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  1. #1
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    Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/scout...meId=251009014

    Big division game in St. Louis


    Why To Watch
    This Week 5 matchup features a chances to get a jum in the NFC West standings. Both the Seahawks and the Rams are coming off frustrating losses last week and will look to right the ship Sunday. In order to pull off the road upset, Seattle must cut down on its penalties and get RB Shaun Alexander going early on against a Rams run defense that surrenders 4.1 yards per carry.
    St. Louis, on the other hand, will look to keep the tempo high and continue to spread the wealth via the air to their playmaking foursome of WR's Torry Holt, Shaun McDonald, Dane Looker and Kevin Curtis. In order to come out on top, Rams' QB Marc Bulger must cut down on the interceptions after throwing three to Giants defenders in last week's loss.


    When the Seahawks have the ball:

    Rushing: Extending drives and chewing up the clock are crucial when playing the pass-happy Rams on their fast track inside the Edward Jones Dome. If you look back at the Seahawks' offensive performance against the Redskins last week, there was very much to be encouraged by. The unit spread the wealth efficiently in the passing game, it failed to turn the ball over once, and it averaged 5.2 yards per carry in what was an overall balanced outing. However, penalties and a lack of red zone execution proved costly in the loss. If the Seahawks are to steal one on the road this week, they must cut down on mistakes and do a better job of executing at the end of drives, as the Rams can put points on the board in a hurry when playing at home.

    The interior trio of "wave" DTs Ryan Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy and Damione Lewis make it difficult to establish an inside running attack against the Rams. However, the Rams are vulnerable off-tackle and on the perimeter, where Leonard Little and Tony Hargrove often get too far upfield and leave a crease to penetrate. Little is far more active versus the run and will make more plays in pursuit, so it will be important to either run at him or be conscious of sealing him off on the backside. The Seahawks must utilize their size advantage on the perimeter and part of a plan that should include 25-plus carries for RB Shaun Alexander, who has already rushed for 455 yards and six touchdowns on 84 carries this season.

    Passing: Seattle's pass protection is outstanding and it should be a huge advantage in Sunday's game. The Rams have done a better-than-average job of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season, as they have notched 10 sacks in four games. However, they do not have the front-four personnel to consistently get to QB Matt Hasselbeck, who has been sacked just six times. Little is the only front-four member that could create a mismatch for the Seahawks, as ROT Sean Locklear is only a rookie and could be overwhelmed by Little's variety of moves and overall explosiveness. But the Seahawks should be able to give Locklear the help he needs, as OC Robbie Tobeck and ROG Chris Gray will handle Pickett and any interior blitzes, while LOG Steve Hutchinson and LOT Walter Jones will have no problems keeping Kennedy and Hargrove in check, respectively.

    With the time he needs to throw, Hasselbeck should be able to pick apart a Rams secondary that gave up four TD passes to Giants QB Eli Manning. Hasselbeck does not have an explosive vertical threat like Manning possesses in WR Plaxico Burress, but he does have a variety of weapons. WRs Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson do a terrific job versus zone coverage and Joe Jurevicius should generate a size mismatch inside versus smaller nickel DC Corey Ivy. Furthermore, look for TE Jerramy Stevens to play a big role down the middle versus the Cover 2 scheme.


    When the Rams have the ball:

    Rushing: What Rams run offense? Coach Mike Martz continues to live up to his image as a pass-crazy offensive coach with very little flexibility. Granted, the Giants did jump out to an early lead versus the Rams last week, but Martz still had no intention of balancing out the attack. So far, after four games, the Rams have already thrown the ball 91 more times than they have run it. At home, on the fast artificial surface, expect much of the same from Martz and the Rams' offense -- even if it's against a Seahawks defense that has been much more effective defending the pass (seventh in the NFL) than the run (25th in the NFL).

    When the Rams do run the ball, it generally comes out of a spread formation with a one-back set. RB Steven Jackson continues to handle the majority of the carries but is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry. The problem Jackson seems to have is that there's no rhythm to the running attack. With an average of only 14.7 carries per game, Jackson isn't able to get into a flow and the offensive line does not seem to have the physical, forward-moving mentality that it takes to win the battle in the trenches. Jackson shows the burst to occasionally provide the big run versus a spread out Seahawks defense on Sunday, but the first priority for Seattle is clearly to defend the pass.

