Rams Waive OG Jamon Brown
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Updated: 10/30/2018 6:20PM PST
The Los Angeles Rams have waived offensive guard Jamon Brown in a corresponding move with a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for edge rusher Dante’ Fowler. Brown, lost his starting position to Austin Blythe, after being suspended for the first two games this season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substance Abuse.
Following his suspension and reinstatement, Brown was notified with the emergence and magnificent play of Blythe, that he would remain the starter. Brown concurred that Blythe should remain the starter and a good sportsman with the transition.
The Rams drafted Brown in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft who they were optimistic that he anchored down as career starter. Brown was lost to a lower leg fracture his rookie season and returned the next season as a starter where he remained until this season.
With quality starts under his belt, Brown should have no issue in finding a new team. I expect for Brown to clear waivers, and if Cooper Kupp is clear to play on Sunday, Rams may waive newly signed receiver Nick Williams and resign Brown.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Updated: 10/30/2018 5:40PM PST
The Los Angeles Rams have acquired EDGE Rusher Dante’ Fowler Jr from the Jacksonville Jaguars via a trade. The Rams traded their 2019 Third Round and 2020 Fifth round selections to acquire Fowler Jr, a defensive upgrade they have been lacking.
Fowler, whom the Jacksonville Jaguars selected with their third overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Florida Gator will help bolster a Rams defense where here will join Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Mark Barron and Marcus Peters as all previous first-round draft selections.
The Jaguars had high expectations for Fowler his rookie season; however, a torn ACL cut his season short. His second season he started one game and ended the year with one four sacks. However, last season, Fowler registered eight sacks and two forced fumbles. Fowler's 2018 season has started slowly with only eight tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. The Jaguars were looking for buyers for Fowler who wore out his welcome in Jacksonville and found a suitor with the Rams.
Rams traded for Fowler, another player who has a history with off the field issues. Two years ago Fowler videoed a fight between his current girlfriend and the mother of his child. Shortly after that incident, an arrest for a misdemeanor assault of a peace officer and resisting arrest. Next, there's an arrest for a petty theft which resulted in a one-game suspension last season.
Fowler also involved in several fights with teammates which also led to a one-week suspension from the team. Due to the history of off the field issues, the Jaguars announced that they were declining to pick up Fowler's fifth-year option. The Jaguars were not in favor of giving Fowler a big payday with the excess baggage of problems and chose to trade him.
The six-foot-3 255-pound edge rusher provides the Rams with the prototype linebacker they've been seeking. They selected Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft to provide that pass rush presence from the outside, however, a foot injury has hampered his season. The training staff has cleared Obo to practice, but the Rams have been slow to activate him to the active roster.
Fowler with a fresh new start in Los Angeles, not only brings him to an undefeated team that's on a mission, but he get to play under the defensive guru Wade Phillips. He'll learn his position adequately under Rams linebacker coach Joe Barry, who already have a very talented young linebacking group.
As a Rams fan, I'm nervous about this game (then again I get worried about every game). A team with Aaron Rodgers, coming off a bye, with a top ten rated offense and defense is no walk in the park. The oddsmakers don't seem to think it will be close, picking the Rams to win by nine. That's the most significant underdog the Packers have been in the Aaron Rodgers era. I hope they are right. My personal opinion is that the Rams should win if they play well, but a Packer win would not shock me at all.
Packers Offense Vs. Rams Defense
This game could be a battle of the Aarons Rodgers versus Donald. Many folks think Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, with apologies to Tom Brady. There are even some who think he might be the best. Green Bay is averaging 317 yards per game through the air, second only to Atlanta and only by 1 yard per game. One area that may raise some concern for the Packer offense is the fact that Green Bay is giving up an average of 3.5 sacks per game. That's not good against what is probably the best trio of defensive lineman in the league in Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Micheal Brockers. Donald went on an absolute tear last week against the Niners, logging four sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in which he just took the ball out of a San Francisco running backs hands. If he plays like that this week, this game could be the blowout oddsmakers are predicting, or maybe even more than that. My guess is the Packers will double up on AD, which is still no guarantee of success. It also opens things up for Brockers and Suh, who is capable of wrecking a game as well. With Rodgers still playing with a knee brace and lacking some of his usual mobility, I think Green Bay will emphasize the short passing game. That could mean many targets for tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Aaron Jones. Jones is also averaging 5.9 yards per carry and could see a fair number of rushing attempts if Green Bay follows the script that some other teams have against the Rams and goes ''smashmouth" to try to keep the potent Rams offense off the field. Either way, the Rams linebacking crew needs someone other than just Corey Littleton to step up. Samson Ebukam last week showed flashes against the 49ers, he needs to follow that up this week. The Rams secondary also played somewhat better, and I'll give props to corner Troy Hill (who I have sometimes been critical of) for grabbing a pick and playing well overall. He'll likely see a lot of the Packers best receiver, Davante Adams, in what could be one of the key matchups in this game. The Packers wideouts Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison look to be healthy for this game. If the Rams defense that we saw last week makes another appearance and especially if AD continues his reign of terror against NFL offenses the Rams could win this game in a route. However, we're talking about Aaron Rodgers against a defense that has been up and down. Sorry, Ram fans, but honestly I have to check the box for Green Bay here (hoping I am wrong).
Rams Offense vs. Packers Defense
Todd Gurley is having an MVP caliber season, and he could be the key to this game. While the Rams have the number one rushing offense in the league, and Gurley is the NFL's leading rusher, Green Bay is 22nd in rushing defense. I also don't think the Green Bay linebackers match up well against Gurley. When the Rams offense is clicking (and it usually is) they run a lot of play action, and Green Bay does not have the luxury of loading up the box to stop Gurley, given the Rams explosive passing game. While the Packers are fifth in the league in passing defense, the Rams could have a big day against a young Green Bay secondary. Green Bay is averaging a very respectable three sacks per game, but the Rams offensive line may be the best in the league right now. They do, of course, need to contain Clay Matthews, still one of the league's better pass rushers. One concern for the Rams is the likely absence of receiver Cooper Kupp. Josh Reynolds and Nick Williams, who more or less replaced Kupp last week, had three catches but didn't quite set the world on fire. However, Rams receiver Brandin Cooks is leading the NFL in yards per target, and fellow receiver Robert Woods is playing at a pro-bowl level. If Gurley has the kind of day I expect, both running and receiving, I think the Rams could score 40-plus points in this game.
