The Battle for Deuce: Pregame notes and links

Sam Bradford, taking “mental reps” again this week?

Item: The ugliest matchup in this week’s schedule just got uglier, as Adam Schefter reports that Kevin Kolb is unlikely to play (turf toe). Meanwhile, Bradford attended practice, and took “baby steps,” says Jim Thomas. 

    Spagnuolo: “He got some mental reps, because he’s out here watching.”

In a related note, “taking mental reps” is now my new favorite euphemism for internet porn.

    “Didn’t move very much,” Spagnuolo said. “He was standing there doing some walking stuff — that’s it.”

The pregame show should be hilarious. “SKELTON! FEELEY! The RAMS and CARDINALS go at it, with the WINNER getting that all-important second win. It’s the BATTLE for the DEUCE!” I only wish that NBC would flex this game to Sunday night. I would love to hear Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth expound at length on the beauty and majesty of this game.

Item: Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus has started his annual regression analysis, and Sam Bradford’s abnormally low touchdown rate is one of his biggest picks to improve. Of course, Bradford has to stop taking “mental reps” and get back on the field, first.

Related on PFF: Khaled Elsayed takes a look back at the 2008 draft (you know, the one that started out “Long-Long”). Despite Jake Long’s early success, he’d have the Dolphins draft Matt Ryan #1. But it turns out the Rams did pretty well with Chris Long in that #2 slot. Elsayed wouldn’t change a thing.

Related to Chris Long vs Jake Long, a nugget from this 3,000-word compendium of AFC mid-season predictions at This Given Sunday: in his last 16 games, Jake has given up 11 sacks. (Averaged only 4 per season his first three years.) Meanwhile, in his last 23 games, Chris Long now has 14 sacks, 18 hits, and 84 pressures. That’s good huntin’.

Item: Mike Sando at ESPN takes stock of defensive rookies in the NFC West, which for the Rams amounts to one player – Robert Quinn. The Rams got a lot older overall, relying on free agency to fill gaps that the draft and crop of UDFA’s just didn’t address. Good thing then that Quinn, who was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Plasticman-esque punt-blocking exploits, is starting to catch fire. His inside move on Jermon Bushrod for a sack of Drew Brees was a thing of beauty.  

Related: Ben Muth at Football Outsiders profiles that matchup between Quinn and Bushrod and the rest of the Saints’ offensive line struggles against St Louis. 

Related: on This Given Sunday, our man Derek Pease takes a look at the Youngriest (you know, Young+Hungry) teams in the NFL. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see the Rams cut some old wood and show up on this list next year.