The Los Angeles Rams lost a number of veterans on the defensive side of the ball and a variety of young players will be asked to step up. It’s the offseason and so I think it’s pretty easy to have some optimism. Even if the defense starts slow they could develop and get better as the season goes on. Read what PFF says about the Rams and check out some other news, notes and please see our community question at the bottom! Happy Monday!
“When the Los Angeles Rams take the field on defense in Week 1, they’ll likely have four or five new starters in the secondary. Jalen Ramsey, Taylor Rapp, Troy Hill and Nick Scott are all gone, as is Nick Scott. The Rams traded Ramsey and didn’t re-sign any of the other four starting DBs from last year, leaving some gaping holes in the secondary.
Those positions have been filled internally as of now, with Cobie Durant, Derion Kendrick, Jordan Fuller and Russ Yeast all competing to be the starters at corner and safety. Robert Rochell, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Quentin Lake and Jason Taylor II will also be in the mix during training camp and the preseason, too.
It’s a completely remodeled secondary, one that isn’t necessarily better than last year’s unit. In fact, Pro Football Focus thinks it’s considerably worse. PFF released its secondary rankings for the upcoming season and the Rams were lower than any other team: 32nd in the NFL. They were ninth in PFF’s rankings last year, for comparison.
When a team sells out to win the Super Bowl like the Rams did, roster overhaul will inevitably happen. And that is what we’re seeing in this secondary right now.
Kendrick graded as the second-worst cornerback in the league last year at 43.7 and returns to the Rams as their most experienced starter, as he played 483 snaps in 2022. L.A. spent two Day 3 picks on the secondary this year, but 2023 will be tough to watch from a once formidable unit.
This is the second time PFF has ranked a Rams position group as the worst in the league, also putting their linebackers 32nd. The defense as a whole isn’t overly impressive on paper, given the changes the team made this offseason, but wins aren’t decided by depth charts.
There’s a lot of potential in this secondary, particularly with Durant. He picked off three passes and led the NFL in interception return yards as a rookie last season, and that was despite only being a part-time player.”
“The Rams’ defense is almost unrecognizable compared to last season’s unit after they parted ways with Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, Greg Gaines and others. There’s been an injection of young talent on that side of the ball, but there’s no telling it will work out the way the Rams hope it will in 2023.
Heading into training camp next month, there’s still a lot for Los Angeles to sort out on defense, beginning with the starting lineup. We gave our best guess as to who will start in Week 1 coming out of OTAs and minicamp.”
Florio foresees 49ers-Rams ‘tug of war’ for Cousins next year (sports.yahoo.com)
“Kirk Cousins has been linked to Kyle Shanahan since the latter became San Francisco’s coach in 2017. Considering Cousins and Shanahan’s history with Washington — with the latter being the former’s offensive coordinator for two seasons — Florio believes they could reunite in the Bay Area — if the veteran signal-caller doesn’t land with the Rams first.
“I think you’re going to see — unless the Vikings re-sign him by then, and they can’t use the franchise tag on him the way his contract is structured — you’re going to see a potential tug of war between Kyle Shanahan and [Rams coach] Sean McVay for Kirk Cousins next March,” Florio said Thursday on “The Rich Eisen Show” (h/t 49ers Webzone). “Mark that down.”
The 49ers remain optimistic second-year quarterback Brock Purdy will recover from elbow surgery in time to play Week 1 in 2023, and they have both Trey Lance and Sam Darnold set to compete for the backup job in training camp. There’s no telling how the campaign will play out, however, and Florio believes San Francisco could use Cousins’ services next year when he’s slated to become a free agent.
Cousins helped the Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North at 13-4 in 2022, completing 65.9 percent of his passes for 4,547 yards, 29 touchdowns and a career-high 14 interceptions. The 34-year-old has remained relatively healthy throughout his career, something that might pique the interest of both the 49ers and Rams.
Matthew Stafford came to Los Angeles in 2021 with a storied injury history and missed eight games in 2022, and Cousins’ skill set could make sense in McVay’s offense as the coach is a product of the Shanahan coaching tree. But Stafford is signed with the Rams through 2026, so the logistics don’t quite make sense unless those retirement rumors came true.”
Seahawks QB Geno Smith: Rams WR Robbed of Career, ‘Would Still Be Balling!’ (fannation/ramsdigest)
Smith, who played at West Virginia from 2009 to 2012, was the best quarterback in Mountaineers history and still holds many passing records at the school. His senior season was particularly special, as he completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 4,205 yards and 42 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Even with that outstanding season, Smith was not named a Heisman Trophy finalist that season.
If one were to ask Smith, though, the more egregious snub was towards his favorite target, receiver Stedman Bailey. Bailey put on a show alongside Smith in 2012, posting 114 receptions for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. Bailey, who also played along Smith in high school, was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in college football, but lost out to USC Trojans star Marquise Lee, who had similar stats but 11 fewer touchdowns. To Smith, Bailey losing the award was a highway robbery.”
What do we think Rams community? Is it fair to rank the Rams secondary as one of the worst in the NFL before they’ve even played a down? Maybe LA’s only hope is for Matthew Stafford to stay healthy and put up 35 points a game? Thank you for checking out today’s links and please let us know what you think in the comments below!