I will be honest with all of you. I am not going to watch a ton of this live. Just 30 minutes after kickoff, two ranked college teams play meaningful football. I use the word meaningful only in the sense that it is a regular season game, because those two teams are playing Memphis and UNLV who are neither meaningful or regular.
Alas, this is a Rams blog/website/community/wordsink. Here, we talk Rams. We talk of Jermelle Cudjo, he of valiant strength and manliness who was cast aside, astray, asunder. Farewelle, Jermelle. We hardly knew ye welle.
And so it is that I, thrice of the K, doth preview the final contest of the prior-season of the 2011 St. Louis Rams. I seem to have become more and more interested in writing intros like I'm introducing a member of the Lannisters to a room full of whores. That would have been a fun job though. Being a Lannister introduced to a room full of whores, I mean, not doing the introducing. Who wants to be that guy? Wait, that sounds fun too. Pretty much everything from Westeros sounds fun. Except the dying. And the incest. And the being a part of an Army who can't talk to tha ladeez or leave ever except to go fight zombiethings. I miss Game of Thrones.
Preview after the jump. By the gods!
For game-related info, check out the SBN page for the game. For Jaguars news leading up the game, check out Big Cat Country.
St. Louis Rams, 3-0, 1st - NFC West
Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-2, 3rd - AFC South
*Statistics won't be available until week 2 of the regular season
STL pass - N/A
JAX pass D - N/A
Sam Bradford will complete a pass. Maybe a few more. Then we will watch A.J. Feeley play for a while and pray that Sam doesn't get hurt. Then Thaddeus Lewis will come in and we will cheer a man named Thaddeus. I kinda wanted us to draft Thaddeus Gibson just because he too is a Thaddeus. You should all hope that no legitimate prospects are coming up the pipeline named Thaddeus, or I'll be campaining for "Thaddeus to St. Louis" every damn day. And yes, there is some legitimate wide receiver battles to be fought. But it's game 4 of the preseason. I'm preseasoned out.
Jacksonville's secondary has issues. Rashean Mathis' better days might well be behind him as he enters his 9th season. He's still plenty talented, though. But they've collected a couple castoffs in recent years: David Jones (ex-Bengal), Drew Coleman (ex-Jet) & Terrence Wheatley (ex-Patriot). Derek Cox is a bit of an oddball. Had a strong rookie showing, but tailed off a bit last year. From what I've read at BCC, it's been an inconsistent preseason for him thus far. Again, preseason game 4. This section was way too long.
STL run - N/A
JAX run D - N/A
Sit down, Steven Jackson. Hell, you too, Caddy. These two have had too many injuries over the years. Give a couple to Norwood and then let Toston ring in a 3-quarter span of fringe guys. See, that was appropriate length.
Paul Posluszny left Buffalo to be a 4-3 Mike in Jacksonville. Not an exciting change of scenery football-wise, but an upgrade in weather. And Clint Sessions a capable OLB as well. And they picked up two rookies in Scott Lutrus (Connecticutt) and Michael Lockley (FAU) who I saw multiple times in college. I thought Lutrus could make the NFL, but I'm surprised Lockley's still around. Then again, 80 is a lot of guys to have on a football roster.
STL O-line - N/A
JAX D-line - N/A
No injuries, please. And yes, we need to start a campaign to get the play-by-play team to say Ojinnaka Flocka Flame on air. I would stretch for C.J. Ah You-chi Mane, but I'll take what I can get. Burr!
Jacksonville has to be worried about Aaron Kampman. Nine games for GB in 2009, and just eight for the Jags in his first year in Jacksonville. They need him to stay healthy this year. And Tyson Alulalu was invisible down the stretch. They better hope he comes out banging this year, or the bust label is going to start peeling off the sheet. Hey, everyone say hi to Leger Douzable!
JAX pass - N/A
STL pass D - N/A
Well, at least there's Blaine Gabbert to see. That's all that's worth it for the Jags, because David Garrard has been as David Garrard as he could possibly be so far this preseason. And without Mike Sims-Walker, the WR corps is as bland as whey. For those of you who haven't had whey, that's really really bland.
