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Sando: Three things for Rams-Colts
Three things: Rams-Colts
August, 13, 2011
1:00 PM ET
By Mike Sando
Three things to watch for in the St. Louis Rams' preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET:
1. A Rams victory: The Colts are 4-22 in the preseason since 2005, and now they're playing without Peyton Manning. The Colts have been a star-reliant team without as much depth through their roster. That makes it tougher for them to hold up over four quarters in games featuring backup players so prominently. The Rams' depth has been improving steadily. So, while preseason outcomes generally do not matter much, this game could be an exception. The Rams should control it most of the way. They have gone 6-2 in preseason games under coach Steve Spagnuolo.
2. Signs of separation at receiver. The Rams come into this game with 12 wide receivers on their roster and only a general idea how the top five or six will shake out. Donnie Avery and fourth-round choice Greg Salas aren't expected to play. Both are resting injuries. Mardy Gilyard also could miss the game. We know where Danny Amendola stands as the slot receiver. The Rams will be looking for Brandon Gibson to build upon a promising start to camp. They need free-agent addition Mike Sims-Walker to earn a prominent role in the offense. Sims-Walker had 14 touchdown receptions for Jacksonville over the past two seasons. No wide receiver has more than five scoring receptions for the Rams over the same span. New coordinator Josh McDaniels likes taller receivers. Nine of the 12 receivers on the roster are at least 6-foot-1. Will any come up big before the regular season?
3. New blood at linebacker. Mainstay James Laurinaitis will not play. He's resting a strained pectoral muscle. Free-agent addition Ben Leber will also sit out. He signed with the team late in the week. Zac Diles and Brady Poppinga are two linebackers to watch. Both are veterans and Poppinga is an older one (he turns 32 next month). Another veteran, Na'il Diggs, hung around on the roster even after Leber's addition. He turned 33 last month. While the Rams have new blood at linebacker, it's not young blood. Getting through this game without new injuries at the position will be important. Poppinga and Diggs missed a combined 14 games to injury last season.
-08-13-2011 #2Registered User
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Re: Sando: Three things for Rams-Colts
Good Gravy, three is all you got, Sando ?! I can think of half a dozen more without even heating my brain up to Miklasz operating temperature.
1. RB. Have the Rams found an answer to the seemingly eternal question of SJ's back-up. Can Cadillac & Jerious show they may provide an answer?
2. The secondary. Was it worthwhile to wait for King to develop/get healthy?. Injuries should give him an extended look. How will the safeties fare in a post OJ world? We probably won't see a lot of Mikell but can Dahl & Butler work together or who else will try to bring a different flavor of juice to the FS spot?
3. The O-line. Is the foundation finally firmed up here with the addition of H. Dahl ?
4. QB This Bradford kid looks like he'll be a decent starter..... but who can do more than hold a clipboard?
5. The D-line. Can Scott make the 3rd year leap? Just how explosive is Quinn's first step?
6. Red Zone offense. 6th in RZ possessions last year, tied with these very same Colts, but 31st in scoring efficiency. What has changed?
Of course, there'll be no definitive answers but I'm excited to see the first real clues as to how the 2011 Rams are shaping up in these areas, among others.
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