As the Rams prepare to face the 0-2 Seattle Seahawks in Qwest Field in Seattle, I wanted to go ahead and preview one of the Rams few winnable games in the first 8 weeks. The Rams have the vastly improved Buffalo Bills at home before a bye and the solid Washington Redskins in Washington. Then the Rams face the Cowboys and the Patriots in consecutive weeks. The Seahawks are struggling, but the Rams have had trouble against them in the last few years – especially in Qwest Field.
Doug Farrar of my favorite website Football Outsiders, compares the Seahawks and Rams for the Seattle Times here. He shows what the Seahawks must do to win the game, so let’s take that an reverse it for the Rams.
Doug identifies Steven Jackson as the biggest threat for the Rams, as Bulger probably won’t have time to throw down field to Holt and Avery. LG Jacob Bell will be suited up but not starting, so the Rams will have the same struggling offensive line as last week. The Seahawks Patrick Kerney will face off against Alex Barron of the Rams and that should be the match-up to watch in the passing game.
Seahawks had 8 sacks against the 49ers and Doug hits the nail on the head with this comment, “If the Seahawks need to blitz to get pressure in this game, their front four has major problems.”. So, the Rams need to focus on blocking the front four of Seatlle with a fullback or TE. Additionally, quick passes and a healthy dose of Steven Jackson should keep the front four off balance. Could the Rams possibly goad Seattle into blitzing to burn their secondary? I’ve proposed crazier ideas.
Now to the other side of the ball, Doug nails the Rams defense in just a few sentences. “Watching St. Louis’ defense against the Giants reminded me that while great defenses play like bulls in the proverbial china shop, bad defenses play afraid, and it’s easy to tell the difference. The Rams’ secondary plays off the line for the most part, dropping linebackers into coverage or in basic placements, leaving the middle zone wide open for draws, traps, cutbacks, and all manner of misdirection.”
When the Rams defense was playing their best underHaslett a few years back – they were playing aggressive and flying to the ball. As Doug identifies, the Rams are playing scared and tentative. It is not too late to change their tendencies after two weeks. The Rams have made only one of their promised changes, moving Tye Hill to the nickel corner and starting Ron Bartell and Fahkir Brown. Bartell has been the Rams best corner so far and hopefully he and Brown can keep the new Seahawk wide receivers covered. Koren Robinson and Keary Colbert are not All-Pro acquisitions, but they are no worse than the receivers the Rams faced in week 1 in Philly.
We all know that the Rams have been historically bad this year and are on pace to set the record for the worst team in the Football Outsiders DVOA era (1995-). But, we Rams fans think that they can play better. If there was ever a team to bounce back against, it is the 0-2 Seahawks. Whether the Rams will bounce back or not, we will just have to watch.