Finding holes in the Los Angeles Rams' personnel is like trying to find a needle in a haystack; one is there, but good luck solving the issue right away.
Even with the departure of pass rusher Von Miller to the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles' defensive front remains combative and looks to take on the sea of talented offensive lines come Week 1 of the 2022 season. That means there's pressure on young players to contribute out the gate.
One potential breakout candidate for Los Angeles is pass rusher Justin Hollins, who hopes to expand his rep count this coming season. With a plethora of talent already on the roster, Hollins isn't sold that the Rams need to upgrade at the position with another free agent this offseason.
"Guys just have to step up and continue to play well like they did before he got here," Hollins said Thursday during his media availability via Zoom.
Hollins, a former fifth-round pick out of Oregon, said he was happy that Miller could revitalize his career with a massive payday this offseason. Although limited in terms of reaching the quarterback, Miller impressed as a run stopper, recording 12 tackles for loss in just eight games.
Much like last season, Miller's heroics toward a Super Bowl victory are in the past. Someone will have to step up inside Morris' five-man rush in hopes of pressuring a backfield consistently.
It's the fourth season for Hollins. He's hopeful this is the one that leads to his big offseason contract talks in 2023.
“Very confident,” Hollins said of potentially replacing Miller. “It is a position up for grabs at the moment. We’re going to compete in the room, with Chris, T-Lew, some of the rookies coming in. We’re just going to try to do the best we can.”
Ranking Rams' Top 3 MVP Candidates
On a team loaded with talent, these three are the most likely to contend for the league's highest honor.
Ranking Top 3 Offseason Moves for Rams
From key re-signs to the addition of new talent, LA had one of the better offseason in the league
Do Rams Own Best New QB & WR Duo in NFL?
While opposing defenses worry about Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson is set up for success this season.
Hollins' role expanded last season when Obo Okoronkwo missed time due to a lower-body injury. He saw action in 12 games last season, registering two starts while recording 22 tackles and a pair of sacks.
Although Hollins has perhaps the most experience, Los Angeles is leaving the second pass rusher position open for competition. Other veterans who could line up opposite Leonard Floyd include Terrell Lewis and Chris Garrett.
Lewis, a 2020 third-round draft pick out of Alabama, has struggled to remain healthy, playing in 19 games and recording a mere 22 tackles. Garrett, a 2021 seventh-round pick out of Concordia-St. Paul registered 10 defensive snaps as a rookie.
“I think we’ll be just fine,” Hollins said. “I don’t think we need to go find anybody new, nothing like that. It would be kind of crazy if I said we did, anyway."
Hollins said he took notes while learning under Miller last season and during his rookie campaign as a member of the Denver Broncos. He also has set goals for himself in terms of what he expects entering a new campaign.
“I just want to ball," Hollins said. I just want to get to the season, ball out each game, have double-digit sacks, a great year, the whole nine, man."
The Rams open the season at home against Miller's Bills on Sept. 8. Before that, Los Angeles will begin its offseason practice in Thousand Oaks starting Monday.