Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins is among those looking to take an increased role in the linebacker corps leading up to the 2021 NFL season.
The Rams claimed Hollins off waivers from the Denver Broncos leading up to the 2020 campaign. His familiarity with defensive coordinator Brandon Staley helped him secure an integral role on both defense and special teams.
Expectations are now as high as ever for L.A. after generating some Super Bowl hype this offseason. However, this group remains one of the biggest questions on a defense that finished No. 1 last season.
The Rams have a number of high-profile games set to take place. Hollins has admittedly already circled out matchups versus the Chicago Bears in the season opener and Tennesee Titans in Week 9, via Sarina Morales of the team’s official website:
“I want the Chicago game. I have that one circled because it’s the first game. And the Tennessee game because I became friends with Rodger [Saffold] and he plays with Tennessee. And it’d be fun to play against them and play against him, and Julio Jones. They got AJ Brown. Derrick Henry, of course, and it’d be a great test for the defense.”
Hollins added that the defense will once again finish as the top-ranked group in the NFL:
“Will be number one this season as well.”
It is clear that there is no shortage of confidence coming out of L.A. following the additions they made during the offseason. Players are all too aware of the championship hype and have made sure to embrace it at every turn.
The opener versus the Bears will give the Rams an opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the league on Sunday Night Football. Meanwhile, the star-studded affair against the Titans will make for another intriguing matchup on primetime with this elite defense playing host to their revamped offense at SoFi Stadium.
Hollins is hoping to do his part in making it come to fruition after making his bones on defense and special teams in his first year in L.A. He played 349 defensive snaps and 189 snaps on special teams while appearing in all 16 games last season.
Although he did not make a single start, Hollins has helped serve as a stabilizing factor for this injury-riddled group. He will once again be competing with the likes of Micah Kiser, Kenny Young, Travin Howard, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo for a spot atop the pecking order.