Offensive lines will be key for Rams, Bears this week

Offensive lines will be key for Rams, Bears this week

Offensive lines will be key for Rams, Bears this week

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by Scott Bierman / FootballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 21 at 12:48 PM

ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- It is highly likely that the deciding factor in Sunday’s game against the Bears will come down to the offensive lines.

For the Rams, injuries have been the early storyline up front while the Bears are still looking to solve the riddle on how to keep quarterback Jay Cutler upright -- nothing new for both teams.

The Rams, particularly left tackle Rodger Saffold, have been banged up early through the first two weeks.  Saffold, who has started and been sidelined in each game this season, is currently out for at least a month with a knee injury.  The void was filled nicely by Wayne Hunter.  The one problem being that he, too, got hurt during Sunday’s game and missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury (although he is expected to start this week).  It is a challenge the Rams are all too familiar with.

“Yes, it is a challenge, but we will have them ready to play,” head coach Jeff Fisher said on Wednesday.  “That is what you have to do and we will see.”

The one thing we did see this week was that the offensive line improved greatly from Week 1 when Sam Bradford was sacked a total of four times; he was sacked only twice in Sunday’s 31-28 win over the Redskins.

“I thought those guys did a great job,” Bradford said.  “They allowed me time to get the ball out of my hands and complete passes.”

Bradford finished the game 26-for-35 for 310 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

This week’s opponent has stayed healthy, but has not effective.  The Bears have had their share of trouble up front in recent years culminating last week when Cutler yelled and then bumped lineman J’Marcus Webb on the sideline.  Cutler was sacked a total of seven times last week, and a total nine times this season, in a 23-10 loss to the Packers.

As a result, Cutler completed only forty percent of his passes and threw four interceptions.

The sacks are nothing new for Cutler and the Bears. Cutler has been sacked 84 times in his last 27 starts.

“We have got to pick up the slack,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said.  “Whether it is run or pass, we have to do a better job there.”

Smith also downplayed any possible rift in the Bears locker room following Cutler’s tirade on the sideline last week.

“There are some things that happen during the course of every game in the NFL.  If you had a camera there catching it all, there are some things that you would rather not be shown.  I will just say that,” Smith said.  “These are just minor things that are going on, believe me.  We don’t have any issues.  Our guys aren’t fighting in the locker room and all those things.  Believe me, it is football. Things happen.”
 

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