Eagles Wake-Up Call: Getting to Know the Rams
The Eagles take on the St. Louis Rams at the Linc Sunday afternoon. Here are five things to know about their Week 5 opponent:
1. If ever there were a week to get the Birds’ run game on track, this might be it. In the Rams’ first three games of the season, opponents are averaging 5.1 YPC (30th) and 155 yards (30th) against them.
The Eagles’ woes in the run game have been well-documented. They get right tackle Lane Johnson back this week, but will still be without Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce. Given what the Rams have shown so far, if Chip Kelly can’t find a way to get LeSean McCoy going in this one, the concern surrounding the run game will get racketed up a notch.
2. True football nerds will be treated to a special matchup: defensive end Robert Quinn against Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. Quinn had 19 sacks last year and is only 24 years old. He’s great at firing off the ball, using his hands and getting around the edge. He’s got 34-inch arms, and when he gets close to the quarterback, he knows how to finish.
Quinn is relentless. If the Eagles don’t play to the whistle, he will do damage.
Peters assumes the role of savvy vet. The 32-year-old is still playing at a high level, but it’s no stretch to say blocking Quinn in pass protection will be his biggest challenge of the season.
3. As a team, the Rams only have one sack on the season, but they have some talented players up front. In addition to Quinn, they boast former first-round pick Michael Brockers and rookie first-round pick Aaron Donald. The defense has not played well so far, but St. Louis will present a challenge, especially considering how banged-up the Eagles are up front.
On the back end, the Rams have talented cornerback Janoris Jenkins. They’re starting rookie (sixth-round pick) E.J. Gaines at the other corner spot. St. Louis’ pass defense has been disappointing, allowing opponents to complete 73.9 percent of their passes and average 8.2 YPA.
4. Offensively, the Rams have gone from Sam Bradford to Shaun Hill to Austin Davis. Davis has completed 72.3 percent of his passes and has averaged a healthy 8.0 YPA. He’s thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions in three games.
The Eagles’ defense played well for the most part against Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. The previous week, however, Billy Davis’ unit got picked apart by Kirk Cousins.
Kelly said yesterday that he believes the defense is hitting its stride, but it’s difficult to know what exactly to expect out of this group on a week to week basis.
5. The run game features bruising back Zac Stacy (181 yards, 4.3 YPC). Brian Quick (6-4, 220) provides size on the outside. He’s the team’s leading receiver with 16 catches for 235 yards.
Tight end Jared Cook presents a matchup challenge, especially if Mychal Kendricks is still out.
The Rams have given up seven sacks in three games. They have veterans Jake Long and Rodger Saffold at left tackle and left guard, respectively. Center Scott Wells has started 122 games in his career. Right guard Davin Joseph has 102 career starts. Right tackle Joe Barksdale is in his third season with St. Louis and has played well.
The Eagles generated a good pass-rush on Kaepernick. They’ll look for more of the same against Davis.
WHAT YOU MISSED
In this week’s Zone Read, we zero on on McCoy’s frustration. Plus, game balls, five thoughts, the number that matters and more.
After serving his four-game suspension, Lane Johnson is ready to get back into the fold.
Is Nick Foles reverting to the mean? Here’s what they’re saying.
“We got whupped up front.” T-Mac on Sunday’s loss to the Niners.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff McLane of the Inquirer writes about what he learned from Sunday’s loss:
2. Something seems off with LeSean McCoy. The o-line is obviously in tatters, and defenses are focusing on taking McCoy out, but he just hasn’t looked as explosive the last two games. He wasn’t his usual cut-on-a-dime self in the first two games, but you still saw the moves and his ability to make would-be tacklers miss. McCoy rushed 43 times for 163 yards and a touchdown before he had to leave the game against the Redskins following a helmet-to-helmet hit from cornerback David Amerson. Since then he has 27 carries for only 29 yards. McCoy was checked for a head injury, but returned. The disparity between the numbers pre- and post-hit suggests that maybe he was dinged up more than he and the Eagles let on, but Kelce’s injury occurred around the same time and could have had just as much to do with McCoy’s drop in production. Whatever it is, he may have to change his running style and lower his head and get more north to south.
The Eagles, with five first downs and no offensive points to their name when they started a drive on their own 9, 6:26 remaining, somehow reeled off a 15-play masterpiece that took them just inside the 49ers’ 2-yard line, third-and-goal, somehow given two chances to win a game they richly deserved to lose.
On that drive, they managed six first downs, or one more than they’d achieved in the previous 53:24. But the invisible forces that govern such things just weren’t going to give them that seventh first down of the drive, and a go-ahead touchdown that might have sent them flying home 4-0.
We’ll talk to players and the coordinators as the Eagles return to practice.