Los Angeles Rams DE Robert Quinn enters arguably the most important season of his career.
He’s coming off of back-to-back injury-plagued season playing 16 of 32 total games. Basically he’s missed an entire season. More than anything, he has to prove that he is 100% healthy.
In the few games over the last two seasons where he was indeed healthy, he was still a dominant pass rusher. Just look at the games from last season against the Buccaneers and Seahawks. The get off and chase down was still there.
Quinn entered the league at only 20-years old, so even though he has played six seasons, it feels like he is older than he really is. He is still only 27-years old and in the prime of his career. If he can stay healthy, he should have about four or five more years of good play left in him. At the very least, he should be able to put together three very productive seasons, if he can remain healthy.
It’s the “if” that stand out. And it does because if he can’t, he’s in some trouble.
The Rams can escape Quinn contractually after this season with little repercussion. Releasing Quinn next year would leave less than $1m of dead cap space while freeing up $11.5m for 2018 and $12.5m for 2019. With him making a position change, he is facing a what might be the most telling season of his career.
This season will let the world know if the Rams have to keep him around to anchor the pass rush for new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillip or if it’s time to find his replacement.
There battle here is Quinn battling his physical readiness. Will it continue to derail the career of one of the best pass rushers the NFL has seen in the last ten years?
If Phillips’ history is any indication, players that have had to switch from hand in the dirt to standup edge rusher in the past under him have had quite a bit of success. This holds especially players that were already elite pass rushers.
There’s little to no reason to believe that he can’t do the same with Quinn. Rob might be the most important person to the entire defense in 2017.
Phillips enjoys running a bump and run man coverage which means the pass rush has to be on its game. DE Aaron Donald will be the same beast he has always been – whenever the Rams get smart and get him taken care of – but with fellow defensive lineman Dominique Easley out for all of 2017 with a torn ACL, Quinn’s presence becomes even more important. He can be the engine that makes it all click. The Rams have to have another dominant pass rusher to make the rest of the scheme work.
If healthy, I fully expect Quinn to handle this job convincingly.
Chances of making the final roster (10/10)
As mentioned above, his importance is too great this season. It is a pretty clear make or break year.
Robert Quinn is, essentially, playing for his future as a Ram.