The Redskins on Sunday take on the St. Louis Rams at FedExField. StLouisRams.com's Myles Simmons (@MylesASimmons on Twitter) gives us an insider's look at the major storylines for the opposing team heading into the matchup.*
Redskins.com: The Rams are coming off a dominating, 52-0 win over the Oakland Raiders last week at the Edward Jones Dome. But, to this point of the season, the team hasn't been able to reel off at least two wins in a row. What do you contribute to their inconsistency this year?
Simmons: "Well, there have been a lot factors. One has been the play of the quarterbacks, which is where a lot of that inconsistency starts. If you go back to just the San Diego game, Shaun Hill had an uncharacteristic performance in turning the ball over three times -- two picks and one fumble. He was able to bounce back last week with a strong performance against Oakland, in which he made good decisions and protected the football.
But another factor stems from the Rams' high number of returns for a touchdown. St. Louis has surrendered nine overall, and seven from offensive turnovers. Many of those returns off of the offense have come in the second half of games, which can be difficult to overcome."
Redskins.com:With Sam Bradford out for the year again, the Rams have gone with both Austin Davis and Shaun Hill under center this season. What have both brought to the table for St. Louis, and how did Hill end up winning the job to this point of the year? Simmons:"Davis came in as an injury replacement for Hill during the Rams' Week 1 contest against the Vikings, and was named the team's starter following the team's bye in Week 4. At that time, Davis had led the Rams to a thrilling win in Tampa Bay, and had thrown for 327 yards and three touchdowns against Dallas in a Week 3 loss. But Davis struggled after a Week 7 victory over Seattle, throwing five interceptions over the next three weeks.
Enter Hill, who has brought his steady veteran presence and penchant for delivering timely, accurate passes. Despite his uncharacteristic performance against the Chargers, Hill has shown in the Rams' past two home games that when he's at his best, he can lead the offense to a good amount of success."
Redskins.com:The Rams obviously have had several draft picks the past couple years to mold their depth and give them a promising future. What is the long-term outlook for Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis franchise?
Simmons: "Yes, and several of those draft picks came from that blockbuster offseason trade with the Redskins in 2012. The team has been built with a philosophy of strong defense and running the
ball, and that's what it's been able to do in its last two victories. And just looking at what his team has been able to do in going 2-1 over their last three games, it's clear that there's a lot of talent on the current roster. There's especially a ton of talent at defensive back, considering the emergence of E.J. Gaines and the trade for Mark Barron."
Redskins.com:Robert Quinn was simply unstoppable last season, collecting those 19 sacks and, somehow, being passed over for AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. Up until last week, however, he had just six sacks (but got three against the Raiders). What has been the difference this year for Quinn? Have teams changed their approach against him?
Simmons: "One of the things that's been apparent this season is that teams are really getting rid of the ball quickly to help neutralize the Rams' strong pass rush. I think that's part of the huge amount of respect that teams have for him and his abilities. We've seen teams double him, try to run him out of the pocket with their tackles, but he's still been a pass-rushing force, racking up 27 pressures and 20 quarterback hits, according to the coaches' stats. And when he gets to quarterbacks, he's got an incredible ability to get the ball out, as he's tallied five forced fumbles."
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