Corey Littleton has two blocked punts this season, Greg Zuerlein is maybe the league's best placekicker, and Jojo Natson is a weapon returning punts for the Rams. Rams punter Johnny Hekker has had a couple of off games over the course of the season, but I still consider him the best punter in the NFL. Packers placekicker Mason Crosby has had some big misses this season, but he's a veteran kicker who typically handles the pressure. He's no Zuerlein, however. The one concern for the otherwise outstanding Rams special teams this season has been too many penalties, especially blocking in the back calls on punt returns. Even so, the Rams special teams are a big weapon overall.
I don't think either defense will be able to stop the opposing offense, although the Rams will hopefully continue a recent pattern of getting key sacks and turnovers. The quarterback matchup features a couple of former University of California stars who are both rocking passer ratings over 100 this season. I do think Jared Goff has a better offensive line and better weapons around him, and Todd Gurley could have a monster game.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
For the fifth time of the 2018 NFL season, a Los Angeles Rams player named as a player of the week recipient. Just one week ago, running back Todd Gurley was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for a career-best of 208 yards. Two weeks prior, Jared Goff was named not only Offensive Player of the Week, but also selected as the NFC Player of the Month.
However, this week, the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner Aaron Donald was named as NFC Defensive Player of the week. Donald with his extraordinary performance against the San Francisco 49ers was unbelievable with his play.
Donald's 2018 season started slowly; however, his play has increased to a higher level. On Sunday at Levi Stadium, Donald sacked 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard for a career-best of four-times. In addition to Donald's four sacks, he had nine total tackles (eight solo tackles), six tackles for losses, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and five quarterback hits.
Donald asked during a post-game interview regarding his sack coming in bunches and did he ever make a goal on how many to seize for a game. Donald replied:
“My daughter wanted me to get 10, and my son wanted me to get three, so I hope they’re going to be happy with four.”
On Donald's forced fumble, it was of the most fantastic strip and recovery many have ever seen. 49ers running Matt Breida took a handoff from Beathard and attempted to pick up yardage as Donald reached right and ripped the ball from his arms into his own. The Rams defense held the Niners run game to just 107 yards rushing. For the match recorded seven sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 12 quarterback hits, five pass deflections and 13.5 tackles for loss.
Donald is currently the NFL leader in sacks with 8.0 and leads Minnesota Vikings Danielle Hunter and Denver Broncos Von Miller by 0.5 sacks. Considering the fact, Donald didn't record his first sack until week four against the Seattle Seahawks. He's now averaging two sacks per game, on a pace to record 24 sack for the season. That total is an insane number for an interior defensive lineman in today's game.
Donald is arguably one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the league, creating havoc for offensive lines. The opposing offenses are doubling and tripling team him, and he still creates quarterback pressure. At this rate, Donald will become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
The Rams return home to host the Green Bay Packers after coming off a bye this week. The Packers beat the 49ers last Monday night with an impressive fourth quarter led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers engineered the Packers offense to score 10 points in the final 1:37 seconds left in the game.
The Rams defense will face a Packers offense that's led by Rodgers but with youth at their wide-receivers positions. When healthy, Randall Cobb is the most explosive player on the team both as receiver and ball carrier. Leading the Packers receiving core will be Davonte Adams a receiver that can get open and catch the ball everywhere on the field.
The Rams will need to apply much pressure to Rodgers while hobbled with a bad knee he sustained in week one against the Chicago Bears. Rodgers has very tall receivers across the board with rookie Marquez Valdez-Scantling starting to come along great. Valdez-Scantling, a tall and speedy receiver that can take the top off a defense.
At tight end, Packers have veteran Jimmy Graham and former Rams Lance Kendricks. Kendricks could be looking for retaliation of being waived by the Rams last season. The Packers offense can be most dangerous in their four and five-wide receiver sets. However, at the level that the Rams defense has climbed, Donald will be licking his chops to get to Rodgers.
The Rams have opened up as an 8½ point favorite over the Packers, who will be striving to evade out of Los Angeles with a victor. Winning will be handing down the Rams their first loss for the season which is seeking to be 8-0 and remain perfect for the season.
However, Donald had a few choice words to that thought of the Packers or any other team they'll face:
“Let’s keep getting better.”
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have added wide-receiver, Austin Proehl to their practice squad. Proehl drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played his college ball at the University of North Carolina, and his senior season was cut short due to injury.
If the last name seems familiar, you are correct; he's the son of former St. Louis Rams Rickey Proehl. Proehl will forever be in the Rams memory as he caught the game-winning touchdown from Kurt Warner to send the Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rams went on to beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 to win their first Super Bowl.
The Bills fulfilled their 53-man roster and didn't include Proehl to the team. However, he would be signed to the Titans practice squad but was released the very next day.
In a corresponding move, the Rams released wide receiver Steven Mitchell from the practice squad to make room for Proehl. Proehl the second generation to wear a Rams uniform will be eyed by fans hoping he as good as his dad once was as a player.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have release the former USC receiver Steven Mitchell from their practice squad. Mitchell became the first player of the 2018 NFL Draft, to be added to the team's roster as a UDFA (undrafted free agent).
Mitchell collegiate career was cut short by injuries that he suffered while playing for the Trojans. He tore ligaments in his right knee during the summer of 2013, that forced him to red-shirt. The next year, he played in 11 games but was sidelined for two games, after spraining his knee. Prior to that season, he injured his knee and required a hernia to be repaired, that forced him from participating in the spring practices.
The Rams signed Austin Proehl to their practice squad after the release of Mitchell.
Robert Woods Playing The Slots
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Los Angeles Rams wide-receiver Robert Woods has given all indication that he will be handling the slot position on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The second-year receiver stated in his interview on Friday about his opinion on the move:
"It's not anything different... stilly playing a receiver position." "Just moved around with different formations and certain plays."
Woods is taking over the slot position while Cooper Kupp recovers from an MCL sprain he sustained against the Denver Broncos by an illegal "horse-collar" type tackle. Kupp who primarily plays in the slot was replaced by Woods who stepped up again for the second consecutive week to lead the Rams in receiving yardage.
