Rams’ secondary got deeper when Darious Williams was sidelined

Rams cornerback Darious Williams (11) walks off the field.
Rams cornerback Darious Williams returned from injured reserve and came off the bench in his team’s loss to the Titans on Sunday, Nov. 7.
(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)

During cornerback Darious Williams’ three-game absence, the Rams secondary got deeper.

With Williams sidelined because of an ankle sprain, rookie Robert Rochell emerged as a reliable starter. Dont’e Deayon also started a game and got significant snaps in a rotation with David Long.

Last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, Williams returned from injured reserve and came off the bench to play opposite star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Rams lost, 28-16, but the blame rested largely on quarterback Matthew Stafford’s early miscues and an offense that produced only one late, meaningless touchdown.


Williams played 35 snaps, about half of his usual workload. But it was an encouraging bridge to Monday night’s NFC West game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

“It doesn’t just have to be me and Jalen,” Williams said Wednesday during a video conference, adding, “We also have depth.”

The Rams are 7-2 and in second place in the division behind the Arizona Cardinals (8-1), a 37-20 winner over the Rams on Oct. 3.

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Last Sunday, the 49ers fell to 3-5 with a 31-17 loss to the Cardinals, but the 49ers have not lost to the Rams since the 2018 season.

“We know the energy between … the two teams,” Williams said. “There’s going to be talkin’. ... We know our division is arguably the best division. We know at any time of the season, teams can just come back and just start rallying and winning.”

The Rams on Wednesday had what coach Sean McVay this week described as “a bonus day,” that included weight-lifting and meetings but no practice.


When they return to the field Thursday, McVay and the training staff again will assess the condition of outside linebacker Von Miller’s ankle injury. Miller, acquired last week in a trade with the Denver Broncos, was inactive against the Titans but could make his Rams debut against the 49ers.

If he does, he will join a unit that has been bolstered by the return of Williams, who was injured during a victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 7, and sat out victories over the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.

With Rochell starting against the Titans, Williams came in and made three tackles.

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Nov. 9, 2021

“Felt good to be back out there,” Williams said. “Everything, overall, is going great.”

Williams, 28, is earning $4.8 million this season playing on the one-year contract he signed after the Rams gave him a first-round tender as a restricted free agent.

Williams will become an unrestricted free agent after the season if the Rams do not sign him to an extension or put the franchise tag on him. Williams said he was not thinking about his contract situation.

“I don’t really get into any of that stuff,” he said. “Just play ball.”