It's game day, and the St. Louis Rams are on the road, looking for a convincing victory to keep their title hopes alive. The road isn't as intimidating a place as it used to be for the Rams after picking up their first road win of the season last week in Denver. This week's opponent, Arizona, looks feckless, grasping for an identity after losing Kurt Warner (sound familiar?).
Someone who hasn't watched the Rams over the last four years would look at this matchup with a certain arrogance. Not me. This is exactly the kind of game that could give the Rams a shock. The Rams have to win today to establish themselves, to show that the improvements on display last week are for real.
Some links? Yes. Bring on the links.
First and foremost, we had a stupendous edition of Turf Show Radio yesterday, not to be missed. We covered everything from the Rams running struggles, to free agency, the draft and oh so much more.
Big link surprises after the jump
Speaking of the run game, the PD digs in on the reduced role of FB Mike Karney, who was inactive last week after seeing just a handful of snaps in the weeks prior to that. Chalk it up to the changing nature of the game and the Rams offense. In case you didn't notice, the Rams have a legitimate QB now and throw the ball much more now.
Given the Rams interior run blocking this season, using Karney more often makes sense, but there's a catch-22 at play here. A FB and RB need to establish a rhythm. It's not just run and a hit, there's timing involved and a natural sync that need to happen. The less they use that combination, the harder it is to get a rhythm established. The Rams were having more success on power runs early in the season; at the end of October they were converting almost 70 percent of runs on 3rd and 4th down with less than 2 yards to go. That number has dropped to 55 percent since then, coinciding with Karney's reduced role.
Steven Jackson is notably disappointed in the lack of action for Karney, but Karney's reduced role goes along with Jackson's changing in the offense, used less the offensive force he is and more like a decoy that opposing defenses have to respect. Keep an eye on that situation.
Burwell talks Jackson in his column.
A win today would be the Rams' first win over the Cardinals since 2006.
Adrian WIlson terrorized the Rams in week 1, with 2 INTs, a sack and a blocked FG. Since then he hasn't had another INT. Rams Herd looks at Wilson's season since then and his rematch today with Sam Bradford and the Rams.