The Los Angeles Rams not only suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, but they additionally lost one of their most productive defensive players for the foreseeable future in Clay Matthews.
The six-time Pro Bowler broke his jaw after being kicked in the face by Seahawks running back Chris Carson late in the fourth quarter. He underwent surgery last week and will be sidelined for roughly a month with hopes of returning in Week 10 after the Rams’ bye.
Filling the void of Matthews for the time being figures to be Samson Ebukam, who is expected to make his first start of the season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
The third-year linebacker out of Eastern Washington has been reduced to a rotational role this season following the offseason signings of Matthews and Dante Fowler Jr.
Ebukam, with previous starting experience in years past, is now setting his sights on replicating Matthews’ production, via Gary Klein of the L.A. Times:
“I’m going to do my best to keep the seat warm for him,” Ebukam said. “I know what kind of impact player that he is. Definitely try to do my best just to live up to his reputation.”
Prior to Matthews’ arrival, Ebukam was penciled into one of the Rams’ starting spots at outside linebacker. He logged 14 starts at the position during the 2018 season and was mostly effective, recording 40 tackles, three sacks and one interception in 16 overall games.
Ebukam hopes to use that experience to his advantage as he receives more snaps in Matthews’ absence:
“It’s a different mind-set because you know that you’re going to be in there like 90% of the time, but I’ve done it before,” Ebukam said. “So I’m comfortable in knowing that I’m going to be able to do it again.”
Ebukam most notably enjoyed the best game of his career in a 54-51 shootout victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last season, registering three tackles and one sack while returning both a fumble and interception for touchdowns.
While the Rams will certainly miss Matthews’ presence on the field, Ebukam has proven that he can sufficiently fill in for the future Hall-of-Famer.
The Rams’ defense is also slated to improve with the expected returns of rookie safety Taylor Rapp and linebacker Bryce Hager this week, who are both trending in the right direction to play.
The post Rams News: Samson Ebukam Hoping To ‘Keep The Seat Warm’ For Clay Matthews As He Recovers From Broken Jaw appeared first on Rams Nation.