It's been a long road since last season's finale against the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, the St. Louis Rams have added some good players, and they have released some good players. They even went 4-0 to get to this point. It's week one of the NFL season, a week of great games and high expectations.
The Rams are playing the "Dream Team" this week. Do they have a lot of talent on their roster? Hell yeah, but that's why the games are played on the field and not on pieces of paper. Maybe if this was week 7, you could say the Eagles would blow out the Rams, but you can't really say that going into week 1. Last time I checked, every team starts the season 0-0.
With all that being said, this week will be a difficult one for the Rams. It takes a team to win games, but in this series we will look at four players or matchups that will be key for the Rams to win.
This young man needs no introduction, but he deserves it anyway. Rookie Lance Kendricks will be a big part of the Rams offense this season. Kendricks should have a good season this year, and it will have to start this game.
I never put stock into rookies playing well their rookie year. Of course, Sam Bradford was an exception last year, but even he went through growing pains. So being realistic, it will be hard to expect Lance Kendricks to play well week in, week out, over a 16-game season. There will be some games where he doesn't show up to play.
With all that being said, it's hard not to get excited about Kendricks. He is a mismatch when he is on the field -- too fast for most linebackers and too big for defensive backs. He was the Rams most constant threat on offense this preseason, and there's no reason to believe that it won't continue. However, there were times were he dropped passes, and that's to be expected.
Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest thing Kendricks does is create mismatches. The Eagles don't have the strongest linebackers already, and if Kendricks starts catching balls they will try to counter him. If Michael Hoomanawanui can play this Sunday, it will help Lance by him allowing him to move in different formations. Although Big Mike would help Kendricks' effectiveness, his athleticism should really help this week.
The big thing about Lance Kendricks will be if he is "ready to play" in the NFL. He looked good this preseason, but who knows how he will fare when the big lights are on him? There will be a lot of pressure on him this season to succeed early. If he can have a good game against the Eagles, it should help out every player on the offense have a better game.
Will this rookie TE success rollover from preseason to regular season? He has momentum, so he should have a good game this Sunday. He will have to be a big part in the Rams offense this week if the Rams are going to win.