As they put together for his or her NFC West opener in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams on Thursday continued making strikes to fortify a roster depleted by accidents and a suspension.
A day after signing edge rusher Takkarist McKinley, the Rams signed tight finish Kendall Blanton and defensive again Shaun Jolly to the roster and veteran operating again Malcolm Brown to the apply squad.
Blanton and Brown have historical past with the Rams. Brown performed for the group from 2015 to 2020, and Blanton from 2019 to 2021.
“Just excited to be back in this culture, this organization that I had been in for so long,” Brown mentioned. “Excitement is the only word.”
The Rams suffered a rash of accidents earlier than and through their 31-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons final Sunday.
Edge rusher Leonard Floyd performed by a knee concern. Offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum suffered a season-ending ankle harm and cornerback Troy Hill was placed on injured reserve due to a groin harm.
Rookie cornerback Cobie Durant and fourth-year cornerback David Lengthy suffered hamstring and groin accidents, respectively. And on Wednesday, the NFL suspended tight finish Brycen Hopkins for 3 video games for violating the league’s substance abuse coverage.
The Rams signed McKinley off the Tennessee Titans apply squad, reuniting the previous first-round draft choose from UCLA with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who coached him with the Atlanta Falcons.
In 2017, the Falcons chosen McKinley twenty sixth general within the draft. The Falcons declined to train their fifth-year choice, nevertheless, after McKinley generated 16½ sacks in his first three seasons. In his ultimate season with the Falcons, he had one sack in 4 video games earlier than he was launched at midseason.
McKinley, 26, performed final season for the Cleveland Browns, and had two-and-a-half sacks in 11 video games earlier than struggling an Achilles harm.
Ten months later, he practiced for the primary time as a Ram.
“It’s been a hell of journey, just to get back on the field, just to get to this point and just to be able to be back in an NFL locker room,” McKinley mentioned, including, “I’m just here to help however I can.”
Although Morris described his background with McKinley as “rocky” at instances, he mentioned they “always remained fairly close.” Morris mentioned he by no means misplaced contact or a reference to participant he recommended on and off the sphere.
“He’s a guy that I know can help us in a pass rush,” Morris mentioned, “and he’s a guy that I think deserves a second chance.”
McKinley mentioned he had a “closer than close” relationship with Morris.
“I’m thankful that we kept contact throughout the years, not even just on a football level, just on a personal level,” McKinley mentioned. “He helped me out with things, being a father, just life.
“So, I’m forever grateful to coach Raheem.”
Blanton, 26, was a key participant for the Rams throughout final season’s Tremendous Bowl run. He caught seven passes for 75 yards and a landing within the playoffs earlier than struggling a shoulder harm within the Tremendous Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals — a chance that opened the door for Hopkins.
In August, when the roster was trimmed to 53 gamers, the Rams lower Blanton. The Washington Commanders claimed him off waivers however later launched him. Blanton signed with the Chiefs.
“He obviously knows the offense,” Rams tight finish Tyler Higbee mentioned. “So, he can get here and be ready to go without having a big learning curve. Excited to have him back.”
Brown, 29, signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and was a strong backup to Todd Gurley and others for six seasons.
In 2020, Brown rushed for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns in 101 carries.
Earlier than final season, he signed with the Miami Dolphins. Brown gained 125 yards and scored a landing in 33 carries in seven video games earlier than he suffered a quadriceps harm.
Brown is as soon as once more the elder in a operating again place group that features Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.
“Malcolm is a pro’s pro,” offensive coordinator Liam Coen mentioned. “Just does everything the right way, both on and off the field. He’ll be a great example for a ton of our younger players.”
Veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald is comfortable to have Brown again on the group.
“He’s just a guy that understands what we’re doing here,” Donald mentioned. “Been here, knows the environment. So, adding him back to the mix is going to be great.”
The Rams signed Jolly off the Cleveland Browns apply squad. He intercepted six passes in 4 seasons at Appalachian State.
And so forth.
Durant, Lengthy and receiver Van Jefferson (knee) didn’t apply, in line with the Rams harm report. Security Jordan Fuller (hamstring) was restricted. … The Rams waived linebacker Kier Thomas and operating again Trey Ragas.