Aqib Talib

Rams Activate Aqib Talib From IR

The Rams officially activated cornerback Aqib Talib from injured reserve. Talib, who was designated for return earlier this week, is likely on course to play this Sunday against the Lions.

Talib’s return is huge for a Rams defense that has struggled in recent weeks. Talib’s surgically repaired ankle is good to go, and he’ll help a unit that has allowed at least 27 points in the past four games. In Talib’s three games with the team, the Rams allowed 0, 13 and 23 points, though two of those contests were against the Raiders and Cardinals.

Before the injury, Talib had a reputation for durability. From 2012-2017, he never missed more than three games in a season.

The 10-1 Rams have pretty much clinched the NFC West. If they beat the Lions, they’ll take another step towards securing a first-round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Designate Aqib Talib For IR Return

Going into their December slate, the Rams will have a key piece of their defense back on the field.

The Rams designated Aqib Talib for an IR return on Monday. This matches up with the timeline Talib gave recently. He will be eligible to return this weekend against the Lions but has 21 days to be activated.

Either way, this should be a critical boost for a Rams defense that’s struggled in recent weeks. Talib was placed on IR because of an ankle injury, for which he underwent surgery. He’ll return to practice in advance of Los Angeles’ Week 13 preparations.

Coming off their historic 54-51 win over the Chiefs, the Rams obviously are one of the NFL’s Super Bowl favorites. But they’ve now allowed at least 27 points in their past four games, with their past three opponents eclipsing the 30-point barrier. In Talib’s three games with the team, the Rams allowed 0, 13 and 23 points. Granted, two of those performances were wins over the Raiders and Cardinals, but could be a significant development for a dominant team.

The Rams gave up a fifth-round pick for Talib, who is signed through the 2019 season. Fellow trade acquisition Marcus Peters has struggled for much of this season, so it will be interesting to see how he fares when working with Talib again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aqib Talib Targeting Week 13 Return

Aqib Talib underwent ankle surgery more than a month ago, but the Rams weren’t planning for the former All-Pro cornerback to miss the rest of the season. It looks like that’s still going to be the case, and Talib may not be out any longer than he’s forced to be.

Talib said during an NFL Network interview (via ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez, on Twitter) he expects to be full go by Week 13. That’s the first game for which he’d be eligible to return from IR. The Rams face the Lions that week, which follows their Week 12 bye.

The Rams could certainly use the help in coverage. They rank 15th in pass defense DVOA and have seen trade acquisition Marcus Peters fail to live up to expectations. The former All-Pro and defensive rookie of the year has been regularly beaten in coverage this season, with Michael Thomas‘ 72-yard, game-clinching touchdown the latest example. Although, slot man Nickell Robey-Coleman‘s remained one of the best at his position.

Familiar with Wade Phillips‘ system far more than Peters, Talib returning would bring a key element for the Super Bowl-contending Rams. They explored cornerback help at the deadline but instead used 2019 draft capital to acquire Dante Fowler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams CB Aqib Talib Expected Back This Season

When cornerback Aqib Talib was placed on the injured reserve earlier this week, there seemed to be some optimism surrounding an eventual return. Rams coach Sean McVay echoed that sentiment on Friday, telling reporters that he expects the veteran to return before the end of the regular season.

“We’re very encouraged,” McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry). “And I know Aqib feels that way and we’re looking forward to getting him back. I don’t know exactly what that date would be but I know that the anticipation is to get him back.”

Talb suffered a high ankle sprain in the Rams’ win over the Chargers on Sunday, and there was initially some worry that his subsequent surgery “would reveal a season-ending injury.” That didn’t end up being the case, but the Rams still placed the 32-year-old on the IR. Talib will be eligible to return during the first week of December.

After having made five straight Pro Bowls, the Rams acquired Talib from the Broncos back in March. The defensive back had started each of his three games with Los Angeles, compiling nine tackles, two passes defended, and a forced fumble. During his absence, the Rams will likely turn to one of Nickell Robey-Coleman or Sam Shields to team up with Marcus Peters in the starting lineup. The team is also rostering cornerbacks Troy Hill and Dominique Hatfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Place CB Aqib Talib On IR

The Rams have placed cornerback Aqib Talib on injured reserve with an ankle injury, according to a team announcement. Talib will have surgery on Thursday, but the good news is that he has not been ruled out for a return later this year.

Talb suffered a high ankle sprain in the Rams’ win over the Chargers on Sunday. It’s a tough blow to a Rams D that may also be without fellow starting corner Marcus Peters for a period.

Nickell Robey-Coleman and Sam Shields are the next men up, but Robey-Coleman is the team’s slot specialist and Shields has hardly played over the last two years due to severe concussion trouble, though he has been active in the Rams’ first three contests.

Talib has not missed more than three games in a season since his 2012 campaign with the Buccaneers and Patriots. Unfortunately, that streak has come to an end.

To take Talib’s place on the roster, the Rams have promoted fellow cornerback Dominique Hatfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aqib Talib To Undergo Surgery

Aqib Talib is expected to miss around a month of action because of a high ankle sprain suffered in the Rams’ win over the Chargers. However, this process will now include a surgery.

