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Week 12: Rams-Chargers Players to Watch

Shaun Hill will have to reproduce his Week 11 performance. The defense as well. Hell, another 100-yard game from Tre Mason won't hurt either.

Michael B. Thomas

In a complete shocker, the St. Louis Rams (4-6) played a complete game and kept the Denver Broncos (7-3) in check.

The defense put plenty of pressure on Peyton Manning. The defense's constant harassment paid off, creating two interceptions. On offense, the Rams played effectively and efficiently. Out of the 12 offensive drives the Rams had, 6 of them ended with points up on the boards.

Now, the Rams are venturing west to face the San Diego Chargers (6-4).

Players to Watch

Mark Barron

In his short amount of time with the Rams, Mark Barron has been used as a nickel linebacker and on blitz packages. Pretty much, Barron has played in the box. In Tampa Bay, this was Barron's forte. One of his other strengths is man coverage, specifically against tight ends.

The Chargers' leader in touchdown catches is the ageless Antonio Gates (nine TDs).  Barron's ability to match up with the bigger, more physical pass catchers (TEs) is a plus. It will add to his increasing workload and eventual replacement of Rodney McLeod.

Trumaine Johnson

Since coming back from the preseason knee injury, Trumaine Johnson has gotten progressively better. Last week's game was his best. Tru made an interception late in the fourth quarter, killing any opportunity of Peyton Manning comeback. He deflected two passes as well. Johnson's strong play could not have came at any better time.

San Diego's Malcolm Floyd (6'5, 225 lbs) and Keenan Allen (6'2, 211 lbs) are a handful. Both receivers stand a good four to seven inches taller than most of the Rams' corners. At 6-foot-two and 208 pounds, Tru is the only corner with the size needed to match up with the Chargers' duo.

Shaun Hill

No fourth quarter breakdown? No ill-timed turnovers? Dude, why in the world did Shaun Hill not start from the beginning?

Hill's return as the starter resulted in some of the – sadly – best quarterback play this season. In reality, it was nothing but a bit above mediocrity. Shaun did link with Kenny Britt early on a few long bombs. Their deep ball connection led to the rams lone touchdown of the game.

With his first game back under center behind him, Hill should be sharper in his delivery of the football.

Tre Mason

It is safe to say Tre Mason has the keys to the running back job. He has started every game since the Week Seven Seattle game. Mason also registered his first career 100-yard rushing game. Mason's first also happened to be the Rams' first game with a 100-yard rusher this season.

Facing off against a top ten passing defense, Tre and the Rams will need to roll steadily on the ground.

Greg Zuerlein

Even if the Rams' offense is firing on all cylinders – LOLz – it is still obvious the team will rely heavily on field goals. For field goals to be made, a Greg "The Leg" resurgence was needed. Week 11 might have been an indicator that Zuerlein has regained his form.

Prior to last week's game, Greg was 10 for 13. One of those misses came from the 30-39 yard range, the other two from the 50+ yard range. Distance was never the issue with those misses. Accuracy was at fault.

Last Sunday, "The Leg" made five field goals. Two of those FGs came within the 20-29 yard range (22, 29), one from 30-39 (37), and two more from 50+ (55, 52).

Zuerlein's mental block hindering his accuracy has clearly been lifted. Hopefully his faulty accuracy is a thing of the past now.


PS: I will be in attendance for this game. I will also be in San Diego all weekend, meeting up with some of the other So Cal Rams fans. If you do not do so already, follow me on Twitter, @iAmEddieP_. I will be post some of the pictures I take of the festivities and of the game. Oh, and this will be my first Rams/pro football game ever. I really fucking hope the Rams pull off the win!