Tennessee Titans: Scouting the opposition-St. Louis Rams


Former Tennessee Titans head coach, Jeff Fisher brings his St. Louis Rams to Nissan Stadium on Sunday night for a prime-time matchup on Fox. Titan Sized has told you what is happening in Music City to get ready for this game, but what about the Rams?

More at Titan Sized: Final Tennessee Titans notes previewing the St. Louis Rams

Although St. Louis sported one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2014, their offense struggled to score points, especially through the air.

Fisher down-played the problem after scoring only three points in their opener last week when they were defeated by the Oakland Raiders 18-3, but even with newly acquired quarterback, Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles that sent Sam Bradford packing during free agency, it looks like more of the same to me.

The Rams got decent numbers out of former Titan Kenny Britt last year, but the same cannot be said for the other side of the field. Tavon Austin who will be in his third year out of West Virginia had only 31 receptions for 242 yards and no touchdowns.

That’s almost Titans like!

Fisher told Nick Wagoner from ESPN that because of the scrimmage last week in Oxnard with the Dallas Cowboys that he would probably play his starters a little longer on Sunday night.

“We’re going to increase everybody’s reps depending on the series and things like that,” Fisher said. “The one thing that we did get which is really important for us, where we are now, is we got great reps against Dallas [earlier this week]. So as I said, we almost got an extra preseason game. We’ll increase reps, but some guys may play less. We’ll give Nick [Foles] a chance to play a little bit.”

The Rams offense sputtered last week against the Raiders, especially in the “Red Zone” and the sputtering was largely due to penalties. Holding, illegal proceedure calls, moving before the snap etc. That may have been a disease they picked up from the Cowboys.

"“Well, we want to keep the penalties down,” Fisher said. “I’d like to see the run game continue to improve. It’s the same thing with the defense, defense against the run. When you tackle and just do those things, it’s a progression. Progression, it’s about improvement so that’s what we’re looking for.”"

Some keys to watch on the Rams side:

Trumaine Johnson cornerback number 22

Johnson had strong outings against the Oakland Raiders last week that continued against the Cowboys in the scrimmage that turned into a brawl.

“He was there every day. He’s worked. He’s taken care of his body and he’s determined,” Fisher said. “If you get in that third and fourth year and play like he has, you should start making those plays when you have that kind of ability.”

Johnson will not likely play long on Sunday night, but should be in while Marcus Mariota is under center, and no. 22 is a player the rookie quarterback should account for in his reads.

Chris Givens wide receiver number 19

This fourth-year receiver out of Wake Forrest had an anemic 2014 as did most of the Rams wide-outs but is trending up after last weeks performance in Oakland.

He had four catches for 36 yards and a 15 yard run from scrimmage last week, and should see a lot of snaps on Sunday.

Ethan Westbrooks defensive tackle number 93

Westbrooks was an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M last year, and is starting to spend a lot of time in the opponents backfield.

The young tackle has seen increased playing time this spring and is another bright spot in this already good defense.

Westbrooks has done a good job of disrupting the backfield in practice. He especially did so when the team worked with the Cowboys this week, even picking off a Tony Romo pass. Look for Westbrooks to continue breaking through the offensive line on Sunday.

Center Position

The three-way battle for the center spot is ongoing, and this game may be an opportunity for one of Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones, and Demetrius Rhaney to emerge as a front-runner. Barnes got the start between guards Rodger Saffold and Jamon Brown last week, but it remains to be seen if that will be the case against Tennessee. What’s more, Rhaney saw time at left guard in practice with the Cowboys this week while Saffold recovers from tweaking his right shoulder in the Oakland matchup. Either way, keep an eye on Nos. 61, 67, and 65 for that center position battle.

Nick Fairley defensive tackle number 98

Nick Fairley has yet to live up to his number one draft status and is on a one-year “prove it” contract with the Rams.

Fairley was drafted in the first round out of Auburn in 2011, but has yet to be the force that he was expected.

I’m sure that it didn’t help playing next to Ndamukong Suh for the last four years, but the 27 year-old from Mobile has a chance to prove himself on an already top-notch defense.

Jeff Fisher head coach

The Tennessee Titans will be honoring Jeff Fisher on Sunday night but the 16 year skipper that brought the Houston Oilers to Tennessee is downplaying the event.

Although Fisher still owns a home in the Nashville area, this will be his first trip to Nissan Stadium since 2010, and his first with an opposing team.

I have great memories,” Fisher said. “The thing reflecting back, it’s the relationships with the players. All of the players that came through there, getting through the move process, the relocation process, and then the ’99 season and the 2000 season, where I think we had a better team than we did in ’99. It didn’t work out for us. It’s a great organization. I owe a tremendous amount to the Adams family for the opportunity. We won a lot of games down there.”

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