So this is how I rock the game previews. Our logo, Sir Angryalot, stares at the opponent's logo, and I get a vision in my head of the Ram head butting the other logo and exploding kind of like the helmets use to on Monday Night Football. And no, it won't happen no matter how long you stare at it. I promise.
Then I usually offer something incredibly profound and meaningful here. Something like, "It has been said that football is a brutish sport, befitting only the most foolish apes among us. Ironically, that has only been said by brutish, foolish apes."
Then I talk about food, usually something fried, because all foods become more delicious by frying them. All foods. This is proven every year at the State Fair of Texas where something that science had previously believed to be unfryable is thusly fried. And thusly more delicious.
Then I talk about astronomy, because astronomers are weird and lazy. They come up with strange article ideas, like "Liquid water on Mars might taste salty". What the hell? Who cares what the water tastes like on Mars? So, let me understand this. The first question astronomers ask themselves when they discover traces of life on distant planets is, "Huh. I wonder what that tastes like." You know when people say, "I wonder who was the first person to see this and say 'Hmm. I wonder what that tastes like'.?" The answer is an astronomer.
And what kind of a theory is dark matter? You can't figure out the cosmos, so you just fill in the blank with an invisible, untraceable blob of all the mass we can't account for? What a cop out. Hey astronomers, quit wondering what stuff on distant planets taste like and figure this shit out.
Then I note that this week's preview is after the jump.
This week's preview after the jump.
St. Louis Rams, 0-0, t-1st - NFC West
Indianapolis Colts, 0-0, t-1st - AFC South
*Statistics won't be available until week 2 of the regular season
STL pass - N/A
IND pass D - N/A
Forget about Sam...to a degree. This is all about the WR depth chart. Should a WR establish an immediate gametime rapport with Bradford, that would be a huge resume bullet. Beyond that possibility, it's about showing discipline within the playcall and knowledge of the playbook. In that aspect, Mardy Gilyard and the rookies have the most to prove here. Having missed out last year, you could lump Donnie Avery in with that group.
On the other side of the ball, Indy doesn't boast an incredibly strong secondary. Keep an eye out for CB Chris Rucker, a rookie out of Michigan St. He was consistently burned from my personal scouting the last two years; the second and third string wide receiver who lines up against him should be chomping at the bit. CB Justin Tryon's a bit of the opposite. He's got solid experience and is a key member of the Colts' CB corps. Should a Rams WR produce up against Tryon, that will speak volumes to that receiver's argument to get into the mix come week 1.
STL run - N/A
IND run D - N/A
To mimic the first section, forget about Steven Jackson...to a degree. With Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood on board, it's going to say quite a bit not just about the RB depth on this roster but about Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. How does he rotate this duo in during the regular season with a potential HOFer as your starter? What roles will they occupy in specific situations (i.e. 3rd and short, the second 1st down of a series, etc.)? And lastly, does Keith Toston have a shot at making the roster? These are preseason battles that will need to be sorted out before we face Philly.
As for Indianapolis, they've been notoriously below average in run defense for years. OLB Pat Angerer is a classic Iowa defender - physical, technical and reliable (see: Bradley Fletcher). Gary Brackett's no slouch for a MLB. But behind the starters, Ernie Sims exploded as a rookie with Detroit, but the flames flickered at the end of his tenure. He played for Philadelphia last year and will look to resurface with Indy this season...but an appendectomy will keep him out of this one methinks. Look for Chris Colasanti. He's a Linebacker U product (that's Penn St., if y'aint know), so there shouldn't be technical flaws. He did sit at the back of the depth chart in University Park before posting a strong senior year. If nothing else, compare him to Josh Hull; he similarly didn't see major playing time until his final year under Joe Paterno.
STL O-line - N/A
IND D-line - N/A
Now this should be interesting. Starter-wise, Indy has a good-looking front four. Dwight Freeney, Tommie Harris, Drake Nevis (rookie out of LSU) and Robert Mathis (from RDE to LDE) are not the kind of defensive line you take for granted. Hopefully, we get a decent look at how the Rams' offensive line (now with 100% more Harvey Dahl!) fres against this group. I'll throw out a wild card name: Quinn Ojinnaka. Ojinnaka Flocka Flame (yes, I hereby decide to call him that from here on out) spent the first five years of his career with the Falcons, remembered largely for spotty play and a Facebook fiasco with his wife.
