It’s so dreary inside the Edward Jones Dome you start to wonder if maybe they’re using low-watt bulbs to save on the utility bills.
And the piped-in music echoes off the roof with a false enthusiasm that’s helpless to reverse the perennial disappointment.
It’s become something of a dungeon for the Seattle Seahawks, though, who have lost two of their past three games there, with the one victory being an unsightly 13-9 endeavor in which quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked seven times.
The Rams’ plan is as effective as it is devious: They get the Seahawks bored by their surroundings, unleash their talented defensive front with the goal of pounding dents in Wilson, and they score enough with coach Jeff Fisher’s special-teams trickery to make it a game.
It’s left many to wonder just how tough it would be to beat St. Louis if they had a quarterback rather than the series of fill-ins — Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Shaun Hill — who have jumped in after the inevitable injury sidelines Sam Bradford.
The Rams used the first pick of the 2010 draft to land Bradford, who put together a career passer rating of 79.3 when he wasn’t otherwise incapacitated by injuries.
In the offseason, the Eagles wanted Bradford more than they wanted returning Nick Foles, and a trade was made.
“… We had endured back-to-back injury years with (Bradford) and the question would always remain if Sam was going to stay here,” Fisher explained. “We looked at Nick and thought (a trade) was a great call.”
Foles jumped in for injured Eagles starter Michael Vick in 2013 and put together such a string of success he was named to the Pro Bowl. His stats were stratospheric: 27 touchdowns against only two interceptions, and a 152.8 passer rating in the month of November.
But last year, an inconsistent start came totally undone when he suffered a season-ending broken collarbone. So the teams swapped quarterbacks and all their X-rays.
Foles gave tactful answers with apparent sincerity when asked on a teleconference about being shipped to St. Louis.
“Changes happen in life and you deal with the emotions of that,” he said. “I said my goodbyes to my friends and people I became close with in Philly and just thanked them for everything. You deal with the emotions of leaving the team. I got to know the guys in St. Louis and Coach Fisher and now I feel like I’m home.”
Foles could be catching a break facing the Seahawks in the season opener as strong safety Kam Chancellor will be absent in a contract dispute and free safety Earl Thomas is seeing his first action since offseason shoulder surgery. And Cary Williams will be the new starting cornerback opposite All-Pro Richard Sherman.
Fisher cites Foles’ height (6-foot-6) and strength as an advantage. “He sees well and has good anticipation; he can make all the throws — his numbers were quite impressive in Philly,” Fisher said. “He’s new to the offense and it’s going to take time, but he’s great in the huddle and great in the locker room.”
And without pause, Fisher added another interesting comment, that Foles has been “more than what we thought he would be.”
Foles has the same impression of Fisher.
“He’s a guy who knows who he is and a guy players love to play for,” Foles said of his coach. “He’s a guy you’re going to go fight for each and every down and give everything you have for him.”
The Rams always have played hard for Fisher. They play tough, too, with a very physical defense that may provide the biggest challenge of the season for a work-in-progress Seahawks offensive line.
The wild card, though, is Foles. If he can return to Pro Bowl form for the Rams, it might be enough to lighten up the dim environment inside the Edward Jones Dome.