The Los Angeles Rams could be trotting out a 37-year-old safety that hasn't played in a game since 2019 for their Wild Card Round playoff game on Monday night.
The Rams are signing safety Eric Weddle out of retirement, per his agent David Canter. Following the Rams' Week 18 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp both came out of the contest banged up with an injury. Fuller suffered a blow to his ankle that will force him to miss the rest of the season and Rapp has been placed in concussion protocol.
In turning to a player the Rams already have familiar ties with, how impactful can Weddle be as the playoffs are quickly approaching?
1. The Weddle addition means there's likely a deeper meaning regarding Rapp's status for the Wild Card Round
Rams coach Sean McVay revealed Monday that Rapp is going through tests after being placed into concussion protocol. While in some instances, players clear concussion protocol to play the following week. Meanwhile, other scenarios wind up holding the players out of their next game to allow adequate recovery time following an injury to the head.
The signing of Weddle signals that Rapp may need at least a week before returning to the field. Prior to the Rams' recent signing, the only two healthy options at safety were Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess, meaning if Rapp is indeed going to be unavailable, the Rams would’ve had just two players to hold down the starting safety spots. With Rapp's status uncertain, the Rams didn’t have much of a choice but to add another player for depth purposes.
2. Rams are in a state of desperation at the safety position
Perhaps each team in the NFL would be in a state of disarray if both starting safeties went down with an injury ahead of a postseason run. But is relying on a player who hasn't laced up his cleats in two years the best option at this point in the season? No disrespect to Weddle – he’s been a highly productive player throughout his career, but he's going to be asked to learn Raheem Morris' defense in less than a week. That's no easy task for any player, let alone having to also get back into football shape.
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The Rams also have a pair of defensive backs on the practice squad who could be called upon in addition to Weddle's efforts. Tyler Hall and Kareem Orr also serve as other options that could enter the mix among the Rams' group of safeties. Orr filled in for the Rams in Week 10 against the Cardinals during the team's bout with COVID-19. He played 40 defensive snaps, registering four tackles.
3. Expect Weddle's role to be minor during his season debut
Even with the position in which the Rams are in, don’t think that Weddle is going to come storming onto the field for the first time in two seasons and play 50 to 60 snaps. How does he adapt to a new defense? What kind of shape is he in?
Realistically speaking, Weddle is destined to be more of a rotational player, working in alongside Scott and Burgess. Certainly, Weddle should in theory be able to dissect some of the looks that offenses present the Rams based upon his 13 years of experience in the league. With Scott and Burgess still growing players on the backend, Weddle's experience and leadership should be most beneficial in that regard.
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