How Will L.A. Replace Kayvon Webster?

When cornerback Kayvon Webster signed with the Rams back in March, it was to become a starting cornerback.

The South Florida product had spent the first four years of his career with the Broncos — two of them with now-Los Angeles defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. But he was mainly a special teams contributor, as Denver's secondary was one of the strongest in the league.

And so Webster reunited with his former defensive coordinator in Southern California, and the move paid dividends. Webster started 10 games for Los Angeles, showing his skills as a strong tackler throughout the year. He totaled 43 tackles with eight pass breakups and an interception — recorded in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Eagles.

But Webster's season also ended on Sunday, as he suffered a ruptured Achilles and has since been placed on injured reserve.

"That's a tough person to replace," head coach Sean McVay said. "Kayvon's meant a lot to our football team and what he demonstrates day in and day out."

But the Rams will have to implement the "next-man-up mentality" that gets talked about so often around the league. Cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill, and Kevin Peterson will all likely have to step up in Webster's stead opposite Trumaine Johnson.

"It's going to be a great opportunity for Troy Hill to step up. Nickell Robey will continue to play an expanded for us," McVay said. "Trumaine's going to have to continue to play at a high level. And then Kevin Peterson. So those are the guys who will have to be ready to go at the corner spot."

McVay indicated there's a chance Hill could be the first one out on Sunday, but much of that will hinge upon how the Seahawks choose to line up offensively.

"[D]ependent upon whatever personnel grouping we're going to match with what they present, there will be some situations where Troy will be in there," McVay said. "We have a lot of confidence in Troy and I thought he did a great job last week, especially against such a good offense like Philadelphia."

Robey-Coleman may also contribute on the outside. It's something he's done a bit this year — particularly when Webster was out for two games earlier in the season.

"He's a great competitor," Phillips said. "He's especially good against the slot. I'd say one of the better if not the best in the league playing against the slot receiver. So he give you that all the time. We've played basically base defense against three wide-receiver offense and put him as the slot guy this year and it's been successful for us.

"But outside, size — you're always worried about size. But with him you're worried about size anytime," Phillips continued. "He makes plays that you think a smaller guy can't make, but he does."

Robey-Coleman said this week that the biggest adjustment the players will have to make is in how they communicate with one another. 

"We are such a brotherhood in that room, it's so tight in that room and the communication is so clean that there is really no drop off," Robey-Coleman said. "But who you are communicating with and how you communicate with them is very important. I communicate differently with Troy then I do with K-Webb, but I think that's normal because it's just different people and they have different things they feel comfortable with. I feel like that's normal and part of the game, but schematically we're still on the same page."

But the element that should help L.A. the most this week in dealing with Webster's absence is the preparation time.

"When you have to adjust during the game itself, it's a problem. If you've got a week to practice and do those things, it's a lot better," Phillips said. "So, we've got guys who have played, certainly. But if they get a week of preparation, it's a lot better."

Kristen Lago contributed reporting.

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