The pathetic Falcons meet the sadsack Rams in a battle for draft position. To paraphrase notorious douchebag Dane Cook, this is December football!
Regardless of how thrilling the matchup looks, the talented VanRam from Turf Show Times was kind enough to answer five of my questions. Boom goes the transcript.
1. Are the Rams capable of winning this game with Gus "The Freshmaker" Frerotte at QB? Is Bulger's
concussion a concern going forward?
VanRam I don't know. Frerotte was Linehan's handpicked backup and they signed him for $2 million. If the line can block well enough to keep him on his feet and Steven Jackson can run with force, then they should be able to at least make a go of it. A concussion is not a small thing. Bulger has more tests to undergo on Monday. They'll play it cautious with him since the team has a lot of money wrapped up in him. That's the good thing about being 2-9, no pressure to play guys who are injured.
2. How have the Rams fallen apart so completely this year? Is this something that seemed inevitable?
VanRam Actually, we really had hopes of competing for the NFC West title. Injuries have really taken a toll and can't be dismissed, especially with the offensive line. This will be one of the rare game this season where two of the starters from training camp playing, and one of them - Alex Barron - continues playing in a different position than he was slated to play. In looking, I guess the state of play shouldn't have seemed inevitable. Red flags should have gone up in
the preseason when the starters failed to score a
touchdown at all. There's a lot of feeling out there that Linehan has really misused the offense based on their skill set. Other than the game against New Orleans, it's been all ball control and some passes to receivers on outside routes, nothing in the middle of the field, not even much in the way of screen passes, which has been a moneymaker for a lot of these guys in the Rams offense.
3. What will the team look for in the draft with a likely Top 5 pick?
VanRam If they don't get an offensive tackle, a real blue
chip guy who can make an impact instantly, I may not watch the next season. Right now, there's nobody on the team to replace Orlando Pace, who's aging and injured for the second season in a row. Of course, it may not shake out that way. Outside of Michigan's Jake Long, I don't know of any other top 5 OTs coming into the draft. If they can't land Long (or someone of his ilk) then they probably need to think about a defensive end, a real playmaking kind of guy.
4. How do you expect Linehan to attack the Falcons on
both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball?
VanRam Opening holes for Steven Jackson is key. If they fail to get him running and moving the ball downfield with some force, then hope is lost. To complement that, I'm dying to see some screen passes that can take advantage of eight men stacked in the box by dropping the ball behind them and leaving McMichael or Bennett to pick up some yards after the catch. If the Rams do get a lead, and this has been deadly for us in the last couple games, they need to go for the kill.
5. Who wins and how do the Rams end the season?
VanRam Oh man, prognostication has become impossible lately. If the Rams offense doesn't turn it over I think they can win it. This is by far their most winnable game of the remaining five, so you can kind of guess how they'll end the season.
A big thanks to VanRam. It's important for us to remember that there are other fans out there who are having rough seasons, so hop over to Turf Show Times for my answers to VanRam's questions and wish them well.
Then mercilessly taunt them.