Dose: Stacy Shines on MNF

Nick Mensio
Dose: Stacy Shines on MNF
Nick Mensio talks Zac Stacy, the Monday night game, Julius Thomas, the Eagles' and Texans' QB situations and more in Tuesday's Dose

The Seahawks came away with the 14-9 win over the Rams on Monday night, but St. Louis outplayed Seattle in every area except at quarterback. Kellen Clemens was a trainwreck in his first start after Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL last week. Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and that’s all the Seahawks needed to hand the Rams their fifth loss. Later, we’ll touch on these two a little more. But I want to talk about the best offensive player on the field in this one – Rams rookie running back Zac Stacy.

St. Louis traded both of its sixth-round picks to move back into the fifth round to select Stacy with the No. 160 overall pick in April’s draft. Stacy rushed for over 3,000 yards and scored 30 touchdowns at Vanderbilt. The 5-foot-8, 216-pound runner displayed good vision, decisiveness, and patience in his college career, but a lack of foot speed dropped him to the later rounds. Rotoworld draft guru Josh Norris was a huge fan of Stacy’s during the pre-draft process. Norris has a good write-up on Stacy here.

Stacy provided a much-needed spark to the St. Louis offense when he was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 5 against the Jaguars. He’s rushed for 344 yards on 75 scoreless carries (4.59 YPC) over the past four games. On a national stage Monday night against one of the top run defenses in the league, Stacy proved to be a tough, hit-the-hole-and-go, one-cut runner. It’s something this Rams backfield has been starving for. Isaiah Pead has danced behind the line too much in his limited opportunities the past season-and-a-half. He’s now in coach Jeff Fisher’s doghouse – again. Daryl Richardson showed the same dancing tendencies and indecisiveness in the opening four games of 2013. The offensive line simply isn’t good enough to hold blocks for that style to work. Stacy takes the rock and gets downhill. In an offense that has become more run-oriented and smash-mouth, Stacy is the perfect fit.

It wasn’t all good for Stacy on Monday night, however. He injured his left ankle on either the last or second-to-last possession and was sent for X-rays following the game. Coach Fisher confirmed the injury, saying Stacy “sprained” his ankle. It would be a devastating loss for the Rams if Stacy is dealing with an injury that costs him game(s). He was shaping up to be the focal point on offense moving forward and was a legitimate RB2 in fantasy circles. We should find out more on Stacy in the next couple days. The Rams are on a short week before hosting the Titans. If Stacy is forced to miss Week 9, Richardson would reassume lead-back duties. He’d be a low-end flex option.

Seahawks at Rams Quick Slants

Kellen Clemens is going to hurt the Rams more than he’s going to help them the final eight games. His two interceptions were poorly thrown balls. He also sees ghosts in the pocket and leaves the pocket at the first sign of trouble. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Austin Davis ends up replacing Clemens at some point before season’s end. … Marshawn Lynch was set up to have a monster game against the Rams’ soft run defense. It didn’t happen. Lynch saw just eight carries all night, turning them into 23 yards. He was noticeably frustrated after being passed over on three consecutive plays from the two-yard line in the second quarter. … Robert Quinn and Chris Long harassed Russell Wilson all night long. Each had three sacks. Quinn now leads the NFC with ten total. The Seahawks were playing their No. 3 tackle Pat McQuistan on the left side and their No. 4 tackle Michael Bowie on the right side with Breno Giacomini (knee) and Russell Okung (foot) sidelined. … Sidney Rice left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury. Golden Tate became the No. 1 receiver and scored two touchdowns. He beat Janoris Jenkins on both and taunted the second-year cornerback and Rodney McLeod on his 80-yard bomb in the second half. It was a bit over the top. Tate apologized after the game. … Tavon Austin was once again a non-factor on offense. He saw just three targets and played a bit role. The rookie isn’t even a WR5 right now.

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News Nugget #1

Julius Thomas injured his ankle on the opening drive of the second half in Sunday’s win over the Redskins. He has a history of ankle issues, but the injury didn’t have the looks of a severe one. Thomas could put weight on both feet and hobbled to sideline under his own power. He didn’t return to the game.

On Monday, Thomas went for an MRI. Results came back negative and Thomas tweeted that he has avoided a high-ankle sprain. The Broncos are on their bye week, so we may not have many updates on Thomas this week. Consider the TE1 questionable for Week 10. Denver has quality backups in Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme. The team isn’t going to rush Thomas back.