In his last four games, Woods have contributed with 27 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns to the lead the Rams in receiving throughout that period. He leads the team in total receptions and receiving yards this season with 36 reception and 524 yards. Fellowed receiver has 28 receptions for 505 with one touchdown, with Kupp who leads the team in touchdown receptions with five.
Rams will now rely on second-year receiver Josh Reynolds to play outside in Woods place and are optimistic he can be productive when given the opportunity. Against the Seattle Seahawks, both Kupp and Cooks left that game with concussions as Reynolds stepped up in a big way ripping off a jet sweep for good yardage and two consecutive receptions resulting in first downs.
The very talented Woods who can play outside as a receiver and can be much as effective in the slot. Will he be magic again this week against the team he torched last season, is a question that remains answered by tomorrow afternoon at Levi Stadium.
Last season in their first nationally televised game, Woods played his best game since joining the Rams. Woods and receiver Sammy Watkins whom the Rams acquired in a trade, both had over 100 yards receiving against that 49ers team. Watkins enjoyed his best night hauling in six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and Woods as well with six receptions for 108 yards, but yet to celebrate his first touchdown since joining his hometown team.
Tomorrow's game both teams will be featuring their "Color Rush" uniforms, in a match which initially was scheduled as a flex Sunday Night Game. Unfortunately, the 49ers unsuccess this season especially losing starting quarterback Jimmy Garopollo to a season-ending injury, the league chose to move the game back to its standardized game time. What a shame for the Rams as they have taken the league by storm again this season with the league's only undefeated team.
49ers second-year quarterback C.J. Beathard surprisingly has been engineering the team's offense with a good run game from Matt Breida and great chemistry with for Iowa Hawkeye teammate George Kittle and speedy receiver Marquise Goodwin. Veteran receiver Pierre Garcon gave the Rams problems last season is listed questionable to play with a shoulder and knee issues.
However, they have far more concerns on the other side of the ball with their defensive backfield. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman (calf), K'Waun Williams (shoulder), and Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion) all listed as questionable. Starting cornerback, Jimmie Ward has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
The 49ers defensive backfield was exposed this past Monday night against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter. With 2:59 left in a game receiving the punt, Aaron Rodgers erased a seven-point lead to scoring ten unanswered points to beat the Niners late.
Decimated by injuries to their defensive backs, Rodgers went after the inexperience safety Adrian Colbert and found Davante Adams at the back of the end zone to tie the game. The 49ers on a third a short try to throw a deep pass to Goodwin, but Kevin King comes up with a questionable interception. A play not stopped for further booth review; it appeared that King didn't control the process of the catch before the ball touched the ground. Rodger then would pick on second-year cornerback Greg Maybin on back to back to passing plays to Adams to set the Packers up with a game-winning Mason Crosby field to win the game 33-30.
Don't think for one minute that Rams head coach Sean McVay has not already been plotting for ways of preparing for Woods to expose the Niners weakness of their defensive backfield.
Further concerns the Niner front seven as DT DeForest Buckner and DE Arik Armstead provides a strong defensive line with pressure. Buckner leads the team with sacks, but Niners probably have one of the better linebacking crew in league with Rueben Foster, Fred Warner, and former Seattle Seahawk and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. All three linebackers are versatile and can play any of the three backers positions; however, they all can run, with Smith who ran a 4.45 and Warner and Foster sub 4.60 that can run and cover.
Let that not be a scare tactic as we know that McVay has done his due diligence in preparation and perhaps this will be the week in addition to Woods; you’ll see the tight-ends Tyler Higbee, and Gerald Everett erupting for big plays.
The Rams are a 9½ point favorite over the 49ers with an over/under of 52.5 points. Sports booking agents is predicting another shootout like last season "Color Rush" game as the Rams held on to be the Niners 41-39.
Oddsmakers have the Rams favored by nine points, down from eleven earlier in the week. This game was also flexed out of the Sunday night prime time slot because a lot of people consider it a mismatch. Maybe it will be, but I would throw in a couple of cautionary notes. First of all the Rams barely escaped with a win last time they visited Levi Stadium in a 2017 Thursday night game. Secondly, the Rams have eked out close wins on the road the last couple of weeks over teams they were heavily favored to beat. The Rams also will be missing a key wide receiver in Cooper Kupp, and Head Coaches Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay know each other well from their days together on the Washington Redskins, not to mention the fact these teams face each other twice a year. Division match ups are usually tough games, especially on the road. In the NFL, familiarity often breeds upsets. The Rams SHOULD win this game, but it isn't the slam-dunk many people seem to assume.
Rams Offense vs 49ers Defense
Todd Gurley ran wild last week, rushing for over 200 yards against the Denver Broncos, and if he comes anywhere close to that this week, the Rams will win. The niners rush defense is a middling 14th in the league, giving up an average of four yards per carry, and one of the key match ups of this game is Gurley vs. the San Francisco linebackers. As a Rams fan, I like our chances in that battle, especially since Gurley is a dual threat back who is also deadly as a receiver. But the problem for San Francisco is the same problem every other Rams opponent faces--you can try to shut down Todd Gurley or Jared Goff and the Rams outstanding wide receivers, but doing both is a tall order. Actually, even doing one is difficult, doing both has been almost impossible so far. The 49ers will catch a break because the Rams are missing wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is out with a knee injury. Josh Reynolds will probably see most of the snaps in Kupp's absence. That's not all bad for the Rams, because a lot of people have been waiting to see what the former fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M might be able to do in a starting role. Meanwhile, the Rams will see a (not so friendly) old friend in the secondary, where former Seahawk Richard Sherman will line up (mostly) as the left cornerback. Sherman may be in a foul mood after being flagged for a key interference call that helped the Packers escape with a last minute win on Monday night. Sherman will probably mostly see either Brandin Cooks or Reynolds, while over on the right side Jimmy Ward will see a lot of Robert Woods. I frankly don't know if Ward is up to containing Woods one-on-one. Woods isn't flashy in any one particular area, but he does everything well and seems to always make the big catch when the Rams need it. Denver stayed in the game last week against the Rams in large part by sacking Jared Goff five times and harassing him for most of the day, but San Francisco doesn't have Von Miller or Bradley Chubb. They do have defensive tackle Deforest Buckner, who has logged 4.5 of the niners 12 sacks so far, and Rams guards Rodger Saffold and Austin Blythe need to contain him (Buckner may line up at either left or right dt). Otherwise the niners defense will face a choice between blitzing a lot and risking the Rams scoring on big plays, or trying to play coverage and possibly letting Goff pick them apart, as he can do given the time to throw. All things considered, I would be surprised if the Rams don't score at least 30 points, as they have done every week so far in 2018 except last Sunday. But containing Buckner is critical.
