As the Rams head cross-country to take on the upstart Jags, here are cover32/Rams’ picks for Standout Stars, Week 6. Members of the writing team gave input on what Ram would need to produce in order to come out within a win in Jacksonville.
Brian Joanou – @Brian81277
Jacksonville’s defense, while considered elite, is woefully unbalanced, ranking 4th against the pass, and 31st against the run. 32 year-old war horse center John Sullivan will need to make sure to make the proper line calls and help keep the Jags pass rush off-balance while opening holes for Todd Gurley. Sullivan’s play will go a long way towards re-establishing the rhythm the Rams offense has enjoyed for much of the season.
Andrew Kelly – @Andrew_K47
On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville ranks a clear #1 in rushing offense, thanks in large part to rookie stud Leonard Fournette. Long considered a man among boys in the college ranks, the LSU product has proven to be a real handful for opposing defenses (see: 181 yards last week including a 90-yard TD). Given the Rams issues stopping the run (see: Alfred Morris 70-yard carry), our elite defensive tackle Aaron Donald will need to win his one on ones and continue to be the disruptive monster in the middle we’ve come to know and love. Oh, and it won’t hurt if he can plant Blake Bortles on his back a few times, either.
Scott Wagner – @Hotdaddywags
After being held without a catch for the first time in his NFL career, Watkins was understandably frustrated following last week’s loss to the Seahawks. Of his four targets, one was a Goff throwaway and two were low-percentage bombs. If the Rams are to keep the Teal Curtain honest, they’ll need to establish Sammy early and often against the talented Jacksonville secondary, which features baller cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Plus, if the Rams want to retain the services of their number one wideout by re-signing him in the offseason, there’s no time like the present to make sure he’s a big part of Sunday’s gameplan.
Christian Gotzman – @C_Gotzman
Perhaps the most critical player for the Rams to have success against the Jags rushing attack is much-maligned middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. Disgruntled fans say he lacks the mentality of a defensive captain, the size of a true inside middle linebacker, and is all too often engulfed by blocks and whiffs on tackles. There’s an element of truth to all of those statements. Hopefully, the last six quarters are more indicative of the Rams defense as a whole and Ogletree’s transition into the 3-4 is still a work in progress. If not, it could be a long day for the Rams on Sunday. The young middle linebacker also signed a four-year extension with the team on Thursday night worth 42 million dollars. Hopefully Ogletree’s solidified job security will allow him to step up his game.