving to LE, Tanzel Smart was plugged into the starting lineup at NT, and he’s struggled at times. He was blown off the ball multiple times, and has had quite a quiet season in general. It’s time to let Tyrunn Walker get more snaps.

WR Cooper Kupp

I’m not one too bash too hard on Kupp for his mistakes on Sunday, but it’d be a lie if he wasn’t included on this stock down list. His fumble on the one yard line was an absolute killer, though I don’t blame him too much on it. At the end of the day that’s a freak (and great) play by a Vikings defender to chop the ball. The mistake that I believe hurt was the Kupp drop which would have lined up the Rams up in field goal range, and could have lead to an eventual TD had they converted the chains there.

TE Tyler Higbee

Tyler Higbee had a major chance at distinguishing himself as the go-to TE on the team all year, and has done nothing with it. Higbee once again dropped a contested catch yesterday that would have went for a big gain, and routinely disappears for long stretches in games. He’s looking more like a blocking TE at this point. I believe it’s best to start playing more of Gerald Everett and less of Higbee, in the receiving department.

OLB Connor Barwin

Connor Barwin has not proved to be a great signing at this point. As a veteran with experience in Wade Phillips’ defense? Fine. As depth? Would have been ideal. But as a starter and bookend to Robert Quinn? Yuck. Barwin doesn’t have any juice left, and at this point is completely a high-motor pass rusher. He (and Robert Quinn) had one of the worst plays of the Rams season in my opinion:

Stock Up

QB Jared Goff

I really thought Jared Goff was impressive on Sunday. Outside of one throw that was an errant pass (Robert Woods deep pass) that was nearly intercepted, he had a very solid game. Earlier this season vs the Seahawks Goff looked uncomfortable/worried/rushed all game, and I presume that’s because he was playing a great defense. Sunday? Nope. Once again playing maybe the best defense in football, he was calm, cool, and collected. Goff’s pocket presence yesterday was beautiful as he routinely worked his way into clear throwing lanes and left the pocket multiple times to help extend plays. Maybe the most impressive part of the game was when OLB Anthony Barr of the Vikings absolutely smoked Goff right on the chin (was flagged), Jared stood up, didn’t bat an eye, and continued to sling the ball fearlessly. I think we seen another step in Jared’s development on Sunday, and things are seriously looking like they’re starting to click for him.

Look at the hit:

DE Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald was the lone man in the front-7 to play a spectacular game. AD lived in the backfield during the game, and was routinely in the face of Case Keenum. He actually didn’t register a sack, though he was about an inch away from maybe five or six sacks on the day. Unfortunately for AD, his interior push was un-helped as Keenum managed to roll-out countless times with the remaining pass rushers lacking.