Defensive jobs are on the line for Rams in preseason finale at Denver
Despite the presence of tackle Aaron Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, the Rams’ defensive line is still regarded as a question mark as coach Sean McVay and his staff look to the Sept. 12 opener against the Chicago Bears.
That situation became amplified when McVay said this week that tackle A’Shawn Robinson would undergo a knee procedure that will sideline him for a few weeks.
So Saturday night’s preseason finale at the Denver Broncos offers young defensive linemen a final opportunity to impress coaches and general manager Les Snead.
Rookie tackle Bobby Brown III, a fourth-round pick from Texas A&M, made several strong plays in last Saturday’s 17-16 defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Against the Broncos, Brown and other linemen such as rookie end Earnest Brown IV and outside linebacker Chris Garrett will have the chance to harass quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock.
Rams new running back Sony Michel was surprised by the trade, and now it’s a matter of learning the playbook before the Sept. 12 opener against Chicago.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio named Bridgewater the starting quarterback for the season opener, but said Bridgewater and Lock would play against the Rams.
NFL rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by Tuesday. Snead said this week that “we’re probably 90-something percent, let’s call it, completed in our evaluation,” but there are a few remaining roster decisions, including one involving punters Johnny Hekker and Corey Bojorquez.
But most of the pending evaluations involve “some unsung jobs” related to special teams, Snead said.
“Things definitely change with another game to play because those games are their competitive moments and they’re definitely measurable,” Snead said.
McVay said there was still much to be determined.
Five things to know about Sony Michel, who already has a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. He has worked with the Rams’ running backs coach before.
“Guys know this is an important game for a lot of guys, some of which will affect their status with our team and some it may help them with some other places,” he said.
Quarterback Bryce Perkins, who nearly engineered a last-minute victory against the Raiders last week, won the No. 3 job behind starter Matthew Stafford and John Wolford. Perkins will start against the Broncos and is scheduled to take every snap. Wolford will be in uniform but is not expected to play unless Perkins is injured.
The Rams traded for running back Sony Michel on Wednesday, but the fourth-year pro will not play against the Broncos.
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