Sean McVay confirmed Talib will have surgery on Thursday (per The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore, on Twitter). He’s been declared out for Thursday’s game against the Vikings, and McVay isn’t sure how long it will take Talib to recover from this operation, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

An IR stay for the 11th-year defender hasn’t yet been mentioned. The Rams are set to face the Vikings in a key NFC game Thursday and may not have either Talib or Marcus Peters for it. Peters is battling a calf strain and is day-to-day, per McVay.

This will be a blow to a Rams team flush with star talent on defense. Nickell Robey-Coleman and Sam Shields represent the next men up, but Robey-Coleman serves as Los Angeles’ slot corner. Shields missed all but one game during the 2016 and ’17 seasons due to severe concussion trouble. He’s played in 48 snaps across three Rams games this season, however. The former Packers top corner is still just 30.

Talib has not missed more than three games in a season since his 2012 campaign with the Buccaneers and Patriots. He missed three games for the 2016 Broncos but still earned his first-team All-Pro honor. He missed one game last season, but that was for his fight with Michael Crabtree.

Following their home Vikings tilt, the Rams have road trips scheduled for Seattle, Denver and San Francisco. It appears unlikely Talib will be healthy enough to face the Broncos in Week 6.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aqib Talib Out At Least A Month

More bad news for the Rams’ defense as star cornerback Aqib Talib has a high ankle sprain and will miss at least a month of action according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

It comes on the heels of the news that fellow cornerback Marcus Peters would miss some time due to a calf strain. Both players suffered their lower leg injuries in yesterday’s win over the Chargers. It means the Rams’ secondary will likely be extremely short-handed when they take on the Vikings on Thursday Night Football just three days from now.

The Rams’ defense was already a little banged up, with starting inside linebacker Mark Barron missing the first three games due to an Achilles injury. It’s a significant blow to Los Angeles’ new-look defense, as both Talib and Peters were prized acquisitions this offseason, tasked with replacing departed free agent Trumaine Johnson in the secondary. Talib and Peters had mostly shutdown opposing wideouts the first few games, with very few passes targeted their way. Through three games, Talib notched nine tackles, a pair of passes defended, and a forced fumble.

Talib, 32, is in the 11th year of his career and playing on his fourth team. The five-time Pro Bowler was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round back in 2008. After a successful run in Denver where he won a Super Bowl, Talib was traded to the Rams for a fifth round pick this offseason. Former Packers starter Sam Shields figures to see the biggest increase in playing time while Talib is on the shelf.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aqib Talib On Blocking Trade To 49ers

In March, Broncos GM John Elway reached agreement on a deal to send Aqib Talib to the 49ers for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft. Or, so he thought. Talib blocked the deal, forcing Elway to instead send the cornerback to the Rams for a 2018 fifth-round choice. In an interview with Andy Benoit of SI.com, Talib said the notion of going to San Francisco was a non-starter for him. 

I told [Elway], ‘I ain’t even gonna take no physical in San Fran, so there won’t be no trade,’” Talib said.

Ultimately, Talib was willing to play for only three teams – the Rams, Patriots, and Cowboys. The veteran cited familiarity – both on-and off-the-field – as the reason for his three-team list.

I’m going on year 11, man. I’m not trying to go learn a whole new system. I wanted to go somewhere I’d be comfortable.” Talib said. “I’m comfortable if I can live at my house in Dallas and go just around the corner to work. I cut my bills in half. Or if I can go play in a defensive scheme that I’ve played in before. So I told him Dallas, New England or L.A.

Ultimately, Talib got his way as he reunited with Wade Phillips in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Rams assumed his contract, which calls for $11MM in 2018 and $8MM in 2019. Talib reportedly would have also been okay with an outright release, but he has no complaints after landing with one of his preferred teams – a Rams club that has gone to great lengths to improve its defense.

In addition to Talib, the Rams have also added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters. On the other side of the Ball, the Rams brought in Brandin Cooks to offset the loss of Sammy Watkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams HC Sean McVay Discusses Offseason, Cooks, Talib

The Rams are going to have plenty of pressure on them heading into next season. Following a 2017 campaign that saw them win 11 games and earn their first playoff appearance in more than a decade, the franchise loaded up this offseason.

While the team let go of players like Sammy Watkins, Trumaine JohnsonAlec Ogletree and Robert Quinn, they seemingly found upgrades in Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh . Clearly, there will be a lot of pressure on this talented squad, but it sounds like Sean McVay is ready for the challenge.

The Rams head coach recently sat down with Myles Simmons of TheRams.com to discuss his offseason additions and the team’s expectations in 2018. The whole interview is worth checking out, but we’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below:

How OTAs have been going, especially when it comes to adding new players into the system:

“I think it’s been really good. There’s been a lot of good competition, guys getting familiar with our systems, continuing to learn each other — how to compete but be smart doing it. And I think we’re just starting to see guys just continue to make improvements one day at a time. Our coaches are doing a great job. So want to wrap up OTAs the right way next week.”

