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Examining the snap share between Los Angeles Rams’ inside linebacker Bryce Hager, safety Taylor Rapp

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The duo of Taylor Rapp and Bryce Hager are going to split time at the “Mike” linebacker position. Let’s take a look how.

NFL: AUG 24 Preseason - Broncos at Rams Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the recent injury to starting inside linebacker Micah Kiser, the Los Angeles Rams are looking to second-string inside linebacker Bryce Hager to fill the void. Hager — who has started only one game in four years — is now set to handle the reigns next to current starting “Mo linebacker” Cory Littleton.

The breakdown in snap shares between Hager and subpackage linebackers like rookie Taylor Rapp are going to be interesting, because Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is sure to utilize both in what they’re best at. Hager will likely receive the majority of the work in run/base downs with Rapp subbing in on subpackages (potentially nickel, dime, etc).

In 2018, Phillips deployed a similar strategy all season, though the first four weeks of the season were the most related to the Rams’ current situation. Starting linebacker Mark Barron missed the first four games of the season, leaving the Rams to rely on free agent pickup Ramik Wilson. Wilson played majority of the run downs, getting subbed out in subpackages in favor of safety Marqui Christian. Here were their snap counts from weeks one through four:

Ramik Wilson: 31, 20, 35, 37
Marqui Christian: 39, 30, 17, 35 (348 total snaps)

Hager and Wilson are quite similar players in the sense that they’re limited in pass coverage, though both offer bigger bodies who’re efficient at plugging gaps in the run game. That leaves Christian and Rapp, and ironically, both are similar as players, too. Both guys aren’t exactly dynamic on the backend in coverage, though both are great at operating as undersized linebackers with range in the underneath game, as well as possessing tough and physical presences.

With that being the case, look for Taylor Rapp to find his way onto the field early and often. Wade Phillips has shown the propensity to use similar groupings before, and with the Rams investing a high pick in a player which looks to be a stud (Rapp), they have no reason to shy away from what worked in the past.