As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for tonight's game against the St. Louis Rams, we spoke with 3k over at our Rams blog, Turf Show Times.
As usual, we asked to identify a couple of players we should be watching out for in the game, as well as whether the Rams are moving to LA.
1. Name one Rams player on offense we should watch for
TST: Woof. Honestly, tell me one Rams player on offense Rams fans should watch for ... In terms of Thursday specifically, RB Trey Watts has put in two very good preseasons in the last two years. Of course he is a Ram and we can't have nice things, so he's headed into a four-game suspension to start the year. Other than Watts and backup QB Case Keenum, there's not much. WR Bradley Marquez has been a surprise as a UDFA, but honestly the entire thing is a hot mess of mismanagement, so uh...see you on Thursday!
2. Name one Rams player on defense we should watch for.
TST: This is much more fun to talk about. Please, no more questions about the offense, Joel.
The Rams are not only a defensively-engineered team, but they're deep too. The backup foursome on the d-line of Eugene Sims, Nick Fairley, Ethan Westbrooks and William Hayes is better than many teams' starting line. The Rams are still toying with the rotation of Akeem Ayers, Mark Barron and Jo-Lonn Dunbar to supplement the starting pairings at linebacker and safety. And Trovon Reed, a cornerback out of Auburn, made it past the first round of cuts despite being added to the team mid-camp. He may be playing himself into a roster spot.
3. Your defensive front seven is pretty nasty. Will they all be playing? What do they do the best (run D, pass D, etc)?
TST: It's impossible to know when Jeff Fisher is telling the truth, so I can't say with any certainty, but I'd guess the starters get a series. Honestly though, they're pretty well-rounded. DT Michael Brockers is best at doing things that don't show up in box scores by forcing run gaps to just crater in. Aaron Donald's a beast all-around. Robert Quinn and Chris Long are better in pass protection, but the linebackers are athletic enough to close down the run game all around.
The bigger issue is playcall selection. DC Gregg Williams likes to get really aggressive in blitz selections, but leaves the cornerbacks off in coverage creating easy cushions to exploit. It's uncomfortable to give up four/five-yard passes at will, but less disciplined teams or quarterbacks try to get greedy. When it works perfectly (see the Rams-Broncos game in 2014), it's easy to buy into...but the Rams just aren't consistent enough with it overall. And with that front seven, it's pretty unsupportable.
4. How are you feeling about this Foles / Bradford trade? Looks good from your end?
TST: Well, it's less about Foles v. Bradford and more Bradford v. Bradford. The Rams went all in with him the last two years and lost ... miserably. So it just made sense to move on, and Foles as a consolation prize is probably as good as you could get in a single offseason move. More important than his play will be his health. That's what the Rams didn't primarily get from Bradford, and that's what the primarily need from Foles. So if Sam goes off in Philly, I don't think the frustration from Rams would be with regard to his production. It would be that he'd be available to provide it in the first place. As for Foles, he won't be asked to do much in this offense. So really, it's less about the positive plays he makes and more about the negative plays he avoids in terms of what constitutes success for him in 2015.
5. Are you moving to LA?
TST: Me? No. The Rams? Probably.