The Los Angeles Rams received their first home loss of the season during their Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but also received unfortunate health news. While the team underperformed on the defensive end, the defensive unit also lost a key player moving forward.
During the 30-19 loss, cornerback Trumaine Johnson suffered an ankle injury, which required him being carted to the locker room.
The organization placed the franchise tag on the coveted player, in order to lock down the premiere defensive back. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams presents a pass-rushing defense, which heavily relies on the play of their defensive backs.
In many occasions, Johnson was left alone on one side of the field, as the 6’1″, 205 lbs. player provides steady one-on-one coverage on the field.
Alas, head coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t expect Johnson to be ready for Week 6. Johnson was seen leaving the game on crutches and with a boot on his ankle, lowering his possibility to play against the Detroit Lions.
The Rams made a precautionary move on Tuesday, claiming Dwayne Gratz off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team was thin at the position before the injury, after cutting cornerback Coty Sensabaugh the day before the injury.
Sensabaugh, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal in the offseason, was cut amid a lack of production. Opposite of E.J. Gaines, Troy Hill is now expected to start.
That marks Hill’s second stint starting, attempting to secure a spot should Johnson’s injury last more than expected.
A key for Hill entering the Week 6 matchup will be his steady production. During a press conference, he stated that he needs to stay within his duties and not try to press too much.
The Rams are allowing 242.4 passing yards per game, which ranks amongst the average in the NFL. To the contrary, the Rams defense hasn’t been able to stop the run.
During their Week 5 loss, LeSean McCoy rushed for 150 yards, scorching the defensive line of the Rams. For the 2016 season, the Rams are allowing 122.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 28th in the NFL.
Fisher has to provide multiple plans heading into their matchup, as they try to ease the transition of Gratz. After a surprising release, Gratz will need to learn the plays and scheme, which may lead to a special teams role this week.
With Johnson sidelined, both Hill and Gratz will be presented multiple opportunities to contribute in Johnson’s absence.