The Week 8 NFL match-up between the Rams and Dolphins had a noticeable Saskatchewan Roughrider flavour.
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t the only one making his first NFL start in the Fins’ 28-17 win over Los Angeles.
Derrick Moncrief, a Rams special teamer and Rider linebacker for the three prior years, made his NFL debut against Sam Eguavoen, a Dolphins special teamer and Rider linebacker from 2016-2018.
Both players were seen regularly on special teams, covering returns from the opposition and blocking for their own return men on kick-offs and punts.
The two came close to colliding at the end of Dolphin returner Jakeem Grant’s 45-yard kick-off return that proved to be the turning point in Miami’s favour after the Rams opening score.
The game went much better for Eguavoen’s Dolphins than for Moncrief’s Rams, but it might go down as one of the finest hours for former Roughrider head coach Chris Jones. Jones recruited both players to build a very successful linebacking crew to open the new stadium in Saskatchewan.
As for how Moncrief’s NFL audition went, no defensive snaps but he was in on 15 special teams plays, including an 88-yard punt return touchdown by Grant. Wearing No. 47, rather than his regular No. 42 that was such a staple in Saskatchewan, he didn’t register any tackles.
The Rams defence failed to ruin Tagovailoa’s first pro start but the loss is being blamed more on Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff and his four turnovers plus the long Dolphin returns than anything to do with the LA defence.
The Rams coaching staff will have plenty of time to evaluate Moncrief’s performance and determine their plans for the 27-year-old linebacker since they are on their bye week and don’t play again until Sunday, November 15 at home to the Seattle Seahawks.
A season-ending injury to teammate and defensive back Terrell Burgess necessitated the ex-Roughrider’s promotion from the practice roster. But it also means the Rams are carrying one extra linebacker over and above what they are used to doing.
It remains to be seen if Moncrief did enough to impress on special teams or if defensive coordinator Brandon Staley sees a future in working the 2019 CFL all-star into his unit.