A weekly examination of the St. Louis Rams' quarterback play.
Rewind: Kellen Clemens gave the Rams just about what was expected in his first start of the season and 13th of his career against Seattle on Monday night. He showed grit and toughness in running for extra yards and first downs with no hesitation. He also made a few plays down the field with his arm after escaping pressure.
On the flip side, Clemens was also as advertised in the passing game. He wasn't very accurate, completing 15 of 31 passes, and had a pair of costly interceptions. Neither interception was entirely his fault but his tendency to overthrow receivers was evident on both. Ultimately, he wasn't able to get the offense into the end zone the one time he needed to pull off a win against Seattle.
Fast-forward: Another week of preparation, albeit a short one, should serve Clemens well in terms of timing with his pass-catchers. He'll need it considering things don't get a whole lot easier this week with Tennessee's seventh-ranked pass defense on the other side. On the bright side for Clemens, the Titans' pass rush is about middle of the pack at 18th in the NFL with 20 sacks. Tennessee has only six interceptions, tied for 20th in the league.
Of course, Clemens will also have to deal with a Tennessee defense that figures to be fired up to take on the Rams because of the presence of defensive consultant Gregg Williams. Williams was the Rams' coordinator under coach Jeff Fisher for a few weeks before being suspended for his role in Bountygate. Williams never coached a game in St. Louis, which also fired his son Blake after one season, and it stands to reason he'll have a bone to pick with the Rams.
Finishing drives: The Rams' defense and special teams was good enough against Seattle to give them some prime opportunities in the red zone. Finishing drives with touchdowns instead of field goals was a strength under Sam Bradford. Against the Seahawks, Clemens was 3-of-8 for 11 yards in the red zone and couldn't get in the end zone on four attempts. Nobody is expecting Clemens to post 300 yards and five touchdowns every week but for the Rams to have a chance to win, they need him to score touchdowns.
Prediction: The Titans' defense is quite good but it's not nearly as imposing as Seattle's. The Rams had success against the Seahawks by running the ball and the Titans' run defense is 24th in the league. Clemens should be able to have a bit more success against Tennessee's group, but it's also fair to expect the Titans to throw everything they have at him in this one. Clemens is better positioned to lead the offense this week, but the Titans will also probably leave him banged up come Monday morning.