Rams Respond to Facing Cowboys ‘Explosive, 3-Level’ Playmaker

Derion Kendrick

Getty Derion Kendrick goes for the football on October 3, 2022.

The Los Angeles Rams have faced quite the gauntlet of wide receivers to start the season. And have been met with mixed results and three 100-yard wideouts.

Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills began by racking up 122 yards on eight catches and scoring once in the season opener. Drake London of the Atlanta Falcons caught eight footballs, but was prevented from crossing 100 yards. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals delivered 14 grabs for 140 yards but scored no touchdowns. Finally, Deebo Samuel of the rival San Francisco 49ers snatched six passes for 115 yards and took one 57 yards to the end zone.

Four heavily hyped wideouts…three surpassing the century mark against the Rams defense. Now on deck for Sunday, October 9 in Inglewood, the Dallas Cowboys$14 million Pro Bowler and a wideout described as an “explosive, three-level playmaker” in his draft evaluation by Lance Zierlein: CeeDee Lamb.

Lamb comes in averaging 5.8 catches per game per Pro Football Reference. While he’s yet to produce his first 100-yard game this season, his yardage totals have increased each week since Cooper Rush has taken the QB reins. Additionally, Lamb is on pace for his first 95-catch season with a new quarterback reigniting the offense.

What must change for the Rams? And what kind of matchups does the fourth-year wide receiver brings that makes him different from the first four perimeter gauntlets the Rams had to deal with?

Raheem Morris Reacts to Matchup With CeeDee Lamb

It won’t be the first time Morris has had to game plan for Lamb.

In fact, his first time drawing schemes up against him was in the wideout’s first season in the league.

“When we saw CeeDee he was a rookie. He was just getting into his groove. He was primarily playing slot,” Morris said to reporters on Thursday, October 6 at the Rams’ Thousand Oaks site.

Even then, Morris saw Dallas trying to use him in unorthodox ways.

“They were trying to do some gimmick things in trying to get him the ball and put him in the backfield — they still do a little bit of that,” Morris said. “But now, he’s the clear-cut No. 1 and he’s lined up in different spots. They’re able to get him the rock at a high pace, particularly for the [New York] Giants week. Last week he seemed like he was the No. 1 on a lot of those route combinations.”

Morris has always believed Lamb has played with confidence. But after a quarterback change due to Dak Prescott’s thumb injury, he’s noticed Lamb’s confidence has grown after Rush stepped in for QB1 duties.

“I can’t even say he’s playing with great confidence. He’s always played with great confidence but he’s playing with more confidence,” Morris said. “We got a chance to practice against him last year and I got a chance to see him live as a rookie and now, to see what he’s become, he’s one of the premier wideouts in the league.”

One Rams DB Believes Facing Practice Gauntlet of WRs Has Prepared Him for Lamb

Derion Kendrick nearly got his first NFL pick-six against the 49ers. Unfortunately, it became a 57-yard touchdown for Samuel.

Morris and teammate Jalen Ramsey, though, loved the aggressive nature of Kendrick on that pass. Now, Kendrick will get his turns taking on Lamb as he’s a moveable chess piece for the Cowboys — a la Cooper Kupp on the Rams.

“He’s proven himself over the years and he’s shown he’s one of those guys,” Kendrick said after Thursday’s practice. “You’ve got to be ready when you line up against him. And also Michael Gallup who they didn’t have last year. He’s a guy as well. Just having to be ready for those guys and your opportunities when you get them.”

While Kendrick got his chance to backpedal and cover Samuel, Lamb presents a different skill set as a wideout. But as far as Lamb, the rookie from Georgia believes four wideouts — including one with recent Super Bowl experience — have prepared him for the 2021 Pro Bowl wide receiver.

“Guys like Tee Higgins, Justin Ross, Amari Rogers, George Pickens — guys like that. Any guys I went against has prepared me for those moments,” Kendrick said.

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