I suspect the message boards will feature a flurry of should-haves when the St. Louis Rams face the Seahawks and first round pick Aaron Curry this week. The debate there will be firmly fixed on the Rams decision to draft OT Jason Smith instead of LB Aaron Curry in the first round. Coulda, shoulda, woulda... That's not the on-field matchup that you'll want to have your eye on though. No, on top of your fight card this week should be Steven Jackson versus Aaron Curry, that's where we'll see some real action.
As you may have heard, Pat Shurmur's offense calls for plenty of short passes, and on a number of those plays Steven Jackson will be either the intended receiver or the dump off option in the flat or somewhere else in that 4-6 yard range. Jackson has elite pass catching skills, and this is an offense modeled after what the Eagles have done with Brian Westbrook over the years.
The Seahawks start Curry on the weakside, a nice addition to a very good group of ilnebackers. In that role, he'll see plenty of eligible Rams receivers in the flat, Steven Jackson in particular. Curry's coverage skills were touted coming into the league. He didn't disappoint in the preseason either. Check out the narrative Field Gulls on this play from a Seahawks preseason game against the Chiefs. Curry picks up Larry Johnson in the flat, the QB can't dump it off and ends up getting sacked. We're sure to see similar plays this weekend, hopefully with different results.
On the weakside, Curry will also be using his range and mobility to defend against the run, making it a priority for Rams blockers to hit their second level assignments without error. I'll still take Steven Jackson over Curry one-on-one this week.