IND pass - N/A
STL pass D - N/A
Without Jerome Murphy, the Rams' secondary looks noticeably thinner. Still, there's hope to be had here. Justin King has the speed to be an effective nickel corner, but his hips have been incredibly stiff in his pro career. Al Harris has a impressive resume. It's also incredibly lengthy. Marquis Johnson has an opportunity to step up, and he's got a strong college pedigree. Still, he's limited as an athlete. Will Mikail Baker or Jon Nelson get a look at CB, or does UDFA Dionte Dinkins have the inside track? By the second half, it's all about cutting the roster from 90 to 53, so it should be interesting to see who gets snaps out of the UDFA haul.
The Colts don't boast an incredibly strong receiving unit, though I do like their QB depth with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovksy and Nate Davis behind Peyton. Blair White's a guy to keep an eye out. He certainly fits the Colts' possession mold, and he finished the year strongly. And look out for Marshall Williams, a Wake Forest product the Colts picked up. He's an athlete with decent YAC ability, but a limited route runner and no speed to speak of. The wild card is TJ Houshmandzadeh. He won't be here for tomorrow's game, but he could be a Colt this season.
IND run - N/A
STL run D - N/A
It appears as if the Joseph Addai era will end with much more help than he's had to this point. Taking Donald Brown last year as well as Delone Carter and Darren Evans just a few months ago, the Colts have the talent to move forward. Addai just inked a 3-year deal, so he'll likely retire a Colt. In any case, it's a strong group of ball carriers. And don't ignore Javarris James.
Defensively, the Rams have stacked up the names at OLB. Na'il Diggs and Bryan Kehl return; they'll be pushed by FA additions Ben Leber, Zac Diles and Brady Poppinga. 7th round pick Jabara Williams should see some time here as well. Who steps up to supplant David Vobora as the technical tackler out of this group with news of his release earlier this morning?
IND O-line - N/A
STL D-line - N/A
This should be a good battle both between the starters and the depth guys. Labor Master and part-time center Jeff Saturday and Ryan Diem are near the end of their careers while the left side of the Indy line consists of two rookies: Boston College's Anthony Castonzo and Villanova's Ben Ijalana. There's tons of depth all across the line. I personally liked both their reserve tackles in college -- Jeff Linkenbach (Cincinnati) and Mike Toudouze (TCU).
As for the Rams' line, seeing how Spags elects to plug and play his options here will be telling. Between Chris Long, Robert Quinn, James Hall, Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan, there are some interesting potential combinations to be made. And don't forget about the holdovers, guys like Gary Gibson, C.J. Ah You, Jermelle Cudjo, George Selvie, Eugene Sims and Darell Scott. Dan Muir joins the Rams after playing his last three years with the Colts.
This week's top 3 storylines brought to you by the permanently infinite oddness of Germans. I was stationed in Germany for two years, and as an impartial observer, I can honestly say it's a beautiful country inhabited by a strange people.
1.) The Berlin Wall was built 50 years ago; has Spags built a wall on the offensive line?
Excluding the anomaly of Sam Bradford, the Rams have spent more money on their offensive line than any other unit. This line needs to play better than a 16th overall ranking from respected pundits. A top of the second round LT, a 2nd overall pick at RT, and expensive FAs across the interior (and yes, the Rams wisely restructured Jacob Bell's contract this offseason)? Should this unit not produce, it's the first major failure of Billy Devaney as GM.
BTW, the link above goes to a piece from the Atlantic that relays the stories of Germans who crossed the Wall, one of the most inexplicable creations in mankind. I have no idea how I'm going to explain to my daughter that the world was divided by an actual wall. Only in Germany.
2.) This piece from Michael Lewis is a must read, on the perversion of the German addiction bring just close enough to filth, surrounded by it but kept away at arms' length. In a sense, this was our passing offense and LB groups.
Sam Bradford and James Laurinaitis. Two men on an island.
Last year, it was a WR corps that, in Shurmur's system, couldn't create openings for Sam Bradford. When they did, they were unable to often make routine catches (see: Brandon Gibson) or come in with the big reception (see: DX). As reliable as Danny Amendola is, he's incredibly limited as a threat.
At linebacker, Diggs was a mainstay, albeit more of a capable veteran presence than a playmaker. David Vobora, Bryan Kehl and Larry Grant all saw PT, but none could elevate the defense, especially in pass coverage. It was, as many a TSTer opined, two of our best players were surrounded with shit. Scheisse glänzt nicht, wenn man sie poliert.
3.) Germans chase fugitive cows - the Rams chase playoff glory.
Ah the playoffs. They've eluded us for far too long. In Mühldorf, just east of Munich, a couple Germans are trying to lure a runaway cow out using maternal separation anxiety and even her, let's say, more basic instincts. I don't know if that would work for us, but we've got to find a way to get our sacred cow back.