Jim Thomas of the the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests this week may be the week where we finally see the Rams' first-round draft pick in uniform. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain since the last preseason game against Baltimore.
Rams fans know all to well how annoying high ankle sprains can be. Sam Bradford was in and out of the lineup in 2011 with the same injury Brockers is suffering from. So, head coach Jeff Fisher is proceeding with caution and will only put the rookie on the field if he truly is 100 percent.
However, the kid's talent is undeniable and his return would be timely, as St. Louis prepares to take on one of the most impressive runners in the NFL in Marshawn Lynch. Here's what Fisher had to say yesterday about Brockers' impact if he does indeed return:
If he's back and able to play he would have an impact on our front, from the pass rush standpoint and as a run defender. Obviously, he's clearly behind because he's missed some valuable time. But he's very talented. That's why he's here.
So, I beg the question, just how can Brockers' return help the Rams? Currently, they are giving up 120.7 yards per game on the ground, which makes them the 12th-worst run defense in the NFL. Overall, their defense is the 19th-ranked unit. Teams have made a living running the ball at left defensive end Chris Long and left defensive tackle Kendall Langford.
Even though most of the Rams' defensive linemen have received negative grades against the run, Langford has the lowest grade on the team, according to Pro Football Focus, and Chris Long has the second-lowest grade. We all know Long has never been particularly stout against the run, yet Langford's grade surprises me, as he always played the run pretty well in Miami.
Given the fact St. Louis' defense is allowing 4.5 yards per crack on the ground, Brockers' appearance on Sunday will be a welcomed one. Jermelle Cudjo has been starting for Brockers and it's safe to say he hasn't been doing anything to keep the starting job. In pass-rushing situation's, he hasn't registered a sack, a hit or a hurry.
Don't expect his return to be on an every-down basis, if he indeed does return. That might not happen until October 4, the Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals. And right now, Fisher's defense needs all the help it can get, considering the offense looked awfully stagnant last week against the Bears.
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