The Rams probably weren't planning on using 4th round pick CB Justin King too much this season when camp began. Scouting report after scouting report raved about his raw skills, speed in particular, but emphasized that he was pretty rough around the edges. Naturally he would have to prove those reports wrong, only to have his toe get stepped on to end his rookie season.
King's loss hurts the depth chart, but doesn't dramatically change the picture in the backfield. Hill and Brown are still the starters. Ron Bartell and a much improved Jonathan Wade will take more of the snaps at nickel King might have seen, as well as spelling the starters on occasion. Veteran David Macklin will also see more playing time now. Don't forget about Darius Vinnett either. Vinnett, who made the team last season as an undrafted rookie, has shown much better coverage skills through camp this summer too.
The pass defense was fine on Saturday night, but was that a result of the pass defense itself, a feeble Titans air attack, or the Rams porous run defense that brought back so many bad memories of 2006? Probably a combo of all three factors, but why pass when you can run for 300+ yards? Like I said yesterday, having Witherspoon and Adeyanju out hurt the run defense. Some other notable absences likely hurt the run defense too. With Chris Draft and Witherspoon out, that left McGarigle in the middle to start and the other rookies to round things out at LB, making for missed assignments and guys lining up wrong. Compounding all that was the absence safety O.J. Atogwe.
There is good news today. Atogwe is close. Second round pick Donnie avery has been cleared for individual drills, and Andeyanju is going to start working this week.
Avery's missed time puts him behind the curve for getting many reps as the team's third WR. One of his strengths cited in reports from the draft this year is his football instinct. He'll need it to get caught up.