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News Nugget #2

The Texans announced that Case Keenum is going to start this week against the Colts. Keenum went 15-of-25 for 271 yards and one touchdown in his NFL debut on the road against the Chiefs in Week 7. Houston’s coaching staff took the Week 8 bye to dissect the tape and came to the conclusion that Keenum gives the team its best chance to win. He’ll be a back-end QB2 option for the time being.

Matt Schaub is reportedly dealing with “torn ligaments” in his ankle, though torn ligaments are essentially a sprain. He’s healthy enough to play but will back Keenum up against Indianapolis. Keenum has a chance to run with the job. Schaub may never take another snap as the Texans’ quarterback. Houston can easily get out from underneath Schaub’s contract after the season.

News Nugget #3

Michael Vick rushed back from a hamstring strain to start against the Giants in Week 8. With Nick Foles sidelined due to a concussion, Vick said he felt he needed to make the start. Predictably, Vick aggravated his hamstring injury in the first quarter and was removed from the game in the second quarter in favor of Matt Barkley. Barkley was a disaster for the second week in a row.

On Monday, Vick said he felt a pop in his hamstring. The Eagles are awaiting the results of his MRI, but a pop often suggests a serious injury. Coach Chip Kelly already said he doesn’t expect Vick to be able to play this week against the Raiders. Late Monday evening, FOX 29 Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin reported that he’s “hearing” Foles will practice Tuesday and will “likely” make the Week 9 start. Foles was wildly inaccurate in Week 7 before being knocked out of the game, but he gives the Eagles a much better chance to win than an overwhelmed and overmatched Barkley. Foles will be on the QB2 radar.

Quarterback/Running Back Quick Slants

Robert Griffin III’s knee is “fine” and he’s expected to practice Wednesday. … E.J. Manuel (knee) is expected to “ramp up” his rehab this week. He’s still likely to sit out through the Week 12 bye. … Jason Campbell will start for the Browns again this week. … Coach Gary Kubiak said he anticipates making a late-week decision on both Arian Foster (hamstring) and Ben Tate (ribs). The Texans have signed running backs Ray Graham, Dennis Johnson and Deji Karim to the active roster. … The Cardinals want Andre Ellington to improve his pass protection and patience as a runner. He’s not expected to become an every-down runner anytime soon. Rashard Mendenhall (toe) is expected to resume his early-down role when healthy. … Andre Brown (leg) expects to return to the lineup in Week 10 when eligible. Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) also expects to be back in Week 10. The Giants are on their bye week. … Coach Doug Marrone classified C.J. Spiller’s injury as a high-ankle sprain Monday. The team plans to take a wait-and-see approach with Spiller. … The Ravens signed Bernard Scott. He’ll be the No. 3 back. Free agent Beanie Wells tore his Achilles’ in a workout for the Ravens earlier this month.

Wide Receiver/Tight End Quick Slants

Mohamed Sanu didn’t practice Monday due to a shoulder issue. The Bengals believe he’ll be able to play Thursday night in Miami. … The Lions confirmed Ryan Broyles suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and is done for the season. … Santonio Holmes (hamstring) isn’t expected to play this week. … Mike Williams (hamstring) is done for the season. Tiquan Underwood will be the Bucs’ new No. 2 receiver. Chris Owusu is the No. 3. … Coach Mike Smith was noncommittal when asked about Roddy White’s (ankle, hamstring) Week 9 status. … Stevie Johnson has been diagnosed with a hip flexor but will likely play this week. … ESPN Colts blogger Mike Wells calls Darrius Heyward-Bey the team’s new No. 1 receiver. T.Y. Hilton will likely see the most targets of the two, but DHB is worth picking up to see if his role increases. … Nate Burleson (broken arm) remains on track to return in Week 10. … The Dolphins aren’t expected to pursue a trade for a top receiver following Brandon Gibson’s season-ending knee injury. … The Redskins are reportedly “aggressively shopping” Fred Davis. The trade deadline is at 4 PM ET on Tuesday. … Jeff Cumberland suffered a “mild” concussion against the Bengals but is expected to be cleared for Week 9. … Coach Sean Payton believes Jimmy Graham will be able to manage his foot injury and play through the pain.