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Aqib Talib Designated to Return from IR by Rams After Ankle Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Aqib Talib stands on the field during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Rams designated veteran cornerback Aqib Talib to return from injured reserve ahead of their Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions, the team announced Monday.

Talib hasn't played since Los Angeles' 35-23 Week 3 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The team placed him on injured reserve Sept. 26, shortly before he underwent ankle surgery.

The impact of Talib's absence is evident in the Rams' defensive numbers.

Los Angeles is 19th in pass defense (252.6 yards per game) but tied for 27th in passing touchdowns allowed (25) and 27th in opponent quarterback rating (101.6).

"I don't think we can maintain," Talib said Monday, per the Associated Press' Greg Beacham. "I think we've got to kick it up a notch. The season starts right now."

Rams Wire's Cameron DaSilva noted the Rams still need to formally activate Talib from injured reserve before he can play. The team would have to make a corresponding move in order to free up a spot on the 53-man roster.

Regardless of when he rejoins the Rams' secondary, the schedule is pretty favorable for Talib as he plays himself back into game shape.

Los Angeles' remaining regular-season schedule sees it face the Lions, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. Those teams ranked 21st, 11th, 22nd, 31st and 23rd, respectively, in pass offense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), according to Football Outsiders.

Expecting the Rams to become an elite defense against the pass just because Talib is coming back is unrealistic. The timing of his return would, however, allow for Los Angeles to make some positive strides before the postseason gets underway.