Rams Defense vs 49ers Offense
If San Francisco is going to win this game they need to take advantage of a Rams defense that has been up and down this season. The much-heralded niner quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has plenty of time to date porn stars right now, having suffered a season-ending knee injury. That means the Rams will face C.J. Beathard. Beathard is no Jimmy G, but he is a tough, gritty quarterback with a strong arm, and the Rams can't take him lightly. Some scouts think Beathard is far less effective when you can pressure him and force him to ad-lib, so a key to victory for the Rams may be generating an inside pass rush from Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Micheal Brockers. Unfortunately for the Rams, outside linebackers Samson Ekubam and Matt Longacre have under-achieved so far in terms of rushing the passer, so it may be up to the d-line to disrupt the 49er passing game. That's a good-news, bad news situation for the Rams. The good news is that the 49ers are allowing 3.3 sacks per game, 27th in the league. The bad news is that for whatever reason, NFL refs have been allowing opposing linemen to outrageously hold the Rams pass rushers (especially Aaron Donald) this year. I hate to blame the refs, but Sean McVay has commented on it and as someone who has seen virtually every Rams play this season, he is right. Let's hope that doesn't happen on Sunday. The 49ers best receiver has been tight end George Kittle, and Rams safety John Johnson will be in charge of keeping Kittle in check, one fo the key match ups in this game. Niners wide receiver Marquis Goodwin is lightning fast and a Rams secondary that has been up and down with Aquib Talib on the sidelines needs to limit his big plays. Rams corner Marcus Peters was better last week after an abysmal game against Seattle, but he has a tendency to gamble and go for the pick instead of just defending the pass. On the other side, Troy Hill struggled last week. Both he and fellow corner Sam Shields (they often alternate) have been up and down in place of Talib, and frankly they need to play better. On the ground, 49er running back Matt Breida has had some big games, and despite some injury concerns earlier in the week he's expected to play. The San Francisco offensive line has been much better at run blocking than pass blocking, and the niners could go ''ground and pound" in an effort to keep the explosive Rams offense off the field. That strategy paid off two weeks ago for Seattle when they almost upset the Rams. It wasn't nearly as effective for Denver last week. I'm going to give the Rams the edge here, but their defense really needs to step up or this game could be closer than people think.
The good news for Los Angeles is that placekicker Greg "the leg" Zuerlein is back after missing several weeks with a groin injury. Assuming he is fully healed and isn't too rusty, that's a big deal and could be decisive in a close game. The Rams also had return man Jojo Natson back on the field last week, and he's been solid filling in for Pharoh Cooper. Rams linebacker Corey Littleton already has one blocked punt this season as a special teams player, and he is always a threat to block another. Through in punter Johnny Hekker and you have probably the best set of special teams in the NFL.
The NFL network's Reggie Wayne this week predicted a 49er upset win. That COULD happen if San Francisco can either wrack up some serious points or go ball-control and run the ball effectively, along with a getting a couple of turnovers (at least) on defense. You can never take these division road games lightly. But having said all of that, the Rams are clearly a better team, and they should win this game.
Cooper Kupp A No Go Against 49ers
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Rams head coach Sean McVay has officially ruled Cooper Kupp out for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium. The Los Rams lost starting receiver Cooper Kupp to an apparent knee injury on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. On a second down, Kupp received a jet sweep from quarterback Jared Goff and picked up the first down on the run.
However, on the play, former Rams and current Denver Broncos safety Darian safety, not only grabbed Kupp's facemask but also tackled him with a horse collar type tackle. A penalty was enforced on the play as Kupp remained down appearing to clutch his left knee.
Kupp required assistance and as he was carried off the field on the cart to seek further testing of his injury. Rams remain optimistic that was no structural damage to any ligaments. Kupp surprisingly returned in the second half, after a couple of downs, he was unable to continue.
An MRI of Kupp's knee was performed, and after further diagnosis, it was determined that there was no structural damage to his knee. However, Kupp did suffer an MCL sprain to his knee which will keep him sidelined at least this week.
The Rams added free-agent receiver Nick Williams on Tuesday, a player that was familiar with McVay's system. He played for the Washington Redskins at the time when McVay was the tightend coach. He also played under former Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFluer as an Atlanta Falcon and recently as a Tennessee Titans too.
The Rams seek to continue its great play as they go against the 49ers on Sunday who lost a heartbreaker at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. The young 49ers team will be hungry for a victory after suffering yet another close game. However, the Rams will have a lot at stake as they look to remain undefeated and to pick up their seventh win of the season.
The game which initially scheduled as a Sunday Night Football game was moved back to it norman 1:25 PM PST time, as the NFL chose to flex Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers play been so horrific that they cost the Rams a national prime time broadcasted game. The teams will both be in their "Color Rush" jersey's, something that will seem slightly bizarre in a day game.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Todd Gurley, running back for the Los Angeles Rams has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Gurley set a personal mark in rushing last Sunday carrying the ball 28 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.
Gurley knifed through the Broncos front seven by averaging 7.43 yards per rush. In his post-game interview, he commended the offensive line and tight ends. Gurley expressed that the accomplishment couldn't be made without the hard work the linemen upfront blocking creating him running lanes. Also to include to Gurley’s day, he only had two receptions for 17 yards, but his pass blocking was spectacular.
The Rams will face the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The 49ers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night 33-30 at Lambeau Field. The Niners defense will seek to try and shut down the Rams running game, only surrendering 116 yards to the Packers, but allowing 405 yards. The 49ers allowed three Packer receivers with over 100 yards receiving each, and be sure that Sean McVay is game planning for that this week.
Last season the Rams beat the 49ers 41-39, in a game where it seemed as if the Rams were going to pummel the Niners. A later fourth-quarter surge by the Niners got them within the red zone until the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald come up with the massive sack on Brian Hoyer to preserve the win. In that game, Gurley rushed the ball 28 times for 116 yard and two touchdowns, also to include five receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams will seek to remain perfect 7-0 on Sunday; however, they will be without receiver Cooper Kupp who has a sprain MCL. Gurley will be probably be called upon to be heavily involved in the passing game this week with Kupp’s absence, seeking his first 100/100 game of his career.
