8 days. 8 days is all that separates we the fans from seeing our beloved Rams take to the turf. The air around the new season is absolutely electric. New weapons, 2nd consecutive offensive scheme, no major injuries. It almost feels like Christmas is a week away.
And yet, as I sit here in giddy anticipation, I have to force myself to pull back on the reigns on my expectations on a few players.
Sure, we all want to see an immediate return on our investments, whether they be financial or draft picks. However, do we as fans expect too much too soon?
The first player I am going to talk about is the in/famous Isaiah Pead. I count myself as one of the many who would like to see him exchanged for a draft pick and wipe the slate clean. However, have I been too harsh on Pead? When compared to other running backs on the team he seems sub-par. He lacks vision, ball protection, and consistency. All fair assessments. What I find unfair though is our expectations of this 23 year old. The NFL is a very different beast when compared to college ball. Pead has to play against some of the top defenses in the entire NFL, twice. \
Pead was drafted high last year. Second round. We have come to expect second round, even third round players to produce immediately. I believe this to be unfair. Yes, life is unfair. So why do we try to make it even more so for players who are not immediate game changers? I believe, given time, Pead could be what we originally expected.
Next, I want to bring up another player who I feel people have given up on too easily. Austin Pettis. Our "grizzled veteran" from the old regime. Left over from the 'Spag Years'. Pettis is an oddity. He has an amazing ability to wrestle the ball from d-backs in the end zone (4 TD's last year), but seems to fall off when it comes to anywhere else on the field. The most common theme I have seen in regards to Pettis is "Ricky Proehl 2.0".
When you think about it briefly it seems like a perfect fit. Makes clutch catches to put points on the board and not much else. I beg to differ, vehemently. This will be Pettis' third year. He has played 26 games. He has made a total of 57 catches, 30 of which were for first downs, 4 of which were TD's. He has primarily played on 3rd down situations. This will be his first year as a starting WR.
With Pettis' expectations, I ask you to do the opposite of Pead. Expect him to move chains. Expect him to come up with short yardage TD's in traffic. And above all else, expect him to be more than Ricky Proehl 2.0
Lastly, I want to talk about Trumaine Johnson. Let me begin by saying Janoris Jenkins is a freak of nature. That being said, no not hold Tru up to the same grading scale as Jenkins. Trumaine has loads of raw talent. And when i say raw, I truly mean he is unrefined when it comes to all aspects of pass defending. He shows flashes of brilliance, and then turns around and gets beat by footwork. This will be his second year in the NFL. We expect him to see almost off of our multiple WR coverages.
Trumaine Johnson is not Janoris Jenkins. He is also not a bad cornerback, In fact, given time, I believe he could be better than Finnegan. When it comes to Johnson, I want you to expect mistakes. But do not confuse these mistakes for poor performance.
If you read the entirety of this article, I thank you. I wanted to close this by saying how much I love TST, my Rams, our crop of rookies, our front office, and especially our experienced players. The time is finally here fellow fans.