NFL Gridiron Gab Week Eight Preview: Carolina at St. Louis

Despite undergoing finger surgery on Monday, Jackson will “suck up the pain” and play this Sunday against Carolina

The Rams are back to the friendly confines of the Dome with a huge crowd looking forward to celebrating the jersey and number retirement ceremony for Isaac Bruce.  Carolina got their first win of the season last week against the 49ers.

TV

The Rams will be shown only in the area around St. Louis and in the Carolinas.  Sorry long-distance Rams fans.  Check out the map for any changes.

What to Watch For

  • Matt Moore – Moore has been the solid starter, benched for a rookie and back in as a starter by default.  Moore has struggled so far in 2010.  He’s not known for his mobility and the Rams defensive line should be able to pass rush to a point to collapse the pocket on Moore.
  • Rams Defense – The Rams defense wilted under the pressure put on them in the heat against the Buccaneers, but held up against the Chargers.  Tackling was an issue against the Bucs big back LeGarrette Blount.  Carolina sports the two-headed running back combination of DeAngelo Williams (doubtful, foot injury) and Jonathan Stewart. It is of the utmost importance for the Rams to stop the Panthers running game.  The Rams need to tackle when given the opportunity because both Stewart and Williams are very dangerous in the open field.  Whether or not Williams suits up, the run defense has to be up for the challenge presented.
  • Rams Receivers – Once again, the Rams struggled passing to their wide receivers on the outside.  Sam Bradford tried a few quick fade passes to the sideline, but Brandon Gibson was unable to get open on both plays.  Laurent Robinson is still hobbled and not back up to full speed.  It is a valid question whether he will ever be back at full speed.  The Rams have had success with short passes to Danny Amendola and their tight ends, but when teams bring up 9 players to stop the run, they also slow the short passes.  The Rams will need help from the outside if they are going to get their offense cranked up (as we have been saying all season).
  • Danario Alexander Danario had one game with a big impact and one game with little or no impact.  Was he sore?  Did the Rams not trust him to be healthy?  Did the Rams decide not to use him in their game plan?  It is unclear, but if Danario is healthy and can be as big, strong and fast as he was against San Diego, he should be used as much as possible.  Alexander had a good catch on a quick slant against Tampa Bay.
  • Rams Secondary – The Rams secondary is hurting badly after injuries to James Butler, Ron Bartell, Kevin Dockery and Bradley Fletcher against the Bucs.  Fletcher and Bartell should be able to play, but still will be hobbled.  The Rams signed former corner Quincy Butler this week and he should see extensive action as the Rams 4th corner at the very least.  The Rams depth problems at corner kept the Rams from running their favorite offense.  The Rams need their secondary to stay healthy so they can continue to blitz.

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