Reflecting back on a season ago, it's remarkable that the Rams became the best defense in football despite losing a starter to a season-ending injury deep in training camp.
He was a bit of an unknown commodity then, as a former seventh round selection. And again, going into this year, not many are talking about inside linebacker Travin Howard being a key to combatting these ultra-competitive NFC West offenses.
But that's how I see him, as perhaps the most interesting piece to the puzzle on defense, as the player on the roster most capable of delivering some of what Cory Littleton gave the Rams in 2018 and 2019.
As he told us on this recent episode of Rams Revealed, Howard is less than 12 months removed from breaking down in tears in the parking lot of the team's facility in Thousand Oaks. TCU's only three-time leading tackler had moments during injury rehabilitation when he wondered if his brief window of NFL opportunity had just closed.
Back from a 2020-ending MCL tear, thankfully his shot has not been lost. In fact, Howard's very much in the mix to regain that starting position when the Rams report for Training Camp in Irvine this summer.
However, his position group is deeper and more competitive this time around.
Kenny Young and Micah Kiser now have meaningful game experience. Troy Reeder continues to make the most of his spot starts. And recently, Los Angeles drafted another inside linebacker in Ernest Jones, whose expectations are about as high as I can recall for a Ram selected outside the Top 100.
We dive into all of that in this podcast, as well as Howard's favorite play in the league, his hometown's prolific roster of professional athletes, a meaningful number change, and the latest on his ELITE clothing brand.