The Chargers begin a brutal six-game stretch versus very formidable opponents. That run begins at Qualcomm this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Some may look at their 4-6 record and overlook the Jeff Fisher-led team. I can assure you, that is a big mistake.
The Rams are coming off a victory where they dismantled the Denver Broncos by a score of 22-7. There last three wins have come against the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks. Needless to say, St. Louis is capable of beating any team in the NFL.
Let’s start by looking at the Ram offense by position group and which players stand out.
After replacing Austin Davis, journeyman signal caller Shaun Hill came in and led his team to a victory over Denver. Hill has played for 4 different teams throughout his 13 years in the league. Considered to be a game manager of sorts, Hill isn’t going to set any records but he can do just enough to not be a detriment to his squad. The Chargers must put pressure on him and force him into making mistakes due to a fierce pass rush.
Coming into the 2014 season, hopes were high for Zac Stacy. He flashed some ability in 2013 and almost reached the 1,000 yard mark. This season has been a different story. He has been a bit ineffective and the Rams now employ the running back by committee approach. Bennie Cunningham is one of the backs that has seen his share of carries. He leads the team with three rushing scores. The ball carrier to keep an eye on is Tre Mason. The rookie runner, formerly of Auburn, has started to receive a lot of touches and he leads the squad in carries. He has been picking up steam and the team is starting to believe in him more and more.
The Rams have 2 wide receivers and 2 tight ends that are noteworthy players and strong contributors in one way or another. When looking at the wide receivers, they have Kenny Britt. He is a tall, big-bodied wideout with good speed for his size. Britt is revitalizing his career after burning out in Tennessee. He may only have 25 receptions, but he is averaging 17.6 yards per catch. The other receiver worth mentioning is Tavon Austin. It could be said that Austin is suffering from a sophomore slump. He proved to be an electric player last year as the season wore on. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He has not seen much success this year in the explosive play department. Don’t let that fool and the Charger defense must have a gameplay to stop him from breaking the big one.
The leading receptions leader in St. Louis is starting tight end Jared Cook. Though he only has one touchdown, his 34 catches have been good for 446 yards. His is a big, athletic guy with great speed for his position. The other tight end is Lance Kendricks. He only has 21 receptions, but with a team-leading 4 touchdowns, he is scoring on almost 20% of those catches.
St. Louis used the second overall pick in this year’s draft on left tackle Greg Robinson. Ironically, he was college teammates with Tre Mason at Auburn. Robinson is a solid player already. He is only going to get better as he hones his craft. The San Diego pass rush will be left when facing him. He really stands out on tape, but he can be taken advantage of by rushers with multiple pass rush moves in their arsenal. Left guard Rodger Saffold is a big dude. He is much more suited to play his current position than when he was formerly a tackle. The fact that he plays next to Robinson only helps him out. There is a lot of beef on the Ram O-line.
In closing, the St. Louis Ram offense has not looked overwhelming when checking out the boxscore. But it does have the potential to burn opposing defenses in multiple ways. Getting pressure on Shaun Hill and making him second-guess himself during passing situations is paramount. John Pagano must be creative and the Charger third-down defense must play like they did against Oakland last week.
Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the St. Louis defense. Now that is where the major concern should be regarding Sunday’s matchup with the Rams.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com and thanks a lot for reading.