A feature will run most every week is Five Questions (or some variation of that) with our opponents SB Nation site. We don't have a Cardinals blogger yet, which is why we didn't run this feature last week (speaking of which, if you know of an AZ blogger, let me know). This week, we sat down with Ryan over at Turf Show Times to get his thoughts on some pressing issues facing the Rams. I think this kind of feature helps us get a better idea of our opponent and what the 49ers may face each week. And of course it let's you hear from other bloggers in the network.
1. Let's cut to the chase and discuss Orlando Pace. What kind of affect does this have and is there anything at all positive for Rams fans to keep in mind?
Pace is a Pro Bowl left tackle, so obviously it puts the Rams at a disadvantage. When he got hurt, you could hear the collective gasp. However, Pace missed half of last season with a torn triceps, and the patchwork Rams line (which was pretty beat up on the line last season too) managed to do a fine job for the offense. The run blocking was
fine, and the pass blocking was good enough. It's also easy to forget in all the doom and glom that we drafted Alex Barron in the first round in 2005 to take over for Pace, and now he's got his shot. Barron played all summer and has a lot to prove after his debut season as a starter was marked by penalty after penalty. I don't think I'm the only Rams fan that's less than surprised about Pace. I love the guy, but let's face it, he's on the downhill side of his career, when injuries are more likely to happen.
2. Thoughts on Steven Jackson after a sub-par week 1? Anything to explain the two fumbles?
First game action of the season. It sounds so trite with every team in the league it claiming that, but Jackson's a veteran and this stuff just doesn't become a trend with guys like that. Excuse my hyperbole, but he might not have two more fumbles all season.
3. How is Adam Carriker fitting into your guys defensive scheme?
For a rookie that changed positions, he's doing really well. He's definitely better than what we had in the middle the last couple seasons already. If you look at last week's game, our run defense didn't get beat up the middle where it was such so vulnerable last
year. Did you see this little quote from the gang at Football Outsiders last week?
Doug Farrar: On Adrian Peterson's first preseason run, Carriker just nuked him. And I'm trying not to project Chris Gray and Shaun Alexander into the sequence you just described.
Don't get me wrong, we're not going to turn into the Ravens of 2001, but there'll be some improvement in our run defense as the season goes on.
4. What can we expect from the Rams secondary with the loss of Tye Hill?
Funny how things change. This might be our most glaring weakness on that side of the ball now. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine here. What pisses me off here more than anything is Fahkir Brown's dumb suspension for being a no show for his league drug test. Because of that, we started the season short one of our starting corners, not our deepest position to start with, and now we're short both starting CBs. Selfish move from Brown. Still, Hill and Brown will be back before the middle of the season, so all isn't lost as long as Walls and third round pick Jonathan Wade can keep the damage to a minimum
for the next three games.
5. Coming off a disappointing week 1, where do you see the Rams going the rest of the season? Obviously it's early, but any nervousness going forward or do you see a rebound around the corner?
You can't read comments on a Rams blog or puruse a message board right now without picking up lots of negative vibes. Excitement abounded heading into the season, and the loss to Carolina coupled with a dramatic injury to Pace really made it hard to come away from last week's lost feeling as though there was something to build on. All is certainly not lost. The Rams were terrible in the middle of the season last year, and still managed to go 8-8 and have their playoff fate decided in the last week. If the Rams can score points this week - and they should with all the big offensive weapons on the field, Bennett, McMichael, Holt, Bruce, and Jackson - then fan and team sentiment will change. More than anything Linehan has to get these guys fired up, after giving up in the wake of Jackson's first fumble (which resulted in a quick CAR TD) last week.
Thanks again to Ryan and Turf Show Times and we'll see them Sunday morning.