Quarterback Geno Smith proved doubters wrong last season and showed he was better than his journeyman reputation. Now Smith, who signed a huge extension, must prove he can produce two seasons in a row.
Smith has a formidable receiver trio in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and rookie Jaxson Smith-Njigba. Running back Kenneth Walker III, who narrowly missed being voted the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year last season, has been nursing a groin injury. His backups are DeeJay Dallas and former UCLA star Zach Charbonnet.
Seven-time All-Pro lineman Aaron Donald is the only remaining star on the Rams defense. Third-year linebacker Ernest Jones is the signal-caller for a young unit that includes edge rusher Michael Hoecht.
The secondary is motivated to show that the back end of the defense is better than the NFL-worst preseason ranking it received from the Pro Football Focus website.
Second-year pros Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick are part of a cornerback group that includes rookie Tre Tomlinson and veteran Ahkello Witherspoon.
The Rams signed veteran John Johnson III, a former starter before he joined the Cleveland Browns via free agency, near the end of training camp to bolster a safety corps that includes veteran Jordan Fuller and second-year pros Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake.