ESPN’s Bill Barnwell had a good piece yesterday looking at the anchors on each NFL contenders’ rosters describing them as such:
Every team has some sort of notable flaw or a position that has been weighing it down over the first seven weeks. In some cases, there’s an obvious fix. In others, those teams are just going to have to find a way to overcome an issue that isn’t likely to go away.
Some of the anchors are obvious. Jacksonville Jaguars? QB Blake Bortles. The Houston Texans? The offensive line.
Barnwell’s nominee for the Los Angeles Rams?
The anchor: Troy Hill/Sam Shields
The Rams are quite clearly the strongest team in the league, so even their weak point is coming off an impressive game. Hill, starting for the injured Aqib Talib at cornerback, had an impressive interception of C.J. Beathard before leaving with a possible concussion in Sunday’s win against the 49ers. He was replaced by Shields, who has mostly been playing special teams in his first action since suffering a concussion of his own in Week 1 of the 2016 season with the Packers.
Whether it’s Hill, Shields or Dominique Hatfield, teams are going to try to avoid Marcus Peters and Nickell Robey-Coleman by throwing at Talib’s replacement. The Vikings spent much of their day throwing at Shields in Week 4, and the Broncos followed up by attacking Hill in Week 6. Outside of the injury to kicker Greg Zuerlein, the Rams simply haven’t dealt with much adversity this season. It’s a good problem to have.
It’s a fair nominee, though I’d expect many would have put the Rams’ edge rushers here. I’d also make a case for offensive line depth or the age of the Rams’ starting line itself as the anchor, but as Barnwell notes we’re in position to have the good kind of problems that good teams have.
While the Fan Favorite© may be the right choice here, we’re talking about the CB4 position. To have to go that far to find an issue dragging the team down is really a compliment to the overall strength of the roster. Were Aqib Talib healthy, this wouldn’t even be an option for nomination.
No team is perfect. Every team has its flaws as Barnwell’s piece alludes to.
But the Rams are in a pretty rare state of affairs to have to go this deep to find an issue holding the Rams back.