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Rams will focus on developing younger players rest of season



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

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

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

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 ever seen his pocket book?’” Morris mentioned he advised defensive backs coach Chris Shula, “‘Put him in.’”

Lake performed two snaps. And relished them.

“The message, no less than for me, was all the time keep prepared — whatever the circumstance,” mentioned Lake, who had been sidelined for a lot of the season due to a knee damage. “You by no means know when the chance goes to current itself.”

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

The loss to the Packers eradicated the defending Tremendous Bowl champion Rams from playoff rivalry and, coupled with accidents or roster strikes at practically 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 shifting ahead, and once we are related, when that stuff issues,” Morris mentioned.

Mentioned linebacker Bobby Wagner: “Nobody actually ever learns till they’re within the hearth.”

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 errors, however he’s completely proven nice promise,” Morris mentioned. “I feel we’ve seen him hit the quarterback extra within the final three weeks than we’ve seen nearly anyone on our crew aside from Flo and Bobby Wagner.”

Bobby Brown III, a 2021 fourth-round draft decide 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 objective for the final three video games?

“Simply wish to present that I can play ball,” he mentioned, “and I’m a playmaker.”

Earnest Brown IV, a 2021 fifth-round draft decide, 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 worthwhile, he mentioned.

“Whenever you’re not enjoying, in your thoughts, like, you’re pondering, ‘Am I adequate?’” he mentioned. “However you retain working in your craft, work in your weaknesses and simply enhance as a participant, and I really feel like I did.”

Yeast, a 2022 seventh-round decide, 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 worthy 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.

“When you’re on the market, it’s simply who you’re going towards,” Yeast mentioned. “However earlier than that, I might be mendacity if I mentioned there wasn’t slightly little bit of that happening. Simply being a rookie coming in and experiencing all the things for the primary time, it’s solely pure for that to occur.

“However you’ve bought to appreciate, you’re on this stage and also you’re right here for a purpose and also you’re enjoying towards them for a purpose too.”

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

“Russ performs fearless, which is one thing that all of us like within the DB room,” Ramsey mentioned. “Lake has the capabilities to do all that as effectively and make a variety of performs. … They’ve been making ready like they’re the starters each single week so that they’ll know when their alternatives come that we will belief and consider that they’ll be prepared.”