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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron DaSilva

Raheem Morris: Derion Kendrick has ‘been outstanding’ but David Long Jr. will have bigger role

Derion Kendrick was a sixth-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams this year, so he wasn’t expected to contribute a ton as a rookie – especially with such a deep group at cornerback. But by Week 3, he was a starter in the secondary. Since then, he’s played at least 86% of the snaps each week.

Kendrick had his share of ups and downs, but all things considered, he held up relatively well at cornerback when Troy Hill, David Long Jr. and Cobie Durant went down.

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Moving forward, however, Kendrick’s role could be reduced. Raheem Morris indicated that Kendrick will likely be the No. 4 cornerback with Hill and Long fully back from injury now.

“He’s been outstanding. First of all, let’s talk about being a rookie and then being thrusted into that role when he went out there,” Morris said. “Troy went down, D-Lo went down. Those guys came back, they had more limited roles, eased them back into it a little bit. D-Lo last week playing dime, Troy came back in last week, assumed the base. This week we can get a little bit more D-Lo, a little bit more Troy, little bit more Jalen (Ramsey), getting back to how we were to start the season. Still possibly a little bit of DK, but for a rookie being thrusted out there in those situations versus Tom Brady, you’ve got to give the guy a lot of credit.”

Kendrick was on the wrong end of two pass interference penalties against the Buccaneers on Sunday, which Morris called “judgment calls.” The second pass interference call came against Mike Evans in the end zone with 16 seconds left, leading to the game-winning touchdown with 9 seconds to play.

Morris loves the way Kendrick has responded and says no one in the Rams’ locker room blamed him for the outcome.

“That last one, had a nice double team, Tom (Brady) and a nice play throwing through the second window, you get forced to the next window, try to make a play to lose that football game is tough,” Morris added. “And that’s tough on anybody, not just a rookie, but particularly being a rookie in those situations is a lot. I give him nothing but credit, how he handled himself, his composure, his mental toughness, his ability to stay connected with his team and his guys having his back. I don’t think there’s one person that turned their back on him for giving up a game-winning touchdown, cause that’s what’s happened. That’s the reality you’ve got to deal with as a corner.”

The Rams could still need Kendrick down the line if Ramsey, Hill or Long were to get hurt, and he’s firmly ahead of both Durant and Robert Rochell, so this should be viewed as an encouraging rookie year for him – even if there were some unfortunate plays.

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