With the Buffalo Bills traveling to the Coliseum to face the Los Angeles Rams this weekend, we got some inside info from Turf Show Times.
1.) We all know Aaron Donald is a downright superstar, and the best player on the Rams. Who's been the second-best defensive linemen thus far?
Turf Show Times: There's an argument to be made for DT Michael Brockers, but I'll go with DE Robert Quinn. A two-time Pro Bowler, Quinn missed half of the 2015 season after a back injury that required surgery. With longtime cross-line ally Chris Long off to New England, Quinn has been needed more than perhaps at any time in his career. Which of course, since we can't have nice things, is partly why he was injured last week contributing to a bit of a mini-crisis since the Rams' other DE, William Hayes, was already out injured as well. So while Quinn may only have two sacks, he (much like Donald) disrupts plays to the point of forcing mis-execution from opponents. That's his job more so than getting sacks, and he's doing a fine job of it. Now Rams fans just have to hope the injury doesn't keep him out of Week 5.
2.) What are the strengths and weaknesses of Case Keenum?
TRT: One of our staffers did a great film analysis of Keenum this week, so I'd point to that for BR readers to get a sense of Keenum's skill set. What I'd say is that he's just not a physically talented QB. That being said, the Rams' offense is so poor that it doesn't really matter. Having a QB with a stronger physical makeup, like say 2016 NFL Draft #1 overall pick and backup Rams QB Jared Goff, would be a bit of a waste in this offense. So while Keenum clearly isn't a great QB, the Rams have found a way to get to 3-1 with him...or perhaps in spite of him.
3.) Has Todd Gurley's slow start been almost 100% due to bad offensive-line play or is there something else there?
TRT: O-line play has contributed to it, certainly. And Gurley's not without fault either. But the larger issue is just one of scheme. Teams are loading up the box to ensure that Gurley just doesn't have anywhere to run. It's not fair to expect the Rams to block eight defenders with six blockers. The Rams have to find a way to get a consistent passing game going to push back the linebackers and safeties. They just haven't been able to whether that's on Keenum, his passing targets or the coaching. My money would be on a combination of all three given how comprehensive the issue is with the pass.
4.) Who's the most underrated defensive player on the Rams roster?
TRT: Some might suggest MLB Alec Ogletree given how overlooked he is by national media. Brockers would have a fair argument here. And CB Trumaine Johnson is probably the easy answer given that he has stepped into the CB1 role this season and is coming off of a stellar performance in Arizona. I'll go with S T.J. McDonald though. He's a terror to deal with physically and spaces the back of the defense very, very well. The Rams' passing shell is designed to take away the sidelines and the deep ball and allow you to dink and dunk up the middle. McDonald does a fine job of keeping that shell intact while offering punishment as a tackler in the run game.
5.) Brian Quick scored two touchdowns last week. Has he emerged as a legitimate No. 1 WR for Los Angeles?
TRT: No. No, not at all. Absolutely not. Not even close. Just no.
Quick's now in his fifth year after being drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was off to a promising start in 2014 before suffering a horrible injury on his right side that jacked up his shoulder and elbow. This year's start is just an aberration. His two long touchdowns were more about defensive breakdowns than anything. His touchdown to help win the game for the Rams in Week 4? That was a nice play on his part and on Keenum's. The Rams would need to get themselves in that position more often for me to begin even entertaining the idea of any legitimacy for Quick. With rookies Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce set to make their NFL debuts soon after sitting out the first quarter of the season injured, Quick is closer to losing a spot at the top of the rotation more than anything.