Greg Zuerlein Cleared To Kick
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay announced at today's media conference that kicker Greg Zuerlein is clear to full kicking duties. He mentioned the Zuerlein had a good workout, felt good, and received the thumbs up.
Coach McVay also expressed how appreciative he was with Cairo Santos, how the organization gravitated to him while in a Rams uniform. Santos with two game-winning kicks against the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos on consecutive weeks gave the team a breath of fresh air. Santos replaced Sam Ficken who originally was signed, but he struggled with making manageable field goals.
Rams released Santos yesterday, so it was very apparent that Zuerlein would be available after he missed the last five games. He injured his groin during pre-game workouts in week two against the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams had a contingency plan with punter Johnny Hekker, who kicked a field and two PAT's.
With the release of the news of Zuerlein's return, you can envision the roar of the happy Ram fans across the world. Zuerlein's powerful leg help the
Rams secure a win in week one against the Oakland Raiders as he made three PAT's, four out of field goals (including a 51-yarder from the infield). Zuerlein was named the NFC Special Team Player of the Week for his exceptional kicking against the Raiders.
Rams are optimistic that Zuerlein will remain healthy for the rest of the season, as they lost him in Week #15 last season with a herniated disc. At some point, they will call upon him to kick some long field goals something they were not confident with the previous five games.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Linebacker Travin Howard, a seventh-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams of the 2018 NFL Draft, is resigned to the Rams practice squad.
Howard, who played collegiately at TCU, led the Horn Frogs in tackles in three consecutive` seasons. The undersized linebacker was a long shot at making the team, had the potential and talent, but caught up in a numbers game on the depth chart.
Rams released their seventh-round selection in Howard with an injury reserve settlement. This signing does not come as a surprise, as defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took a particular interest in drafting Howard.
Howard addition to the practice squad meant that Rams needed to make a corresponding move to create space. Rams release safety Linden Stephens from the practice squad as Howard plugs the tenth roster spot.
Rams Released Kicker Cairo Santos
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have released kicker Cairo Santos three weeks after signing him to the team. Santos whom the Rams signed while as kicker Greg Zuerlein recovered from his groin injury he suffered during pre-game against Arizona Cardinals.
Santos who kicked two game-winning field goals against the Seattle Seahawks and recent game against the Denver Broncos, was ok in his short time with the Rams. Despite missing two field goals and one point after attempt against the Seahawks which was crucial for the Rams which almost resulted in a loss.
However, Santos was clutch as he nailed a 39-yard field goal with little under five minutes left in the game. The Rams defense held the Seahawks comeback of taking the lead by great defensive plays by linebacker Corey Littleton. Rams converted on a fourth and inches after a controversial spot from a second down run by Todd Gurley that clearly converted the first down. However, the referred placed the ball two yards short given the Rams a third down and two to convert.
The NFL appears to have a carousal of kickers this season as kickers have missed plenty of kicks. Santos will get another opportunity this season if lucky, should other kicker continue to miss kicks.
WR Nick Williams Signed By Rams
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have signed free agent wide-receiver Nick Williams to the team. Williams, played collegiately at the University of Connecticut and undrafted from the 2013 NFL Draft, by Washington Redskins. He had short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and Tennessee Titans.
Head Coach Sean McVay stated that Williams is familiar with the system and recently played under ex-Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. Williams time with the Titans came to an end last week after fallen not in favor with coaches after dropping a would-be game-winning touchdown in Week Three. Not sure of what Williams role will become, but expect his signing will be added depth to the roster.
In a corresponding move the Rams released kicker Cairo Santos to make room for Williams to the active roster.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have signed Rick Leonard offensive tackle to their practice squad. The addition came was made on the same day the Indianapolis Colts signed Evan Boehm from the Rams practice squad.
Leonard, drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, didn't make the final cuts of the 53-man roster. He would be released and signed to the Saints practice squad who released him last week.
Leonard is a 6-foot-7, 311-pound lineman that played his collegiately at Florida State University. Originally recruited as a defensive end, later converted to offensive tackle at Florida State. An athletic lineman that's very strong, but a project to play at a higher level. Leonard claims the final spot on the Rams practice squad.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Indianapolis Colts signed Evan Boehm off the Los Angeles Rams practice squad last week to their active roster. The Rams signed Boehm last September to fulfill their 10-man practice squad roster.
Boehm selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft from the University of Missouri, a school he gave a verbal commitment in junior high. He started all four years at Mizzou with a streak of 52 consecutive games. He began as a guard and center and has the versatility to play all positions of the line.
The Colts team decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball needed players and went the damage control route. The Rams added offfensive tackle Rick Leonard to the practice squad rookie from Florida State.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Todd Gurley, running back for the Los Angeles Rams set a new personal record in rushing today by breaking his original best of 159 yards against the Denver Broncos. The 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, carried the ball 28 times for 208 yards and increasing his season total to 621 yards. Gurley now leads the league in rushing with his excellent performance today.
The voters robbed Gurley whom many believe of the 2017 NFL MVP in which named Tom Brady of the New England Patriots as the winner. Gurley put up career number last season in rushing, receiving, and touchdowns didn't play in the final game of the season as he could have won the rushing title.
Against the Broncos, Gurley averaged 7.4 yards per run, as he knifed through the Bronco defense scoring twice. Playing in inclement weather and the high altitude didn't slow down Gurley. The Rams as a team rushed for 272 yards averaging 7.4 yards per each run.
Gurely after today should have his name entered as the favorite to be named the NFL MVP if his performance to continue to increase. He has now rushed for over 100 yards for the third time this season. Gurley now has rushed for nine touchdowns, received for two scores and a pair of two-point conversions.
The Rams escaped the Broncos late comeback by winning the game 23-20 to remain perfect on the season. The will play next week against their NFC rival San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium Santa Clara.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Updated 10/14/2018 2:50PM PST
For the second consecutive week, the Los Angeles Rams lost starting receiver Cooper Kupp to an injury. Kupp on a second down and 13, received the jet sweep from Jared Goff and ran the ball up the sideline for a first down. However, on the play, former Ram and current Denver Broncos safety Darian safety, not only face masked Kupp but also tackled him with a horse collar type tackle. A penalty was enforced on the play as Kupp remained down appearing to clutch his left knee.
