I exchanged 5 Questions with the SB Nation Rams’ blogger, VanRam, over at Turf Show Times. His answers are below.
Blogging The Boys: Give us the scouting report on Brian Leonard. How will the offense change with him in the game?
Turf Show Times: Leonard's a great runner and a really great pass catcher. He's a solid player all around. I don't think the Rams will be running as much, not just because Steven Jackson's out, but because they HAVE to score points.
BTB: Marc Bulger is playing injured. Has it affected his play so far? Do you think he can continue to play if he gets knocked around?
TST: We'll see. Supposedly, they've pumped him full of pain killers and not getting beat up in Tampa may have let the ribs heal just a little. Truthfully, it's hard to tell if the injury has affected his play. The coaches called mostly a conservative game, in large part to protect him, so we never got to see him go through the full range of skills. I don't think they'd let him play if he couldn't do the things he needed to do to give the team every chance to win, but I've been wrong before. The thing is we've got a $2.1 million back up in Gus Frerotte, and he's quite capable of filling in without having to ask the offense to scale back any. He should have played last week, and if things look at all bad for Bulger this week, I suspect we'll see him.
BTB: Give us the state of the offensive line, including the injuries and how they're compensating.
TST: Uh, do you know anyone could play? No, it's not that bad, but close. With both starting guards out, we're hurting, not to mention Pace out too. They've so far been able to step up enough for the offense to make plays though, if only they would then make the plays.
BTB: What is the identity of the defense? Fast? Physical? Good against the run or good against the pass? How would you break them down?
TST: Tougher question than it probably should be. The secondary has been taken apart by injuries and Fahkir Brown's four game suspension, but the replacements have surprised us all. Sure, we haven't faced the league's toughest offenses. Up front, it's a young team that would have a much better pass rush if UT Claude Wroten hadn't gotten himself suspended for substance abuse violations; he's out for another week after this one. Fast or physical, don't know. They are playing solid fundamental defense and given the offense all it needs to put games away so far. This week will be huge test.
BTB: Things are looking desperate for the team. What do they need to do this Sunday to get in the win column?
TST: Throw caution to the wind. If they play as conservatively as they have in the last three games they'll lose for sure. Therefore, they've just got to go for it. Bulger made his mark in the league throwing deep balls to Holt and Bruce on the hash marks, risking the INT against a playmaking D like Dallas is just a risk they'll have to assume. Fans would much rather see a loss in which they battled than another befuddling 300 yards, no TD day.