The Los Angeles Rams didn’t make a lot of noise in the offseason when it came to big free-agent signings. This was nothing like the offseason before when they brought in Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh or the offseason prior when they signed Andrew Whitworth and Robert Woods.
The Rams made a few low-key signings that will hopefully help them get over the top. One of those signings was future Hall of Fame safety, Eric Weddle. The former Chargers and Ravens safety is next in our roster preview series.
For just the second time in his career, Eric Weddle went without an interception and defended a career-low three passes. At 34 years of age, Weddle’s play is indeed declining, but that’s not to say he can’t still play. Weddle recently came in at No. 100 on the NFL’s top-100 players of 2018.
Last season, quarterbacks completed just 56.3% of their passes when throwing at Weddle and his 111 yards allowed were the second-fewest in his career. The future Hall of Fame safety may not be the player he once was, but he’s still a top-25 safety according to Pro Football Focus.
The Los Angeles Rams let LaMarcus Joyner walk in the offseason to join the Oakland Raiders, and Weddle will take over for him. There won’t be much of a roster battle here at all. Weddle will split some time with rookie Taylor Rapp, but the Rams signed the former Ravens safety to be another leader in the secondary, and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.
Three Plays on Tape
Eric Weddle showing up in run support! pic.twitter.com/1ZB937hvkW
— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) October 1, 2018
The Rams struggled against the run last season, and while Weddle is 34 years old and might be playing his final season, he’s not afraid to help out in run support. If James Connor gets past Weddle, this might be a touchdown. Instead, Weddle fills the gap and stops Connor in his tracks.
Wondering what the Rams are getting in Eric Weddle? Watch this clip. He’s like a coach on the field.
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 13, 2019
This is precisely why the Rams signed Weddle. He’s like having another coach on the field. There’s a reason he’ll be the player with the headset in his helmet. There aren’t many safeties in the league, let alone NFL history with the football IQ of Weddle.
Bengals have some routes inside that should free one of these guys up.
Ravens FS Eric Weddle noticed his slot DB was in danger of being picked and moves him back. pic.twitter.com/XMHh09zJtB
— JG (@JoeGoodberry) November 20, 2018
Again, this is such a heads up play by Weddle. He notices that his cornerback is about to be the target of a pick play and runs down to tell him to move back. This should be a natural pitch and catch play from quarterback to wide receiver. Instead, the cornerback is there, and the play doesn’t get made.
Can Eric Weddle still play?
Let’s face the facts here. Weddle is 34 years old, but father time always takes over. There’s no question that the football IQ is still there, but at some point, players lose a step as they get older. Weddle will be valuable to the Rams no matter what and with Taylor Rapp behind him, the team has great depth at the position.
2019 Outlook and Role
At 34 years old, the Rams will have some time management in place to keep Weddle fresh. The first-year Ram is going to be the team’s starting safety but will still split time with Rapp. Weddle will also be the player that wears the headset on the field and be the “quarterback of the defense.”
Chances of Making Final Roster
The Rams signed Weddle to a two-year deal worth just more than $10M. He’s going to be on the roster and will be the team’s primary safety next to John Johnson.