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Who will replace Tutu Atwell as the LA Rams return man?

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Ram fans ponder on who will be their next kick returner | Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Ram practice squad holds four possibilities

Los Angeles Ram fans don’t have Tutu Atwell to kick around anymore after being ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury. The narrative now turns to who will replace him.

The NFL trade deadline has come and gone without the Rams dealing for a returner, DeSean Jackson is a dead man walking, fans cringe when they see Cooper Kupp lined up to receive kicks and Ben Skowronek just doesn’t have the speed.

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That leaves the practice squad. It would seem that the Rams have four players who might be able to handle return duties.

#1 J.J Koski

My own personal favorite. Koski returned both punts and kickoffs at Cal Poly, using 4.45 speed, stellar feet and good vision. He can step in for Atwell and Jackson at wide receiver as well. He’s a 100%er whose got relatively long arms, catches away from his body with good, soft hands, and blocks well down field. He was a team captain and team MVP in his senior year.

#2 Javian Hawkins

Hawkins is here strictly on projection. He did not return kicks at Louisville. The same skills that make him a natural for the Rams zone running game give him the potential to be an outstanding returner. He’s got the vision to see holes open in front of him, the quick feet to get to there and the explosive burst to get through. He immediately is up to full speed and can make cuts on the move. His 4.40 speed makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

#3 Tyler Hall

He didn’t return a lot of kicks in college, but his production was border-line amazing. 28 returns for 887 yards, an average of 31.7 per run. He ran 4.38 at the Wyoming Pro Day, so he’s got the speed. A decision would have to be made on Hall, he’s been called up to the Rams active squad twice this season, so according to NFL rules, if he’s called up again he must stay on the active roster or be released and go through the waiver process before he could be re-signed to the PS.

#4 Landen Akers

He’s a long shot, but he’s already beaten long odds to make it to the Ram PS. Played mostly special teams at Iowa State, but didn’t return many kicks. He didn’t have much production at all in college. He did return kicks for the Rams in the preseason. He’s got good speed (4.47), athleticism, and obviously, has the grit.

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Is it really that important?

So far in 2021, LA has 15 kickoff returns. That would project to about 34 for the season, or about 19 more returns.

There have only been 11 punt returns, so maybe there will 15 more at most.

It doesn’t seem logical to bring in an outside player for these few plays. The Rams would be prudent to keep the return game decision in-house.



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College football rankings: Ohio State, TCU have earned spots in final four

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Michigan and Georgia are clear playoff teams. We’ll soon find out who the CFP Selection Committee thinks deserves a spot beside them.



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No. 11 Utah Utes take down the No. 4 USC Trojans for the PAC 12 Championship | Number One CFB Show

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RJ Young reacts to the No. 11 Utah Utes taking down the No. 4 USC Trojans for the PAC 12 Championship.



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Canucks’ Luke Schenn passes Brooks Orpik for most hits by an NHL defenceman

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Luke Schenn of the Vancouver Canucks, after a six-hit night, has been crowned the hit king amongst NHL defencemen, passing Brooks Orpik for most hits since the stat has been recorded.

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Some 2,947 hits later, the journeyman hasn’t stopped doing what he does best and is now able to say he stands at the peak of his craft. He hit the mark in 888 games.

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A couple of days ago Schenn told Sportsnet that he “didn’t really think too much of it,” and that he “doesn’t really care too much about the number,” however as he broke the record, the fans in attendance made sure to let him know how much they cared.

Chants of “LUKE! LUKE!” broke out at Rogers Arena in Vancouver for the new leader in the category.

The 33-year-old has played for seven teams throughout his career and won two Stanley Cups during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. On every team he’s been on, he’s done what he does best. Hit.

Five forwards still remain above him on the hits leaderboard: Milan Lucic, Alex Ovechkin, Matt Martin, Dustin Brown, and the recently coronated Cal Clutterbuck sits atop the rankings with 3,647.

It was a celebratory day for the Schenn family, as brother Brayden played in his 800th NHL game across the country as his St. Louis Blues took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. But Brayden still has a ways to go if he wants to catch up to Luke’s physical domination, as the centre only has 1,700 hits to his name.

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