Rams vs. Patriots: Five things to watch
Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:20 am

Bradford from the start

With A.J. Feeley out, rookie Sam Bradford should get all the work with the first-team offense. He'll be looking to take firm command of the unit and smooth out some rough edges by operating the system efficiently while displaying a consistency that was lacking in the first two preseason games.

Wanted: No. 2 running back

Chris Ogbonnaya, Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston have been underwhelming in the competition for the backup job behind Steven Jackson. It's time for someone to assert himself, or the Rams almost surely will be shopping for help after rosters are cut down to the regular-season limit of 53.

For the defense

The Rams' defenders figure to face their sternest test of the preseason against quarterback Tom Brady and an offense that ranked third in the NFL last season. The defensive unit is the healthiest it's been in a while, so this could be an indicator of whether it has progressed significantly after giving up the most points in the league last year.

The wideouts: Part III

No Rams wide receiver has more than three receptions after the first two preseason games. In arguably the most competitive spot during training camp, no one has separated himself from a crowded 10-man field. With jobs at stake, a wideout or two needs to begin emerging from the pack.

On line

With the five starters on the offensive line intact for the first time since the start of training camp, the Rams made a big step at Cleveland, yielding no sacks after giving up six the week before. Against the Patriots, that group will be looking to upgrade its run blocking, which was just so-so vs. the Browns.