The St. Louis Rams sure do know how to shoot themselves in the foot, eh? For the third time in as many games, the Rams blew their chances of victory. Will things change this week?
The reigning Super Bowl Champs, the Seattle Seahawks, are coming into town this week – and this one really is a game the Rams need to win to avoid a fifth loss.
Victory will not come easy for St. Louis. The Seahawks are a hard-nosed team. To beat them, you must beat them at their own game: rushing the ball (just like how Dallas did) and stopping the rush.
Run the ball. Stop the run. Should be simple right? Well, it is easier said than done. If there is any chance for the Rams to succeed, it will come with the aid of these key players.
Players to Watch
Whether it was for PR purposes or because they were ready, Jeff Fisher & Co. finally gave the majority of the young bucks an opportunity to play. In the case of Aaron Donald, he received more playing time and the starting role.
Donald's pass rushing abilities were never in question. His ability to stop the run, however, was. Aaron has pretty much quelled those doubts. He was key in a few run stuffs and played a large role in keeping Frank Gore in check. Pro Football Focus gave him a 1.1 grade against the run.
AD will continue to improve as he gains more experience. He will be able to display his ability to get to the quarterback once line gets past its scheme issues.
Janoris Jenkins either looks good, or gets burned. During the 49er's last play of the first half, Jenkins completely got roasted.
Janoris is in his third season as a starter. How the fv#k can your "best" corner grade out the lowest in pass coverage?? He churned out a -3.6 PFF grade against the pass. For reference, rookie EJ Gaines had a 0.9 grade against the 49ers.
Theses mental lapses cannot continue. Especially when facing top oppositions. The Seahawks have a few capable receiving options. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse both can take one to the house, just like Brandon Lloyd did. Janoris cannot blow coverage again like he did last week.
Oh and I didn't even mention Percy Harvin.
Does anyone know what the the Rams are doing at running back? No one? Cool, because the coaches seems to not know either.
Last week, Zac Stacy ran the ball eight times, but did not muster much – gaining only 17 yards. Benny Cunningham did not fare any better, rushing for 21 yards on seven carries. The only running back that looked decent coming out of the back field was Tre Mason.
Mason carried the ball five times for 40 yards. That is an eight yard per carry average – compared to Stacy's 2.1 and Cunningham's 3.0. Mason hit the whole without hesitation and authority. Once he was in space he turned on the jets. He certainly looked better than in the preseason.
Mason surely adds a dimension the other backs in the stable lack. He is, by far, the RB the Rams have.Tre would be a great complementary back to either Stacy or Cunningham.
Something finally clicked in the coaches' head. They benched Davin Joseph in favor of Greg Robinson. In return, Robinson put forward a solid first outing.
Robinson held his own for the majority of the time against a stout 49er defensive line. Per PFF, Robinson had a 1.5 grade for the game. As expected, his best came out during the running game, earning a 1.3. But Robinson did well on passing downs too. In some instances, Greg completely smothered the savvy, grizzled veteran Justin Smith. Did Greg have lapses? Of course, but that's expected in his first start.
Greg flashed plenty of his potential. If he is given the start this week, expect him to consistently build upon that.
Until Robert Quinn registers his first sack, he will remain on this list.
Now, does he get held on nearly every damn play? Yep, he sure does – but all the greats ones get held. The disturbing part is how Quinn never gets the holding calls. He needs to find a way to surpass the holds and still EAT!
Do you have other players to add? List 'em in the comment section.