Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch: Rams vs. Raiders

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch: Rams vs. Raiders

Article excerpt

For eight consecutive games, the Rams have faced a quarterback who had either been named to a Pro Bowl, or played in the Super Bowl or both over the past two seasons. On Sunday, that streak ends when they play rookie QB Derek Carr. A second-round pick out of Fresno State, Carr has been the starter since opening day and has played more than any other rookie QB in the league, completing 59.1 percent of his 406 passes for 2,249 yards, 14 TDs, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 76.7. "They've found their quarterback," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's got legs to escape, a quick release and he's very accurate." Only seven QBs in the NFL have thrown more passes than Carr, yet he has been sacked a modest 12 times. But after facing Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning the past two weeks, this is a QB the Rams need to handle.


Who knows where the Raiders' passing game would be without veteran WR James Jones, the former Packer who signed last offseason as a free agent. As it is they're near the bottom of the pile, ranking 26th in passing offense. Jones leads the team in catches (54) and yards (545). "He's been a settling influence in that rather young group of guys that he's with," Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. "He's a big body. Extremely talented receiver."


Last year's receiving leader, Rod Streater, remains out with a foot fracture suffered in Week 3. That leaves the Raiders with largely a bunch of no-names at WR, although third-year man Andre Holmes has decent numbers with 32 catches for 474 yards and four TDs to go with good size (6-4, 210). Second-year TE Mychal Rivera has been productive, ranking second to Jones in receptions (38). The only other Raider with more than 19 catches is RB Darren McFadden.


The Rams played it conservatively against San Diego, using a lot of off-coverage. …

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