Nathan Kearns, editor and lead writer for Fansided.com’s St. Louis Rams site, reflected on the Packers versus Rams matchup and what’s ahead for the team he writes about.
He sat down with us to answer some post-game questions and to look ahead.
Q. The Rams have had problems scoring touchdowns this year; what’s the biggest issue(s)? Was their young receivers to blame today?
The problem earlier in the year was the lack of balance on the offensive side of the ball, which was perpetuated by the inconsistency on the offensive line. As of late, the Rams have been able to move the ball, but have not been able to convert on the short field. That is why Zuerlein has 17 field goals already this season.Today seemed to be a mixture of problems. Brandon Gibson not being able to haul in the pass on fourth down in the first half, costly penalties and mistakes by the offensive line, and poor decision-making on the play calls (i.e. throwing the ball to receivers that aren’t past the first down marker).
Q. In addition to Chris Givens, who stood out for the Rams today?
Jackson and Richardson had a good day out of the backfield, combining for 20 rushes for 93 yards and the first rushing touchdown by a running back this season. Richardson also had 3 catches for 43 yards.
Q. Aaron Rodgers was nearly perfect today, despite heavy pressure. The Rams defensive backfield seemed overmatched today, but the defensive line played well. Would you agree?
The one weak spot in our defense has always been the safeties in the secondary. Quintin Mikell is an aging Pro Bowler and Craig Dahl is more of a run support guy than a coverage safety. I would not say they were outmatched, but Janoris Jenkins did have a bad game when going head to head against Jordy Nelson. A majority of the big plays came on defensive offsides penalites, which took Chris Long out of the play. No pressure on Rodgers is always going to end badly for the opposing defense.
Q. The Rams played a heady game today; What pieces do they need to get them to playoff caliber?
There a ton of holes that need to be filled, but the big ones right now are probably wide receiver, right tackle, outside linebacker, and safety. Depending on how our young receivers develop throughout the season, the wide receiver spot may become less of a priority. If Scott Wells comes back and is effective, Rub Tunrer will likely move back to left guard. An outside linebacker to anchor the second level of the defense with Jo-Lonn Dunbar and James Laurinaitis would push the Rams defense over the top. I have a strong feeling that Trumaine Johnson will get moved to safety at some point either this season or over the offseason.
Q. Rams fall to 3-4 with a lot of football ahead of them; What goals do they need to reach from here on out? Do they still have a shot at a division title?
Everyone has a shot at the NFC West right now. The Seahawks (4-3 overall, 0-3 in the division), 49ers (5-2 overall, 1-0 in the division), and Cardinals (4-3 overall, 1-1 in the division) are all within reach right now. There are still a ton of games left in the season, so anything can happen. The Rams have a much easier schedule in the second half of the season, with should-win games against the Arizona Cardinals (already beat them once), New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Tampa Bay Bucs, and winnable games against the Seattle Seahawks (already beat them once), San Francisco 49ers, and Minnesota Vikings.I think a solid goal for the season would be to end the season with a record about .500, and get some consistency on the offensive side of the ball. We are a young team that just needs some experience and to build momentum heading into the future.