Last week provided a pleasant surprise for fans of the St. Louis Rams expecting to see the same old defense show up and allow Marshawn Lynch to run wild. Instead, the Rams were quite stingy in all aspects defensively and held “Beast Mode” in the flesh to just 23 yards on eight carries. With a similarly difficult task on tap for this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and Chris Johnson, that defense needs to continue its miserly ways in Week 9.
Although CJ2K (if he can even still be called that) could be making way for more of a workload from fellow running back Shonn Greene according to head coach Mike Munchak, the Rams cannot overlook the dynamic edge speed that Johnson possesses. Really it might not matter for the Titans as their offense has been pretty much pathetic this season. It’s hard to believe, but there may be even fewer points scored this week than in last week’s 14-9 final between the Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.
With Tennessee the main threat isn’t always the prototypical running back, however, as quarterback Jake Locker is quite mobile in his own right and likes to take off quite frequently. Given the way the Rams’ pass rush has been coming on and getting pressure on opposing signal callers with Robert Quinn and Chris Long crashing down off of the edges, Locker may be running for his life this weekend. And that might not be a good thing.
It’s a lot easier for defenses to play against a predictable pocket passer without the threat of taking off and making things happen with his legs. The Rams did just face a similar signal caller in Russell Wilson just a week ago so they should be well prepared, but it only takes one simple blown gap to spring the big one. Playing assignment football is going to vital for the Rams if they want to keep the Titans in check the way they handled Seattle this past week.
After a horrendous start to the year, the Rams have actually started to show signs of life on the defensive side of the ball. Against a Titans offense ranked 27th in the NFL in total offense that renaissance on defense could continue for St. Louis in Week 9.