Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Justin Hollins suffered a pec injury Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Sean McVay provided an update Monday evening to reporters and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic indicated that Hollins “will miss substantial time”. While the injury does not appear to be season-ending, this is still a tough blow to a rather thin group of pass rushers at the EDGE position.
OLB Justin Hollins is going to need surgery on his pec this week and will miss substantial time, per McVay (did not get the impression it’s season-ending). Had solidified a starting role and was playing well.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 27, 2021
Hollins is in his second year with LA after being claimed at the start of the 2020 season off waivers from the Denver Broncos. The third-year linebacker won the starting role opposite veteran Leonard Floyd and has proven to be a reliable contributor in both the run and pass game.
A silver lining for the Rams is that fourth-year OLB Obo Okoronkwo is eligible to return from the injured reserve listing this week, though he may or may not be ready to do so.
If both Hollins and Okoronkwo are unavailable, Terrell Lewis would likely earn the starting nod with rookie Chris Garrett rotating in. Lewis has a lingering knee issue that dates back to his college football days, and the Rams seemingly try to manage the wear and tear by resting Lewis at times during the practice week.
Garrett made his first regular season appearance against the Buccaneers after a stint on the COVID-19 list. The rookie was a stand out performer during the preseason, but it remains to be seen if he can elevate his performance against tougher competition after playing college ball at the Division II level.
Veteran outside linebacker Justin Lawler may be another option to help fill Hollins’ absence on the edge; however, he recently broke his hand and did not appear in week 3 against Tampa Bay. Lawler typically rotates in behind Floyd on the left side of the defense, though the Rams may consider him to be a more reliable contributor than the rookie Garrett.
LA seems to be left with more questions than answers at the EDGE position with Hollins out. The injury comes at an unfortunate time with Kyler Murray and the high-flying Arizona Cardinals heading to Los Angeles to battle for first place in the NFC West standings.