How the St.Louis Rams will come out in their first game with new coach Jim Haslett is one of the interesting questions heading into week 6. How the Washington Redskins get up for a Rams team that is 0-4 and has been outscored 43 to 147 is another question that will need answered. So can the Rams hang with the Skins? Or will the Skins overlook the Rams and fall into the dreaded “trap game” at 4-1?
The Rams have flat out been awful so far in 08. They are putting up just 10.8 points per game, are allowing 36.8, and have already had a coach fired and a QB change, back to the starter from day one. So how can this team even compete? Well, getting back to basics would be a start. They have yet to have a complete game, but showed signs of getting there somewhat when they built a lead in the first half against the Bills two weeks ago.
Now with Scott Linehan gone, the team can focus on what Haslett wants them to do, which is play sound defense, and run the ball and take a few down the field shots on offense. Marc Bulger, who was benched in the final game for Linehan for Trent Green, is back as the starter, and will be encouraged to take a few chances with WR’s Torry Holt and Dan Looker. Randy McMichael is done for the year, so he’s going to be missed.
As far as running goes, Steven Jackson was given a ton of money in the offseason, but has not been able to get on track with the O-line still not playing well. He has just 269 yards in four games, good for just 67.3 yards per game with one TD. The Skins will focus on stopping him, then putting the heat on Bulger with their pass rush that did a good job vs the Eagles last week.
From an offensive standpoint for the Skins, they will do what they have been doing the last few weeks, which is get Jason Campbell going with the passing game, and Clinton Portis running between the tackles, putting up chunks of yards. Portis has put up 102.8 yards per game, while Campbell is hitting on 63 percent of his passes, and is putting up 210.8 yards per game.
Haslett will look to install some new looks for the Rams D, but it won’t be easy against a Skins team that is playing well under Jim Zorn. Look for the Rams to play inspired for their new coach, but this is a Skins team that is playing at a high level, and at home they will be able to handle the Rams, winning by at least 14 points.