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Rams like Micah Kiser, but LB will be an open competition’...

May 22, 2020 05:52AM
Rams like Micah Kiser, but linebacker will be 'an open competition'

[theramswire.usatoday.com]

Cameron DaSilva

There may not be a position group in the NFL with less proven talent than the Rams’ inside linebacker unit. After losing Cory Littleton in free agency, they’ve been left with a host of players who barely have any starting experience in the NFL.

In fact, Troy Reeder and Travin Howard are the only two linebackers left who took a single defensive snap for the Rams last season, though neither of them played more than 300 individually.

In a normal offseason, they’d be getting ready to compete for starting jobs during OTAs next week, but that competition will have to wait until minicamp and training camp eventually take place at some point.

And when the Rams do hit the field, it’s going to be “an open competition,” according to defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.

“I think it’s competitive. You’ve got to let things play out. Inside linebacker, in particular, there aren’t very many guys that have played a lot of football there, so that’s going to be an open competition,” Staley said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “You’ve gotten glimpses of those guys. Troy Reeder, T-Howard and Kenny Young, you’ve gotten glimpses of them as pro players. I know we have high regard for Micah Kiser within our building. He had that unfortunate injury in the preseason. We’ve just got to let the position sort itself out when things go live.”

It’s not surprising that Staley singled out Kiser as someone the Rams like. He was supposed to be a starter next to Littleton last season, but he suffered a pectoral injury in the preseason, which landed him on IR and forced him to miss his second season in the NFL.

Kiser has still never taken a defensive snap as a pro, but he should be considered the frontrunner to win one of the two inside linebacker jobs. Howard would be a nice complement next to him, given his range and coverage ability as a former safety. But as Staley said, things will sort themselves out when practices start.

As for the outside linebacker spot, Staley didn’t share as many details. He did say that players such as Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Samson Ebukam, Jachai Polite, Natrez Patrick and Justin Lawler will be fighting for spots on defense. Staley also said he was excited to reunite with Leonard Floyd and add Terrell Lewis in the draft, both of whom fit the mold of his prototypical edge rusher.

“On the edge, excited to add Leonard and Terrell Lewis. And then you’ve got Obo and Samson, Jachai Polite, Natrez Patrick, Justin Lawler – those guys will be fighting for positions,” he said.

With a shortened and modified offseason, it’s going to be hard to sort out these positions on defense because players are only meeting on Zoom and working out individually. So when practices do resume, the Rams will have to study their linebackers quickly and determine who the best players are.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  Rams like Micah Kiser, but LB will be an open competition’...

Rams43285May 22, 2020 05:52AM

  Obviously

no name94May 22, 2020 09:56AM

  Re: Memory Shot.....but

leafnose98May 22, 2020 10:51AM

  I'm fuzzy too...

roman1880May 22, 2020 11:25AM

  Re: I'm fuzzy too...

den-the-coach82May 22, 2020 12:00PM

  Re: Thanks, Coach

leafnose43May 23, 2020 03:13AM

  Nor did he "fall" in the draft

PHDram34May 24, 2020 08:21PM

  Kiser has never taken a regular season defensive snap

ferragamo7939May 24, 2020 10:34AM

  The edge comment is interesting

Ram_Ruler101May 22, 2020 02:25PM

  Re: It's the NFL.....Your job is never secure.

oldschoolramfan64May 22, 2020 02:57PM