Thursday, October 20, 2011
Other side: St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas
By Calvin Watkins
St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis Rams beat writer Jim Thomas is a good man. He gave us his take on the 0-5 St. Louis Rams in this week's version of The Other Side.
Q: What's happened to the Rams? Are they taking steps backward in their development as a team?
A: The early-season schedule has been brutal. The Rams first five opponents are a combined 19-9 so far. Nonetheless, it looks like the team has regressed. The run defense has been a major disappointment, and the offense can't get into the end zone. Lots of penalties and dropped passes, too.
Q: Sam Bradford. Is he going to be good?
A: Yes. He's fighting it some with the new offensive scheme of first-year Rams coordinator Josh McDaniels. The system is a lot different than Pat Shurmur's West Coast scheme of last year. Many more downfield throws and lots more responsibility at the line of scrimmage. But I think Bradford is the real deal, and eventually it will show.
Q: What should we expect from Mark Clayton and Brandon Lloyd on Sunday?
A: Lloyd will play and I'd be surprised if he doesn't start. He's a guy who can get downfield and make the tough catch in traffic. He knows the offense very well since he played for McDaniels in Denver in 2010 and '09. For Lloyd, it's simply a matter of getting in sync with the QB, which could be A.J. Feeley Sunday because of Bradford's high ankle sprain. As for Clayton, he's coming off the PUP list following last season's knee surgery and until now hadn't practiced since early October of 2010. So he's less certain to play Sunday; got some rust to knock off.
Q: The Rams have yet to play within the division, has this hurt them?
A: It sure has. The don't play a division game until November. It would've been good for the team's confidence and won-lost record to get a Seattle or Arizona at home in the early going.
Q: Is Steve Spagnuolo on the hot seat or is he OK?
A: Everyone knew these first seven games would be tough _ with Dallas and New Orleans following the first five. So nobody expected a sparkling early-season record. But nobody expected this either. So yes, unless Spagnuolo and the Rams start posting some wins, he is on the hot seat.