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 by Elvis
6 months ago
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 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles

https://theramswire.usatoday.com/2019/0 ... ning-camp/

5 Rams players with the most to prove in training camp

By: Andrew Ortenberg | 32 minutes ago

The Los Angeles Rams will report to training camp next week, with practices starting next Saturday the 27th. They’re returning mostly the same team from last year’s Super Bowl run, although there have been a handful of notable changes.

There are some young guys who will need to establish themselves in camp and shore up their starting jobs, as well as some veterans who have work to do to show they should stay with the team longterm. Here are the five players with the most to prove entering camp:

1. Brian Allen

Not only will Allen be making his first career start in 2019, but he’ll also be doing it at one of the most important positions. As the presumptive starting center, Allen will be responsible for coordinating the unit and calling out the protections.

Allen played 36 offensive snaps last year, and since Sean McVay doesn’t want to play his starters much during the preseason, training camp will be especially important for Allen. Offensive linemen don’t really get to fully simulate their positions in practice, so we won’t know too much about Allen until live bullets actually start flying.

Allen can use training camp as a time to earn the trust of his coaches and teammates, most importantly Jared Goff. Communication is such a huge part of playing center, and Rams fans will be watching the Michigan State product closely in camp.

2. Gerald Everett

2019 is looking like a make-or-break year for Everett. The Rams have been patient with his development and tight end is a difficult position to transition from the college to pro game at. That being said, he needs to start delivering on his promise sooner rather than later.

Heading into his third season, Everett needs to prove he can be the team’s longterm answer at tight end. First he’ll have to beat out Tyler Higbee for starting duties, and he’ll need a strong camp to do so.

McVay has never seemed like he’s fully trusted his two tight ends, and Everett needs to make the most of this camp to have an established role when the season starts. Everett had a couple of big games last year, but he also only topped 29 yards three times. If he doesn’t show significant improvement during training camp, the Rams might start to lose faith in their 2017 second-round pick.

3. Greg Gaines

The Rams drafted the defensive tackle 134th overall, but they seem intent on using him a lot more than your typical rookie fourth-round pick. The coaching staff has said they expect him to start right away, and help replace Ndamukong Suh on running downs.

He’ll be playing next to Aaron Donald, and will need to eat up enough blocks to free things up for him. For what it’s worth, Donald said recently that he’s been impressed with Gaines’ game. Run defense is a big concern for the Rams, as they gave up the most yards per carry in the league last year.

Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams’ run defense as the 31st-best in the league. Gaines has the chance to play a pivotal role, and needs to use the next few weeks to show the coaches that he’s ready. If Gaines doesn’t look prepared in camp, the Rams might need to address the position elsewhere.

4. Micah Kiser

Kiser is another expected first-time starter. The Rams drafted the Virginia product in the fifth-round last year, and he didn’t play a single snap on defense as a rookie. But the young linebacker played a big role on special teams, and impressed coaches with what he did on John Fassel’s unit.

The Rams cut Mark Barron earlier this offseason, and Kiser appears likely to take over. If he wants to cement his grip on the starting job opposite Cory Littleton, he needs to have a strong camp. Kiser shined during the preseason last year, so there’s no reason to think he won’t look good this summer.

Speaking during OTAs, McVay raved about his abilities as a linebacker. Kiser said recently that he’d do “whatever it takes,” so you can expect to see him going all-out in camp.

5. Marcus Peters

Peters might have the most to prove of any veteran player this season. The volatile cornerback is heading into the final year of his deal, and needs to prove that he’s worth the Rams making an investment in him.

Peters had an up and down first year in Los Angeles, and the Rams’ secondary needs him to be more consistent. McVay said back in March that the team wants to extend Peters, but nothing has happened since then. It’s tough to tell how they truly feel about him, and a strong training camp would go a long way toward assuaging fears.

The Rams also recently extended Troy Hill, giving them some insurance in case Peters walks. Peters has said he isn’t letting his contract status distract him, which is a good sign since he needs to be locked in. If Peters looks shaky during camp, it won’t make Les Snead any more eager to hand him big money before the season starts.

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1 post Jan 21 2020