Well here we are at week six and another week brings another look at the five Rams you should be watching extra carefully this Sunday. Unfortunately players that really stepped up when the Rams met the Lions last year, CB Trumaine Johnson and LG Garrett Reynolds will not be in uniform this time around. One is injured and the other was waived injured. Now here are the five Rams you need to key in on.
DT Aaron Donald
His selection isn’t going to go away, the Rams best player and quite possibly the NFL’s best player should be watched all game. He is an absolute beast in every area at defensive tackle. Donald must enjoy or rather the Rams must enjoy playing the Lions with the player they passed on for a player who they quite possibly reached on in TE Eric Ebron. Donald last time out versus the Lions had five tackles, four solo tackles, three sacks, three tackles for a loss and six (yes six!) quarterback hits. Donald was pivotal in the Rams win as they only ended up winning 21-14 even with Donald’s game wrecking play.
This week Donald could be without his starting crew of guys and last year he started without DE Robert Quinn. Donald make no mistake about it should be in for a dominant game as he is deemed “unblockable” at this point.
CB E.J. Gaines
No Trumaine Johnson this time around, no problem? Well, that remains to be seen as the Rams are very thin at corner. Gaines didn’t get to play the Lions last year as he was ruled out for the season before it began. Gaines steps into this game on the road as the guy. This is a pivotal game for Gaines as he will be going up against one of the rising stars the game has to offer at WR Marvin Jones. Quarterback Matt Stafford has turned Jones into a monster threat and Gaines will have his work cut out for him. Gaines is already looking very solid early on and even though his thing has never been the lack of production like it has worth durability. He would love to show everyone he can play as the lock down corner the Rams see in him which ultimately caused them to let Janoris Jenkins walk in free agency.
Gaines like I said, has a big game ahead of him but, if he stops Marvin Jones this week he could plateau into an elite cornerback. Today is a huge day for Gaines and for the Rams. On the flip side, if he has a bad game versus Jones that could end the Rams hopes at winning this contest.
WR Pharoh Cooper
Something has to give with this talent out of South Carolina. Last week Cooper made his debut and his only target and first career target ended up being the game changing play that ultimately led to a Rams loss. Don’t worry though Cooper in his second game should be utilized much more in the passing game as said by OC Rob Boras. Cooper with his quickness to get out in space and make plays reminds me of Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins. Cooper could seriously have his breakout game today if he is used often. Last year the Rams utilized Tavon Austin in the run game early and it accounted for four carries and 40 yards rushing. Cooper could be mixed in their with Austin for reversal carries as well as a go-to-guy on third down.
Nelson Spruce could make his debut today with Brian Quick listed as questionable but I think at this point in time Cooper is the WR to watch this Sunday until Spruce gets a bigger role and actually is allowed to play a game.
TE Tyler Higbee
It’s around that time of year where you start to see Jeff Fisher use his rookies in a bigger capacity. Last year Case Keenum played the Lions and struggled with a passer rating of 59.7. This year the Rams should and could look to open up the passing game for Keenum. Higbee is dying to get the ball as he has barely been used in an offense that is still looking for consistent contributors. Higbee has been used more as a blocking tight end behind Lance Kendricks but look for Higbee to finally get used and possibly carve out a role in the passing game for the rest of the year.
RB Todd Gurley
Clearly a player that is too talented to be struggling this mightily is ready for a break out game. Does he get it versus the Lions? Last year flashing back to Gurley’s game versus the Lions he had 16 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He started off slow in the first half and exploded in the second to lead the Rams to a win. Keenum has shown the ability to take more shots down the field than last year which ultimately would lead me to believe that if Gurley emulates last year’s stat-line, the Rams win the game. Gurley is going up against a banged up defense and could have a field day if the Rams OL can take advantage of the lack of depth up front.
What do you think? Who are your five Rams to watch? Let us know!