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Rams Feel Good About Depth at Linebacker

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  • Rams Feel Good About Depth at Linebacker

    Rams Feel Good About Depth at Linebacker

    Posted 14 hours ago
    Kristen Lago Rams Writer/Reporter@kristennlago With four new additions acquired through the Draft, the Rams have 12 linebackers currently on the roster.

    This offseason, the club traded its starting edge defender Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. Starting middle linebacker Alec Ogletree was then traded to the Giants and starting outside linebacker Connor Barwin remains an unsigned free agent. Inside linebacker Mark Barron is the last remaining starter of the group on the team’s roster from 2017 — leaving three slots likely open for the next season.

    But despite the large holes on defense, coordinator Wade Phillips said he was confident about the club’s depth at the position.

    “We lost two outside backers and one inside backer who were starters,” Phillips told therams.com. “So, it’s opening places for guys to step up and play. And I think some of these guys that we got were added to help us. I’m looking forward to that, but we [do] feel good about where we are.”

    The group Phillips was referring to includes outside linebackers Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Trevon Young, as well as inside linebackers Micah Kiser and Travin Howard.

    “I think you look at it and you like some of the depth that you’re able to create with some guys that can play on the edge,” head coach Sean McVay said recently. “Then you add interior players that can do some different things and allow us to be a bit more versatile at some of those spots and add some depth.”

    Kiser has been talked about as one of the rookies with the best chances at making an early impact on the defense. The Virginia product led the ACC in tackles for three consecutive seasons, recording 33.5 tackles for loss, 19.0 sacks, and eight forced fumbles along the way.

    “Micah has an opportunity to fit in, I mean we lost our MIKE linebacker,” Phillips said. “We lost our leadingtackler, so hopefully he can come in and step into those shoes, which are big shoes for a young guy.”

    “But he’s got all the talent,” he continued. “I mean hey, those are great things going in and I think it’ll take him a little time, but we feel like he was a really good fit for us.”

    All four rookies will join a linebacker room that already includes Samson Ebukam, Matt Longacre, Cory Littleton, Bryce Hager, Ejuan Price, Garrett Sickels, Carlos Thompson and recently signed Ramik Wilson. Of the group, Ebukam, Longacre, and Littleton have the most game experience, combining for 1,007 snaps in 2017.

    All together — with some significant contributors from last season and a couple of promising newcomers — the Rams linebacker group includes several viable options for 2018.

    “We [definitely] have some guys on the team that can come through for us,” Phillips said. “It’s going to play out, but I feel good about it right now. We have some talent.”

  • #2
    What do you expect?

    "You know, we're really worried about our depth at linebacker after losing 3 of our 4 starters. We have absolutely no faith in the 7 LB's from last year, the veteran we signed via FA, or the 5 linebackers we selected in the draft and udfa signings. We simply do not feel good with where we're at at all."


    Ha! Wouldn't that be epic though? I'd love it if some coach just completely threw his GM and a position group under the bus like that. Would be worthy of one of those 'thug life' memes

    Comment


    • #3
      LOL.

      That would be something, coaches issuing a negative, pessimistic outlook of their squad.

      But in all fairness, I 'feel GOOD' about the Rams depth at LB and the potential Coach Phillips has to work with. Perhaps not proven and much less stellar, but a good group to start with. Say ... average.

      Average, with an optimistic hope (mine) to improve.


      Improve PRONTO. -

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KoaKoi View Post
        What do you expect?

        "You know, we're really worried about our depth at linebacker after losing 3 of our 4 starters. We have absolutely no faith in the 7 LB's from last year, the veteran we signed via FA, or the 5 linebackers we selected in the draft and udfa signings. We simply do not feel good with where we're at at all."


        Ha! Wouldn't that be epic though? I'd love it if some coach just completely threw his GM and a position group under the bus like that. Would be worthy of one of those 'thug life' memes
        I know you're being facetious, but I've often said the same thing. No matter how bleak the prospect or how dire the circumstances, it is ALWAYS in a coach's best interests to put on a good public face on it. Truth be told, this is a unit for which there should be very real questions asked and very real concerns. You don't just make major upgrades to other units, unload an Alec Ogletree and a Robert Quinn and try to have the fan base believe nothing has been lost. Come on, now.

        This new group may very well be good. And the coaches certainly know more than we do and seemingly have a plan. But don't sell us a bill of goods either.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have concerns about the uncertain LB situation, but the fact that the Rams were willing to unload Ogletree, Quinn, and Barwin, gives me the impression that they honestly did/do have confidence in the young backups, and felt they could effectively address the situation in the draft. I don't see what Phillips and McVay said as simply lip service.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think the LB crew is ok. It's nothing fancy, but Littleton Longacre and Ebukam all showed some great stuff last year. Given the draft stock used, the unit should be capable...
            Add in the fact that the DL and the Secondary are both powerhouse units... I'm not too concerned with the LB crew. I actually like that they're so young.


            As for my facetiousness, please keep in mind it's not directed at the coaches, but at the "news" its presented as. I mean c'mon. There's really nothing newsworthy here.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KoaKoi View Post
              As for my facetiousness, please keep in mind it's not directed at the coaches, but at the "news" its presented as. I mean c'mon. There's really nothing newsworthy here.
              I guess the news cycle at the Rams official site is slow.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

                I guess the news cycle at the Rams official site is slow.
                Oh yeah. It always is this time of year. Even OTA's is brutal on the news front.
                Not until training camp do things finally perk up.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Seldom would any team admit concerns about anything...

                  If the Ram's brain trust actually had concerns about LB depth, think they would admit it publicly?

                  I know the Rams' coaching staff is "hoping" their strength on the line & secondary is enough to cover any weakness at LB just as any team with strong LB core would hope they would cover any weakness from the line

                  Its the NFL; with only so much to spend there is just so much one can do... the strength or weakness actually comes down to that team's Front Office in getting enough pieces together--and where a HC and his staff earn their pay in putting it all together to make a winner or loser team

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is this horse down yet? Or, needs some more whacking. -

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