THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – After linebacker Justin Hollins was waived by the Rams on Tuesday, it naturally led to questions about who would absorb the snaps and playing time vacated by his departure.
According to head coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, the answer is outside linebacker Terrell Lewis and defensive lineman Michael Hoecht.
"For the most part, we were repping Mike Hoecht out there a little bit as well because of his athleticism, the body brings, the ability to set the edge in the run," Morris said Wednesday. "So you get some T-Lew, some Mike Hoecht, obviously some Flo (Leonard Floyd), and obviously we got a young stable of guys out there that are probably fighting for opportunities this week."
Lewis has produced 13 total tackles, three QB hits and one sack while playing in all 10 games this season and also sharing time at the edge spot opposite Leonard Floyd with Hollins. Hollins made five starts during those 10 games, while Lewis made two – both coming in the last two weeks.
The bulk of Lewis' production came across the first three games of the season, when he tallied eight total tackles (one for loss), one sack, two QB hits and one interception. He indicated having more regular playing time will be beneficial.
"I think it'll give me more opportunity to kind of just showcase my skills and be out there even more consistently," Lewis told theRams.com.
Hoecht, meanwhile, has primarily contributed on special teams, but that's still given him a chance to show off his aforementioned athleticism. He blocked a punt in Los Angeles' 20-12 win at the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3, then had a 22-yard kickoff return against the Carolina Panthers three weeks later.
"I think our coaches do a good job of that – scheduling practice so that everybody's getting reps and everybody's ready to jump into the defense whenever anything like this happens," Hoecht told theRams.com "So I feel very confident, feel very prepared if my number gets called."
Big games from both would go a long way for the Rams' pass rush, especially against a quarterback like the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown for three or more touchdowns in six of the Chiefs' first 10 games.
Sunday will be a big opportunity.
"We got to get better play, got to get some other people to play and do some different things," Morris said. "So we'll get a chance to see some of the other guys going out there and get a chance to get those guys to play, get those chance to get those guys a chance to rush."