Arizona Cardinals Vs. St. Louis Rams: What To Watch For This Sunday

Bear HeiserFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2010

Rams QB Sam Bradford
Rams QB Sam BradfordElsa/Getty Images

The Sam Bradford era in St. Louis officially begins Sunday afternoon when the Rams host the Arizona Cardinals to a sellout crowd. 

Thanks to a last ditch effort to sell all remaining tickets, local Rams fans will not be stuck with a blackout

Now that everybody will be able to watch, continue reading for, "What To Watch For: Cardinals vs. Rams edition."

1. Rodger Saffold's ability to protect Sam Bradford

In 2009, the Rams offensive unit gave up 44 sacks, which was seventh worst in the league. Clearly unsatisfied with that result, the Rams have drafted cornerstone offensive lineman in consecutive years.

Second round pick Rodger Saffold will be the team's starting left tackle for years to come if he can keep Sam Bradford upright. In college, he showed he could stay healthy for long periods of time, which bodes well for the continuity of the offensive line.

On Sunday, he will be stuck with the tough task of battling Cardinals All-Pro defensive end Darnell Dockett.

Earlier this month, Arizona signed Dockett to a 4-year extension, worth up to 48 million, with 30 guaranteed. You can be sure that he will be playing with a little extra fire power in his first game since the payday. Probably not a good thing for the Rams.


Saffold better not have any first game jitters because if he does, it will be a tough day for Sam Bradford and the STL offense.

2. The Rams ability to stop the run

Last season, Cardinal running backs torched the Rams defense for 293 yards in 2 games, which averages out to be 146.5 yards per game. Over the course of the entire season AZ averaged only 93.4 yards per game, good for 28th in the league.

When Kurt Warner was the Cardinals starting quarterback, their offense was extremely pass heavy. It wasn't as if runs weren't called, because they were, RB's Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells just weren't very good. They actually were more useful on passing downs. 

There are reports that say Beanie Wells may miss the game with a banged up knee. 

The Rams made a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball. They brought in Super Bowl winning run stopper Fred Robbins along with veteran strong side linebacker Na'il Diggs. The two of them should help stabilize the run defense.  

Fast forward to 2010, new starting QB with Derek Anderson but the same 2 running backs. Given the fact that Anderson is no Warner, it should allow the Rams secondary to push up on the line a bit more.

If the Rams can contain the run game it will be a tough day for Derek Anderson who will be stuck trying to force balls into a crowded secondary.


3. Injury Report

For those of you who don't regularly check the Rams injury report, safety James Butler is the only name on it. He's probable if you were wondering. 

Throughout training camp and the preseason the Rams were consistently plagued with injuries. Ron Bartell, George Selvie, Eugene Sims and Jason Smith are just a few of the players who have been battling injuries.

The Rams are a young team that needs to develop continuity in order to win games. If guys get hurt and miss games, the 2010 season will be a painful one for Rams fans.


Think I missed something? Feel free to start the conversation in the comments section.