Troy Reeder has already come so much further than expectations, going from an undrafted free agent out of Delaware in 2019 to spending two seasons as a regular role player on the Los Angeles Rams. This is the top piece of bread on a compliment sandwich. Though I guess to be technically accurate, this is more of a problematic sandwich, since that is the content.
After the first game of the season, I noted that despite Micah Kiser finally making his debut on the LA Rams defense and making seven tackles, he was also credited with seven missed tackles and a touchdown allowed through the air. Over Kiser’s next eight games, he had 70 tackles and only three missed tackles, winning NFC Defensive Player of the Week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Though the Eagles threw in Kiser’s direction 15 times, that trend didn’t continue. (And it turns out that Carson Wentz may not be the best decision-maker.) Over his last four games, Kiser was credited with allowing eight receptions on 13 targets with 65 yards allowed and no touchdowns. Perhaps Kiser has been the dependable middle linebacker they were hoping for and even more solid than predecessor Cory Littleton in some respects.
Unfortunately Kiser missed Week 12’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers and will miss at least two more while sitting on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Kiser was replaced by Troy Reeder on Sunday and though Reeder had 15 tackles, there is cause for concern in the middle of LA’s defense if certain trends continue. Reeder will need to have his own midseason turnaround if some of these numbers are true.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, Reeder had four missed tackles — more than Kiser had in his last eight starts combined — and yet that is not surprising because Reeder had two missed tackles in his only other start this season, a 30-10 win over the Football Team. Reeder had three sacks in that game and that information is probably as useful to us now as it is to know that Nick Foles once won Super Bowl MVP.
49ers quarterback Nick Mullens went six-of-nine for 42 yards on his throws at Reeder. It’s not encouraging given what Rams fans already know of Reeder after he was forced into action as a 25-year-old rookie last season. Reeder played in 27% of the defensive snaps, missed nine tackles, and quarterbacks went 16 of 17 for 245 when throwing in his direction.
It’s difficult to say what Sean McVay and Brandon Staley’s next option is after Reeder and if he’ll be able to do any better. Justin Hollins, Natrez Patrick, and Jachai Polite are on the roster and that’s as much as I can say about them until we see more of them. Maybe we will.
Now for the bottom piece of bread: Maybe Reeder has some potential as a pass rushing option on the blitz. It worked once.