The St. Louis Rams host their division rivals the Seattle Seahwawks tonight at the Edward Jones Dome. Here are the five things fans should be watching for tonight.
(KSDK Sports) -- The St. Louis Rams host their division rivals the Seattle Seahwawks tonight at the Edward Jones Dome. Here are the five things fans should be watching for tonight.
Can Cortland Finnegan help the pass defense?
Finnegan struggled early in the season, and then left the Rams' Thursday night game against San Francisco with a hamstring injury. While Finnegan wouldn't admit it, there is the belief he was playing injured. "Whether there was or wasn't (an injury), it just wasn't a good start and definitely didn't help the team," he said. "It's one of those things where hopefully the second half, it's way better than the first half, so you sort of erase it."
He hasn't played the last three games, but was back at practice this past week on a limited basis. Finnegan didn't practice Saturday, but the final day of practice each week normally involves a lot of work in the red zone, and if he plays Monday night, it will likely be in the nickel defense.
With Kellen Clemens replacing Sam Bradford at quarterback, all phases of the game have to step up. Said Finnegan, "Coach Fisher said it best. He said even the coaches and himself have to take it a step higher. And we're all aware of that. This is a game that's focused on wins and losses. If we continue just to heighten our preparation, our attention to detail, we give ourselves a chance."
Stopping Marshawn Lynch
Linebacker James Laurinaitis said the Seahawks running back is the toughest player to tackle in the NFL. The Rams have been gouged by some running backs this season, and they obviously can't have that happen Monday night.
Laurinaitis said it shouldn't be hard to play better defense. "It's too many simple mistakes," he said. "At this point in the season, this point of certain people's careers, it's little things that just needed to be cleaned up weeks ago. There are certain things that just keep reoccurring; we have got to just fix it."
As is often the case in the NFL, a defense can be playing well, then allow big plays that are hard to overcome.
Said Laurinaitis, "There's certain plays where we are dang good and then there's certain plays where you are just scratching your head. The frustrating thing is it's not just one position group or one guy. It kind of just hops around. You can't be a good team defense if you have plays where people are taking turns being the guy to make the mistake."
Rotation at Right Tackle
The rotation that began last week at right tackle following the return of Rodger Saffold will apparently continue. Joe Barksdale played 31 snaps against Carolina, while Saffold played 30.
The second half of the season will be intriguing to watch with this the final year of Saffold's contract. Last offseason, the Rams didn't go all in trying to retain wide receiver Danny Amendola because of durability issues and he left for New England.
If Saffold stays healthy for the rest of the season and plays well, the Rams will have a decision to make regarding how hard they will work to negotiate to keep him.
There is also a rotation at left guard between Chris Williams and Shelley Smith.
Center Scott Wells missed nine games last season, but has played all seven so far this season. However, Wells wasn't able to complete practice Saturday because of a thigh injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report. If Wells can't play or also shares snaps, his replacement would be former Mizzou center Tim Barnes.
Said coach Jeff Fisher, "Scott was a little tight at the beginning of practice. We've done a good job with Tim; he's prepared to go in both guard spots and the center spot."
While wanting to play, Barnes hopes Wells can go against the Seahawks.
He told the Post-Dispatch, "I'm the backup; my role is to be ready if something happens. Hopefully it doesn't. But if Scott can't go, I need to be ready."
The Rams are making sure fans know they will be able to follow Game 5 of the World Series at the Edward Jones Dome.
The baseball game will be shown on the Jumbotron during halftime, and on TVs in the Bud Light Party Zone and throughout the concourses. During timeouts, highlights and updates will be shown.