Kupp needed to have assistance and carried off the field on the cart to get further testing on his injury. Rams remain optimistic that there is no structural damage to any ligaments. Kupp's status to return is questionable, as second-year receiver Josh Reynolds steps in to replace him at the slot.
Rams linebacker Matt Longacre is questionable to return as well with an apparent back injury.
Kupp has returned to the lineup in the second half.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Denver Broncos are hosting the Los Angeles Rams at Mile High Stadium today in a game where the Rams mark to remain perfect this season. The Rams produce one the highest scoring offenses in the league to a Bronco defense that's not been good at all.
Today, the Rams will be playing not only against the Broncos but mother nature too! The temperatures are expected to be around 24 degrees at kickoff, and the field already has been blanketed with snow. Could this be the key to the Broncos defense to slow down the explosive offense?
The question asked whether or not the Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff can effectively throw the ball in the snow and the freezing conditions. Goff has unusually smaller hands for a quarterback, as he will get tested by protecting the ball from the Broncos front seven.
The Broncos front seven consist on future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller, Brandon Marshall and rookie edge rusher Bradley Chubb. Nose Tackle Domata Peko Sr, as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, presented many issues for the Rams offensive line the last time he played. His pressure up the middle disrupted the Rams offense, and on a key fourth and short, he stuffed Todd Gurley in the backfield for a loss.
However, this is entirely a different Rams offensive line, that premiers some nasty "big uglies" on their offensive line. Starting from left to right, Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Austin Blythe, and Rob Havenstein will be relied upon heavily to produce an active Rams running game.
Will the inclement weather be a factor for the team from the sunny west coast? That will be the expectation from the Bronco fans as they hope that the cold elements will affect the Rams players.
However, what they don't know, four of the Rams starting five offensive linemen went to universities where they collegiately in snow. However, the captain of the offensive line Whitworth, played the majority of his career in Cincinnati as the weather proposed no issues for his play. So, I like the chances of this Rams offensive line against the Broncos defense.
Expect to watch the Rams run the ball heavily against the Broncos defense, as the Rams will run Gurley as early and often. Perhaps, this will be the week Rams will have rookie running back John Kelly active as his punishing style of running is very useful in a smash mouth offense. Don't expect to see Goff throwing the ball as much today, but on the other hand, with the wizard Sean McVay calling the plays, he may go against the odds and throw the ball with quick passes.
Last week, the Broncos defense surrendered 323 yards rushing to the New York Jets, with Isaiah Crowell gaining 219 yards and Bilal Powell with 99-yards of his own. It was an ugly day for the defense, and the Rams will look to exploit their weakness. Let's see if this will become the game that Gurley will set his career mark with rushing for 200 yards.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp, starting wide receivers for the Los Angeles Rams has been cleared to play in tomorrow contest against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. The two receivers removed from the game last week because of concussions they sustained against the Seattle Seahawks.
Midway through the second quarter, with a first down and 15 yards to go, the Rams had the ball on their 12-yard line. Quarterback Jared Goff would find Cooks on a deep out rout picking up the first down at their 31-yard line. However, after catching the ball, Cooks suffered a devastating blow from Seahawks safety Tedric Thompson in which Cooks dropped to the turf limped. It appeared to be helmet to helmet contact by Thompson; however, there was no penalty enforced.
The hit that Cooks suffered was similar to the gruesome hit he received in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. Cooks laid motionless on the field and never returned to the game after suffering the concussion.
Kupp's concussion was a bit bizarre, as you never seen him take any severe hits from the Seahawk defense. In the final minutes of the second quarter, Kupp caught a pass from Goff, and it appeared while being tackled his head hit the turf. He finished the half and went into the lockeroom but didn't return the second half.
Kupp said he wasn't feeling well and expressed it to the Rams head trainer Reggie Scott. He was evaluated for a concussion and quickly place into the concussion protocol. Cooks put in that same protocol brought concerns to Rams organization, now that both Kupp and himself were out. Robert Woods stepped in a big way without the starters, and Rams received a significant contribution from second-year receiver Josh Reynolds and rookie KhaDarel Hodge.
Both players cleared the protocol today and have been made to play against the Broncos. The Rams will try and remain perfect this season as they are currently 5-0 for the first time since 2001. Rams will be up against climent weather and will need to rely on heavy running by Todd Gurley, which will later onen up the passing game.
This game is unusually difficult to predict for a couple of reasons. X-factor number one is the weather. Temperatures forecasted in the 20s with snow likely. X-factor number two is the fact Denver is a different team at home. Between the elevation and the crowd noise, Denver is a tough place to play. They very nearly knocked off Kansas City Chiefs in a Monday night game a couple of weeks ago. The Los Angeles Rams are a better team than the Broncos right now, and they should win, but this game is no walk in the park by any means.
Rams Offense vs. Broncos Defense
Coming into this season, this visioned on paper like a marquee matchup, but statistically speaking that is no longer the case. The Bronco's defense has been a colossal disappointment, ranked 26th in the league. All-world pass-rushing linebacker Von Miller had three sacks in Denver's opener but hasn't had another one since. You still have to account for him, of course, and if he breaks out like he is capable of doing, an upset alert might be in order. The Broncos top draft choice, Bradley Chubb, staffs the other outside linebacker position, and while this duo (especially Chubb) hasn't yet been the terror the Broncos envisioned going into this season, the talent is there. The ability of Rams tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein to control these guys is one of the key matchups that may decide who wins this game. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is one of the better players at his position and needs to play well for Denver to have a chance. Assuming Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks plays (and most reports say he probably will after suffering a concussion against Seattle), he'll see a lot of Harris. Of course, any defense that faces the Rams also has to shut down receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp (again, expected to play following a concussion last week), and the problem for Denver is that they only have one, Chris Harris. Cornerback Bradley Roby, a former first-round pick, has had his struggles this year, as has the Denver secondary in general. Denver's best pass defense may well be the weather. If it's as bad as expected, it could do what no NFL defense has done so far this year..dampen the Rams explosive passing attack. In which case, Denver could see a heavy dose of Todd Gurley. The Broncos gave up an astounding 326 yards on the ground against the New York Jets last week. No that's not a typo, and yes, Gurley is better than any running back the Jets have (no offense to Isaiah Crowell, but let's get real here). If Todd Gurley goes off, rushing for anywhere over 150 yards, this could get ugly. Even is he rushes for say, 125 yards and racks up another 75 yards in receiving, it likely spells victory for the Rams. The Bronco linebackers vs. Todd Gurley may well decide this game. If that happens, I like the Rams chances.
