Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis and Justin Hollins have separated themselves at OLB

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Entering training camp, it was pretty clear that Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis were the top candidates to start at outside linebacker opposite Leonard Floyd. They won’t be one-for-one replacements for Von Miller, but they’re the Rams’ best options.

Nothing in practice seemed to change that, but when the Rams released their first unofficial depth chart, Lewis was listed as a third-stringer – a shocking development that caught us off-guard. Fortunately, the Rams quickly updated the depth chart and have since listed him on the same line as Hollins as a co-starter.

After practice on Monday, Sean McVay left no doubt that Hollins and Lewis are the top edge rushers alongside Floyd.

“I think those three (Hollins, Lewis, Floyd) have separated,” McVay said. “Obviously, Leonard has been a great player for us for the last couple years and then I thought Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis did an outstanding job earlier on in the season really being able to play off one of their opposite. Those guys have done a really good job. It’s been good to see them. That’s kind of where we’re at right now. There’s other guys that are in the mix. The Hardys, the Chris Garretts … I think when you really look at it with Leonard establishing himself as one of those guys, and we feel good about what Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis have done opposite Flo if you were to have to answer that right now.”

He didn’t specify which one, Hollins or Lewis, will work as the official starter on the defensive front. There’s still time to determine that with three weeks left until the season opener. Neither will play in the preseason, so it’ll strictly come down to practices.

Lewis may not be on the field as often as Hollins, however, because the Rams plan to always manage his workload to guard against his knee flaring up again.

“I think we’ll always manage him,” McVay said of Lewis. “You don’t want to get to where, if his knee does flare up and start bothering him again, I think we want to be proactive and get ahead of that just based on some of the previous things that he’s had to overcome. It’s a real credit to his resilience, his mental toughness and his physical toughness. We’ll always have him on kind of a modified workload and that was the plan coming into camp, regardless of if that thing just continues to feel good. That’s the goal for us.”

The end result could be Hollins starting on first and second down, with Lewis rotating in as a situational pass rusher on third down. Hollins is the more well-rounded defender, but Lewis has much more upside as a pass rusher.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire