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Rams understudies help fill in gaps during defensive shutdown of Kyler Murray

How Grant Haley, Terrell Burgess, and Derion Kendrick stepped up huge in L.A.’s second win

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images

Terrell Burgess must just “get” the Arizona Cardinals. Though the third-year safety has not played up to expectations as a recent third round pick, he has consistently made the most of opportunities during Cardinals week: Burgess played in 26 snaps during the L.A. Rams 20-12 win over the Cardinals in Week 3, the third-highest snap total of his career.

The most snaps that Burgess ever played in? Last season’s 34-11 wild card win over the Cardinals. The second-most? Last season’s 30-23 regular season win over the Cardinals.

Burgess is now three-for-three in playing against Arizona and nobody else, but the Rams desperately needed him after Jordan Fuller was ruled inactive and L.A.’s secondary looked in dire straits after a painful opening to the season for the defensive backs. Though Burgess is not a familiar name to see on Sundays yet, he was not alone in making a notable appearance in a game that featured 83 snaps for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s offense...but only 12 offensive points.

All coming via field goal.

Prior to Week 3, the most snaps that Nick Scott had ever played in was 57. He, Taylor Rapp, and Jalen Ramsey all worked overtime in seeing the field for 100% of those 83 Arizona snaps.

Not far behind was rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick. The sixth round pick out of Georgia played in 75 snaps as the Rams were without both Troy Hill and David Long, Jr. in Week 3, and he finished with nine tackles plus a huge pass breakup in the fourth quarter. Kendrick has consistently been showing up throughout OTAs, preseason, and training camp, giving fourth round pick Cobie Durant (also out in Week 3) a run for his money as the top rookie cornerback on the Rams.

Kendrick was the last of eight Georgia defensive players to be drafted in 2022. One thing that was consistently said about Georgia’s draft prospects going into the main event was that it was hard to evaluate each individual because they were surrounded by so much talent. It appears that in that regard, Kendrick may have been massively underrated.

Kendrick was being evaluated for a concussion after he left the game late in the fourth quarter. Hopefully he does not become another Rams secondary player to miss game time.

As draft picks, seeing Burgess and Kendrick on the field during a 20-12 win was less surprising than the amount of time that Grant Haley saw the field over Robert Rochell. A former undrafted free agent out of Penn State, Haley spent two years with the Giants and one with the Saints prior to joining the Rams in 2021. The 67 snaps he saw on Sunday against the Cardinals is the second-highest total of his career.

Rochell only saw 10 snaps. Not that the two are one-to-one, as Haley was playing in the nickel and Rochell might be an outside guy, but one is playing when others are out. The other, a fourth round pick in 2021, has apparently taken a step back from where he was last season prior to an injury.

Again, the Rams were without Hill, Durant, Long, and Fuller and they forced Arizona to kick four field goals.

Next week, the Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Hill won’t be back, but the other three could all return. Kendrick, Haley, and Burgess will have plenty to say about the playing time that they’ve earned when Sean McVay and Raheem Morris see that the secondary is back at full strength.

And stronger than they left it.