Behind Enemy Lines: St. Louis Rams host Arizona Cardinals
Dec 3, 2015, 7:10 AM | Updated: Dec 5, 2015, 11:45 am
After 11 games, the Arizona Cardinals are 9-2.
One of those two blemishes came against the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 4. Nick Foles threw three touchdown passes — including two to Tavon Austin — and the Cardinals turned the ball over three times in a 24-22 Rams’ win at University of Phoenix Stadium.
They get a chance at revenge Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis Sunday.
Things have gone south for the Rams since the first meeting between the two teams. St. Louis has lost four in a row to fall to 4-7 on the season. The Rams were investigated for the way they handled quarterback Case Keenum’s concussion suffered against Baltimore. Head coach Jeff Fisher lashed out at the media who dared question his team’s effort following their latest loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Wide receiver Stedman Bailey, who was serving a four-game suspension for a drug violation, is in critical condition after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in Miami, Florida.
All week, we’ll keep you updated on everything going on with the Rams and their embattled head coach as they prepare to host the Cardinals.
It’s Behind Enemy Lines …
Saturday, December 5
• Rams need to pull repeat to beat Cardinals (ESPN.com)
The three things that need to go in the Rams’ favor in order for them to pull off another upset against the Cardinals.
“Earlier this week, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher expressed optimism that his team would get some key contributors back from injury this week. As it stands on Friday, it looks like there will be just one.”
“Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and his stadium task force have until Dec. 30 to put together a final pitch to the St. Louis Rams and the NFL in their efforts to keep the team in town, according to a letter NFL executive Eric Grubman sent Friday.”
“It’s frustrating,” Gurley said after the game. “I’m just not used to really losing and stuff like that. Just trying to deal with that stuff. But at the end of the day, things could be a lot worse. We have just got to stay positive and just keep focused.”
Friday, December 4
• Would Colin Kaepernick fit with the Rams? (ESPN.com)
In looking at the St. Louis Rams’ current and future prospects at the quarterback position, there doesn’t appear to be any obvious solution.
The Rams won’t be penalized for mishandling concussion protocols in regard to Case Keenum, but NFL Players Association president Eric Winston wants the NFL to reconsider its decision.
Yet another round of NFL owners meetings, with relocation to Los Angeles at the forefront of the agenda, wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon outside of Dallas.
• American Cancer Society Honors Rams with Excellence in Philanthropy Award (StLouisRams.com)
In November, the American Cancer Society honored the St. Louis Rams with the 2015 Local Award of Excellence in Philanthropy as a result of their year-long dedication to fight cancer.
As the St. Louis Rams traveled to Minnesota to play the Vikings little more than a month ago, there was genuine hope that they’d turned the corner and were going to make a run at the postseason.
• Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams: Full St. Louis Game Preview (BleacherReport.com)
The St. Louis Rams (4-7) are set to host the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Sunday. The game will be a hard-fought rematch between two NFC West rivals.
According to coach Jeff Fisher, quarterback Case Keenum is still in the concussion protocol and was limited in Wednesday’s practice. Nick Foles, who started in Keenum’s place last week against Cincinnati, took most of the repetitions with the first team offense.
Like most of the United States, Zach Hocker was sitting on a couch Friday afternoon eating leftover turkey and watching football.
As the Missouri Tigers took on Hocker’s Arkansas Razorbacks, Hocker got a phone call from a 314 area code at about 4 p.m. ET. On the other end of the line was an opportunity to stop watching football and start playing it again.
• Rams and Eagles Have Problems Beyond Failed Quarterback Swap (101Sports.com)
It’s true, neither team has benefited from the Sam Bradford-for-Nick Foles swap. Rams fans now realize why Chip Kelly was so eager to part with a quarterback that helped lead his team to the playoffs in 2013, while Eagles fans know what it’s like to be in backup quarterback hell because Bradford can’t stay healthy.
• Nope, Arians still doesn’t like Rams (StlToday.com)
Bruce Arians played nice Wednesday on his conference call with reporters in St. Louis.
