Rams backup Clemens taking hard knocks
Missing starting quarterback Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams’
offense has suffered.
Kellen Clemens’ best quality might be durability.
”Mondays are a little tougher than they were the first seven
weeks of the season, but that’s part of the job,” Clemens said
Clemens is set to make his seventh start as Bradford’s stand-in
Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, his most action by far since
making eight starts for the Jets in 2007.
Clemens has been banged around plenty and is 6-12 for his career
as a starter. But he hasn’t missed a snap. The Rams haven’t needed
new backup Austin Davis, who was beaten out by Clemens in training
”We got him hit way too many times last week, but every time he
got right back up,” offensive tackle Jake Long said. ”We
apologized to him and he’s like, ”It’s fine, let’s go.”’
The Rams were 3-4 with Bradford, recuperating from left knee
surgery. They’re 2-4 without the first overall pick of the 2010
draft and have totaled 23 points the last two weeks against a pair
of the NFL’s top defenses.
They’re about to see another one with the Saints’ defense ranked
sixth overall and tied for second in sacks. New Orleans sacked Cam
Newton five times last week.
”They keep getting better,” Clemens said. ”They’re good
everywhere, and obviously well-coached.”
Clemens was sacked four times last week at Arizona, most notably
a blindside hit from Karlos Dansby in the fourth quarter that left
After the Rams punted following Dansby’s sack, Clemens passed
muster with medical personnel on the sideline.
”Well, if it wouldn’t have been third down it could have maybe
been a different deal,” Clemens said. ”Opportunities to play
don’t come along very often, so I’m going to be out there every
chance I can.”
Clemens was sacked three times the previous week at San
”He can take a hit,” coach Jeff Fisher said. ”Unfortunately,
he took too many last week, and we’re going to try to minimize it
as best we can.”
Clemens and rookie Tavon Austin both had career days in a
surprising 38-8 rout at Indianapolis in Week 10 before the Rams’
bye. Clemens had 247 yards passing on just nine completions with
two touchdowns and no interceptions, and directed a mistake-free
offense in a 42-21 victory over the Bears the next game.
But the last two games, he has been intercepted three times with
one touchdown pass. Arizona has the fifth-best defense and the
49ers are ranked 10th.
The Rams figure to need more offense against the Saints (10-3),
who have scored 30 or more points five times including a 31-13
victory at home over Carolina last week and can clinch a playoff
spot with a victory. Plus, Austin is a bit of a question mark after
missing practice Wednesday with a left ankle injury.
St. Louis was eliminated from playoff contention last week and
is assured of a 10th straight season without a winning record, but
Clemens promises his all on Sunday.
”They pay us to practice, we play for free,” he said. ”We’re
playing a kids’ game and we love to do it.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org