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Rams @ Titans: w/out Steven Jackson

Barring some miracle between now and tomorrow night, the Rams starter will take their field for the quarter and half or so of play without the centerpiece of their offense, Steven Jackson. That has a couple of immediate implications for the offense's first taste of game action this year. 

Opportunity for running backs not named Steven Jackson

Reports out of camp have said good things about Brian Leonard. He's run well, caught passes and made some blocks, and without Steven Jackson, the top of the depth chart belongs to him. The Titans have a pretty good defense. Ranked first in pass defense last year and 19th against the run, the TN defense had more to do with their playoff berth than the other side of the ball. Leonard's a north-to-south runner, who can also catch some passes, so watch how to see how he operates what could be clogged running lanes. Antonio Pittman has shown the speed that intrigued us last season, but spent Thursday on the sidelines with bruised thigh. The Rams say he'll be ready to go for the game tomorrow, but this is the kind of injury that could effect his night. If Pittman is ready to go, I suspect he and Leonard will see a little more time than the other, established starters as the Rams need to see exactly where they are and what they need should the worst happen and Steven Jackson's holdout run through the start of the season. Lance Ball made himself one to watch with some inspired play thus far, even scoring a TD in last week's scrimmage. This game will be important for him.

The offensive line

We're all scrutinizing the o-line after last season, and they'll get a real test against the Titans starting d-line. On the run, former-Titan Jacob Bell and the others will be opening lanes in the middle for a runner other than Steven Jackson, who gives the line a little cushion with his running ability. That makes the line's job even more important. If Leonard et al have a decent night on the ground, that could be the first sign of a big, big year for Jackson as the line proves itself adept at bulldozing wide running lanes. 

The front office

If the Rams offense has trouble moving the ball, fan demand for the team to make Jackson an offer will be louder than a Dome full of Steelers fans. That scenario will only solidify Jackson's position in the holdout. How will the front office react if that happens? Conversely, how will the front office or Jackson react if the offense looks good, particularly the ground game?

Lots more previewin' to come. For more info about tomorrow's opponent, be sure to visit Music City Miracles.