Notebook 10/02: Rams Offense Expects Familiar Defense This Week

Posted Oct 2, 2013

While Sunday’s game against Jacksonville will be the Jaguars’ first trip to St. Louis since 2005, the Rams figure to find themselves against a rather familiar defensive approach. Jaguars first-year Head Coach Gus Bradley faced the Rams eight times while serving as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2009-2012, and his team’s defensive philosophy has wavered little since.

“I mean, you look at the defense and it’s very, very similar to what they do in Seattle,” QB Sam Bradford said at his Wednesday press conference.  “There’s a few wrinkles that are slightly different, but for the most part, it’s pretty spot on with what we’ve seen from Seattle the past couple years.”

The familiarity is mutual. While the Rams’ personnel has seen significant changes since Bradley left Seattle, he expects to draw on his experience with the Seahawks while preparing for St. Louis.

“When I was in Seattle, we played them a couple times a year, and St. Louis is a very talented team,” Bradley said at his Wednesday conference call with St. Louis media. “You see them on tape, they really do some good things and challenging things to a defense. They have an ability to close the formations down and run and use play (action) passes and spread you out. Any time you face a team like that, it presents challenges.”

Regardless of Jacksonville’s defensive sets, the Rams cite an improved running game and success on third down as crucial for winning at home on Sunday.

“Offensive side, we’ve had an unusually large number of third and longs,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Third-and-10s, plus they’re typically hard to convert. If we can get them down into manageable, then we’ll have better opportunities with more success.”

News and notes:

-Fisher expects to use a variety of backs against Jacksonville, and emphasized the need for success on the ground on Sunday.

“Probably play most, if not all, the running backs that are active,” Fisher said. “Depends on what package we’re in when we start the game.”

-Bradford expects the extended break following last week’s game against San Francisco to serve the Rams well this week.

“I think, obviously, the past two weeks haven’t gone nearly as planned or as anyone expected,” Bradford said. “So, when you have things like that happen, I think it is nice to get a break and for everyone to get out of the building, clear their minds and come back with a fresh start, fresh attitude and ready to take the second quarter of the season on.”

-Following the signing of LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Tuesday, the Rams released OT Max Starks to create room for Dunbar on the 53-man roster.

-RB Daryl Richardson is a native of Jacksonville, and will be playing against his hometown team for the first time as a professional on Sunday.

Injury Report:

T Rodger Saffold (knee), DE Williams Hayes (knee), CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh) and CB Trumaine Johnson (illness) did not practice on Wednesday. CB Brandon McGee (thigh) and LB Will Witherspoon (thigh) were limited in their participation.