Although the Los Angeles Rams experienced some turnover on defense this offseason, it is safe to say that their secondary has improved after pairing veteran Eric Weddle with young star John Johnson III over the top.
Weddle has long been considered one of the premier safeties in the league. Aside from competing with a legitimate championship contender in Los Angeles, the veteran will also have an opportunity to take on a young protege.
Johnson enjoyed a bit of a breakout season of his own in the 2018 campaign. He now has a chance to kick his game up to the next level
According to Clarence Dennis of the team’s official website, Weddle is looking forward to playing alongside Johnson this season:
“They’ve welcomed me in, the safeties group, the young guys, and J.J…. a budding star,” Weddle said after Day 1 one OTAs. “It’s just a great opportunity for me to not only play alongside him, but to help and learn some things from him as well.”
Weddle added that he will do what he can to help Johnson improve his game.
“I’m here to push him to that next level. He’s got a chance to be an exceptional safety for a long time and I can see it in him,” Weddle said. “He’s got to get there, so I’ll push him every day that’s for sure.”
It is encouraging to see that Weddle has already accepted a leadership role on defense. This is a group that will be relying on its young talent to take on increased workloads moving forward and the experience of their few veterans is going to help bring a sense of stability in many areas.
Fortunately, things seem to be pretty secure over the top at the moment with the pairing of Weddle and Johnson and drafting Taylor Rapp in the second round. Their expectations seem to be higher than ever going into the 2019 campaign.
While he may be in the final stretch of his career, the 34-year-old has now shown any signs of slowing down in recent years. Weddle has been selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls and will be looking to make it four with his high-profile gig in Los Angeles.
There is no question that Johnson will be looking to join in his first career trip to the Pro Bowl after being snubbed from last year’s festivities despite registering 119 tackles, 4 interceptions, and a forced fumble. It will be interesting to see if they can follow through on their potential as one of the top safety tandems in the league.