Rams Defense vs. Denver Offense
I fully expect Denver to take a page from the Seahawks playbook and go "ground and pound" in this game, especially if the weather is terrible. The Rams gave up almost 190 yards rushing last week in Seattle, and nearly lost a game they were expected to win handily. They have to do a better job this week; it's as simple as that. Bronco running backs Phillip Lindsey and Royce Freeman as at least as good as the Seahawks backs, but the good news is that Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips has had a week to address the problem. I also understand the Rams defense had a players-only meeting on the subject. Rams D-lineman Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Micheal Brockers (again, expected to play after some injury concerns) need to win their battles up front, and the Rams linebackers need to step up as a unit. Other than Corey Littleton, the linebacking crew has been a little disappointing. Inside linebacker Mark Barron returned to action last week and played reasonably well last week, considering he hadn't seen the field for a while. However, there are concerns about whether the cold weather may oppose a problem for his Achilles tendon, and we don't know at this point whether the will play or if so how much.
Outside linebackers Matt Longacre and Samson Ekubam will need to step up, both against the run but especially at rushing the passer. Rams cornerback Marcus Peters was pretty disappointing against Seattle, frankly looking lost on a couple of plays, and generally just having a bad day. He said his calf injury has healed, and he needs to play better, as does the secondary in general. The good news for the Rams pass-defense that Broncos quarterback Case Keenum is back to being whom we thought he was and not the MVP candidate we saw with Minnesota last season (at least so far). Denver does have some talent at receiver, but given the likely weather conditions along with Keenum's struggles, and not to mention Seattle's success running the ball last week, I am most concerned about stopping the Denver running game. It is worth noting that for all of the gnashing of teeth and general hysteria about the Rams defensive woes, they are still ninth in total defense. However, the rush defense is 18th, and that could be a problem if they don't play better on Sunday.
Edge: Rams (but they need to play better)
A mixed bag for the Rams last week. They blocked a punt, and Cairo Santos kicked what turned out to be the game-winning field goal, but the kickoff coverage could have been better. Johnny Hekker was closer to the Johnny Hekker we are used to, and in the mile-high elevation, he could be a real weapon, albeit hopefully one the Rams don't have to use too often. The Broncos special teams were just awful in 2017. While they seem a little better this year, I am going to check the box for the Rams here.
There are questions about Bronco coach Vance Joseph and his staff, and according to some media reports, even about team President/General Manager John Elway, although firing Elway seems almost unthinkable. However, last year's disappointing 5-11 finish combined with a lackluster 2-3 record this season certainly has the coaching staff on the proverbial "hot seat." Joseph has promised changes after last week's debacle of a loss in New York. On the other side of the field, of course, things are very different. Sean McVay is widely considered one of the best coaches in the league. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and Special Teams Coach John ''Bones" Fassel are likewise highly regarded. A significant advantage here for the Rams
I said at the outset that this game is somewhat hard to predict. The Rams are the better team in all phases of the game. However, they barely escaped Seattle last week with a win, and the combination of the weather, the elevation, and the typically loud Denver crowd could spell upset. However, talent and coaching usually win, and I predict they will take this week as well, although it could be a lower scoring game then people think.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have added center Aaron Neary back to their practice squad. The organization released him from the practice squad last week which many believes it stemmed from his arrest for a DUI and a hit and run incident.
Apparently, the Rams only had 52 players on the active roster, and Neary in his third year on a practice squad would needed to promoted to the active roster. Instead the Rams released him and was awarded Darious Williams from waivers of the Baltimore Ravens.
As reported the other day, his arrest had no reflection on his release, it merely was a collective bargaining rule that needed to be enforced.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams awarded defensive back Darious Williams from waivers of the Baltimore Ravens. Williams was released last week when Jimmy Smith returned from his four-game suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
Williams who went undrafted of the 2018 NFL Draft was signed by the Ravens quickly after the draft. Williams who played collegiately at UAB is small in stature but a physical back. He was named a First Team All-Conference USA his junior season. He was tied for second in interceptions with five, 50 tackles (four for losses), and led the conference with 15 pass deflections.
Before Williams senior season, UAB lost their football program for two seasons but later reinstated. However, despite Williams receiving offers from D-1 programs, he declined and chose to stick with UAB. It turned out to be a wise move for him as he later was named as a Pro Football Focus First Team All-American.
Williams is a small defensive back but very physical, and never shy from away from the action. An excellent pressing corner that mixes it up with receivers and stays within his coverage assignments. He has excellent hands, and interceptions attempts usually are secured when he grabs them. He fits well in Wade Phillips scheme as he can play man, zone coverage, and press corner. Pro Football Focus statistics showed he had the 10th lowest passing rating when targeted at 34%. He was the second highest rated in coverage at 93.4% in all of FBS cornerbacks.
Williams has played in three games this season before being released while playing on special teams since the opening week. The scrappy defensive back will help on special teams and possibly will see some action this week if active. Rams travel this week to play the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium, as they look to remain perfect on Sunday.
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have released center Aaron Neary from the practice squad. The Simi Valley Police Department arrested Neary for a DUI and a hit and run incident.
The arrest occurred after the Rams victory over the Arizona Cardinals 34-0 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Reports were that Neary had hit a bus stop, trash can, and a mailbox and fled the scene. A witness to the accident called 9-1-1 and as the police spotted Neary and pulled him over.
Simi Valley PD perform a breathalyzer on Neary as his blood level was twice the legal limit of 0.08 that is allowed by the State of California.
Neary’s B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) was at 0.17, at around 6:30 pm of his arrest and the Rams game just ended shortly before 4 pm. A question will surface on how did Neary's level reach so high in a two-hour period, such as was he drinking while on the sideline and locker-room?
