Noth­ing’s hold­ing Talib back this week

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - [email protected]­times.com Twit­ter: @la­timesklein By Gary Klein

Af­ter play­ing only one half in his re­turn from an an­kle in­jury, Aqib Talib aims to go the dis­tance.

The Rams cor­ner­back in­tends to be on the field for ev­ery im­por­tant de­fen­sive snap Sun­day night against the Chicago Bears at Sol­dier Field.

That’s the plan, coach Sean McVay said Fri­day.

“His lead­er­ship and his pro­duc­tion has cer­tainly given us a boost,” McVay said. “You just feel his pres­ence out there on the field.”

The Rams’ sec­ondary, torched by Kirk Cousins, Rus­sell Wil­son, Aaron Rodgers and Pa­trick Ma­homes dur­ing Talib’s eight-game ab­sence, fared bet­ter against Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions with the 10-year vet­eran on the field.

Talib said com­mu­ni­ca­tion was good dur­ing his stint in the Rams’ 30-16 vic­tory over the Lions last Sun­day.

“A lot of guys on their job in the right place,” he said this week. “We just got to build on that.”

Cor­ner­back Mar­cus Peters said it was good to have Talib back in the lineup.

“It al­lows for us to have that much more of an edge on both cor­ners,” Peters said. “Just do your job and plays will come.”

De­fen­sive line­man Aaron Don­ald also looks for­ward to a full game with Talib.

“You def­i­nitely feel a lot more com­fort­able hav­ing a vet­eran guy like that … a big­time play­maker like he is,” Don­ald said.

More than an edge

Line­backer Dante Fowler was ac­quired at the trade dead­line to strengthen the pass rush.

The third pick in the 2015 draft has pro­vided that off the edge but also has proved ef­fec­tive as a rusher and run­stop­per on first and sec­ond downs.

Fowler stripped the ball from Wil­son dur­ing a Week 10 vic­tory over the Sea­hawks, ap­plied pres­sure against the Kansas City Chiefs and made key stops against the Lions.

“Just be­ing able to slowly but surely show peo­ple the type of player that I am,” Fowler said. “A three-down player, a guy than can play all four quar­ters, and when it’s time to make big plays I can make that hap­pen too.”

Ready to go

The first and only carry of Justin Davis’ NFL ca­reer came in the first game of his rookie sea­son.

“In trash time,” Davis said, re­call­ing the one-yard gain against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts in the 2017 opener.

On Sun­day night, Davis goes prime time.

The for­mer USC run­ning back and rookie John Kelly will serve as back­ups to Todd Gur­ley.

Davis and Kelly are fill­ing in for Mal­colm Brown, who typ­i­cally re­places Gur­ley for a few plays or a se­ries in each game.

“If they've got to step in, if Todd needs a blow, then both those guys will be ready to go,” McVay said.

Davis, signed by the Rams af­ter the 2017 draft, has been ac­tive for eight games this sea­son but has played only on spe­cial teams.

That could be his role again Sun­day, but he is ea­ger to carry the ball if the op­por­tu­nity arises.

Davis rushed for 41 yards in seven car­ries in the pre­sea­son opener at Bal­ti­more but suf­fered an an­kle in­jury that pre­vented him from play­ing in the re­main­ing three games.

Sun­day night’s game could present an op­por­tu­nity for Davis’ first reg­u­lar-sea­son carry in 15 months.

“If I look back at who I was when I got that first carry last year to now, I’m com­pletely dif­fer­ent, night and day, way more com­fort­able,” Davis said.

A week of prac­tice, and reps, with the first-team of­fense helped.

“First days I’m al­ways get­ting my bear­ing straight,” Davis said. “But as the week went on, I was way more com­fort­able and I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Dur­ing the pre­sea­son, Kelly rushed for 197 yards and three touch­downs in 46 car­ries.

Etc.

Bears quar­ter­back Mitchell Tru­bisky, who sat out two games be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury, was a full par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice Fri­day and is on track to start against the Rams. … Punter Johnny Hekker does not an­tic­i­pate be­ing ad­versely af­fected by chilly tem­per­a­tures or wind at Sol­dier Field. Nei­ther does snap­per Jake McQuaide. “You just play the wind a lit­tle bit, just like you would if you were kick­ing or throw­ing,” McQuaide said. “Nor­mally, I try to hit Johnny on his right hip. But if the wind is blow­ing from right to left, I’ll aim out­side his right hip. And if it’s go­ing the other way, left hip.”

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