The St. Louis Rams are in the midst of a re-building project that is developing through the addition of a few key pieces at a time. One area that is gaining ground is in the pass rush. The Rams are ranked No. 12 in the league in sacks, while Football Outsiders ranks them No. 16 in adjusted sack rate. It is not a spectacular unit, but they are making improvements.
Long's a heck of an end, but I get why people aren't overly enamored with him. He's not the athlete Robert Quinn is. He's not flashy. And he's susceptible in the run game. But he gives four full quarters of work and can overwhelm tackles at times with an array of moves and plus power. What's been enjoyable for Rams fans is to see Robert Quinn turn into a full-fledged pass rush beast. His lateral bend is INSANE, and he's gotten very good at his rip move. It's the best unit on the entire team, and one the Rams need to have wrecking havoc if they're going to have any chance on Sunday.
Quinn has the bigger numbers, but Chris Long vs. Anthony Davis will be the matchup to watch. Greg Roman had the quotation of the week when he referred to Long as a rolling ball of butcher knives. I don't even know where to begin breaking down that metaphor, but it's quite graphic.
Davis struggled mightily in his first game against Chris Long. Since then, Long has had success, but Anthony Davis has shown improvement. Long had at least one sack in his first three games facing Davis. He was held without a sack in the fourth game (second of last season), but even then Long had two hits and five hurries.
Now, Long will face an Anthony Davis that is playing on another level compared to his first two seasons. Davis is playing strong football as part of an overall strong season for the offensive line. That right side has significantly approved with the addition of Alex Boone. While it is hard to specify how much Boone has helped Anthony Davis' own improvement, it certainly couldn't have hurt. Solidifying the right guard would seem to allow Anthony Davis to settle down a bit as well. They'll get another test this Sunday when Chris Long comes to town.