After playing only one half in his return from an ankle injury, Aqib Talib aims to go the distance.
The Rams cornerback intends to be on the field for every important defensive snap Sunday night against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
That’s the plan, coach Sean McVay said Friday.
“His leadership and his production has certainly given us a boost,” McVay said. “You just feel his presence out there on the field.”
The Rams’ secondary, torched by the likes of Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes during Talib’s eight-game absence, fared better against Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions with the 10-year veteran on the field.
Talib said communication was good during his stint in the Rams’ 30-16 victory over the Lions last Sunday.
“A lot of guys on their job in the right place,” he said this week. “We just got to build on that.”
Cornerback Marcus Peters said it was good to have Talib back in the lineup.
“It allows for us to have that much more of an edge on both corners,” Peters said. “Just do your job and plays will come.”
Defensive lineman Aaron Donald also looks forward to a full game with Talib.
“You definitely feel a lot more comfortable having a veteran guy like that … a big-time play-maker like he is,” Donald said.
More than an edge
Linebacker Dante Fowler was acquired at the trade deadline to strengthen the pass rush.
The third pick in the 2015 draft has provided that off the edge, but also has proved effective as a rusher and run-stopper on first and second downs.
Fowler stripped the ball from Wilson during a Week 10 victory over the Seahawks, applied pressure against the Kansas City Chiefs and made key stops against the Lions.
“Just being able to slowly but surely show people the type of player that I am,” Fowler said. “A three-down player, a guy than can play all four quarters, and when it’s time to make big plays I can make that happen too.”
Ready to go
The first and only carry of Justin Davis’ NFL career came in the first game of his rookie season.
“In trash time,” Davis said, recalling the one-yard gain against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2017 opener.
On Sunday night, Davis goes prime time.
The former USC running back and rookie John Kelly will serve as backups to Todd Gurley.
Davis and Kelly are filling in for Malcolm Brown, who typically replaces Gurley for a few plays or a series in each game.
“If they've got to step in, if Todd needs a blow, then both those guys will be ready to go,” McVay said.
Davis, signed by the Rams after the 2017 draft, has been active for eight games this season, but has played only on special teams.
That could be his role again Sunday, but he is eager to carry the ball if the opportunity arises.
Davis rushed for 41 yards in seven carries in the preseason opener at Baltimore but suffered an ankle injury that prevented him from playing in the remaining three games.
Sunday night’s game could present an opportunity for Davis’ first regular-season carry in 15 months.
“If I look back at who I was when I got that first carry last year to now, I’m completely different, night and day, way more comfortable,” Davis said.
A week of practice, and reps, with the first-team offense helped.
“First days I’m always getting my bearing straight,” Davis said. “But as the week went on, I was way more comfortable and I feel like I’m ready to go.”
During the preseason, Kelly rushed for 197 yards and three touchdowns in 46 carries. He was not active in the first 12 games.