The sixth-rounder out of the University of Missouri has exceeded expectations with the Rams. E.J. Gaines only problem has been health. Ironically health is what got him the starting job his rookie season.
Gaines started 15 games his rookie season after filling in for injured and now franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Gaines seemingly went from backup to a player the Rams felt like they could throw into the spotlight as a starter early on. He finished with two interceptions, 15 pass-breakups, one fumble recovery and 63 tackles. Gaines was by far the best rookie cornerback in 2014 which speaks volume especially when Gaines had 25 other cornerbacks picked ahead of him.
In the year 2015 Gaines wasn’t exactly treated to another great season. He unfortunately landed on the shelf early into training camp. He suffered a lisfranc injury that stole away his sophomore season before it even began. While Gaines was rehabbing on the sideline and watching, Johnson who originally lost his job to Gaines was in the midst of a career year that would all but leave him as the top cornerback on the Rams.
Now it’s 2016 the 24-year-old cornerback has finally been able to come back from the injury that costed him all of 2015. He was even able to show off flashes of whats to come in preseason this year. Unfortunately it appears Gaines will miss the Monday Night opener versus the San Francisco 49ers due to a quad injury.
We don’t know exactly how the former Missouri Tiger continues to be bothered by injuries but one can suggest an injury like Lisfranc caused Gaines to donate all his time into rehabbing his foot that he didn’t spend enough time working out his other parts of his body and his conditioning. This as a result could have left his body to be weaker in certain areas and more prone for things like he is suffering from now (quad strain) and his hamstring issues we was bother by in camp.
As a Rams fan you just have to hope Gaines comes back sooner than later but stays healthy. The issue with Gaines being out is that the Rams let Janoris Jenkins go in free agency and now they are forced to start Coty Sensabaugh on the outside alongside Johnson. It’s not a good look for the Rams and it makes them vulnerable on one side of the entire field.
Gaines should be fine after this injury but the question does become if Gaines can continue to maintain his health? If he can’t the Rams might be in serious trouble at the cornerback position and may wish they met Jenkins demands. Only time will tell as obviously if Gaines does stay healthy there is no doubt he can be a very good cornerback in this league.