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Long poses tall order for Collins, Bengals

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. -X- Not into the whole brevity thing.

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    Cincinnati.com
    <a class="postlink" href="http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111216/SPT02/312160178/Long-poses-tall-order-Collins-Bengals?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Sports|p" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2011 ... t|Sports|p</a>

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    Anthony Collins’ first NFL start three years ago came against James Harrison and Pittsburgh, so when it comes to facing Rams defensive end Chris Long on Sunday, the Bengals offensive tackle is undaunted.

    “He’s good and now I have to step up to the task and play ball,” Collins said. “He’s got a lot to live by but I do too.”

    After having a breakthrough year last season, Long has developed into one of the top pass rushers in the league. He is sixth in the league with 12 sacks, has a team-high 13 quarterback pressures and is tied with 13 quarterback hits.

    “Last year I had 8.5 (sacks per game) and I could have fallen into two more,” Long said. “We’ve got a good group right now. Having James Hall on the other side is a big help and Robert Quinn is coming along.”

    While the Rams defense is last against the run, they are eighth against the pass and ninth in sacks (35). Besides Long, Hall has four sacks in his past six against AFC opponents and Quinn is tied for fourth among NFC rookies with five sacks.

    The second overall pick in 2008, Long is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

    “I think the best thing that’s happened to him, he’s been in the same system for three years,” Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “We’ve been smart enough to keep him at the same spot and I just think he’s gotten comfortable.”

    The Rams will face a Bengals offensive line that has been solid in pass protection. It tied for third in fewest sacks allowed with 21 and has had only two games in which it allowed three sacks or more.

    The Bengals allowed only one sack in last week’s loss to Houston, but it was costly as Andy Dalton fumbled deep in Cincinnati territory.

    “The line is doing a great job. Andy is doing a great job of getting rid of the ball. It’s impressive that he’s a young guy and he’s been able to play as a vet,” Long said. “They have a tough running game too. Cedric (Benson) is playing great and he’s really finding a groove.”

    Collins has played in four games this season and started last week’s game in place of Andre Smith, who is still struggling with an ankle injury. This will be Collins’ 18th start in 37 games played. Wherever the fourth-year player has been put, he has done well. Collins has practiced at guard, but there are many who think he is one of the best pass blockers on the team.

    “We as a coaching staff feel we have more respect for him than he feels like we do,” head coach Marvin Lewis said.

    Said Collins of the praise he got this past week: “You hear it but the same people that love you can hate you the next day. I don’t listen to all that and can do what I can do. You don’t have a lot of opportunity but when you do go out and play like you can play.”

    The Rams have struggled to a 2-11 start, but Long has a pretty good sounding board – his father and best friend, Hall of Famer Howie Long. When Chris Long got his 10th sack three weeks ago against Arizona, the Longs became only the second father/son duo in league history to record 10 sacks in a season.

    “I know my dad and he never liked losing. I think it’s important especially when things aren’t going well to lean on your family,” Long said.
     
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