Coming into the season with Jeff Fisher as the new coach, the expectation was that the St. Louis Rams would have to win games by running the ball well and playing stout defense. Never has that been more true than now, after Danny Amendola went down on Thursday evening with a clavicle injury.
While it's likely that Amendola will return at some point this season, it's hard to set a timetable given how unusual—and dangerous—his injury was.
Jay Glazer from Fox updated the nature of his injury on Sunday:
Danny Amendola dislocated clavicle and it popped in, which never happens in the NFL. VERY lucky didn't move far bc close to aorta & trachea.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 7, 2012
Amendola has clearly become Sam Bradford's favorite receiver, leading the Rams in receptions (31), yards (351), targets (44) and tied with Brandon Gibson for touchdown receptions (2). His loss will be seriously felt in the St. Louis passing game.
Of course, it would be nice if the Rams could actually run the ball with some success this year. That would certainly take some pressure off of Bradford and the receiving corps after the loss of Amendola.
Despite the sixth-most rushing attempts in the NFL (129), the Rams are 19th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (94.6) and are tied for 20th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.7). While some of that can be chalked up to Steven Jackson battling through some groin issues this year, that simply isn't going to cut it for this team.
While the Rams defense is pretty solid—namely at rushing the quarterback—they are still allowing 22.8 points per game. They're a good enough unit to keep things close, but I doubt they'll win too many games on their own.
Well, at least unless they play miserable offenses like the Arizona Cardinals unit that failed to show up on Thursday night.
The Rams will finish with...
No, the Rams need to be able to run the ball more efficiently and chew up clock. It will take pressure off of Bradford and open up play action while keeping the defense rested.
Other receivers will have to step things up, but it's hard to get excited about Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens and Brian Quick—at least for this year. With the loss of Amendola, the Rams can't expect to win through the air.
Running the ball isn't a new focus of the team. But if the Rams don't start doing it more successfully, a very promising start to the season will be for naught.
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