Ndamukong Suh Jersey

Tampa Bay Buccaneers nose tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

While NFL players have to deal with the yearly possibility of playing on Thanksgiving Day, they are lucky enough to have Christmas off to be with their family and loved ones (sorry, NBA players).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans seems to have his movie list lined up for today, while teammate Ndamukong Suh posted a Christmas message on Instagram, revealing one of his holiday traditions.

Take a look.

Suh has been a welcome addition to the Bucs defense this year. He was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason shortly after the team released Gerald McCoy. It’d be great if the Bucs could retain him in the offseason, but, according to some mock drafts, Tampa Bay may very well look to get younger at defensive tackle.

Wherever Suh ends up next season, you know he’ll have some fresh pajamas waiting to celebrate Christmas next year.

Jamon Brown Jersey

Matt Ryan was sacked nine times on Sunday night in Atlanta’s 26-18 loss to the Saints. Through 13 weeks, Ryan has been sacked 38 times, the most of any quarterback in the league.

“Everybody has a job on this team … it’s our unit’s job is to protect the passer [and] we didn’t do a good job of that tonight,” Jamon Brown said following the loss.

Ryan has been sacked 15 times in two weeks and Atlanta has dropped their last two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium falling to 3-9 on the year.

The Falcons had their chances to take the reins, but the offense failed to put together consecutive scoring drives.

As the Saints started to dial up the pressure on Ryan, the Falcons were not able to run the ball effectively to relieve some of the pressure. The Falcons finished with 89 yards on the ground.

“We kind of had a snowball effect one mistake led to another, offensively speaking,” Brown said. “Offensively we have to be better. From an offensive line standpoint, we know that we have to do better, have to protect Matt no matter what a defense throws at us, that’s our job and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Ryan was confident his offensive line would rebound after last week’s performance and that wasn’t the case.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn hinted personnel changes could come this week and they did.

Wes Schweitzer started in place of Brown at right guard but after James Carpenter was ruled out with a concussion, he was back in as a starter.

Across the board, Quinn isn’t pleased with the amount of sacks his quarterback is taking.

“At the end of it, we’ve got find ways to not allow that to happen,” Quinn said. “That’s too many. No matter what, too many for us. Over the last two weeks, Matt’s been hit too many times.”

Tyler Higbee Jersey

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues

OWNED IN: 4% of Leagues

ANALYSIS: Tyler Higbee is the most-established tight end in Los Angeles. This is his fourth season with the team and he has played every game to date with the Rams. Although his usage has never been mindblowing (he had a career-high 45 targets back in 2017), this year he’s on pace to beat his best career numbers and finish the season with around 60 targets for 500 yards. The problem, at least as of late, has been named Gerald Everett.

Everett is the Rams other option at the position and he has been playing rather nicely during the past few weeks. Over Weeks 4 and 5, Everett had logged 12 catches for 180 yards and a score while Higbee was only able to rack up 88 yards on 10 receptions. For all the good Everett did in that span, though, he put on a dud in Week 6 finishing with just nine yards on five targets. That is how tight ends work these days: you don’t know what will happen next.

Higbee had an average game in Week 6 against a good 49ers Defense, but enough to out-produce Everett, finishing with 25 yards on three receptions. It is hard to predict how this tight-end-committee of sorts will play out going forward, but Higbee has put on solid contributions for the last three games. Everett has got the booming performances, but those were clearly not going to last. Had I to bet, I’d say Higbee has greater chances of being the next to have a big game than Everett, who seems to have burnt his chances already.

By no means is Higbee a lock to keep on your team, mind you. In Week 7, though, Los Angeles plays against Atlanta in what should be an air-party of passes. I expect Higbee to eat from Everett’s opportunities and to have the better game with a chance of exploding for his best performance of the season so far. I’d go and add him as a streaming option in leagues where the go-to names are off the board and rostered already.

Rob Havenstein Jersey

Rob Havenstein is putting his lucrative four-year deal with the Rams to good use. The offensive lineman recently shelled out $1.75 million for a custom-built home in Thousand Oaks, records show.

The single-story residence sits in gated Los Robles Hills Estates and boasts hints of Spanish style both inside and out. Clay tile tops the roof, and Saltillo tile lines the entryway and kitchen in the 3,912-square-foot floor plan.

Sliding glass doors create indoor-outdoor living spaces throughout the interior, including a casual dining area and a living room under vaulted ceilings. Farther in, the family room draws the eye with a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace.

