Colts.com is starting a Q&A where each week, we will speak with a writer who covers the team the Colts are set to play that upcoming Sunday.
Week 4, the Colts are facing the Rams in Indianapolis. To gain more insight, we caught up with Stu Jackson, the senior staff writer for TheRams.com.
Colts.com: Throughout the offseason, there were several rumors about what the future held for Sean McVay and Aaron Donald, but in the end, they both came back for this season. How big is it for the team to have them in the fold?
Stu Jackson: It’s very big. Their leadership – among others’, of course – is a big reason why the Rams have had the success they’ve had since McVay was first hired in 2017.
Colts.com: Last year, Matthew Stafford’s season was cut short after he was put on IR with a spinal cord contusion. Now that he’s back and appears to be at 100 percent, how far do you think he can take this young Rams offense?
Stu Jackson: I think the early-season numbers show it: The Rams enter Week 4 top five in the NFL in passing yards per game and ninth in total yards per game. When he’s playing at a high level and well-protected by the offensive line, that’s how capable the Rams offense can be.
Colts.com: We’ve seen some flashes of greatness from Kyren Williams through the first 11 games of his career. Now with Cam Akers gone, how does this change Williams’ role?
Stu Jackson: Williams is effectively the Rams’ RB1 now. Removing Akers’ 22 carries, Williams has accounted for 39 of Los Angeles’ 53 rushing attempts on the season.
Colts.com: Arguably the biggest surprise of this season has been the emergence of Puka Nucua. Has Nacua been a favorite target for Matthew Stafford all training camp or is he benefiting from Cooper Kupp being on IR?
Stu Jackson: I wouldn’t say Nacua has been a favorite target of Stafford’s all training camp, but he did earn Stafford’s trust with the way he performed with the opportunities that came his way when Kupp was first sidelined by a hamstring injury during that time. He’s also a conscientious worker who was praised throughout the offseason for his ability to translate what he learned in meetings to the practice field. With Kupp being on IR, that opens up more targets for all of the Rams receivers, and Nacua has continued to take advantage of those opportunities.
Colts.com: Following the team’s decision to trade Jalen Ramsey, it’s clear that they’re committed to giving their young cornerbacks like Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick a chance. How do you think they’ve performed through the first three weeks of the season?
Stu Jackson: Both have played well, but I think there’s still room for growth for each of them in their second seasons. At the same time, they’ve also had some difficult matchups early on – DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in Week 1; Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle in Week 2; Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in Week 3 – that should help that development.
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