The St. Louis Rams defense has shown marked improvement since getting blown away by the Dallas Cowboys in week 7. Much of that improvement has come up front, along the defensive line. On the edge, Chris Long, Robert Quinn and James Hall have been successful getting to the passer and causing trouble for opposing offenses. In the middle, solid play from Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan fortified the line and improved a run defense that allowed DeMarco Murray to break records in that fateful game. This unit has also been pretty healthy...until now.
Justin Bannan is out this week, dealing with a shoulder injury suffered in last week's loss to the Seahawks. Fortunately for the Rams, it does not sound as though Bannan will miss much time beyond this week's game against the Cardinals, but his loss will definitely impact the Rams, even against Arizona's weaker offensive line.
Also out this week: Josh Hull and Mark LeVoir. The status of a couple key players is up in the air. Cadillac Williams, Danario Alexander, Chris Long and James Laurinaitis are listed as questionable. The first two we're used to sitting out, but if Long or Laurinaitis are at all limited in this game, it could be trouble for the defense. Lance Kendricks will play after suffering a mild concussion last week.
Offensive lineman Bryan Mattison was signed to replace Smith's spot on the roster. Mattison is an offensive guard; he was actually a defensive end in college. He was waived by the Ravens earlier this week.