LOS ANGELES — Last December against the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams guard Jalen Ramsey was forced to watch his team’s game on television after testing positive for COVID-19 instead of being on the field with his teammates. on command. And as he listened to this game, Ramsey overheard the TV hosts talking about how much the Rams miss his game.

“I hate this,” Ramsey said during training camp. “I like it when everything goes smoothly. Like, yeah, maybe it’s like a top dog, right? goals for our entire division.”

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Hearing this on air, Ramsey said it helped him “get in the mood to help get the guys ready and make sure everyone in our room is ready in case something like this happens.”

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In Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Cardinals, the minor Rams felt the same way, though Ramsey was one of the few regulars in Los Angeles. They suffered several injuries as the Rams were missing cornerbacks Troy Hill, David Long Jr. and Kobe Durant on Sunday, as well as defenseman Jordan Fuller.

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Instead, the Rams relied on rookie defenseman Derion Kendrick, a sixth-round draft pick who took 90% of the team’s snaps defensively and made a big play in the fourth quarter, smashing a Cardinals pass on fourth down.

The week before, it was Durant, a fourth-round pick by the Rams, who tackled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota, causing Ramsey to say, “The Rams took another mid-round pick.”

“[That’s] Honestly, what was going on in my head,” Ramsey said. – But that’s what the Rams do, right? Like that’s what the Rams organization does. Like scouts, they find good players, players who get burned, and the coaches and all the leaders of the team help develop these players and make sure they are ready to play and make such big games.

“To be honest, I was not surprised, but it was nice to see how it happens in a real game.”

In Week 3, a minor Rams player who was struggling for a Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills fared much better against the Cardinals, although they were helped by Arizona not having wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (disqualified) in game and AJ Green in the second. half after he left due to a knee injury.

The Rams allowed receiver Marquis Brown to catch 14 passes for 140 yards, but the defense kept quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals out of the end zone. The Rams are No. 23 on the DVOA Football Outsiders Rankings, and while they’ve had four interceptions this season, they’re averaging 252.7 passing yards per game.

“I’m very pleased with their ability to keep Kyler in line most of the day due to the fact that he is a dynamic athlete,” said Rams coach Sean McVeigh.

And with Hill on injured reserve and out for at least three more games, the depth of the Rams’ second plan will need to continue to showcase that “next player” mentality. In Week 4, they will face a San Francisco 49ers offense averaging just 172.7 passing yards per game, the fourth worst in the NFL.

“When the guys lose, we just have to go out and play to the best of our ability,” defenseman Terrell Burgess said. “They believe in everyone here. We were confident, we went there and showed our best.”

“…It shows how much volume we have in the second position and in all defense – the fact that guys lose and others get up and play to the best of their ability says a lot, and I’m sure we continue to do that. Same thing next week.