Wanna play Doctor...with ESPN's John Clayton?
Doesn't sounds very appealing, not at all, but Clayton does offer his quick and dismissive takes on what's ailing the NFC teams over at ESPN. As far as the Rams go, there's nothing there you wouldn't expect.
* Cure: The top four blockers on the line are out with injuries, and the backfield is getting bruised. Quarterback Marc Bulger has two broken ribs. Steven Jackson is out with a groin injury. The combined salary of the remaining starting offensive linemen -- many making the minimum -- is less than $3.7 million. Coach Scott Linehan must go back to a more basic approach running the ball with Brian Leonard. He might also have to switch to Gus Frerotte if Bulger continues to be bruised. Other than that, the Rams might have to wait until next year.
Offense not so great...linemen hurt...yada yada yada. Stop me if you've heard this one before. I do find it interesting that he suggests running the ball more, especially as the Rams prepare for the Cowboys and one of the league's top run defenses. Still can't believe some of the guys that get paid for their two cents, paid handsomely.
No, the Rams are going to have to throw the ball if they expect to compete against Dallas, and mix in the run wisely, but the air attack is going to be very, very important. Clayton should have read what he wrote about Dallas:
* Cure: Maybe the Cowboys aren't as talented on defense as everyone thought. Terence Newman's absence because of a foot injury exposed a big dropoff at cornerback after the starters. Despite the addition of Ken Hamlin at safety, the team still gives up big plays in the middle of the field. The defensive line still is adjusting to some of the aggressive one-gap schemes used by new head coach Wade Phillips. This shouldn't be a big deal. Phillips must keep being aggressive in rushing DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer and hunker down against the run.
If the backfield is a "sore spot" and the middle of the field is vulnerable to big plays, why would the Rams focus on the run? I'm just a hack blogger, but I sense incongruities!
It sounds like Newman will play in a limited role in dime packages, and he has been practicing, albeit with the second team (according to the Cowboys' official site). Safety Keith Davis is "all but ruled out" for this week, and rookie safety Courtney Brown is out with a torn biceps. Line backer Greg Ellis sounds like he will play, after practicing some this week, but he's missed a lot of practice time which could help the Rams exploit the middle of the field.
I know there are still a lot of Grid Bird fans in St. Louis. We wish you'd come around to the Rams, but the blue and gold isn't making much of a case for you this season so you're forgiven. Anyway, Grid Birders, be sure to stop over and say hello to SBN's Arizona Cardinals community, Revenge of the Birds.
More bad news for Rams fans: it's being reported that Incognito will probably need another week to rest his high ankle sprain.