    Passing: The Rams are doing a terrific job of spreading the field with three-and-four wide receiver sets. No. 2 WR Isaac Bruce did not play last week and is questionable this week with a hyper-extended toe, but the Rams are still getting great production out of their spread sets with Holt, McDonald, Curtis and Looker. If Bruce returns this week, the unit will be even tougher to defend for the Seahawks.

    The biggest mismatch in this facet of the game is the one between Holt and struggling RDC Marcus Trufant. In all likelihood, the Seahawks will be forced to give Trufant deep help from FS Ken Lucas for the majority of the game. The good news for Seattle, however, is that their overall pass defense has been outstanding so far this season. Giving Trufant extra help will put a burden on the rest of the unit, but so far it has shown the potential to give Bulger and the Rams some difficulty. The Seahawks have already notched 11 sacks this season and should be able to rely on their front-four to consistently hurry Bulger in the pocket. RDE Grant Wistrom will not be as effective in his matchup versus LOT Orlando Pace, but LDE Bryce Fisher (three sacks) will be a problem for rookie ROT Alex Barron and pass-rushing DT Rocky Bernard will prove to be a tough test for the Rams' aging interior when he comes in fresh off the bench on obvious passing downs.

    If the Seahawks can get consistent pressure on Bulger without being forced to blitz too many linebackers or safeties, there will be several interception opportunities for playmakers such as LDC Andre Dyson, SS Michael Boulware and MLB Lofa Tatupu.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/news/...=2179729&num=0

    Some more ESPN insider St Louis Ram news:

    Heading into this season, Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt normally attended about 90 percent of the Rams' practices, according to our sources. The first month of this season, however, we're told Zygmunt, whose relationship with head coach Mike Martz has been rumored to be on shaky ground for a while now, has shown up for only a couple of practices. We also hear Zygmunt aide Samir Suleiman -- who was reprimanded recently by team president John Shaw for threatening remarks directed toward a local columnist who wrote that certain front-office members were "backstabbing" Martz-- might be a long shot to remain with the team, if he hasn't already been given his walking papers.

    Word is veteran Rams WR Isaac Bruce, who was knocked out of the Week 3 game vs. Tennessee with a turf-toe injury, could be sidelined for a couple of weeks.


  2. #2
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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    With the time he needs to throw, Hasselbeck should be able to pick apart a Rams secondary that gave up four TD passes to Giants QB Eli Manning. Hasselbeck does not have an explosive vertical threat like Manning possesses in WR Plaxico Burress, but he does have a variety of weapons. WRs Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson do a terrific job versus zone coverage and Joe Jurevicius should generate a size mismatch inside versus smaller nickel DC Corey Ivy. Furthermore, look for TE Jerramy Stevens to play a big role down the middle versus the Cover 2 scheme.
    I don't think things are as bad as this "insider expert" predicts. I'm not sure where he gets his information, but Engram, if he plays at all will be limited with two cracked ribs, Jackson has a sore knee and Stevens had a dislocated finger that will probably hamper his ability to catch the ball. Oh that ESPN Insider, you really get what you pay for.

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    It's hard to take an "expert" serious when they make up words in their first sentence.
    This Week 5 matchup features a chances to get a jum in the NFC West standings.
    What, pray tell, is a "jum"?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    It's hard to take an "expert" serious when they make up words in their first sentence. What, pray tell, is a "jum"?
    HUb, you probably have to pay a subscription fee to find out.

  5. #5
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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    HUb, you probably have to pay a subscription fee to find out.
    I'd rather live in a world laden with jum ignorance than to pay money to find out what Sean Salisbury, Chris Berman, and Tom Jackson think.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    I like how the think that Locklear is a rookie, and Ken Lucas is our FS.

    I know they mean Ken Hamlin, but they should at least get names right.

    Nice Jacket

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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    Entirely
    Stupid
    Public
    Nuisance

  8. #8
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    Re: Big division game in St. Louis--ESPN Insider

    Quote Originally Posted by BBlades89
    I like how the think that Locklear is a rookie, and Ken Lucas is our FS.

    I know they mean Ken Hamlin, but they should at least get names right.
    Hahahahahahaa....GG ESPN.
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