Posted: August 11, 2008
For Sporting News
PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: With a healthy knee and a revised approach under new offensive line coach Steve Loney, Adam Goldberg has looked very solid as the No. 3 tackle and the top backup to Orlando Pace at left tackle. Goldberg has shown good functional strength and solid technique in camp and performed well against Tennessee Pro Bowl DE Kyle Vanden Bosch during joint practices with the Titans. Goldberg has worked with Loney before with the Minnesota Vikings, and appreciates Loney's positive attitude and "we're all in this together" approach. ...
Converted CB Eric Bassey is making a run at the fourth safety spot behind starters Corey Chavous and Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe, and top backup Todd Johnson. Bassey was a pleasant surprise last season on special teams. He has shown good range at safety, and although not what you'd call a thumper, hasn't shied away from contact either. His main competition for a roster spot is 2005 draft pick Jerome Carter.
NEWCOMER REPORT: So far, Jacob Bell appears to be more than capable of providing the kind of stability that the Rams have been lacking at the left guard position for the last several years. Bell, a free-agent pickup from Tennessee, has good quickness and footwork, and is underrated in terms of strength. Although a bit undersized at 295 pounds, Bell anchors well and doesn't appear overly susceptible to the bull rush. He has the kind of mobility that should allow him to get on the second level. How he fares on co-op, or combination, blocking with his line mates remains to be seen. The Rams have been running several centers with the starting units so far in camp, as well as working both Orlando Pace and Adam Goldberg at left tackle.
TRAINING CAMP BATTLE: The battle for the starting right guard position may prove to be as much of a tussle as the contest at center. A leg injury to Mark Setterstrom has opened the door for Richie Incognito to reassert himself at right guard. Incognito is more of a mauler, a physical power player who can move players off the line of scrimmage in the running game. But Setterstrom has a physical presence about him as well, and has better mobility than Incognito as a pass blocker. Because of Setterstrom's injury, Incognito has gotten next to no work at center since the first week of camp, so that job may go to Brett Romberg by default.
PROBLEM SPOT: The Rams got only 5 1/2 sacks from their defensive end corps a year ago, but the early signs have been encouraging in training camp. DE Leonard Little appears to be fully recovered from toe surgery, and has shown a good burst and quickness. Rookie Chris Long, while far from a finished product, has made gradual improvement at right end, and has flashed athleticism and play-making ability at times. James Hall, last year's starting right end, is healthy after being slowed by ankle problems much of last season, and provides a good bull rush and the versatility to play outside or in, as the No. 3 man. Victor Adeyanju, a strong run defender, remains a couple of weeks away from play as he continues to rehab and recover from a fractured finger.
Re: Team Report
Good news about Bell. Glad to read he is coming along nicely in St. Louis.