No, seriously, it's just feels different than it did this time last year. Except for a batch of injuries...
The Rams third round pick, CB Jerome Murphy, will suit up and see plenty of action against Oakland this week with Kevin Dockery out and Justin King listed as day to day. Murphy spent time in the nickel spot in college and in practice with the Rams this year. It's a great opportunity for the rookie to make an impression, follow in the footsteps of last year's third round pick, CB Bradley Fletcher, who earned a starting role as a rookie.
Another rookie with a chance to impress this week will be TE Fendi Onobun. Once considered a "project," who was ahead of schedule with his preseason play, the former D-1 basketball player will likely be in uniform this week too, after not dressing in week 1. I absolutely hate to lose Michael Hoomanawanui, but am anxious to see what Onobun can contribute when the action counts. He's got an accurate QB at least.
Hoomanawanui's absence is also an opportunity for Daniel Fells - remember him? - to stand tall. He's playing on an incentive laden contract and could make himself a valuable commodity next season. I don't know if you recall this or not, but Fells can be a useful target exploiting matchups, like his 2 TD game against the Packers last year.
Once the Rams unheralded MVP, the home crowd had been reconciled to undrafted free agent status. No more. The crowd showed real signs of life this week with the Rams competing to win a football game and Spagnuolo acknowledged that in his Monday presser.
Edward Jones bought a heaping helping of the available tickets for the Rams game last week, helping ensure a sellout. Still, it was the fourth smallest recorded attendance for a Rams game in the Dome. Hopefully, more fans will trickle in for their week 3 game against Washington.
With Chris Chamberlain out of action and not available for his role as the weakside LB in the nickel package, the Rams will employ Craig Dahl in that spot, most likely, with James Butler taking Dahl's spot at free safety. For a compromise, that doesn't seem like a terrible one given Dahl's ability. Here's a look at both players stats in pass coverage from last year.
An Arizona sports writer who covers the Cardinals, had some positive things to say about the Rams, feelings that were shared by the Cardinals players who came away impressed with Sam Bradford and the Rams. Check it out:
They were in this game until the end and trust me, if you listened to enough of the Cardinals’ defensive players, you’d know the Rams aren’t the pushovers most of us thought they would be.
Back at you later.