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St. Louis Rams vs. Oakland Raiders: What To Watch in Week 2
Posted By Bear Heiser On Sep 16 2010 @ 4:27 pm In St. Louis Rams | No Comments
Week 1 for the Rams was full of missed opportunities, poor clock management and worst of all, injuries. If you read my what to watch column last week, you saw my number 3 thing to watch for was… injuries.
Going into the Arizona game the Rams only had 1 player on the injury report. It was safety James Butler, and ironically it was Butler who filled in at corner when Justin King and Kevin Dockery got hurt.
Wait, it gets worse.
Players who will miss week 2 as of 09/15/10
S Kevin Dockery- Hamstring, likely to be back week 3
LB Chris Chamberlain- Broken toe/turf toe, out 6-8 weeks
TE Michael Hoomanawanui- High ankle sprain, out 4-6 weeks
And it shouldn’t surprise you that the oft-injured WR Laurent Robinson is listed as probable with an ankle injury.
In comparison to other teams who lost stars for the season to injury the Rams report doesn’t look too bad. On the other hand, a young team needs time to grow as a unit and that cannot happen if the injury bug keeps biting.
What to watch for in week 2 against the Oakland Raiders:
Mark Clayton’s effect on Sam Bradford
In the Rams loss to Arizona, Sam Bradford targeted Mark Clayton 16 times, completing 10 of them. What’s mildly surprising is that 10 catches is Clayton’s career high. His first game in a Rams uniform he sets a career mark for catches after only having practiced a few days with a rookie QB.
Bradford threw the ball 55 times in the game but failed to connect on a single deep ball. Mark Clayton can be the guy to beat the secondary down the field.
In order for the Rams to spread the defense they will need to show the opponent they have the ability to stretch the field. If and when this happens, the flood gates will open for Steven Jackson thus creating a shift in the defense, allowing the Rams to move the ball more efficiently.
Bradford won’t last long throwing the ball that many times every game. Mark Clayton must step up and show he is the deep threat the Rams so desperately need.
Offensive play management
Rams coaches did NOT perform at an NFL level in their first test of the 2010 season. Poor clock management plagued them throughout the game especially when it counted the most, in the 4th quarter.
What’s worse than that was the play calling by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Week 1, with a ROOKIE starting his first game at home, 55 pass attempts and 24 rush attempts. For those of you who aren’t math whizzes, that’s a 70-30 margin.
When you have a pro bowl running back on your team that type of margin should not exist, no matter the QB.
In the Colts week 1 game against the Texans, Peyton Manning threw the ball 57 times and the RB’s only ran the ball 10 times.
If Peyton can’t win in that type of offense, there isn’t a chance of it happening for Sam Bradford.
Rams coaches must improve the game plan against Oakland. Start the game by running the ball 5 times in a row then throw a deep ball. Or really throw off the defense by starting the game with a bomb.
Sacks are better than hits
The Rams defense scored 9 hits on Cardinals QB Derek Anderson. Of the 9, Chris Long had 3 pulverizing hits, OJ Atogwe had 2 and 4 guys had 1.
The Rams had decent pressure throughout the game but they were only able to sack Anderson twice.
Chris Long looks like he is ready for a breakout year. If he can improve on his week 1 performance just a little bit, the Rams defense will look much better as a whole.
Jason Campbell has been hit a lot in his career and has shown to be mistake prone. Getting to the QB early and often will slow any offense down.
Think I missed something? Feel free to start the conversation in the comments section.
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