Dec 15, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) tackles St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey (12) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
I recently teamed up with Blaine Grisak, managing editor of Ramblin’ Fan, to exchange questions around the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams. Enjoy!
1. Which offseason moves are you most proud of? Do you feel that the Rams addressed what they needed in the draft/free agency? Which moves left you scratching your head?
The Rams didn’t make a lot of noise this offseason like they have in years past, but the moves that they did make were big for the team’s success moving forward. The move that I am most excited about is the addition of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The Rams defense played inconsistent last year and the addition of Williams will hopefully take them to the next level.
The one that left me scratching my head was the fact that the Rams didn’t go out and draft a top wide receiver. Saints fans don’t know this feeling, but the Rams haven’t had a number one receiver since Torry Holt. They trust their guys though and they picked up Kenny Britt, hoping he can give the Rams what they need at the position, which is a dominant threat on the outside.
2. A lot of hype is being made around new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. Who Dat Nation is quite familiar with Williams, and the relationship is being downplayed. What do you realistically expect out of this defense in 2014?
The Rams, with the addition of Williams will certainly have a top-10 defense if not top five. They have some holes in the secondary, but when it comes to the front seven, and more specifically the front four, the Rams have one of the best groups in the league. I fully expect Williams to help this defense take that next step.
3. It’s early, but where do you see the Rams finishing this year in the NFC West, and overall?
If the Rams didn’t play in the NFC West, there is no question they would be competing for division titles. Unfortunately, they do play in the most difficult NFC West, which has produced the last two NFC Champions. When all is said and done I see the Rams with nine or ten wins and ending up third in the division. I think they’ll be contenders for a wild card spot, but I think they’ll fall just short, the NFC is going to be a very competitive conference.
4. Which name(s) should Saints fans be looking for tomorrow that we likely have no knowledge about?
A few guys that I would certainly keep an eye on is linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong and cornerback Greg Reid. Armstrong was a special teams standout last season and has a nose for the football. If he has a good preseason, then he could certainly earn himself some playing time in the regular season on defense.
Reid is another guy to watch out for. He’s a small physical cornerback that will play in the slot and is looking to make the roster. The Rams picked him up in free agency, and see a lot of potential in him.
5. It’s only preseason, but give us your prediction for tomorrow’s game. Who wins, and why? What are your realistic expectations?
I think this game will be a good test for the Rams defense. When the “one’s” go up against each other tomorrow its going to be interesting to watch even if it is just preseason. When all is said and done though, I think the Saints get the win. They will have more talented depth when the game gets into the third and fourth quarter, which will help them pull ahead late.
BONUS Question (or work this into your offseason moves). What do you think of Michael Sam’s ability? How is he performing in camp?
I think he’s a talented player and that he will make the final roster. When you have guys like Chris Long and Robert Quinn ahead of you, it’s not likely that he will start. Sam has made plays in camp when he has been given the chance, and I think he could play a big role in special teams coverage.