No reason was given about Neary's released, but have to be sure that it stems for from the arrest of the DUI. Neary was an undrafted free agent from the 2016 NFL draft in his third season.
No replacement for Neary at this point, but with linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo due to return from the PUP list, the Rams current roster is at 52. Expect the tenth and practice squad position to be filled soon with another linebacker or offensive lineman.
On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Oddsmakers are favoring the unbeaten Rams by 7.5 points, and Seattle will be missing defensive standouts K.J. Wright and Earl Thomas, who may have played his last game as a Seahawk. That hobbled defense will be trying to slow down a high-flying Rams offense that is probably rivaled only by Kansas City in its ability to score, one that lit up the Vikings for 38 points in their last outing.
However, division games are never easy. Just think back to the dark days of the Jeff Fisher regime for evidence of that. As bad as the Rams were some of those years, they often gave then-powerhouse Seattle all they could handle and then some. The Seahawks will also be out for revenge after the Rams humiliated them at home last December.
Yes, I like the Rams to win this game, but it probably will be a tougher game than many expect. Also, you never know.. A turnover here, a significant penalty there, and an upset could happen.
Rams Offense vs. Seattle Defense:
If Seattle is going to pull the upset here, they probably need to keep the Rams offense from scoring more than 23 points or so, something no one has done so far in 2018. The 'Hawks don't have the firepower to win a shootout with the high-octane Los Angeles offense, barring the Rams going into the full turnover mode. The Seahawks are ranked a surprising 7th in the league in total defense and have been giving up only about 20 points per game.
Then again, they haven't exactly faced "murderers row" of NFL offenses, with games against the Cardinals, Cowboys, Bears, and Broncos. None of those teams is remotely in the class of the Rams, offense-wise. What makes things worse for Seattle is the fact that two of their big three defensive stars won't play on Sunday. Safety Earl Thomas, who may be the best at his position in the entire league, is out with a broken leg. Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to battle a knee injury, and also is expected to miss Sunday's game (in fact no one seems to know when he will be back).
Since the league has now suspended Mychal Kendricks, who had been filling in for Wright, that means rookie Austin Calitro will likely replace Wright. Calitro isn't a bad player and filled in reasonably well for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner against the Bears earlier this year--- but he isn't KJ Wright.
The Rams offense, meanwhile, looked almost unstoppable in their last game against the Vikings. Jared Goff (the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September) was dropping dimes against the Vikings defense, and all three starting receivers for the Rams topped 100 yards as Goff threw for 465 yards against the league's number one defense last year. Todd Gurley, meanwhile, topped 150 yards in total offense, rushing for 83 yards and racking up over 70 yards catching the ball.
However, maybe the unsung hero of that game was the Rams offensive line, as has been the case all season. While guard Rodger Saffold missed some practice time this week, Rams Coach Sean McVay says that was a precaution and that he should play as usual Sunday. More bad news for Seattle was that their best pass rusher, Frank Clark, was down for much of this week with what speculated as food poisoning. I guess that Clark will play on Sunday, but whether he will be 100 percent is another question. If you have ever had food poisoning (as I have), it can take something out of you for a few days.
Given their injuries at linebacker and safety, Seattle probably has to generate a pass rush in this game to have a chance, even if it means blitzing a lot. I don't think they can do it without going blitz heavy, which could expose their pass coverage. However, we will see.
Rams Defense vs. Seattle Offense
I expect Seattle to go old-school ''ground and pound," trying to run the ball an effort to eat up the clock and keep the Rams offense off the field.
One of the few areas where the Seahawks seem to have improved over the 2017 'Hawks is in their ability to run the ball. Chris Carson and Mike Davis have logged 100-yard rushing games for Seattle, although top draft pick Rashaad Penny has been something of a disappointment so far.
If Seattle can run the ball and get a few breaks, they may have a chance to win this game. However, for that to happen, the Hawks O-line has to handle Ndamukong Suh, Micheal Brockers and Aaron Donald up front. I have my doubts about that happening, although some observers think the Seahawks offensive line is better than people think.
For the Rams, linebacker Mark Barron is expected to play for the first time this season. Rams outside linebackers Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre have shown flashes, but haven't been great overall this year (especially Longacre). They need to step up. If they can do that, this defense could go from pretty good to very good or even great. The other Ram defender who needs to improve this week is corner Sam Shields, who had his ups and downs against the Vikings.
The same could be said of fellow corner Marcus Peters, but I guess that a calf injury still hampered him against Minnesota. I hope for a better performance this week. The good news for the Rams is that Seattle's receiving corps is nowhere near as good as that of the Vikings. The critical battle here will be the Rams D-line against the 'Hawks O-line.
Aaron Donald has sacked Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson 7 times in eight games and took over the game in the last meeting of these two teams in December in Seattle. If that happens again, the Rams win this game in all likelihood.
The special team is an area that is hard to predict, mostly because of injuries to the Rams. Placekicker Greg Zuerlein is out again, and the Rams have signed former Chief Cairo Santos to replace Sam Ficken until ''Greg the Leg" returns. The bad news for the Rams is that Santos is not Zuerlein. The good news is that he is also not Sam Ficken. Rams Punter Johhny Hekker had a rare bad day against the Vikings, but assuming he isn't injured, I don't expect that to happen this week. Kick returner Pharoh Cooper is still out for Los Angeles, but Jojo Natson, who did a decent job filling in for him, is expected back. For Seattle placekicker, Sebastian Janikowski has been up and down but did kick a game-winner against the Cardinals last week. Kick returner Tyler Lockett is always dangerous for Seattle. I'm going to check the box here for Seattle, even though I think it's close
No offense to Pete Carroll, who after all has a Super Bowl Ring, but I think Sean McVay is a near-genius when it comes to coaching an offense, and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and special teams coach John "Bones" Fassel may be the best at what they do in the NFL as well. It's not that the Seattle coaching staff is terrible--they are not. It's that the Rams coaching staff is good.
Division games are always tough, and Seattle generally has one of the most significant home field advantages in the NFL. If Seattle can run the ball effectively, play good defense, and make a play or two on special teams, they can win this game. However, the ''play good defense" part against this offense and with Seattle's injuries won't be easy. If Los Angeles jumps out to an early lead and Seattle has to abandon the run, this could get ugly. An upset is indeed possible here, and I don't think it will happen.