The indoor-outdoor theme continues into the office and master suite. One of four bedrooms, it expands to a sitting area and tile-splashed bathroom with bay windows.

The views are the real story here, however. Outside, a trellis-topped patio with a fireplace adjoins a swimming pool with sweeping sights of the Conejo Valley. The scenic hillside property spans about two-thirds of an acre.

Havenstein, 27, was an All-American at the University of Wisconsin before being drafted by the Rams in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Last year, he agreed to a four-year extension with the team worth $32.5 million.

Marcella Ketelhut and Rod Aragon of Sotheby’s International Realty held the listing. Scott Squires of Squires Development & Real Estate represented Havenstein.

Records show the property first hit the market in February for $1.825 million.

Cory Littleton Jersey

Littleton made plenty of big plays last season, but he and the Rams will need to improve their run defense in 2019.

The Los Angeles Rams entered last season with a bunch of unknown commodities at linebacker. EDGE Samson Ebukam was penciled in on the outside, with guys like EDGE Matt Longacre and EDGE Justin Lawler competing on the other side. In the middle, previously undrafted LB Cory Littleton was the heir apparent at the Mike backer position which opened up when the Rams traded Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants during the during the offseason.

There was plenty of talk about how linebackers were not considered premium positions in Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips’ defense, and that fans shouldn’t freak out about starting a fourth-round selection and two UDFAs next to ILB Mark Barron.

As it turned out, Ebukam did not provide a consistent pass rush outside. Longacre had a single sack through eight games, and the Rams ultimately ended up having to trade for EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., just in time for the stretch run of the season. Inside, things worked out better though Littleton racked up 125 tackles, three interceptions, and was second only to DL Aaron Donald on the team in tackles for a loss. Wade Phillips even went so far as to partake in some midseason gushing:

I don’t know that any linebacker is playing as well as he is in both areas. He’s had a lot of pass breakups and interceptions, things like that that. You just don’t see a normal linebacker — I think he’s way ahead of everybody in the league as far as pass coverage.

Add to that that Littleton remained one of the best special teamers in the NFL and was invited to the Pro Bowl in that capacity.

Not all was perfect though, Littleton was the Mike backer on a team that was dead last in yards allowed per rush attempt, so it was fair to wonder if the Rams would have been better off with a more stout run stopper, as opposed to the rangier Littleton inside. The Rams will ride with Littleton as a starter again this season, with hopes that their run defense will improve by starting second-year linebacker Micah Kiser at the Mo position, and getting help from a true nose tackle up front in rookie Greg Gaines.

Roster Battles

Littleton seems pretty close to a lock as a starter inside, although based on skill sets, it does seem possible that Phillips would consider a position swap with Kiser. Beyond that, unless the run defense remains a major liability, Littleton should be safe. Should the defense continue to struggle against the rush, a shake up is possible where Clay Matthews moves inside, paving the way for guys like Ebukam or Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to see more playing time outside. This seems unlikely though.

Depth inside, provided by Bryce Hager (roster preview), Natrez Patrick (roster preview), Troy Reeder (roster preview) and possibly Travin Howard (roster preview) doesn’t seem likely to ascend beyond Littleton on the depth chart.

Expectations

Littleton should lead the team in tackles again. He will make more than a few big, game-changing plays, on defense as well as in special teams. Ultimately though, the Rams’ run defense will have to improve this season for the team to truly feel great about Littleton in the middle as a long term option.

Chances of Making The Final Roster (9.82/10)

Cory Littleton will be a Los Angeles Ram this season.

Jared Goff Jersey

Jared Goff JerseyJared Goff Jersey

“Good Morning Football” host Peter Schrager was asked which NFC West quarterback he thinks will perform the best over the next five years, and he selected the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff over Russell Wilson.

“Jared Goff, he went to a Super Bowl last season,” Schrager said. “Jared Goff is going to get paid like he deserves, and Jared Goff has, to me, the greatest mastermind when it comes to drawing up plays that are going to suit the young quarterback, Sean McVay. So you put that all together I’ll take the guy who I’ve seen do it on the field, in this offense, and no offense to Russell Wilson.”

While few will argue that coach McVay is better-suited to get results out of a young quarterback than Seattle’s offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, it is hard to ignore the results Wilson produced in a Schottenheimer-lead offense last season.

Despite having over 100 fewer passing attempts than in 2017, Wilson still posted a ridiculous 35-7 touchdown/interception ratio last year, along with a career-high 110.9 passer rating. Compare that to Goff’s 32-12 ratio and 101.1 rating, and you can see why Schrager’s co-hosts were skeptical.

