In week 5 against Arizona, the St. Louis Rams sacked Kevin Kolb 9 times. It's a miracle that Kevin Kolb still wanted to play football ever again after that game. In week 2 against Washington, Danny Amendola caught 15 balls for 160 yards. He may have caught 100 that day alone had the game simply been 5 minutes longer. And in week 4 against the rival Seahawks, the Rams picked off Russell Wilson three times to secure the upset. In all three on these Rams wins one thing was present - "swagger". One unit of this Rams team in each of their wins had a great game. But as we approach a possible 7 week stretch without a win, we have to wonder - is this Rams team all out of swagger, or has it simply been misplaced?
The Rams are in the midst of quite a few droughts. A lack of defensive turnovers, offensive scoring, sacks, and explosive plays have left the 2012 Rams "swagger-less". What does that mean? It means that everyone is waiting for one unit to step up and takeover the game.
Many are calling for Sam Bradford to carry this team to victory or else, and for fair reason. Bradford is the golden boy, and much is expected of him. But fans should expect equal or greater things from this defensive unit. This unit is filled with a high-priced and highly-drafted group of players that have under performed the past 7 weeks. We all know the safety situation is horrendous, but in front of them stands 3 first round picks, 2 second round picks, a 3rd round pick, and 3 hot free agent acquisitions. This unit should have lofty expectations. Meanwhile, the group on offense is a rag tag bunch. The Rams offense is filled with late round picks, street free agents, and a sprinkling of talent.
For the Rams to get their swagger back all the groups on this team will have to step up. Winning on the road at Arizona would be a great step towards building confidence as well. This team needs a win to stay on their feet the rest of the season. The Jets game really felt like it took the life from the team. So what could be some reasonable expectations this week if the Rams can recover their swagger?
Another Sack Frenzy: Chris Long and Robert Quinn will likely remember week 5 pretty well (I'm sure the Arizona O-line does too). Pressure killed the Arizona offense last time, and it could again, as their running game has lost even more dexterity since both teams last met. If the Rams can pressure the rookie, Ryan Lindley, it could setup a big day for the rest of the defense.
Break The Turnover Levy : Let's hope that the ball can finally bounce the Rams way this week. The defense has actually created fumbles 7 times in the past two weeks, and has yet to recover any of them. Bad luck only happens so long - and if this another week without a turnover - I hate to say it, but it's not bad luck.
Run Up The Score: One things the Rams haven't done all year is score a lot of points. If there is any thing we learned from the Jets/Patriots game on Thursday, it's that turnovers can lead to huge offensive outputs. If the defense can create positive field position for this unit, there is nothing that builds swagger like points on the board. Run it, throw it, it doesn't matter. Get everyone involved and have a gameplan that broaden and builds this offense with success. Create 1st downs, and get the offense moving. This offense realizes it's anemic when the drives are quickly stalled.
It would be nice to think that the Rams stand a better-than-average shot at a road win this week, but like everything else with this team, we will have to see it first. The road has been a cruel place for St. Louis the past 8 years. It would be a big step to rebuilding this teams swagger if they were to go into Arizona this week and punch the Cardinals in the mouth. We shall see on Sunday.
A great example of lost swag - when is the last time you saw Chris Long do the "Joel"? Is it time to dance again?