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Rams

Taylor Rapp’s versatility and instincts shine through in Rams’ preseason opener

Rams safety Taylor Rapp sprints during a training camp session on July 29.
Rams safety Taylor Rapp sprints during a training camp session on July 29. Rapp stood out in the Rams’ preseason opener against the Raiders on Saturday.
(Associated Press)

The versatility that made Taylor Rapp a second-round draft pick for the Rams was on full display in his first preseason game.

The rookie safety lined up deep in coverage, disguised behind linebackers and also played along the line of scrimmage against the Oakland Raiders.

“You’re seeing a guy play with urgency,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Rapp on Sunday after reviewing Saturday’s 14-3 loss to the Raiders. “His instincts are showing up, he’s playing faster, more decisive. And when he does that… you feel him.”

Rapp is expected become more of a force as the Rams prepare for the Sept. 8 opener against the Carolina Panthers.

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Eric Weddle and John Johnson are the starting safeties, but they sat out against the Raiders and will not play Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys in Hawaii or in preseason games against the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.

That will provide the 6-foot, 205-pound Rapp more opportunities to learn defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme.

Rams rookie linebacker Dakota Allen paid for a burglary charge while at Texas Tech and has worked his way back into contention to play in the NFL.

On Saturday, Rapp made two tackles, tipped a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Kevin Peterson and broke up a third-down pass.

All from different points on the field, just as he did as a standout at the University of Washington.

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“It’s very cool to see them using me,” in multiple alignments, Rapp said after the game. “There’s a lot of versatility and stuff like that like I did in college.”

Running back Darrell Henderson, a third-round pick, came on in relief of John Kelly and rushed for 13 yards in six carries. His longest gain was for seven yards.

Henderson also caught a pass that resulted in a five-yard loss.

“There was some good and there were some things we have to improve on,” McVay said. “He’s a really conscientious player and doesn’t really get fazed by things.”

Etc.

Running back Justin Davis did not play against the Raiders because he suffered a concussion in a joint practice earlier in the week, McVay said. Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is dealing with a hamstring issue…. McVay said cornerback Darious Williams continues to impress…. Pass game coordinator Shane Waldron will continue to call plays during the preseason, McVay said, adding that it was a collaborative effort…. It has not yet been determined which veteran players will stay home for Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys in Hawaii, McVay said. The Rams leave on Thursday and return Saturday night. Starters will not play in.


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