Thursday, September 1, 2011
Three things: Rams-Jaguars
By Mike Sando
Three things to watch for in the St. Louis Rams' preseason road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at 7:30 p.m. ET:
1. Sims-Walker homecoming: Only preseason, right? Right. But new Rams receiver Mike Sims-Walker has to be looking forward to playing his old team in Jacksonville. The Jaguars made little effort to bring back Sims-Walker, even though their receiving corps lacked front-line talent. Sims-Walker wound up settling for a modest deal in St. Louis. When I visited Rams camp, Sims-Walker said he was walking around with a whole cracker, not just a chip, on his shoulder this season. Rams fans have been anxious to see production from some of their new receivers, including Sims-Walker and two rookie draft choices. Some other receivers are fighting for roster spots.
2. Robert Quinn's development. The Rams' first-round draft choice had three tackles, two quarterback hits, one sack and a blocked field goal against Kansas City in the team's most recent exhibition game. Some of those stats were redundant -- sacks are hits, while both are tackles -- but the overall production was encouraging for the Rams. The Jaguars have allowed 10 sacks through three exhibition games, so Quinn should have an opportunity or two. The Rams aren't banking on him as a starter right away, but getting contributions from him is important as their defense tries to take another step.
3. Pass protection. The Jaguars have not sacked an opposing quarterback to this point in the exhibition schedule. They've gotten good pressure at times, and Aaron Kampman is expected back on the field for them in this game. Keeping Sam Bradford upright is always a top priority for the Rams. But with the Rams feeling good about themselves following a strong showing against the Chiefs last week, now isn't the time to relax, particularly while Bradford is in the game.