Behind Enemy Lines Pt 3; St. Louis Rams' defense needs to prove itself against Cowboys' DeMarco Murray

...He's going. He's going. He's gone!"



The colorful and original commentary may change, but the implication is all too familiar for fans of the St. Louis Rams. "He" is the ball carrier and "gone" is the end zone which he now calls home.

There has been no shortage of breakout running backs in the Gateway City over years.  They seem to hog the spotlight on Sports Center, and collect their plane tickets to Hawaii before the clock even hits all zeroes.

Unfortunately, though, they do it all from the opposing sideline.

The Rams have been wildly inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball for years -- since long before Jeff Fisher took over the team -- particularly against the run.  Regardless of whether they are a future Hall of Famer, a one-time Pro Bowler, or that guy you will never hear about again, they usually somehow find a way past (or through) all 11 Rams on the field.

Re-enter DeMarco Murray, the Dallas Cowboys running back who saves only his best performances for St. Louis. Remember him?

Of course you do.

In two career games against the Rams, Murray has rushed for 428 yards on 51 attempts (8.4 yards per carry).  Those are Madden video game numbers on "Rookie" mode with the use of cheat codes. Consider it a miracle that he added only a pair of touchdowns to compliment those numbers.

DeMarco Murray, a fourth-year pro out of Oklahoma, currently leads the National Football League in rushing yards with 285.  He has reached the end zone two times, but has lost just as many fumbles, which is typically a condemnable statistic if you aren't otherwise demolishing opposing teams. Maybe he should make a change or two?

Here is NFL.com's Chris Wesseling's take on Murray in this week's matchup:

Fumbles aside, no running back has looked better than Murray through two weeks. Going back to the start of last season, he leads all starters in yards per carry.

The offensive line is blowing defenders off the ball, and Murray is making decisive cuts and breaking arm tackles. He travels to St. Louis in Week 3 to take on a Rams team he has burned for 456 yards in two career games.

That offensive line which Wesseling speaks of will feature just as many former first round picks (3) as the Rams defensive line, with left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and rookie guard Zack Martin.  The Cowboys Pro Bowl back is now running behind what is unequivocally the best offensive line of his young career. And yes, the Rams are now down to 3 first round picks in the defensive trenches.

St. Louis lost a good pass rusher when Chris Long went down with an ankle injury in the season premier, but they lost an excellent run stopper.  Without Long, the team will be forced to make even more in-game adjustments and rotations in order to adhere to what the opposition is giving them.

That was always the plan, but now it's much less favorable. What was not so long ago viewed as the deepest defensive line in football is still quite formidable. The depths are just more shallow without one of its best contributors.  Defensive end William Hayes -- as well as a healthy dose of defensive tackle shuffling -- will be counted on to fill the void.

The Rams continue to be an enigma on defense.  Thus far in 2014, they effectively shut down former All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson; however, they allowed Minnesota wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Tampa Bay backup running back Bobby Rainey to rush for 102 yards and 144 yards, respectively.

It's time for the defense as a whole to step up.  The linebackers need to fill their gaps and the secondary has to follow its assignments. If the Cowboys are going to win on Sunday, the Rams need to make them do it in the passing game.

The Cowboys are a team built to win on the offensive side of the ball, but for the most part, they (did I really make it this far without mentioning Tony Romo?) have struggled to find consistency.  That is, except for DeMarco Murray, the NFL's current leading rusher, and a perennial rift between space and time in the Rams defense.
Behind Enemy Lines Pt 3; St. Louis Rams' defense needs to prove itself against Cowboys' DeMarco Murray Behind Enemy Lines Pt 3;  St. Louis Rams' defense needs to prove itself against Cowboys' DeMarco Murray Reviewed by Mr. DCStands4 on 12:04:00 PM Rating: 5

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