The k-series is back! Ah, football previews. Life is good again.
The breakdown after the fold.
St. Louis Rams, 0-0, t-1st (?!) - NFC West
New York Jets, 0-0, t-1st - AFC East
Parentheses include NFL rankings in that area.
STL pass - N/A
NYJ pass D - N/A
For those of you who remember the old breakdowns, you know what to expect there; for some of our newer readers, it'll just be some statistics so we have an idea of how a unit is doing (in this case our passing game) against the unit defending it. Of course being the first preseason game, there won't be a ton of numbers to lean on moving forward, but by week 3 of the regular season, these stats become more telling.
This will be an interesting matchup given Donnie Avery's recent foot injury and how that affects the WR corps. Hopefully, we'll get an idea of who to look forward to and who to bury on the depth chart as well as how involved Randy McMichael might be in the passing offense.
As for the J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets, they've got a decent pass defense anchored by CB Darelle Revis, who is coming off of a Pro Bowl appearance in just his second year, although he reportedly won't play. Kerry Rhodes is a solid FS and adds another element to the Jets' pass defense. Overall, however, this an average pass D and shouldn't stifle our offense; we're lucky to have a solid barometer to judge the passing attack on during this first game.
STL run - N/A
NYJ run D - N/A
Two main things to watch: how good is Steven Jackson without a holdout, and who begins to earn the backup spot.
On New York's side, they boast an above-average if not elite rushing defense. Their 3-4 can be menacing on rushing defenses, proven by the fact they created the most fumbles last season in the NFL: 32. Add to the fact they signed Bart Scott in free agency and you've got a very dangerous defense. Great matchup. If nothing else, we get to see Vernon Gholston who has to see the field this year to avoid the "bust" tag. Pretty sad fall for a guy who was pretty popular here at TST and was mocked at #1 by SI's Don Banks...
STL O-line - N/A
NYJ D-line - N/A
I'll skip our line as I don't want to put too much stock into our O-line and get everyone's hopes up, but with the Jets' 4-time Pro Bowler, NT Kris Jenkins on the sidelines, it should be interesting to see what our interior linemen can create.
NYJ pass - N/A
STL pass D - N/A
This is a battle of sub-par units. The Rams get a chance to feel out their 2009 secondary against a pretty poor Jets passing attack. The Jets led the NFL with 23 interceptions thrown last year, but that was as much of Favre trying to make something out of nothing as anything else. Of course, that might not change now that Favre is being replaced by either Kellen Clemens or Mark "The Anointed One" Sanchez. Add to the fact that Laveraneus Coles is now a Bengal, and you have a pretty ugly passing attack. And to go on record, I like Jerricho Cotchery, but this year is going to be a serious struggle for him.
NYJ run - N/A
STL run D - N/A
More fun spectating for Rams fans as we get to see Will Witherspoon at the position he excels at (weakside LB), James Laurinaitis in his future role as defensive field general, and yet-to-be-named at strongside LB. The 1-2 punch of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington is no pushover, so they should get a nice tune up to start their 2009 season.
NYJ O-line - N/A
STL D-line - N/A
Another interesting matchup. We get a chance to roll out our patchwork defensive line against one of the stronger offensive lines in the AFC. Keep an eye on the right side (defensively) as Chris Long and one of our DTs go against D'Brickashaw Ferguson (LT), the #4 overall pick in the 2006 Draft, and Alan Faneca (LG) who has 8 Pro Bowl nods.
This week's top 3 storylines brought to you by Emmitt Smith, the ESPN commentator not the Cowboy:
1.) "The leadership definitely have to come from the leaders.": Adding Hollis Thomas and Ronald Curry added some experience to what could have been the youngest team in the NFL on opening day. With such a young team, leaders are going to be made this year. Some will be leaders in the clubhouse, others on the field. This first taste of NFL action for the 2009 Rams will help define who steps into what roles; the sooner they are defined, the better.
2.) "The one thing that derail a team is a thing called the injury bugs.": The most significant event of the preseason thus far has been Donnie Avery's injury. If Marc Bulger can manage to create a feasible passing attack without Avery on the field, it will say a lot about what this team might be able to do moving forward. If the Rams struggle to move the ball through the air, that puts a lot of pressure on the coaching staff to push Steven Jackson and the offensive linemen in regards to their run blocking. A one-dimensional offense is a predictable offense. That would be, as Emmitt might say, "not a very good"
3.) "You cannot change the stripes of a leopard.": This team needs an improved season. We've amassed a whopping 5 victories in our last 32 NFL games. If you extend that into the 2006 regular season, we've won 9 of our last 43 games. I know it's just a preseason game, but playing winning football, successful football - just respectable football - with the team we have week in week out, will help develop a sense of purpose for a franchise that has been lacking one.