The LA Rams could be in trouble without Darious Williams. The veteran cornerback is sidelined for a minimum of three games on short-term injured reserve, but the Rams may need to consider a wait even longer than that before he returns.
LA defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has not been able to duplicate last year’s defensive success through five games this season, as the Rams are allowing nearly five more points per game in 2021; virtually offsetting the five-point boost that Matthew Stafford has given them on offense. Morris will now be tasked with constructing a game plan without starting cornerback Darious Williams.
He and Jalen Ramsey discussed what losing Williams will mean for the defense and the players replacing him.
Morris references David Long, Robert Rochell, and Terrell Burgess as players filling in for Williams
“You got to have versatility with Jalen. Darious was a big part of us having the ability to be able to do those things, and you can’t replace those type of guys with one guy. It’s got to be by committee…There will be some David Long, there will be some more Robert Rochell, a potential of somebody like a (Terrell) Burgess emerging.”
With Williams set to begin his stint on the short term injured reserve, the Rams defense will need some of their less experienced defensive backs to step up. If there is a silver lining, it’s the fact that L.A. is entering their softest three game stretch of the season so far.
Morris expecting defensive backs to take advantage of new opportunities
“You’re certainly looking at a big opportunity for (Burgess) him right here. When people get injured, it’s unfortunate, but it’s certainly an opportunity for somebody else…D. Long is another opportunity. He had an opportunity where he kind of took a step back, and now it’s an opportunity to come back and show what you can do. Those guys have to find their role and play better.”
There were certainly plays that Long and Rochell would like to have back, especially against the Arizona Cardinals. With that being said, it would have been nice to see such young players in situations where they weren’t asked to cover top receivers like DeAndre Hopkins so often.
Ramsey confident in defensive backs
“We’ll see how things shake out on Sunday, how well guys play and how well the group in total steps up and fills that void of D. Will being out for a few weeks. But I’m confident, super confident in what we can do.”
Ramsey added that his confidence comes from being around the group and seeing the other defensive backs work up until this point. He acknowledged that he may have to be a bit more vocal, but he trusts everyone to handle their individual assignments.
Ramsey on defensive backs playing for fallen “brother” Williams
“For certain guys who are just getting their roles in the season right now, it’s probably a little more important for them, because it’s kind of their first time. Honestly, D. Will is our brother so we feel like we got to go put on for him and make sure there’s no super decline in our game out there. We going to take it personal.”
While injuries are never a welcome sight, they obviously create chances for back up players to show what they’re made of and hopefully put some good things on tape. With at least three weeks before Williams can suit up again, L.A. will get a chance to see what the future of the defensive backfield could look like if they are unable to retain his services beyond 2021.