Unlike some “trivia” games, these questions were not the easiest in the world to answer. However, now that you have the answers, you can go out and stump your know-it-all Rams’ friends at the next tailgate! Here are the answers…
1. QB Sam Bradford, RB Steven Jackson, WRs Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola, TE Lance Kendricks, LT Rodger Saffold, and RG Harvey Dahl are the only starters on offense. In fact, of the 25 offensive players listed on the August 2011 53-man roster, only nine made it to the start of 2012, one of those being Brit Miller, who was cut halfway through the season.
On defense, DE Chris Long, MLB James Laurinaitis, and S Quintin Mikell were the only repeat starters. There were a handful of rotational players that also maintained a roster spot, including Bradley Fletcher as the nickelback. Both Craig Dahl and Robert Quinn were on both rosters as well, but both were not listed as “starters” in 2011, with Dahl behind Darian Stewart and Quinn behind James Hall on the depth chart.
So, for the final answer, 10 players were listed as “starters” in Week 1 of both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
2. If you guessed Quintin Mikell (5th) and Greg Zuerlein (5th), then you would be correct. There were several players that made it into the Top 15 or Top 20, but only the aged safety and the rookie kicker made the cut to their Top 10.
As honorable mentions, Danny Amendola was ranked 14th among receivers, Rob Turner was rated as the 18th best center, Matthew Mulligan finished 13th among tight ends (namely due to his run blocking), Steven Jackson was slotted as the 13th best running back, William Hayes notched the 15th spot among defensive ends, and Jo-Lonn Dunbar was ranked 15th among 4-3 outside linebackers.
3. James Laurinaitis, Cortland Finnegan, and Quintin Mikell were the only players that did not allow a receiving touchdown in coverage, although there were several others that were close. Fletcher and Dahl were both only tagged as allowing one touchdown in coverage last season, while Johnson was credited with allowing two. However, both Dunbar and Jenkins gave up five touchdowns a piece last season in coverage, several of which likely cost the Rams a couple of victories.
4. Only two other rookies surpassed the 350 snap threshold last season; Trumaine Johnson (366) and Chris Givens (641). Daryl Richardson was the next highest on the list with 314 snaps at running back, but saw his touches on the field slide at the end of the season when Jackson returned to “full health.” As for the other, Brian Quick managed only 187 snaps, while Isaiah Pead and Rok Watkins both were held under 50 total snaps in 2012.
5. Steven Jackson, who run for a team-high 291 yards after the initial catch! Chris Givens finished second with 286 yards after the catch, Danny Amendola fell to third with 258 yards, and Lance Kendricks ranked in at fourth with 224 yards. It was a close, close battle…
6. While the starting defensive end duo of Chris Long and Robert Quinn both broke the 10+ sack barrier, they were still not the most “effective” in getting to the quarterback. That crown goes to William Hayes, who recorded 7 sacks on a mere 225 pass rushing attempts, which calculates to a 3.1% sack percentage. Long was close behind with 11.5 sacks on 568 attempts (2.0%), followed by Quinn (who had 10.5 sacks on 541 attempts; 1.9%), Michael Brockers (4 sacks on 320 attempts; 1.25%), and Eugene Sims (3 sacks on 244 attempts; 1.2%).
If you want to include linebackers in the mix, Jo-Lonn Dunbar would dethrone Hayes as the leader, recording 4.5 sacks on only 135 pass rushing attempts. Those numbers give Dunbar a 3.3% sack percentage, tops among the front-seven in 2012. If you want to throw the defensive backs into the mix, Quintin Mikell would surpass Dunbar, recording 3.0 sacks on only 65 pass rushs, which gives him 4.6% sacks percentage. However, there is one player, and one player only that can wear the “2012 Sack Pecentage” crown, and he has yet to be mentioned. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradley Fletcher attempted only one pass rush in all of 2012. On that lone attempt against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 he was successful in getting to the quarterback, giving Fletcher a sack percentage of 100% last season. All hail the king!