5 Keys: St. Louis Rams
By Brian Miller
Don’t think for a minute that the St. Louis Rams are a bunch of teddy bear pushovers. This is the same team that beat the Dallas Cowboys and almost upset the NE Patriots who probably won because they taped the walkthroughs prior to the game. Sorry, I digress.
What I’m saying is, the Miami Dolphins can not look beyond the Rams to the following weeks match-up with the Buffalo Bills. The Phins need to bounce back from the embarrassing loss to the Patriots a week ago and regain the focus that has won them 6 games.
5: The Bills. The Dolphins will play the Bills in what will be a lose and go home game. The winner of that game will hold on to thinning hopes of a playoff birth while the loser will spend the rest of the season working out players for next years teams. Yes, it is that important. With that being said, the Phins must not allow themselves to get caught up in that game and instead must concentrate on the St. Louis Rams. The Phins have struggled this season with poor teams and the Rams are exactly that.
4: Steven Jackson. Jackson looks as though he will finally play after a nagging thigh injury has kept him out for 4 weeks. Jackson has not been the epitome of health this year following his hold-out that allowed him to miss almost all the off-season training. Still, Jackson is one of the best in the NFL in running and catching the ball out of the back-field. While the Phins defense has been against the run, they haven’t really faced that solid RB yet.
3: Secondary games. The Dolphins got torched last week from a spread offense and it would not surprise me to see the Rams try and do something similar. The secondary of the Dolphins lacks any true standout members and they have almost nothing for depth. Marc Bulger may not be the “Greatest show on turf” QB anymore, but he can still sling it down-field to Torry Holt. The Secondary can not allow the Rams to exploit that unit like the Patriots did.
2: Davone Bess. Huge shoes for the undrafted rookie to fill this week. With Greg Camarillo on IR, Bess is moving to the outside number 2 spot and 6 million dollar bust Ernest Wilford will be activated for the game and should see time in the slots. It will be Wilfords play that dictates whether or not the Phins make a move next week with the free agent wire. Bess has been steady but some wonder if he is truly ready to play the number 2. Chad Pennington will look his way often as Ted Ginn is not likely to see much daylight.
1: The Rams defense. Ronnie Brown will see 7 and 8 man fronts most of the day and while the WC formation should see a little more success this week, the truth is that the Rams secondary are not afraid by the Ted Ginn, Davone Bess, Ernest Wilford line-up. With Camarillo gone, you can expect the Rams “D” to roll coverage towards Ted Ginn to take away the deep ball. They will cover man-up on Bess and use combinations to cover Wilford…if they even need to. In any case, the Rams defense knows that the Phins are hurting and that even Jake Long who will play, may not be 100 percent.