Rams will give attention to growing youthful gamers remainder of season

Rookie security Quentin Lake confirmed Rams coaches his potential on particular groups.

But one thing apart from efficiency and athletic means earned the previous UCLA standout a possibility on protection.

Throughout final Monday’s loss to the Inexperienced Bay Packers, with security Taylor Rapp out for a couple of performs, the Rams wanted an additional defensive again for a particular package deal.

Lake had by no means performed the place. He’d by no means practiced it.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris known as on Lake anyway, citing his examine habits.

“‘Have you seen his notebook?’” Morris stated he informed defensive backs coach Chris Shula, “‘Put him in.’”

Lake performed two snaps. And relished them.

“The message, at least for me, was always stay ready — regardless of the circumstance,” stated Lake, who had been sidelined for a lot of the season due to a knee damage. “You never know when the opportunity is going to present itself.”

Lake is amongst a number of younger gamers that might see elevated roles on Sunday towards the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium, and within the ultimate two video games towards the Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.

The loss to the Packers eradicated the defending Tremendous Bowl champion Rams from playoff competition and, coupled with accidents or roster strikes at almost each place, opened the door for youthful gamers to realize expertise.

That particularly is the case on protection.

Edge rusher Michael Hoecht noticed his function develop within the final 4 video games with defensive linemen Bobby Brown III, Earnest Brown IV, security Russ Yeast and now maybe Lake set to play extra.

“They’re defining their roles moving forward, and when we are relevant, when that stuff matters,” Morris stated.

Stated linebacker Bobby Wagner: “No one really ever learns until they’re in the fire.”

Hoecht signed with the Rams in 2020 as an undrafted free agent defensive lineman. He primarily performed particular groups and as a rotational participant final season and for many of this one. In want of a spark and manufacturing reverse Leonard Floyd, Hoecht was moved to exterior linebacker.

He has two sacks and compelled a fumble.

“He’s going to make some mistakes, but he’s absolutely shown great promise,” Morris stated. “I think we’ve seen him hit the quarterback more in the last three weeks than we’ve seen just about anybody on our team other than Flo and Bobby Wagner.”

Bobby Brown III, a 2021 fourth-round draft choose in 2021, was sidelined six video games to open the season whereas serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s coverage on performance-enhancing substances. With star defensive lineman Aaron Donald and Marquise Copeland sidelined due to ankle accidents, Brown began for the primary time towards the Packers and performed a career-high 45 snaps.

His aim for the final three video games?

“Just want to show that I can play ball,” he stated, “and I’m a playmaker.”

Earnest Brown IV, a 2021 fifth-round draft choose, performed for the primary time on Dec. 8 towards the Las Vegas Raiders. He performed 11 defensive snaps towards the Packers.

His time on the follow squad proved precious, he stated.

“When you’re not playing, in your mind, like, you’re thinking, ‘Am I good enough?’” he stated. “But you keep working on your craft, work on your weaknesses and just improve as a player, and I feel like I did.”

Yeast, a 2022 seventh-round choose, has performed greater than 10 defensive snaps in three of the final 5 video games.

On Monday, he confronted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL most respected participant. On Sunday, he goes towards Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, like Rodgers a Tremendous Bowl champion.

Younger gamers initially should get previous the resumes of star opponents.

“Once you’re out there, it’s just who you’re going against,” Yeast stated. “But before that, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a little bit of that going on. Just being a rookie coming in and experiencing everything for the first time, it’s only natural for that to happen.

“But you’ve got to realize, you’re on this stage and you’re here for a reason and you’re playing against them for a reason too.”

Yeast and Lake have proven potential, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey stated.

“Russ plays fearless, which is something that we all like in the DB room,” Ramsey stated. “Lake has the capabilities to do all that as well and make a lot of plays. … They’ve been preparing like they’re the starters every single week so they’ll know when their opportunities come that we can trust and believe that they’ll be ready.”