For absolutely no clear reason, I'm pretty excited that the St. Louis Rams play their third preseason game on a Friday. For one thing, it means we'll have a weekend packed with analysis, so stay tuned. Let me know what kind of info you'd like to read following the game. 3k will have the official preview up soon. In the meantime, if you're looking for some info about tomorrow night's opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, the good people at Pro Football Focus have a preview of the 2011 Chiefs, a team with high expectations and lots of questions to answer.
Depending on how long Chiefs head coach plays his starters, the Rams get a pretty good test this week. When these two teams met last year during the regular season, it resulted in an ugly 27-13 loss for the Rams. Tests are a good thing, even if we don't always like the results. After playing poorly against the Titans last week, the Rams made some adjustments, which the Chiefs will most certainly test. Three things to watch this week:
Stopping the run
This was a big problem last week. Tennessee moved the ball at will on runs and screen passes, catching the Rams' linebackers out of position far too often. Last year, Jamaal Charles brutalized the Rams for 126 yards on just 11 carries, including this 80-yard run that caught Atogwe and Chris Chamberlain with the fake. Ben Leber and Brady Poppinga get the start at linebacker this week, as well as S Darian Stewart. Leber and Poppinga are savvy veterans that have shown much more assignment discipline. Stewart's awareness and speed should also be a factor in stopping the run.
It wasn't a great week for the Rams offensive line either. A unit mostly showcasing backups failed to open running lanes and let Bradford get pressured a little more often than he should have been. They have to inspire more confidence this week.
Sam the Man
Sam Bradford owns fond memories of the preseason's third week from last year, when he cemented his role with a stellar performance against the Patriots. Last week he looked a little shakier, struggling with his pre-snap reads of a Titans' defense bent on confusing him with movement. This offense flows through the quarterback and he needs to keep the ball moving down the field. After all, he needs to get a better sense of which receivers he'll be working with this year.