Joe: Do we have to? Fine. It's just not a solid unit, and it's one that has a lot of Rams fans worried not just about the hindrance it provides in terms of running the offense but also what it means for Sam Bradford. I'd be surprised if Saffold comes back for this week, but the reports are positive. If he can't go at LT, it will be Wayne Hunter, the maligned tackle who we traded Jason Smith to the Jets for. Rookie LG Rokevious Watkins injured his ankle on Wednesday, so it's probably Quinn Ojinnaka there on Sunday. Scott Wells, the veteran center who played pretty well for the Packers for years, fractured his foot his first game with the Rams. Harvey Dahl's our best lineman right now at RG. And at RT, Barry Richardson, often graded the worst tackle in the league last year with the Chiefs, gets the nod this weekend.
It's just not a good line. These guys haven't played together much, and it's not overflowing with natural talent. Does it mean seven sacks? I hope not. The staff is wise enough to scheme some shorter and faster passes than the Josh McDaniels experiment last year. The real key is finding ways to be successful when you guys blitz. If the Rams can make the most out of plays when the Redskins send five or six guys at Bradford, I'll feel much better about the protection problems.
Honestly, it's hard to know with so many new names. Danny Amendola will be the primary target, especially in the short game. He's the key man in taking the defensive line out of the play with short slants and digs. Brandon Gibson played well last week as well, and given that this is his fourth year in St. Louis, he and Sam have developed a rapport that manifests itself from time to time like this HUGE TD late last week.
Beyond those two, there's recently-acquired Steve Smith (1 rec, 16 yds, 3 targets in week one) and a host of young receivers who didn't record a catch last week - second-year man Austin Pettis, rookie possession man Brian Quick and speedster rookie Chris Givens.
I still Lance Kendricks has the makeup to be a very good TE in the passing game. It's going to take some time to get this unit to gel under new OC Brian Schottenheimer, but with the rushing attack we have, it should improve over the course of the year.
3.) How would you gameplan against RGIII (or how do you think they will)? Redskins have some many receiving weapons (I haven't said that line since 1991).
CONTAIN, CONTAIN, CONTAIN. I saw plenty of RGIII at Baylor, and the best way to ruin your chances against him is to let him get outside. By the mid-2nd quarter, you could see the Saints had lost containment on him completely and were just hoping to prevent any passing windows (much like the Rams in week one last year against the Eagles and Michael Vick). I went back and watched the whole Redskins opener, and there was a play in the 2nd where he hit Santana Moss (and Roy Helu picked up a flag for a questionable block in the back); it was all RGIII. He escaped to the sideline, took his time scanning the levels and faking the run finding Moss downfield. That's what worries me.
You give him space to just run outside the pocket and use that time to scan the field, and he can tear you up. Chris Long and Robert Quinn have to be very efficient in anchoring the corner points of the pocket this week.
Being perhaps the most embarassing PR stunt ever, I shant refer to such crappery. The deadpan in this response video was pretty decent though. More importantly, Reverend Redskin is pretty great.
5.) What's your prediction for the score of the game and stat lines for RGIII and Sam Bradford?
I went 30-20 Lions last week, so I try to be fair and shed the homerism for predictions. That being said, I think the Rams get their first win of the season on Sunday. I'll go 27-16, Rams. Stat lines, I'll say Bradford 22-30, 2 TDs, 1 INT. RGIII, 19-30, 0 TDs, 1 INT. I think the ground game for both teams is going to be incredibly important. There's an argument to be made that both rushing attacks are more important than the passing games this weekend. That may be the story of the first half as both offenses try to find their feet. Also, I should mention, Tebow.