Justin Stine, the editor of the St. Louis Rams‘ Fansided page Ramblin’ Fan, took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answers questions presented him by Lombardiave.com. He provides an interesting look at this Sunday’s match-up between the Packers and Rams.
Our Q&A is documented as follows:
1. The Rams have to be one of the biggest disappointments so far this season after nearly making the playoffs last year. Can you pinpoint any particular reasons why the Rams have risen so quickly and fallen nearly as fast?
Honestly, we are scratching our heads here about why the Rams have been so bad. Injuries has been a big part of it on defense, but the offensive line has been an absolute enigma. They are a group of highly paid, high draft picks and proven performers who suddenly can’t block anyone. Part of it is a change in system that is causing Sam Bradford to hold the ball longer, but there’s no excuse for the way this line is playing. Oh, and our receivers and tight ends can’t catch the football. That’s been another major problem.
See the remainder of the Q&A after the jump …
2. Sam Bradford is a talent whose brighter days are ahead of him. He’s got to be excited to go against a secondary that has given up many 20-plus big plays this season. Do you feel Bradford will be able to capitalize on that weakness?
I think Bradford is certainly capable of making big plays, but the real question is whether he will have enough time to make those plays and, if he does, will the receivers catch the ball? Maybe the bye week will have this offense more prepared, but I think the offense is still in trouble right now.
3. Will the Rams come out throwing the ball or do you feel they run to set up the pass.
I expect the Rams to run the ball a ton. If they are going to stay in this game, the are going to have to control the clock and keep the Packers offense off the field. They will throw, especially when they get down, but expect a heavy dose of SJ39 early on.
4. Steven Jackson is one of only a handful of running backs the past couple of years who have rushed for more than 100 yards in a game against the Packers’ defense. Will he do so again?
The opportunity should be there for Jackson to go over 100 this week. If I had to guess, I think he will get more chances this week than he has had in any game this season. If the Rams can establish the run and execute some in the passing game, it could open things up a bit. The passing game will likely determine what kind of day he has, because if we can’t pass, there won’t be anywhere to run.
5. Al Harris comes back to Lambeau Field for the first time since being waived by the Packers. Will he be able to keep up with the talented receivers in the Packers’ stable?
I really liked the signing of Al Harris when we brought him in, but I liked him as more of a veteran depth player who could be useful in situations. Because of injuries to our top 3 corners (who are all out for the season), Harris is in a position to be on the field plenty and to cover some of the top guys on the other team. I think he’s still got something left in the tank, but he and the rest of the Rams secondary are going to be in for a long, long day.
6. Chris Long has been a force this season. The Packers have lost their right and left tackles to injury the past three weeks. Will Long be given the opportunity to attack the Packers’ offensive line, and if so, how will he be utilized?
Long is really turning into one of the better DE’s in the league in my opinion. In fact, the entire group of Long, James Hall and first-round pick Robert Quinn have been pretty good all season and one of the few bright spots. I think the Rams will have to get pressure on Rodgers with their front four if they are going to have any chance, because they just don’t have the bodies in the secondary to cover on an island if we send a ton of blitzes. Expect to see those guys in the backfield and get pressure, but Rodgers is so good at buying himself time that I think it’s going to be a tough matchup.
7. Who should we be watching for in this game that might have a breakout game?
I would love to see someone on offense really have a breakout performance, because we need it badly. If I had to pick one, I’d say rookie tight end Lance Kendricks. This kid was a star in the preseason, be he has struggled with drops so far in the first four games. He is a special athlete with great size, and once he figures it out at this level he is going to be a great player.
8. Give us a prediction with a final score for this game.
Oh boy. I might get run out of St. Louis if I say the Rams are going to lose by 40, but I think it’s a definite possibility. Let’s assume that the Rams come out flying after the bye and the Packers look past St. Louis, and I’ll say the Rams keep it close for awhile but eventually fall by a final score of 34-17.