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Scout's Notebook: New Safety Look, STL Running Back & More

Some thoughts from the Scout's Notebook:

  • The matchup between Tyron Smith and Robert Quinn should be outstanding but we also need to keep our eye on Doug Free and Chris Long. Through two games, Free has done much better job of handling rushers off the edge.

His technique has improved and he is playing with better confidence. Long is the type of rusher that Free tends to do a better job against because he does not play with a great deal of power. Long's best trait is his quickness and jump off the ball. He can be a similar rusher to what Free had seen the last couple of seasons with Jason Babin, who Free and excelled against each time he faced him.

  • The starter at left tackle for the Rams is Jake Long who came over in the off season from the Dolphins. I have never viewed Long as a dominate player and there are plenty of times where you observe him struggle. For a tackle that receives his share of accolades for his play, I just don't see it.

When you talk about the big time, shutdown tackles in this league, Long doesn't always play in that manner. In this contest, I believed that Rodger Saffold would have been more of a difficult draw and with him out of the lineup this week for the Rams, I view that as a break for these Cowboys defensive ends. This game is setting up for DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie to give Long all he can handle coming off the edge.

  • On Thursday, for the media portion of practice, J.J. Wilcox was working with the first defense next to Barry Church at safety. To me, this is not a surprise because I felt like that Wilcox's physical nature could help this defense in coverage of Rams tight end Jared Cook. [embedded_ad]

Where Cook hurts a defense is his ability to get down the field, so to match that you need to get a body on him that can help deal with his size and athletic ability. Cook is 6-5 and 248 pounds, when coming out of South Carolina, ran his 40 in the low 4.5's and he plays that way on tape. One other reason that we could see Wilcox is for his stoutness as a tackler. On the final drive in the Chiefs contest, Will Allen missed a tackle in the hole on 2nd down against Jamaal Charles that resulted in a first down and kept the drive going.

  • When the Rams parted ways with long-time running back, Steven Jackson, it was not clear how the front office was going to replace his production. The Rams are currently carrying five running backs on their 53 man roster. 2nd year man, Daryl Richardson is currently the starter and physically he is short but he has some thickness to him. He plays with a burst and some extended quickness.

The offensive coaches like to try and get him the ball in space. He can make defenders miss in the hole and shows some cutting ability. He has 10 receptions for the season so Sam Bradford is not afraid to try and throw him the ball. Having studied his play against the Cardinals and Falcons, his numbers will not "Wow" you, but the is potential there.

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