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Strictly For The Geeks: Bucs Opponent Cheat Sheet, Week 7 vs. The Rams

This is the first in a series of Cheat Sheets I’ll do before the season starts. I’ll probably reference them when I do match-up analysis and predictions during the days before they will actually duel.

• Getting a team like the Rams week 7 will be a treat, as this team is likely too young to have neared its peak that early in the season. Last year’s Rams were 30th in passing TDs, tied for 30th in TD-to-INT ratio, tied for 26th in sacks allowed with Bulger and Null. They were 32nd in scoring with 181, 16 fewer than the next worst team. Though the teams have been overhauled from the top down since, Tampa Bay won the last meeting in 2007 24-3. Before that, the Rams beat the Bucs 28-21 in 2004. Only Jermaine Phillips, Michael Clayton and Ronde Barber remain from the 2004 meeting for Tampa with Steven Jackson being the only Ram still in uniform.
• The Rams are very raw at wide receiver. Their #1 receiver Donnie Avery has 1263 yards and 8 TDs over his two seasons, less than the 1377 yards and 8 touchdowns Anquan Boldin had in his rookie season. Their projected 2-5 receivers (Danny Amerndola, Mardy Gilyard, Laurent Robinson, and Brandon Gibson) have a combined career total of 1330 yards and 4 touchdowns. Boldin had 1402 yards and 7 touchdowns in 14 games in 2005. Ironically, the receiver who just visited them, Danario Alexander, led all college receivers last year with 113 catches and 1781 yards for Mizzou.
• St. Louis will have 1-3 new starters in OL Roger Saffold and maybe QB Sam Bradford and one of the young tight ends.
• On defense in 2009, St. Louis was tied for 31st in rushing TDs allowed, tied for 31st in INTs, tied for 27th in completion percentage allowed, 30th in first downs, 29th in yards allowed, and 31st in points allowed. QB’s had a 96.9 QB rating against them, making them 31st in the NFL in that stat. Spags brought in some veterans to help out on defense this past offseason including CB Kevin Dockery, DT Fred Robbins, LB Na’il Diggs, and ex-Bucs DT Chris Hovan. They hope to get a full season out of Bradley Fletcher, the talented second-year corner out of Iowa who only played three games last season.
• The Rams are thin on top talent and that talent has had issues. Steven Jackson has had back problems in the offseason, Martz-era stars DE Leonard Little and QB Marc Bulger were let go, and INT-heavy safety O.J. Otogwe is coming off a shoulder injury.
• Presumed Rams starting QB Sam Bradford and stud Bucs DT Gerald McCoy were teammates last year in Stillwater.
• This off-season, the Rams used MMA, ping pong, weight lifting and the 7-on-7 drills to indoctrinate a sense of competition into their players. The winners got dinner made my Spagnuolo and wife and served by the coordinators.
• The Rams’ roster has four Ohio State linebackers – Bobby Carpenter, Na’il Diggs, James Laurinaitis, Larry Grant.
• The Rams drafted two different former b-ball players: DE Hall Davis from Louisiana-Lafayette,  and TE Fendi Onobun, who played college basketball at Arizona.

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