While most of the Los Angeles Rams starters will not be playing in the preseason, perhaps the most important position battle to keep an eye on is the starting defensive tackle spot opposite of Aaron Donald.
There currently are three players battling for the job in Sebastian Joseph-Day, Greg Gaines and Tanzel Smart, and they are all expected to see plenty of time in the preseason to give head coach Sean McVay enough film to properly evaluate them.
So far in practices though, McVay has been impressed with all three players have to offer, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“Those are three guys that have definitely made a name for themselves and we’re closely looking at to see what kind of role they shape and carve out for themselves come regular season.”
Joseph-Day has the most experience of the bunch, but Gaines has been drawing rave reviews since the Rams drafted him out of Washington. It appears that Joseph-Day is the favorite to earn the starting spot, but both Gaines and Smart are doing what is necessary to stay in the conversation:
Joseph-Day has been a “bright spot” for the Rams because of how he’s picked up where he left off from training camp, according to McVay, while the rookie Gaines is becoming more confident and comfortable within the system. McVay said Smart’s ability to play both the three-technique and nose tackle, plus his dependability, makes him very valuable to Los Angeles.
The Rams take on the Dallas Cowboys in the second preseason game on Saturday night in Hawaii. All three will likely split duties at defensive tackle, so that will certainly be something for fans to keep an eye on during the game.