Of course what that means is the Rams' secondary should have a strong first half. Sure, Ron Bartell and BFB might not see much time, but the Rams are starting to develop solid depth at safety. While the preseason is largely negligible in the larger scope of things, it's difficult to deny that Darian Stewart has taken steps forward...toward taking significant steps forward. Baby steps...
JAX run - N/A
STL run D - N/A
Screw the subtlety. This is a fantasy football setup right here. Getting MJD snaps in the preseason? I smell an anti-Arian Foster. Also, Jacksonville has other running backs on the roster who may carry the ball in running situations in this contest...
Long-time TSTers know I am a fan of names. And there's no unit that matches the names of our LB corps (unless we sign another Thaddeus at QB). We gots da Lebers, we gots da Hulls, da Kehls, da Diles'es, we gots some Poppingas, and hell yeah, we gots dem Fleps! Translated into original analysis: I don't know who is going to start alongside Laurinaitis in week 1.
JAX O-line - N/A
STL D-line - N/A
Jacksonville spent their two most valuable 2009 draft picks at offensive tackle, selecting Eugene Monroe in the first and Eben Britton (great name) a round thereafter. They took Will Rackley in the third round this year to add to the mix. The year one results may not have been overwhelming, but I like these picks. They've added bulk and talent on both sides (like the Rams) and on the inside (if you count veteran Harvey Dahl, then like the Rams). That's a (get ready for the cliche...) recipe for success!
Speaking of recipes for success, the Rams have spent three of their last first round picks on defensive ends/linemen, depending on how you qualify Adam Carriker. Some call him a butcher. Some, a baker. Me? I call him a fuckin candlestick maker (copyright on that line, Michael Bay. And yes, it can be had... for a price). Clerical Carriker aside, Long is turning into a quality every down DE. And Robert Quinn has shown spurts that suggest he was well worth the 14th overall pick. James Hall doesn't have much time left, meaning a Long-Quinn combo should feature for at least a few years for the Rams. That makes me happy. Still, this is the throwaway fourth preseason game. Which means little Long, little Hall, a bit of Quinn, and no Leonard Little. So eye George Selvie, Eugene Sims and Danario Ambrose. Who makes the roster? Ambrose seems to have the toughest road in, but he's practice squad eligible (methinks. Practice squad rules have been known to confuse NCAA compliance officers). So who makes a statement to convince Spags of deserving a part in his favorite puppet platoon - the defensive line?
This week's top 3 storylines brought to you by really bad rap lines from Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV, a depressingly poor effort that I was hoping to get more out of.
1.) "Don't fuck up with Wayne, cause when it Waynes it pours." (How to Hate)
If a third grader uses a rhotastic r, it's acceptable. If a grown ass man does it, it's sad. And I hate that cliche, because sometimes it rains and doesn't pour. I'd take some rain in the form of victories and a playoff berth without a pouring of a long playoff run this year. There's a future of success building, and I'm patient enough to wait for the storm to hit. But another year of a drought, well, that'd be like Da Drought 3 - unforgettably painful.
2.) "When the shit get deep, I'm never afraid to dive." (President Carter)
I don't even know what this means, but it's a good segue to use. Things have been pretty solid this preseason. The Rams have avoided serious injuries to key players (though JL's pec is worth eying, DX's knee is dying, and Jerome Murphy's injury keeps me crying. You can use that, Weezy.), and there have been extended stretches of strong play from both the offense and defense. I don't expect the regular season to be as cheery. Sure, we'll win games. And yes, at times things could look really, really good. But there will be disappointments. There will be losses. There will be questionable coaching decisions that have us angry at the decision makers. Good teams pull out of those failures. The Rams will need to rebound from mistakes to get to the top of the NFC West and appease a hungry fan base this year.
3.) "I just touched down, kick the mothafuckin field goal" (It's Good)
Cheesy rap structure at its finest, and logically exclusive as well. You don't kick field goals after touchdowns. Well, maybe Wayne does. The F is for field goal? Who cares. This last preseason game is like the album itself impossible to ignore, but I can't wait until it's behind us.