Rams: Five things to know
By Pete Prisco
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
ST. LOUIS -- Five observations from Rams camp:
1. This is a big year for Rams coach Mike Martz. The feeling here is that Martz is one of the brighter offensive minds in the game, and his team is reflective of that. But is his offense good enough to overcome a so-so defense? In watching his team practice last week, Martz seemed irritated with the condition of his team. So he had them run after practice. A lot. We liked that. He was riding the players the whole way, too. "It's going to be hot in Arizona for the opener," he yelled as players ran by him. The Rams won a playoff game last year, but anything less than the playoffs this season could put a lot of pressure on the front office to make a change. Martz, who has two years left on his contract, seems unfazed by the talk his job might be in jeopardy. "I don't worry about that stuff," Martz said. "It's not up to me."
2. This St. Louis offense has a chance to be special. With Kevin Curtis emerging as a third receiver alongside Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, this pass offense could rival that of the 1999 Rams team that won the Super Bowl. Marc Bulger has improved as a passer and we like Steven Jackson's power running style. Martz is really excited about the offense, and he should be.
3. The key to the offensive success will be how well the line plays. Right tackle is a major concern. The team is starting converted guard Rex Tucker at that spot. Leonard Little ate him alive during Thursday's workout. Tucker does not have the speed to handle the position, and rookie first-round pick Alex Barron is not ready. Look for Bulger's eyes to be glancing right a lot this season as he takes his drops.
4. The way the secondary looks, the Rams will be giving up a lot of big plays this season. Starting corner Jerametrius Butler is lost for the season, which forces Dejaun Groce in opposite Travis Fisher. That's not a great combination. Safety Adam Archuleta has moved back to strong safety, with Michael Hawthorne, a converted corner, in at free safety. Look for a lot of big plays against this unit.
5. If a team is bad in the secondary, it better be able to rush the passer. Little can do that. But the right side end is a worry. Tony Hargrove had been the starter on the right side up until late last week. He was replaced by Brandon Green, a try-hard player the Rams signed as a street free agent. Some see it just as Martz lighting a fire under Hargrove, but Martz likes the way Green plays.