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Rams struggling offensive line will take on a familiar face in Week 4

DE Samson Ebukam never played with Matthew Stafford, but will look to sack QB in Week 4

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts Samson Ebukam was a member of Sean McVay’s first NFL Draft class with the Los Angeles Rams back in 2017. LA selected the edge rusher in the fourth round out of Eastern Washington—just one round after they selected star receiver Cooper Kupp from the same college program.

This weekend Ebukam will face off against the team that drafted him, and he’ll be matched up against a Rams offensive line that has struggled in pass protection over the last two weeks. That should leave Ebukam licking his chops, as he’s developed a knack for getting after the quarterback and disrupting offenses.

Through the Colts’ first three games, Ebukam has already recorded two sacks, three quarterback hits, and four tackles for loss. He’s also forced a fumble. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the defensive end is graded as the fifth-best player on the Indianapolis defense. He’s second on the team to Kwity Paye (nine) in total pressures with eight.

Ebukam should match up against Rams left tackle Alaric Jackson, who left last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals prematurely with a thigh injury. Jackson was initially expected to be healthy enough to start in Week 4, but he missed Thursday’s practice and his status is up in the air. If he’s unable to go Sunday, RG Joe Noteboom may slide to left tackle or LA could turn to backup Zack Thomas or rookie Warren McClendon. The Rams offensive line started to fall apart when Jackson came out of the game last week, but LA’s pass-heavy play calling did few favors in helping Thomas against a talented edge rusher in Trey Hendrickson.

Protecting Matthew Stafford is of the upmost importance for Los Angeles, as the Sean McVay offense thrives when it’s signal caller has time to find open receivers down field for chunk plays. A porous offensive line disrupts McVay’s intended marriage between the run and the pass and can often leave his scheme feeling disjointed.

The Rams cannot afford for a former teammate and player they drafted back in 2017, Samson Ebukam, to pressure Stafford and disrupt their passing game. Ebukam has been productive through three games and should be a tough test for whoever plays left tackle for Los Angeles.