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Scouting report: St. Louis Rams


Rams running back Steven Jackson ranks second in the league with 1,279 rushing yards this season.

The Texans (6-7) hit the road and travel to St. Louis for a Week 15 matchup against the Rams (1-12) at the Edward Jones Dome. Sunday's game will kick off at noon CT.

Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams are winless in six games at home in 2009. Their lone victory of the season came in Week 8 at Detroit. The Rams have scored the fewest points (146) and allowed the second-most points (361) in the league this season and are coming off a 47-7 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 13.

Quarterback: In the first game of his NFL career, rookie quarterback Keith Null threw five interceptions and was sacked once against the Titans last week. The sixth-round draft pick out of West Texas A&M was 27-of-43 (62.8 percent) for 157 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

The Rams' No. 1 quarterback, Marc Bulger, has been out for weeks with a fractured shin bone. A thigh injury kept Kyle Boller out of the Titans game, but Boller is expected to start this week if healthy.

Boller was a first-round pick out of Cal for the Ravens in 2003 and has started 46 games in his career. In four starts in 2009, Boller is 94-of-164 for 876 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions.

Running back: The Rams feature one of the best running backs in football in Steven Jackson, a sixth-year pro out of Oregon State. Jackson ranks second in the league with 1,279 rushing yards in his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season. He averages 4.5 yards per carry and has four rushing touchdowns on the season.

Jackson has been hobbled by a back injury but hasn't missed a game this season. He has 46 catches for 273 yards. He was limited to 47 yards on 19 carries against the Titans, his lowest output of the season.

Mike Karney has started seven games at fullback. He has two carries and five receptions on the season.

Wide receiver/tight end: Donnie Avery, a Houston native and University of Houston grad, is the Rams' leading receiver with 510 yards and five touchdowns on 39 receptions. A second-round draft pick in 2008, Avery has battled various injuries this season. He had two catches for 14 yards against the Titans.

Former Texas Tech Red Raider Danny Amendola has started two of the last three games at wide receiver. A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Amendola has 32 catches for 363 yards, including five catches for 19 yards against the Titans. Rookie Brandon Gibson out of Washington State has 24 catches for 253 yards in seven games.

At tight end, eighth-year veteran Randy McMichael and second-year man Daniels Fells are having productive seasons. McMichael has 30 catches for 293 yards and scored the Rams' only touchdown against the Titans on an 11-yard reception. Fells ranks second on the team with three receiving touchdowns and has 268 yards. He had three catches for 32 yards last Sunday.

Offensive line: The Rams' will have two new starting guards against the Texans, as they released starting right guard Richie Incognito and placed starting left guard Jacob Bell on injured reserve this week. Reports out of St. Louis indicate that third-year pro Mark Setterstrom and second-year pro John Greco are likely to start at guard on Sunday.

Right tackle Jason Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has missed the last three games with a concussion. The rookie out of Baylor has started only five games this season. Adam Goldberg, a versatile lineman with 11 starts in 2009, has filled in at right tackle in Smith's absence.

Former first-round draft pick Alex Barron mans the left tackle spot. A Florida State product who entered the NFL in 2005, Barron has started 60 of the last 61 games for the Rams. Jason Brown, a fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 2005, has started all 13 games at center.

Defensive line: In his 12th year as a Ram, defensive end Leonard Little has 6.5 sacks and an interception that he returned 36 yards for a touchdown in an overtime loss to the Jaguars. Little is tops on the team in sacks, and he also has 23 total tackles.

After a standout career as a Virginia Cavalier, defensive end Chris Long has four sacks in his second season in the NFL. He's picked up a sack in four of his last six games, and he also has 36 total tackles as well.

The interior defensive line is anchored by tackles LaJuan Ramsey and Clifton Ryan. Ryan has a team-best eight tackles for loss, along with a sack and 35 total tackles. Ramsey has five tackles for a loss, and 15 total.

Linebackers: In the middle, rookie James Laurinaitis has been one of the few bright spots in what's been a disappointing season in St. Louis. The former Ohio State Buckeye leads the team in total tackles with 104 and also has a sack, a forced fumble and a pair of interceptions.

Laurinaitis started the season with a bang, racking up 14 total stops and a forced fumble in the 2009 opener at Seattle. He had a career-best 16 total tackles in Week 11 against the Cardinals and finished with seven total stops in Week 14 at Tennessee.

At strongside linebacker, five of David Vobora's 39 total tackles have been for a loss. He also has forced a fumble and deflected a couple of passes. Vobora had four tackles in the loss to the Titans.

Weakside linebacker Paris Lenon was signed as a free agent on Sept. 17 and has 33 total stops and a pair of forced fumbles. In the previous two seasons, he cracked the century mark in tackles with Detroit Lions. Lenon was good for two tackles against Tennessee.

Secondary: Of the Rams' current starters in the secondary, strong safety James Butler is the only player to intercept a pass this season. Butler has three interceptions and is the fourth-leading tackler on the Rams with 46. He finished with six tackles against the Titans.

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 9 after starting 12 games. He finished 2009 with 74 total tackles and two interceptions

At free safety is third-year veteran Craig Dahl of North Dakota State. The 24-year old has 43 tackles, seven of which came at Tennessee.

Left cornerback Ronald Bartell has 50 total tackles on the season, along with three forced fumbles. The five-year veteran out of Howard University finished with one stop against the Titans in Week 14

Right corner Quincy Butler has 26 total stops on the season. The former TCU Horned Frog was in on three total tackles at Tennessee.

Special teams: Josh Brown is 14-for-18 on field goal attempts, drilling four of his five field goal tries from 50-plus yards, with a season-long of 55 yards. He's also a perfect 14-of-14 on his extra point tries and leads the team in scoring with 56 points.

Donnie Jones has punted 70 times for a 46.3 overall average. His net average is 41.1. Better than 37 percent of Jones' punts go inside the opponents' 20-yard line, and his longest punt of the season was a 63-yarder.

Amendola has been busy as a return man for the Rams, as he's brought back 52 kickoffs and 22 punts. Amendola is averaging 24.5 yards per kickoff return and 8.9 yards per punt return. His longest kick return was a 58-yarder.

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