Yes, Goff and the Rams went 13-3 and to the Super Bowl last year, and yes Goff is 24 compared to Wilson’s 30, but it’s hard to envision Goff being better than Wilson over the next five seasons when Wilson was statistically better than Goff last year despite being six years older and having fewer offensive weapons and a run-focused offensive coordinator.

Schrager was not dismissive of Wilson’s accolades, saying he’d much rather have Wilson’s overall career than Goff’s, even calling Wilson a Hall of Fame quarterback.

“But if you’re telling me in the next five years, knowing what Jared Goff has around him, in three talented wide receivers, Todd Gurley and Sean McVay calling the plays, I will roll with Jared Goff over any of those quarterbacks,” Schrager said.

Wilson will get two chances to face Goff and the Rams next season, at home on Oct. 3 and in Los Angeles on Dec. 8.

Greg Gaines Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams used one of their eight draft picks this year on Greg Gaines to help fill the void left by Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line.

Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams were hoping to add depth to the defensive line to help fill the void left by Ndamukong Suh, which they did in the fourth round by selecting Washington’s Greg Gaines.

From a realistic standpoint, the Rams realize that Gaines is nowhere close to being on the same level of Suh since the veteran has proven to be an absolute freakish athlete throughout his career, although it is surprising to still see him without a home for 2019.

Unfortunately, the main reason why Suh is still in search of his next team is most likely related to one of the main reasons why Los Angeles decided not to bring him back in his asking price being too high.

While the Rams were able to get away with paying Suh all of that money last season, the team knew they wouldn’t be able to pull that off for a second year in a row since the salary cap space is already a little too tight.

At least with Gaines, the potential is there for Los Angeles to see results right away during his rookie campaign to give them a better chance of competing again in the NFC with their eyes set on another Super Bowl appearance.

In fact, as tough as it may be to believe, Gaines seems like a much better option for the Rams over Suh on defense during the 2019 season, and here a few reasons to back the claim up.

3. Gaines comes at a much cheaper price

Without question, the one major advantage Gaines has over Suh for the 2019 season is the cheap price he will come at since his rookie contract is going to look like a complete steal after the rookie was selected in the fourth round.

As for Suh, as mentioned before, the Rams were willing to bring the former first-round pick on board last season with the intention that he would be one of the missing pieces to winning the Super Bowl, which actually almost happened for Los Angeles.

One can only imagine how tempting it was for the Rams to bring Suh back for another year to put the defense in better position to help make another run at the Super Bowl, but also deep down they knew the price would be absolutely ridiculous.

Now that Gaines is on board, Los Angeles hopes to end up in a position where his contract looks like a steal if he ends up being more productive than originally expected.

This may seem like a long shot at the moment after Gaines fell to the fourth round, but also keep in mind the Rams did their homework on the Washington product, and never would have taken him if they didn’t see some sort of potential.

2. Better option in long run is Gaines

Another year of Suh most likely would have resulted in limited action for Gaines as a rookie.

And if that were the case, Los Angeles would only be delaying the process for their rookie defender gaining the necessary experience to help get him on the necessary level to be a threat in the NFL.

Using players as rentals for the short-term certainly has its benefits in the NFL, but also it can take away from other players in need of the time on the football field.

Without question, the Rams know Gaines will need all of the experience possible since the transition from college to the pros isn’t always smooth sailing, although he seems ready for the challenge based off early impressions.

Suh would have been great to bring back for another year with his presence causing all sorts of problems for opponents, but at least more playing time for Gaines will benefit the rookie and the Rams in the long run.

Defense is going to be key once again for the Rams when it comes to their chances of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl for a second year in a row, and if Gaines can help them achieve this goal, it’s only going to make that fourth-round pick look even more like a steal.

1. Donald can be the perfect mentor

What Aaron Donald was able to accomplish last season for the Rams by recording 20.5 sacks was absolutely ridiculous to witness, and one can only imagine what the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is going to do for an encore.

In a way, it’s amazing to watch Donald still find ways to get to opposing quarterbacks despite all of the extra attention he receives from defenders, and to say Gaines has the perfect mentor to learn from moving forward would be a huge understatement.

Donald working his way into becoming one of the top defenders in the NFL didn’t happen on accident, and one of the best things about the Rams star defender is how he makes the players around him better.

