On the opening play from scrimmage against the Philadelphia Eagles last week the Rams showed flashes of the Greatest Show on Turf. This had been the featured attraction at The Edwards Jones Dome ten years ago. Steven Jackson burst up the middle for a 47 yard TD to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead. The lead was short-lived as the Eagles dominated on defense the rest of the way and went on to win the game 31-13.
If the Rams are to bounce back Monday night against the NY Giants to notch their first win of the season a few key components must be in place. Completely absent from the opener was solid fundamental play after the first quarter. Rookie TE Lance Kendricks and WR Brandon Gibson dropped key passes to thrwart any chances of a Rams comeback. There were a total of six dropped balls against the Eagles last week. Catching the ball is a fundamental part of the game and far too often the Rams were not fundamentally sound against the Eagles. That can not happen if the Rams are to pull out a win at the Meadowlands.
Philadelphia exposed some very obvious weaknesses in St. Louis’ pass blocking skills forcing 5 sacks against the Rams. More pronounced were the errant passes by QB Sam Bradford facing the aggressive Eagles pass rush. The challenge gets no easier this week as New York boasts elite defensive ends who are capable of creating total chaos for their opponents.
If the Rams offensive line can pass block and pick up the rush it will give Bradford (last year’s NFL rookie of the year) some time to set up and pick apart a less- than-stellar Giants secondary.
When you consider that the Giants’ two starting cornerbacks are out with injuries as well as the middle linebacker there should be plenty of aerial opportunities. Last week the Giants allowed Rex Grossman - who is no Johnny Unitas by any means (sorry Rex)- to complete 61% of his passes for 305 yards. Six of his 21 completed passes went for more than 20 yards.
The Rams gained 163 yards running the ball last week against an undersized Philadelphia front seven. With Steven Jackson sitting this one out due to an injury the Rams must count on veteran RB Cadillac Williams who gained 91 yards last week. A potent running attack will keep the defense honest and should open things up for Bradford downfield.
The Rams’ defense left questions unanswered as they made several blunders throughout the game against Philadelphia. Too often the defense over pursued which led to some huge gains late in the game by Eagles RB LeSean McCoy. It was as if the defense was over extended on several plays. By their own admission the defense acknowledged that they didn’t fill the gaps when necessary.
Prior to taking on his current position as head coach of the Rams Steve Spagnuolo was the Giants defensive coordinator (prior to 2007 he spent eight seasons as assistant with Philadelphia). Spagnuolo developed a reputation as a fierce defensive coach as his 2007 squad led the NFL with 53 sacks en route to winning the Super Bowl. The following year his defensive unit finished in the top 5 in the league and helped the team win the NFC with a 12-4 record. That type of defensive play is what Spagnuolo is expecting from his current unit as the Rams look to even their record.
By no means am I suggesting this game will be or should be a cake walk for the Rams. But the Rams should match up pretty evenly with the Giants and put forth enough effort to squeak out a win. Rams by 3.
About the Author
Written by Chaz Ingram
During his lengthy career Chaz has worked in various areas of the media. As an actor he has appeared on such shows as "Less Than Perfect" "CSI New York" and "Outlaw". He's performed on stage in such plays as "West Side Story", "The Wiz" "Oliver" and "Sugar". He has also landed roles in several commercials most notably as a reporter for "NFL Legends" and as a model for Ameriquest Mortgage. Chaz's extensive background in the broadcast industry has given him invaluable experience in several areas of the business. His work as an assignment desk intern as well as in the news and sports departments at the local ABC and NBC TV stations in St. Louis, MO has given him experence on various levels of news production. Chaz is a former host of of his own radio show "The Spirit of Chaz", where he was also writer and producer at KXEN in St. Louis. As a Marketing Consultant at KSDK-TV (NBC) Chaz was a major contributor to the station's #1 position in overall sales in the St. Louis market. At KEZK radio he was awarded "rookie of the year" for his achievements in sales. The St. Louis Business Journal recognized Chaz as one of their "40 Under 40" awardees for his work in the community with youth. Additionally, St. Louis public Schools recognized him as "Role Model of the Year" in 1995 & 1996. He is the recipient of the 1989 edition of "Outstanding Young Men of America". Chaz currently resides in Los Angeles where he owns Nicolexis Inspirations a motivational and life coach company.