Week 11 Bye Focus for St. Louis Rams: Fine Tune for Stretch Run
It would have seemed somewhat ridiculous just a week ago to have said the St. Louis Rams with a sub .500 record would just need a little fine tuning to prepare for a successful push in the latter stages of November and December, but that’s where we stand today.
After a complete obliteration of the Indianapolis Colts the scoreboard says the Rams have very little to work on during their bye week. But the fact is that turnovers have greatly aided this team in all of its wins this season. The only victory the Rams have had this season without a massive advantage in the turnover department was Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals when the two sides were even in that category.
Obviously the win over the Colts was a big morale booster for the squad, but there’s no denying the fact that the victory was far from perfect. St. Louis was actually out-gained by Indy in total net yards 406 to 372 when all was said and done, and this offense has yet to really get on track under Kellen Clemens’ direction. Even though he broke some huge plays to Tavon Austin in Week 10 the team can’t be relying on those to come on a regular basis to get victories. Sticking with the running game and Zac Stacy combined with some rhythmic throws to get Clemens comfortable will be vital coming out of the bye week to keep this winning vibe going.
On the other side of the ball the Rams have seen a complete 180-degree turnaround from the first handful of weeks. This team has still shown a vulnerability to being beaten on the outside in the passing game, but even that could take a step in the right direction if rookie safety T.J. McDonald makes his much-anticipated return to action after suffering a broken leg in Week 4.
Clearly the secondary’s best friend is that fearsome and its ability to force errant and mistimed throws by opposing quarterbacks. Having defensive ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long and rotational pass rusher William Hayes continue to apply pressure will keep the defense on its upward trajectory.
The back half of the schedule is going to present a real challenge to the young Rams with five out of their six remaining opponents boasting records above .500. This team has clearly discovered the blueprint to getting victories even without their starting quarterback under center, but head coach Jeff Fisher needs to keep them focused on duplicating that effort week after week. Consistency is going to be a vital element to the Rams putting up a respectable finish to the season despite their difficult remaining slate.
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