Sometimes in life, when people start their new job, mistakes will be made early. And the Los Angeles Rams‘ newest defensive coordinator Raheem Morris revealed the first mistake he made at his new post to reporters on Monday.
Before the Saturday game against the L.A. Chargers, rookie linebacker Ernest Jones was given the green dot (meaning he calls the defensive signals after receiving them from the helmet mic inside his helmet). However, during the opening drive that ate up nearly 10 minutes and took 21 plays, Morris shared his Rams rookie mistake.
“The first drive, I’m pushing the wrong button trying to talk to Ernest,” Morris said to the L.A. media following Monday’s practice at Thousand Oaks. “I couldn’t get him. Earnest couldn’t hear me.”
Rookie Third Rounder Stays Composed
So, Morris made his first mishap on his first game as a Ram. With a rookie linebacker tasked with calling the defense, Jones was left to fend on his own and call the plays.
Most rookies would crumble or get overwhelmed. But not the first-year player from South Carolina. Jones helped force the Chargers field goal unit onto the field after that long drive by staying composed.
Morris Impressed with Jones’ Debut
Jones was one of two rookie linebackers starting for the Rams in the 13-6 loss to the Chargers – the other being seventh rounder Chris Garrett who manned one of the outside spots opposite of Justin Lawler.
He was also one of three of the four defensive draft picks from the 2021 class who got the start (cornerback Robert Rochell was held out due to injury).
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jones ended his night with three assisted tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, Jones was in on 38 defensive snaps and along with the tackles, he had one quarterback hurry. Against the passing game, Jones was targeted six times and surrendered four receptions for 22 yards. However, he read one screen pass perfectly and and blew that play up. Morris spoke of his decision to give the 21-year-old Jones the green dot.
“We have a bunch of guys who can go out and absolutely run the show. And he was one of them,” Morris said.
And just when it looked like disaster would strike early for the Rams defense because of a signal error, Jones was one of the Rams who helped bail out the defense…and his defensive coordinator.
“So when he went out there as one of the younger guys and was able to run the show, he looked comfortable. He felt calm,” Morris said.
Yet, how was Jones able to call the defense with no voice inside his helmet?
“He was able to get across a couple of alerts to the guys,” Morris said. “He felt really comfortable and poised with the guys.”
Jones Taking the Middle & Green Dot Seriously
Following Saturday night’s game, Jones told reporters he’s embracing playing inside.
“It means a lot to me. I take pride in being that guy in the middle,” Jones said. “That’s always what I wanted to be. So anytime the coaches get more comfortable with me playing and being able to control that type of stuff, it means a lot for me.”
Another thing he embraces? The small green coloring on his helmet that he got to wear.
“I love that too,” Jones said. “I don’t want to come off the field anyways, but that green dot keeps you in a little bit more. So I love that.”