On the acquistion of wideout Brandin Cooks, and how his addition will help quarterback Jared Goff:

“Yeah, I think with Brandin, and then being able to play alongside such a great receiving corps that we have in place, he’s been a nice addition. Feel really good watching the way he’s been able to implement himself into our offense by the way he’s learned, how conscientious he is in meetings. And he’s a guy — if you just look at, really, his career — he is a really fast player, but he can do everything. He plays big for a smaller-stature guy. But he’s strong. He can win short, he can win intermediate, he can go down the field. So I think you’re really not limited in any way that you can utilize him. And there’s a reason why he’s had over 1,000 yards and [at least] seven touchdowns each of the last three years. And he’s a special player for sure.”

On the addition of cornerback Aqib Talib, and how his veteran presence will help the defense:

“Well I think like anybody else, he’s had a lot of success in this league. But I think he leads by being able to connect with the players, and then going out and doing things the right way with the way he practices, the way he is in meetings. I’ve been extremely impressed watching him from afar. I was with him in Tampa his rookie year, and now just getting a chance to reconnect with him — smart player, cerebral. Seen a lot of different things, understands concepts. And then he’s also got the athleticism to match up with it. And he’s very comfortable having played in this system with coach Phillips in Denver. So, it’s been a seamless transition for him so far. And we feel really good about having Aqib with us.”

On how much Talib’s relationship with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips influenced the acquisition:

“Oh, it’s huge. I think that’s one of the things you feel so good about, is that a lot of the players that we’ve acquired from outside the organization have been people that have worked with some members of our coaching staff. And Wade in particular with the knowledge and experience that he has, he’s got a great feel for personnel around this league. And having worked with some great players, you hear guys want to come play for him because of the way he works with those guys, the way he puts them in position to have success. And Aqib is very similar. And, like I said, extremely pleased that we got him and it’s a real credit to Les and his staff for getting that trade done.”

On first-year quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor:

“Yeah I think when you look at Zac, great college quarterback, had some success playing professionally, Big 12 Player of the Year. He’s got a great even-keel demeanor and disposition. He’s been a coordinator, when he called plays for the Dolphins. He was at the University of Cincinnati. But I think he’s just got such a great perspective and a really good way about relating to the players, communicating in a clear, open, and honest fashion. And that demeanor, that disposition — especially dealing with the quarterback position — I think is perfect. Extremely detail-oriented. Been really pleased with what he’s done. And he’s another guy, having had him in place, getting to work with our receivers last year, and now watching the way he’s interacting with Jared, with Sean, and with Brandon — it’s been a really seamless transition. And he’s done a really good job so far.”

On avoiding a “boom-or-bust” mentality:

“I think the NFL is so competitive — don’t really look at it like that. Look at it as, we feel confident with the players that we have, with our coaches. And we’re focused on getting better every single day. And I think in the short amount of time that I’ve been fortunate to work in this league, you realize how competitive all 32 teams are — the other 31 teams other than us. And [they’ve got] great coaches, great players. And you can’t afford to kind of get complacent. You’ve got to always focus on getting better one day at a time, establishing a standard of performance and how our process guides our everyday approach — and that’s the one day at a time. And you can’t really get caught up in things that we can’t control. We kind of just want to be just want to be where our feet our planted, and that’s being present in the day and controlling what we can control.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Smith, Manziel, Rams

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Former Raiders and 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith is “being transferred to an inpatient substance abuse treatment center as he awaits his next court date” (via ESPN.com). Smith was arrested last week after violating the conditions of his monitoring. The “order for Smith to remain in custody in rehab” is indefinite, according to a spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney’s office. Last month, Smith pleaded not guilty to domestic violence charges following a March incident. The Raiders still released the trouble defender soon after the initial arrest.
  • The CFL could provide quarterback Johnny Manziel with a path back to the NFL, but Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes that the transition wouldn’t be immediate. A source told the reporter that the CFL won’t “soften” the rule that requires a two-year commitment from their players, meaning if Manziel joined the league, he wouldn’t be able to sign with an NFL team until at least 2020. Florio writes that the quarterback could shift his focus to the Alliance of American Football, a spring league that is set to launch in 2019.
  • In an interview with TheRams.com, recently-acquired cornerback Aqib Talib explained why he wanted to be traded to the Rams. “Well, I’m in the later half of my career and I just wanted to be comfortable,” Talib said. “Wherever I went, I wanted to be comfortable and there was no time in the NFL where I was more comfortable playing football than with Wade Phillips. He’€™s like a guru at putting guys in position to succeed. So if I was going to go somewhere I wanted to be comfortable and I’€™m definitely comfortable here in L.A.”
  • The Rams are already working on a new deal with Aaron Donald, and general manager Les Snead acknowledged that the defensive tackle will ultimately make more than new teammate Ndamukong Suh. “The nice thing about Ndamukong,” Snead said during an appearance on The MMQB Podcast with Peter King (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com), “at age 31 and somebody who’s been the highest-paid defensive player in football, winning was very important in this phase of his career…He’s well aware that when you can partner, be beside someone who is on the verge of being the highest-paid defensive player in football, then that’s a really good thing. I guess you’d say two is better than one.”