Replacing Chris Long easier for Rams than most
Of all the teams with the capacity to replace a starting defensive left end, the St. Louis Rams are probably best placed of all. It’s not to say that they won’t miss Chris Long (who is now out a minimum of eight weeks after being placed on injured reserve with the designation to return) simply they have arguably the best back-ups in the league at this position.
Although William Hayes didn’t play a great game in replacement on Sunday (getting no pressure while missing two tackles in run defence) this is far more the exception than the rule with him. He’s never graded negatively over the course of a season since 2011, indeed he’s usually been one of the top defensive linemen off the bench ever since he’s moved to St. Louis in 2012.
Then there’s our top-rated 4-3 end from the 2014 preseason, Ethan Westbrooks. He didn’t even suit up against Minnesota but notched a hugely creditable 13 QB disruptions in 155 warm-up game snaps. He also played the run superbly during that period, so it will be interesting to see if that form translates to the real thing.