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Defensive Secondary Injuries Will Test Rams Depth Vs. Jacksonville This Weekend

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By Cedric Williams

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22:   Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by Cortland Finnegan #31 of the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Credit, Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 

With three of its prime defensive secondary players unable to practice on Thursday, it’s looking more and more like the St. Louis Rams will have to dig deep into its bench to find bodies to man the cornerback and safety positions this Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Edward Jones Dome.

With cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) and Trumaine Johnson (illness), and rookie safety T.J. McDonald (fractured leg) out of action — McDonald will be out at least two months — the Rams might only have second-year corner Janoris Jenkins in his regular spot at left corner on Sunday.

The only other healthy players in the Rams secondary are safeties Rodney McLeod, Darian Stewart, and Matt Giordano.

The latter two, just came back from injuries themselves, and McLeod spent most of last week playing nickel corner covering receivers in the slot.

Needless to say, the Rams secondary will be a patchwork job at best this weekend.

“We actually have a chance to, I guess, put more experience in the secondary now with ‘Stew’ coming back and ‘Gio’ on different (packages) here and there,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “So we’ll be fine. Our numbers aren’t ideal, but we’ll get through it.”

Giordano and Stewart both played significant minutes in the second half last week against San Francisco, and if it turns out neither Finnegan nor Johnson are able to play this Sunday, the former two will likely start at safety.

“Those guys will do a fine job,” defensive coordinator Tim Walton said of Stewart and Giordano. “It just comes back to fundamental football. They have to come in, take things slow, do their job, look at the right things, and play assignment football. That’ll get you through the game reps that you haven’t had so far, and they’ll do that.”

Although backup players on the Rams roster this season, both Giordano and Stewart are familiar with the starting role.

Giordano started 13 games for Oakland last season, and Stewart started 13 games for St. Louis in 2011.

St. Louis Rams Injury Report

  • Rodger Saffold (knee)
  • William Hayes (hip)
  • Cortland Finnegan (thigh)
  • Trumaine Johnson (illness)
  • Brandon McGee (thigh)
  • Will Witherspoon (thigh)
  • Matt Conrath (concussion)

Jacksonville Jaguars Injury Report

  • Stephen Burton (concussion)
  • Mike Brown (back)
  • Dwayne Gratz (ankle)
  • Mercedes Lewis (wrist)
  • Anthony Davis (calf)
  • Dwight Lowery (concussion)
  • Jeremy Mincey (concussion)
  • Roy Miller (shoulder)
  • Cecil Shorts (groin)
  • Alan Ball (groin)
  • Geno Hayes (hip flexor0
  • Denard Robinson (hamstring
  • Mike Harris (Not Injury Related

For more Rams news and updates, visit Rams Central.

Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at cedricwilliams510@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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