He talked about how he has been going against Rams coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for a long time, and how the Rams have a great coaching staff.
• Fisher feeling the heat? (StlToday.com)
Is Jeff Fisher feeling the pressure ahead of Sunday’s game with the Cardinals? The Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas and CineSports’s Brian Clark preview the game and discuss the latest relocation news.
• St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher Spoke After Practice On Wednesday (Turf Show Times)
“We had a good day. Got some work, really good work. Well, just to address the quarterback situation here, Case (Keenum) is still in the protocol. He had good work Monday, yesterday. He was limited today. He feels good, but he’s still yet to be cleared. As you observed, Nick (Foles) got most of the reps today and we’ll just kind of see how things go tomorrow.”
• Rams continue to tumble in ESPN NFL Power Rankings (ESPN.com)
Following Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, their fourth straight defeat, the Rams dropped to No. 26 in this week’s rankings. That’s the lowest they’ve been all season and 16 spots below their peak position of No. 10.
• Two key NFL owners hope for January vote on moving a team to LA (StlToday.com)
NFL team owners began arriving Tuesday with their eyes on Los Angeles, even as St. Louis officials labored at home to lock down plans for a new riverfront stadium.
• Rams could be forced to make moves at QB (StlToday.com)
In a few months this may be Los Angeles’ problem. But as the 2015 Rams season winds down — or should we say, unravels — it’s looking more and more like quarterback will be a top offseason priority.
Beginning with Sunday’s game against Arizona, that gives Nick Foles and Case Keenum five games to make an impression.
• Kroenke & Nixon Meeting Is a Positive Sign (101Sports.com)
My friend Jim Thomas had the scoop for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday: Rams owner Stan Kroenke met with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at Rams Park on Monday. With the NFL owners set to gather in Dallas to discuss the future of the Los Angeles market, the timing of the Kroenke-Nixon huddle was intriguing.
Sure, the Rams were disappointed in their fourth consecutive loss and in dropping to 4-7 with little hope of a quick turnaround. But this was something deeper. It was a sense that they’d let teammate Stedman Bailey, who was shot twice in the head last week, down.
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon met face-to-face at Rams Park on Monday afternoon, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The meeting is believed to be the first face-to-face discussion between Kroenke and Nixon since the city and state began developing their ongoing efforts to keep the Rams from relocating to Los Angeles after this season, and it took place just before this week’s NFL owners gathering in Dallas. Nixon spokeswoman Channing Ansley later confirmed the Monday meeting to the Associated Press but gave no additional details.
With Case Keenum still dealing with a concussion that rendered him inactive for Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher turned back to Nick Foles to start at quarterback. Foles didn’t fare much better than he did in the weeks before he was benched and Fisher made it clear that once Keenum is healthy again, he’ll be back in the starting spot.
• Fisher not concerned about job security (StlToday.com)
In the wake of a fourth consecutive loss, and with the prospect of a fourth consecutive losing season looming, the subject of coach Jeff Fisher’s future is out in the open. It’s now open season on job security.
• Rams go from bad to worse to awful (StlToday.com)
Yes, it’s very difficult to win in this league without a quarterback. Foles and Fisher are nice humans, and they work hard and all that stuff. But this season, both men are in over their heads. One of them has to be gone by next season.
• The Five Worst Offenses in STL Rams History (101Sports.com)
Cheer up, Rams fans.
Believe it or not, you could be watching an offense that’s even more futile than the weekly snooze fest you’re enduring in 2015.
Then again … if you’ve been a Rams fan for a while, you actually saw those offenses. The ones that make the 2015 attack look zippy by comparison.
• Start Sean Mannion at QB? Whoa! Maybe in 2016 (101Sports.com)
The good news for Rams rookie quarterback Sean Mannion: he got a chance to play in his first regular-season NFL game on Sunday at Cincinnati. Swabbing away during the meaningless final minutes of his team’s 31-7 blowout loss to the Bengals, Mannion competently completed six of seven passes.
Two-time Pro Bowler Robert Quinn has been dealing with knee, hip, and back injuries since the Rams’ bye week.