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Rams and Browns On Similar Paths
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Nov 11 2011 @ 10:28 pm In St. Louis Rams | No Comments
The St. Louis Rams will limp into this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns still licking their wounds after a disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week in a game in which they suffered injuries to key players.
The Rams entered last week’s game against the Cardinals on a high note after defeating the New Orleans Saints the prior week to earn their first victory on the season. They were unable to carry that energy over into the next game as they lost 19-13 on a kickoff return in overtime and in the process lost Lance Kendricks to a strained foot and rookie Greg Salas to a broken leg. Second year receiver Denario Alexanderis also battling a quadricep injury and has not played in the last two games.
Despite the overwhelming number of injuries and disappointing losses the Rams will have to press through their many issues and find a way to make this a respectable season. There’s not a lot of time to do it, however, only eight games remain in the regular season. And it must start against the 3-5 Browns.
The Browns have lost their previous two games and despite the steady play of second year QB Colt McCoy, are struggling to establish all around consistency. McCoy, Sam Bradford’s college nemesis out of the University of Texas, has passed for more than 1,700 yards on the season with 10 TD’s and 6 interceptions. He ranks #25 in passing (2 spots ahead of Bradford). And much like Bradford he is forced to deal with very weak pass protection. Cleveland had several lapses on the offensive line as they surrendered four sacks and eight total hits in a loss last week to the Houston Texans.
While McCoy is worthy of some of the attention that he may garner from the Rams’ defense he should not be their only concern. Considering the bizarre way in which last week’s game ended St. Louis might want to focus some of thier attention on kick return specialist Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs is averaging 27.7 yards per kick return and has four returns of 40 yards or more. He also has contributed a great deal on offense catching 22 passes for 298 yards on the season.
To state the obvious, no game is a guarantee for the Rams. This game against the lowly Browns is no different. If the Rams are to depart Cleveland with a win on Sunday they will have to rely heavily on the run. Running back Steven Jackson is coming off impressive games with 130 and 159 yards respectively. Cleveland is currently ranked 30th in the league against the run giving up 144 yards per game. Even with Bradford back in the lineup the Rams should continue to keep the defense guessing witha balanced attack. 
Cleveland’s first year head coach Pat Shurmur is more familiar with the Rams offense than the average head coach. Shurmur was offensive coordinator for St. Louis in 2010 and was pivotal in the development in QB Sam Bradford as he passed for more than 3,500 yards and helped the team improve to a 7-9 record after a dismal 1-15 record in 2009. Shurmur will look to use that rare inside knowledge to his advantage on Sunday to lead his team to victory.
Given the obvious similarities and the state of both teams this one is tough to call.
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