Justin Lawler likely locked up roster spot with dominant performance vs. Chargers

·2 min read

The Rams’ outside linebacker competition has mostly been about Justin Hollins, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Terrell Lewis, with Leonard Floyd locked in as a starter on the other side. Not much has been made about Justin Lawler, but he announced himself on Saturday night against the Chargers with an absolutely dominant performance.

He was clearly the best player on the field, finding his way to the football on seemingly every play during the first two Chargers drives.

In the first quarter alone, he had four tackles, a tackle for a loss, two quarterback hits and a few pressures, making his way into the backfield consistently. He lined up as the left outside linebacker, which is where Floyd plays, and he looked every bit like someone who should stick on the regular-season roster.

The Rams didn’t leave him out there for very long, which says a lot about his standing on the defensive depth chart. Sean McVay and Raheem Morris saw enough after a little more than a quarter, pulling him before halftime.

It’s very possible he did enough against the Chargers to solidify his place on the 53-man roster. He had already been trending up coming into this game, and it’s easy to see why the coaching staff likes him as a backup to Floyd.

He finished the night with five tackles, two QB hits and a tackle for loss, coming close to sacking the quarterback a couple of times. And while stats are important, they don’t tell the whole story. Lawler played even better than the box score indicates.

Hollins, Okoronkwo and Lewis (when healthy) will still battle it out on the other side, but Lawler might just be safe from being cut this season. He’ll try to build on this performance next week against the Raiders, but he doesn’t have much more to prove.

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