Rams will benefit from DB depth being tested this early in the season

The Los Angeles Rams went into Week 3 without several key players in their secondary. Troy Hill is on injured reserve, Cobie Durant hurt his hamstring the week prior and David Long Jr. injured his groin in the week of practice. At safety, Jordan Fuller also suffered a hamstring injury in practice and wound up missing Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Looking at their depth chart, the Rams were missing four of their top seven players in the secondary. That left Jalen Ramsey, Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp as the only Week 1 starters who were healthy this Sunday.

Yet, the Rams still managed to hold Kyler Murray to 314 yards passing on 58 attempts with zero touchdowns. Marquise Brown and Greg Dortch played well, catching a total of 23 passes for 220 yards, but all things considered, Los Angeles held Arizona’s passing offense in check to the tune of just 5.4 yards per pass attempt – Murray’s lowest output of the season.

Sure, the Cardinals didn’t have DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore or A.J. Green, but it’s not as if Brown and Zach Ertz are slouches, nor is Dortch. And Green played a third of the game before getting injured.

As concerning as it was that the Rams were severely shorthanded in the secondary on Sunday, it’ll actually benefit them in the long run. With everyone healthy, Derion Kendrick and Grant Haley wouldn’t have played a snap this early in the season. They didn’t see the field on defense in the first two weeks of the season when the Rams were at (or near) full strength. On Sunday, Kendrick played 75 snaps and Haley played 67 in their first action of 2022. Neither was perfect in coverage – according to Pro Football Focus, Kendrick gave up nine catches on 16 targets and Haley allowed five on six targets – but they played better than the Rams probably expected them to.

As the season progresses and more injuries inevitably occur, the Rams can feel confident knowing players such as Kendrick, Haley and Durant have played meaningful snaps in regular-season games – something that wouldn’t have happened if Hill and Long hadn’t gotten hurt. You never want injuries to occur, but there is a silver lining in all of this.

Ramsey, for one, can’t wait for the rest of the secondary to get healthy, knowing just how deep the defensive back group goes.

Injuries happen and the Rams have already proved they might have the deepest secondary in the NFL. When Durant and Long return, hopefully this week, Los Angeles might even consider giving Kendrick and Haley some opportunities alongside Ramsey.

Hill will take a little longer to get back, needing to miss at least three more games, but the Rams can survive in the meantime. Sunday’s performance showed that.

So long as Ramsey can stay healthy and help lead this young group of defensive backs, Los Angeles will be just fine.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire