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Open Thread - San Diego vs. Rams, preseason game 2

Game time is 7 p.m. Don't look for it on TV though, the NFL is blacking it out since the game wasn't a sell out. Oh well, at least it's just a preseason game.

I didn't find a place on the web to watch it (and let's face it, we'd rather watch than just listen), but that by no means is a definite conclusion. If you find a place to see it on the web, post it in the comments.

The defense gets the spotlight tonight. All spring and summer fixing a run defense that bled yards in buckets has been the biggest key to building on Linehan's breakthrough 2006 8-8 season. San Diego, thanks in large part to that LT guy and a steady O-line, has the league's most impressive ground game, so much so that it's made Phillip Rivers a star and the envy of the beginning to look lopsided Eli Manning deal. As mentioned yesterday, LT watches from the sidelines tonight, but Michael Turner's no slouch and could be a #1 RB on any other NFL team.

It's not unreasonable to think that the Chargers will put up some yards on the ground in the first half. Carriker, Wroten, Glover and the rest of hte front seven will be focused on preventing SD from using that to control the game and manage the clock at will. Stopping the big plays is the other task. The PD's lead Rams article recalls LT's big day last October and two breakaway runs for 38 and 51 yards. If the Rams can prevent those kind of plays tonight, it will be a important milestone in the progress from being a .500 team to a legitimate playoff contender.

The score at the end of the first quarter might well be the most important one in terms of getting read on the team's overall progress.

Other thoughts on tonight's game:

  • After Romberg got the start last week, McCollum gets the call tonight to face that tough SD defense. By the time the veteran center comes off the field, we could have a pretty good idea about who's going to be atop the depth chart when the games start counting.

  • If the first quarter score answers some questions about the team, the point totals in the second half could muddy the waters at the very tail end of the QB depth chart. Fitzpatrick is out, so Berlin will take a bulk of the snaps in the second half again. Last week, the Chargers thrid stringers and try out guys helped Seattle put 17 points on the board, meaning that the Rams QB should have ample opportunity to execute plays. I think this sideshow QB controversy is getting ginned up a little more than it probably should, but you won't hear anyone complain about good players rounding out the depth chart.

  • The Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson had a great game last night against the Jets, collecting 70 yards and a TD on 8 carries that included a breakout 43 yard run. The Vikes had a decent run game last season too. Point being that the Rams defense did better than we might have given them credit for last week, keeping the rookie running sensation in check and not allowing the Vikes to run allover them in the first half. Sure, the Vikes doubtlessly improved with practice and familiarity with the play book after an extra week of practice, but it's still a feather in the cap for this new Rams defense.

  • The Rams top three defensive ends have played well this summer, but the team gets a little thin at that position once you pass Adeyanju the list gets pretty thin. Simeon Rice remains a possibility for some veteran depth; however, it's being reported that he won't sign until week 1. The same report has the Rams, Titans, and Giants as the likely suitors.

Alright, that's all for now. If you are able to watch the game, report in for the rest of us here in blackout country.

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