If you browse the LA Rams snap counts for the 2021 season, you won’t find Eric Weddle. You also won’t find him on any team’s list for the 2020 season either. Because Eric Weddle’s last regular season game came on December 29, 2019, a 31-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
A week earlier, Weddle had six tackles in a 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. And this Sunday, more than two years since then, Weddle will be suiting up to try and stop the 49ers again, this time for L.A.’s right to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks.
Add in the fact that the Rams’ starting running back is Cam Akers, a player who had 13 regular season snaps, and this playoffs team has a number of unexpected gifts for Sean McVay and L.A.’s fanbase. How beneficial is it having Weddle on the defense in the playoffs?
And what does it mean for Terrell Burgess, a third round pick in 2020 who many expected to step in as a smooth transition at safety away from Weddle, that he is still lower on the depth chart than someone who was retired for two years? Weddle played 61 snaps in Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is more snaps than what backup safeties/practice squad players Kareem Orr and Juju Hughes had combined during the 2021 regular season.
Weddle has played 80 snaps in the postseason total, which is only 10 fewer than what Terrell Burgess had over the entire course of the 2021 season. As a rookie in 2020, Burgess had a season-high of 19 snaps in a win over the New York Giants and just 49 defensive snaps total in seven games before landing on IR.
Though the team found a gem with sixth round safety Jordan Fuller out of Ohio State, now on injured reserve and out for the postseason, Burgess has surprisingly not fared as well during his transition to the pros and it has left L.A. scrambling for secondary help at a time with many notable injuries. McVay noted this week that Taylor Rapp is on track to play after suffering an injury of his own, but is that even in the best interest of the Rams defense?
As pointed out in the comments by TST community member KingF15H, it may be one of the biggest issues facing McVay: Play Rapp or sit him?
Nick Scott had 20 or fewer snaps in the majority of 2021’s schedule, but then had 56 snaps against the Arizona Cardinals and 72(!) against the Buccaneers. Scott also has 11 tackles, four passes defensed, and an interception over his last three games. It could be that Weddle, Scott, and Burgess (37 snaps vs Arizona, 14 against Tampa Bay) are enlisted for the majority of the game, but McVay has been supremely loyal to Rapp over the years.
So from the community’s lips to your ears: What do you think Sean McVay should do with his safety rotation against the 49ers?