Had an opportunity to ask some questions of Michael Mack blogger, avid Rams fan, and co-host of “Making Sense with Mike and Tom” (Twitter @mswmmth) sports talk variety show about the upcoming game between the New York Jets and the St Louis Rams.
Here is Michael’s insight into the Rams specifically and the game as a whole:
JN: Jeff Fisher took over as head coach of the Rams this season. How would you rate his job thus far?
Michael: I’d rate his job a 7 out of 10 at this point of the season. It would have been a little bit higher but the game against San Francisco had to many mental mistakes and Jeff Fisher known for being critical of play on the field and teaches discipline off the field.
The defense has looked great, Greg Williams was supposed to be the coordinator but was suspended because of “Bounty-gate” forcing Jeff Fisher to take the defensive coaching role on and he’s done a good job.
JN: The Rams have an impressive defensive line with Robert Quinn and Chris Long having over 13 sacks between them. How do you see the Rams defensive line matching up with the Jets offensive line?
Michael: Chris Long has really been playing exceptional football along the defensive line and first round pick Michael Brockers was hurt in the beginning of the season but is now getting in the swing of things on the interior of the line, seeing more snaps. Defensive end Robert Quinn is playing wonderful football as well. St Louis does get after the quarterback so the Jets offensive line will have to play up to the speed which they’ll see from the Rams defensive linemen.
JN: Could you tell us about the play of the Rams linebackers and secondary?
Michael: Linebacker James Laurinatis, Jet fans you’re going to want to watch out for him, played at Ohio State and is the Rams leading tackler. The Rams play a 4-3 base but like to bring pressure from the linebacker position so look for guys like Jo-Lonn Dunbar and possible Mario Haggan at the “strong side “ to presser the quarterback as well as provide support stopping the run.
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was picked up from Tennessee, he is a Jeff Fisher guy, and has been the leader as the secondary goes. Janoris Jenkins is the rookie, he’s been playing well in spurts not taken the starting cornerback role on completely just yet, but you’re seeing the development. The secondary as a whole is talented, can make plays.
JN: How the year is going for starting QB, 2010 first overall pick, Sam Bradford and can you describe his development?
Michael: He’s got over 2,000 yards passing, an 85 quarterback rating (QBR) while being sacked 25 times on the season, which is a bit alarming but a lot of that falls on the offensive line. Bradford has been efficient as a passer, 62% completions, but would like to see a better touchdown to interception ratio 10-to-7 which could increase his QBR. Overall he has improved since last season and is moving in the right direction.
JN: The Rams new offensive coordinator is Brian Schottenheimer, formerly of the Jets, what are your impressions of him so far and how the team has adapted to his offense?
Michael: Schottenheimer is not afraid to open thing up and go down the field. Sam Bradford had 6 TD passes in 2011 but has already eclipsed that with 10 this year. Wide receiver Chris Givens led the league at one point with 40 yard pass attempts, so he’s not afraid to throw down the field.
Schottenheimer has helped with the development of rookie running back Daryl Richardson a 7th round pick who’s been impressive along with the veteran Stephen Jackson gives a nice one, two punch at the running back position.
JN: Could you give us some information on the Rams receivers and tight ends? Who should the Jets be most concerned about Bradford targeting?
Michael: He just came off of injury, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and had 11 receptions for the Rams last week against the 49ers. He has really helped Sam Bradford’s development in St. Louis and leads the Rams in receptions and yards. The Rams have some other receivers who can go deep on you, Brandon Gibson 48 targets with 31 receptions, tied for the team lead in touchdowns, and Chris Givens five catches over 20 yards. Tight end Lance Kendricks is a good blocker but is not afraid to go over the middle with 23 receptions this season.
JN: Can you give us a prediction on the game?
Michael: Sanchez will have to redeem himself, Tebow packages could be effective and stopping the run game is an issue for the Rams, so Shonn Greene could have another game like he had against Indianapolis. I also feel that the Rams still make too many mental errors during games which will cost them.
I have the Rams losing this game, final score: Jets 28 – Rams 24.