Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Mark Barron, starting inside linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams has not practiced all week. He has appeared on the week one injury report since the start of week one. Barron is listed as a inactive player tonight.
According to Rich Hammond, a writer for Orange County Register who covers the Los Angeles Rams, tweeted Friday that Barron has mentioned that he is still not sure if he'll play Monday night.
Addressing the media on Saturday, head coach Sean Mcvay informed the press that Barron's status was doubtful for the game against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum. In that very interview, he also suggested that Barron chance can increase considering the game is two days out. However, Barron status didn't change, resulting in him being placed inactive for the game.
The Rams will turn to their backup ILB Ramick Wilson who signed a one year deal to play with the Rams reuniting him with his college teammate and 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley.
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Wilson in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Chiefs would release him only to add him to their practice squad, as he rejoined the team a month later he started two games. In 2016, he would start 11 games and an additional four more games in 2017 season.
Wilson became a UFA (unrestricted free agent), when the Chiefs declined to tender him as an RFA (restricted free agent), ending his Chiefs career with 111 tackles (23 assisted), one interception; three deflected passes, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries (two touchdowns), in 30 career games.
Undoubtfully, Wilson does have the same athletic ability as Barron, but he's a solid linebacker with the ability to stuff the run. A little heavier than Barron has the body to shed the lineman and defend gap to gap run plays. His speed may become a factor in the passing game, but he's talented enough to guard mediocre passing routes.
Rams will not be the first time that the Rams defense faced adversity with Barron not able to play. Last season, Corey Littleton started his first NFL game against the Tennessee Titans, a game he posted a career-high with seven tackles, his first career interception, and his first career sack.
Littleton, the University of Washington star, went undrafted from 2016 NFL Draft, becomes another undrafted free agent to make the Rams roster and start on this Rams defense. Matt Longacre went undrafted from the 2015 NFL draft will start at the weakside linebacker of the defensive unit.
Littleton will be the signal caller for the defense and will start opposite of Wilson when the game begins. You shouldn't worry too much on Wilson performance on the field; he'll have great help from his all-world defensive linemen with Ndamakung Suh, Aaron Brockers, and the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald.
Wilson will be backed up by either veteran Bryce Hager or the Rams fifth-round selection of the 2018 NFL Draft Micah Kiser from the University of Virginia. Wade Phillips Rams defensive coordinator feels very confident with this young group, especially with Wilson start. When asked: Wade if you do have to rely heavily on Ramik Umm-- this week, what-- what's your confidence level there and -- (Wade interrupts)
"You know-- Ramik-- Ramik has---has played in preseason and did some good things so, umm--- you know we needed to look at him cause we haven't had him before. But umm, now I got--uh--I- he's a smart player and uh he's started before in the league, and uh and you know he's played well when he's been in there and knows what to do. He's a real smart player; I have confidence in him."
So, the "Son of Bum" walked away from the podium smiling and singing Houston Oilers, and blending in a chorus line of a good offense and defense. As we all witnessed from his interview, he's unfazed of Gruden's offense and seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve.
We'll have to wait one extra day for the Rams to play, and many fans well such as myself can anticipate the hype of the game. All eyes will be set on the defense and watch if they will man handle the Raiders offense as expected.
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