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    Rams: Things to Watch

    Rams things to watch

    Sunday, Aug. 22 2004

    QUARTERBACK - Mike Martz would like to play Marc Bulger the entire first half. But that depends on game circumstances and the performance of the offensive line. With only six pass attempts and one series in the exhibition opener against Chicago, Bulger needs the work.

    RUNNING BACK - Marshall Faulk will make his exhibition debut and could play the entire first half. Steven Jackson, who was very impressive in practice late in the week after resting his knee a couple of days, will play a lot. Joey Goodspeed has a tight hamstring, so Chris Massey could play at lot at FB.

    WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END - Shaun McDonald appears to have moved up to the No. 4 WR spot, ahead of Mike Furrey and Kevin Curtis. Curtis missed most of the past week with shin splits but returned to practice late in the week. At TE, Cam Cleeland (hamstring) is close to returning. He is OK after Saturday's car accident but probably will sit out this one.

    OFFENSIVE LINE - The probable starting five: LT Grant Williams (despite a sprained ankle); LG Chris Dishman; C Andy McCollum; RG Adam Timmerman; RT Scott Tercero. Recently un-retired Tom Nutten is a few weeks away from being ready to play.

    DEFENSIVE LINE - Anthony Hargrove is back at defensive end after a brief experiment at DT. Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis played well against Chicago, but tonight they step up in class because KC has one of the NFL's best offensive lines. Can Bryce Fisher and Erik Flowers keep up the good work at right defensive end?

    LINEBACKER - After being moved ahead of Tommy Polley on the depth chart at strongside LB, Tony Newson (hamstring) may not play tonight. But rookie Brandon Chillar may start ahead of Polley. This is an important game for bubble LBs Jeremy Loyd, Justin Smith and Brandon Spoon.

    SECONDARY - There is some concern about playing starting CBs Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher for an extended period, because of tight hamstrings. With DeJuan Groce (knee) sitting out, Dwight Anderson has a chance to play a lot in his bid for the fifth CB spot on the final roster.

    SPECIAL TEAMS - The coverage units were solid against Chicago until a couple of breakdowns late in the game cost the Rams on the punt-return and kickoff-coverage units. If Dante Hall gets his hands on the ball tonight for KC, the coverage units will get the supreme test.

    - Jim Thomas

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    Re: Rams: Things to Watch

    1. Special Teams is the main focus for me tonight, especially on the kickoff coverage unit.

    2. Can the Front Four get pressure on the KC QB with that stellar O line?

    3. Will Thomas be able to stop the run like he did against Chicago?

    4. Kevin Garrett sounds like he will get the opportunity to really showcase himself tonight.

    5. Who will step up as the KR?

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