As you might expect with a team going through front-office and coaching changes, the St. Louis Rams have a lot of young players on their roster. Several of these players will be important for the Packers to focus on and should be the focus of your attention while watching the game in person or on television.
The rookie seventh-round pick has been a surprising find for the Rams, especially since they drafted Isaiah Pead in the second round with the intent of making him the backup running back. Richardson has drastically outplayed Pead, and has worked his way into a time-share with starter Steven Jackson. The rookie is also contributing in the passing game, as he has caught seven balls so far this year.
WR Chris Givens
Givens, another rookie, will likely start at receiver with Danny Amendola out, and he was profiled over on the mothership this morning for his fantasy potential. I'm not sold on him having a big day, and he'll probably only see three or four passes thrown his way all day. The danger there is that Givens possesses elite speed (4.37 40-yard dash at the 2012 Combine) and therein lies the potential for a long scoring play.
SS Craig Dahl
Dahl has been the main source of complaints by Rams fans when searching for a weakness in their secondary. He doesn't have the quickness to defend agile receivers in the slot. He's also not a tremendous athlete, and could be exposed by a big, athletic tight end. It will be interesting to see if the Packers try to attack him with Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, or someone else on Sunday.
I really thought the Packers were going to make a run at this rookie corner, who was drafted in the 3rd round this year. Instead, they picked Casey Hayward (who's looked great so far) and let Johnson fall. He's been excellent as a nickel corner for the Rams this year, recording a
touchdown whoops, an interception against Seattle in Week four. He'll probably see his most playing time of any game so far this week, considering the Packers' propensity to play in three and four wide receiver sets. If he can nullify one of the Packers' receivers (likely Randall Cobb in the slot), that would help the Rams' defense's chances tremendously.
DE Robert Quinn
This second-year pass-rusher has made a major impact for the Rams' defense this year. In 15 games last year he recorded five sacks; he has six in six games in 2012. He and Chris Long will be putting pressure on the Packers' tackles all game. Keep an eye on the Marshall Newhouse-Quinn matchup though; Quinn is quick and has great rip and swim moves. Newhouse likely won't get bull-rushed much, but if he can stay solid in his technique and keep Quinn in front of him, Aaron Rodgers will have a much better day on Sunday.