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Week 1: Player to Watch - WR Mark Clayton

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This Sunday the Rams face their biggest test so far in the Spags era when they host the Arizona Cardinals in week 1 of the 2010 NFL season.

But is it a test for the Rams or for Spags?

This is Spags second season at the helm, and believe me, all eyes will be on this team to see just how well they will perform, and more importantly, to see how far they have come since Spags took over. Are two drafts, and two offseasons enough to at least give a poor team the look of a turnaround team if being directed properly? That's up for debate.

Right now I want to talk about a guy who you may know pretty well after week one... WR Mark Clayton.

Admittedly, I know very little about him. I do know he is a seasoned guy, who by the sake of the Ravens being loaded at wide receiver (Boldin, Houshmandzadeh), landed in St. Louis to (at least for this year) be the number one guy and veteran leader our young receiving squad needs, all for the bargain price of a sixth round draft pick (we also got their seventh rounder).

Earlier this week we heard he was picking up on the playbook really well. Keep in mind, the Rams offensive system is completely different from the Ravens. It's not like he came from Philly... the playbook including numbers, letters, you name it - is all different.

I just listened to 101ESPN radio's Fast Lane show with Brian Stull (Stully) who mentioned something quite interesting about Clayton. Clayton already knows the ENTIRE playbook. No, not a "good enough" grasp, but the ENTIRE playbook. The guys is SMART... really smart.

As a matter of fact, Stully also talked to Mardy Gilyard and a few other Ram receivers, and they were shaking their heads mentioning that Clayton actually helped them lineup on a few plays... yea, I'd say he knows the playbook. They also said his speed is faster than recorded. I liked the sound of ALL of this.

But how can a guy learn, essentially a foreign language, THAT FAST? Is it possible? Stully mentioned that Clayton personally told him he has a REAL photographic memory. He saw the playbook, DONE. He also mentioned to Stully that he played QB in high school.

The Rams staff are all scratching their heads wondering why Baltimore let this guy go.

Granted, he has yet to catch ONE pass for the Rams, and there are players who practice well and perform well in the preseason but it never carries over to the regular season (see Samkon Gado) but my point is, with what I'm hearing, don't be surprised if this guy becomes really popular soon to opposing defenses as well as Rams fans.

PS: Don't forget to check out 3k's game preview where you can see all the matchups.