Does this mean Gaines will have the benefit of his game getting better playing alongside Donald? Like Donald has shown throughout his career, success in the NFL doesn’t come without hard work, and if Gaines puts in the necessary work while learning from Donald, it’s only going to help the rookie live up to his true potential.

And who knows, maybe Donald can help Gaines develop into a Pro Bowler to give the Rams’ defense an extra weapon to work with, but let’s not jump that far ahead just yet since it’s still way too early.

Bobby Evans Jersey

Bobby Evans Jersey

STRENGTHS

—Incredibly long arms (34 ¾”) that allowed him to keep defenders way off his frame in the passing game and generate immediate separation.

—Started at both tackle positions for Oklahoma and could also have value at guard.

—A bully with compact functional strength. Punch can knock rushers off balance.

—Can dig his cleats in the dirt and handle any bull rush.

—Smart blocker who had to protect mobile quarterbacks and was patient and disciplined about not getting upfield.

WEAKNESSES

—Height (6’4″) will be a question, but he meets the requirement for arm length.

—Lacks short-area quickness and depth in his kick-slide to stick at left tackle, at least at a high level. Could see a move to guard.

—Plays with stiff hips and struggles with speed rushers. Alabama’s Christian Miller worked him with outside quickness and body lean.

—Gets caught reaching and is met with rip or chop moves because he telegraphs his pass sets.

OVERALL

Evans is solid but not spectacular at left tackle. He could be a good backup at that spot or potentially move to guard or right tackle in the NFL and get a look at a starting position. Evans’ versatility and length are his calling cards, and they’re both good enough that he’ll likely get a starting look sooner than later.

GRADE: 5.90 (ROUND 3-4—FUTURE STARTER)

PRO COMPARISON: Dion Dawkins

David Long Jersey

Addressing depth in the secondary was clearly a priority for the Rams in the 2019 NFL Draft, taking safety Taylor Rapp in the second round, followed by cornerback David Long in the third.

Long is a two-time letterman at the University of Michigan and was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection in his final season in Ann Arbor. In 29 games, Long recorded 38 tackles, two tackles for loss, 17 passes defensed, and three interceptions.

Here are three things to know about Long:

David Long Jersey

1. AN L.A. NATIVE

Long is headed home for his professional football career and will take the Coliseum’s field just two miles from where he played his high school ball. After his 4.0 academic and four-star athletic career at Loyola High School, Long committed and then decommitted from Stanford, before aligning with the Wolverines and his new eccentric head coach Jim Harbaugh — who climbed a tree in his recruiting visit to land Michigan’s new top corner.

2. SHUTDOWN CORNER

Long’s stats might not jump off the page from his three years at Michigan, but according to Pro Football Focus that might just be because his man wasn’t open. Just ahead of the draft, PFF said Long could be a steal — noting that on 595 snaps, Long allowed just 18 receptions on 60 targets for 130 yards. And of the 18 receptions, only three went for a first down, only one for a touchdown. He never allowed more than two catches in a game in Michigan’s man-coverage scheme.

3. TOP 3-CONE TIME, 20-YARD SHUTTLE

Long posted the best three-cone (6.45) and 20-yard shuttle (3.97) times at the NFL Combine last month, providing a glimpse at his quickness in short space.

His three-cone time topped next-best time by 0.18 seconds and was the No. 5 time since 2000. General manager Les Snead often describes these drills as important for illustrating football speed, since a player rarely runs 40 yards in a straight line during a game.

Darrell Henderson Jersey

Darrell Henderson Jersey

For the last four years, the Los Angeles Rams offense has essentially gone through Todd Gurley. Since he came into the league in 2015, he has 1,229 touches, which is 150 more than any other player in the NFL.

That trend is bound to change next season with Darrell Henderson joining the backfield. The Rams moved up 24 spots to select Henderson 70th overall on Friday night in the draft, bringing an explosive weapon to Los Angeles.

Les Snead and Sean McVay insist the selection wasn’t about Gurley’s knee and more about Henderson’s explosiveness, which is easy to see when watching his film. You could make the case that Henderson was the most explosive running back in the draft.

Check out these highlights from his 2018 season.

And here’s a video the Rams put together to showcase more of Henderson’s ability, featuring a clip from one of the Rams’ scouts talking about the running back’s knack for making big plays.

As troubling and concerning as this pick is when it comes to Gurley’s knee, it’s hard not to get excited to see what McVay is going to do with such a fast player in the backfield.

After all, Henderson did average 8.9 yards per carry the last two seasons and 8.2 in his career.