As you might have heard, there's a real live football game this weekend that the Eagles are playing in. It's in St. Louis... against the Rams... So of course, we hooked up with our resident Rams blogger 3k from Turf Show Times to talk about this weekend's matchup. You can find my answers to his questions over there.
BGN: I look at the Eagles corners and the Rams WRs and am I being a total homer in thinking that this is one of the biggest mismatches either team will see all year? I usually try to find reasons why my eyes deceive me, but does Sam Bradford even bother throwing the ball in this game?
TST: I don't think it's that much of a homer statement (although you guys do get that vaunted Redskins attack twice this year...). The Rams had so much rebuilding to do after the franchise caved in at the end of former GM Jay Zygmunt's tenure that some positions were not going to receive the high-value draft picks or expensive free agents. Thus far, those positions have been WR and OLB. So yes, it's a pretty damn big mismatch. That being said, the Rams have tried to supply some fresh weapons for Sam this year. Mike Sims-Walker looks to be a valuable component and rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas will factor at some point this season; however, if their preseasons are any real indication, it's going to be a while. The best addition looks to be rookie TE Lance Kendricks. He's been as good as advertised as a second round selection thus far.
Much more after the jump
What effect do you think Josh McDaniels will have on Bradford and the offense this year? Will he call passes that are designed to travel more than 4-5 yards in the air? I'm not sure Pat Shurmur knew that those types of throws were allowed.
Obviously, it would be impossible to tighten this offense any more than what we saw with Shurmur last year. And given his history, I would assume that McDaniels is going to stretch the field out with some consistency. We saw that in the preseason, including this playaction bomb against the Titans on the first play of the game. The real issue is the combined skill sets of who we have on the depth chart. The one real deep threat we had was Donnie Avery, and the staff opted to cut him from the 53-man. So between Danny Amendola, Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibson and the perma-injured Danario Alexander, I don't know who is going to stretch the field out of talent. It's going to require systematic disguising, and that rests on Josh McDaniels' shoulders. We'll just have to see how it plays out. (And I doubt there's a Ram fan in existence who wouldn't rather have McD as OC than Shurmur)
Seriously, how on earth did Danny Amendola catch 85 passes and not even eclipse 700 yards? Actually just for the hell of it, I looked this up on pro-football-reference.com and he is literally the only WR in NFL history to have at least 85 catches and less than 700 yards. (I realize the answer to this is probably the same as the last question, but I was stunned by that stat.)
It's a combination of system and his limitations. He's quick as all hell, but has a limited top gear and is pretty bad at double moves and deeper routes. He's best used on screens and shorter routes like slants, curls and in/outs. Honestly, I hope he can match his production in this year's offense.
What are the expectations for the Rams this season? Would just making the playoffs be evidence of enough progress to make the fans happy? Would a year without the postseason, especially in the NFC West, feel like a failure?
You won't find much unanimity among Ram fans on this one. Yes, we all feel like the team is headed in the right direction, and yes, we all expect them to be "better". But where as last year's schedule was relatively soft, this year's is damn tough. At this point, making the playoffs alone would likely satisfy every fan of the Rams, but that's prior to week 1. Should they get through the first seven games with a winning record, expectations will rise. What makes this difficult to parse is the wonderful world of the West. Our division sucks, as every single NFL fan knows. It's not so much that the Rams should win the division, but that none of the other three teams should. For the Rams to not top the Niners, Seahawks and Cards this year would be a categorical failure.
I have a gentleman's bet with a friend regarding some NFC West QBs that you might want to weigh in on. Who throws more yards, TDs and INTs this year between Kevin Kolb and Sam Bradford? Personally, I went with Kolb for most yards, but I'm leaning towards Bradford for TDs and I'm really unsure about INTs.
I'm with you on the yards and TDs predictions. Kolb has Larry Fitzgerald anchoring that pass attack and some deep threats to boot. And with Kendricks, the Rams should have a much more reliable red zone passing offense than we did in 2010. As for INTs, I'll take the homer route and predict Kolb will toss more picks than Bradford. Also, gambling is bad and stuff.
Given that your boys already already nabbed a BGN fave in Quintin Mikell, if you could steal one more player off the Eagles roster, who would it be?
Pfffftttt, DeSean Jackson. You guys owe us for passing on him and taking Avery instead in the 2008 Draft. Then again, six WRs went before he did. Unbelievable draft hit there for you guys. But yeah, it'd be Jackson in a second. With Bradford and McDaniels, that would just be a silly combo.