It looks like the Rams starters will get a full quarter of work in their second preseason game. I think by now, Fisher has a good idea of who he'd like to see lineup Week 1 of the regular season but this will be a good opportunity for starters to show why they are the number one and reserves to show that they deserve a spot on the team.
Sam Bradford will get the start and likely play the first quarter. This will be a great opportunity for Bradford to get back into the groove of the game and work on connecting with his newest addition, Kenny Britt. Once Bradford exits, Shaun Hill, Austin Davis, and Garrett Gilbert will have a chance to take the helm for the final three quarters. You pretty much know what you're getting with Hill, he's a wily vet ready to step in and produce average numbers. Austin Davis has shown pretty well for the Rams over the past two years. He's done well enough to be relevant but I don't see him winning the number two spot over Hill. Gilbert intrigues me. I was glad when the Rams snagged him in the 6th round this year. Given the opportunity, I expect him to perform better than his week 1 numbers.
Zac Stacy has locked up the number 1 spot in this talented group of RBs. He will likely get some good touches tonight but I think Fisher is more interested in finding his number 2 back. Tre Mason will have his work cut out competing against an impressive Benny Cunningham. Given the opportunity, Cunningham has run well. Mason has a higher ceiling, but I think he will lose opportunities in blocking situations. Isiah Pead. What is there to sat about Isiah Pead? He is still listed as the number 3 back on the depth chart but I don't see how that will be possible come week 1.
The wide receiver corps is still in an odd spot right now. Based on camp performance, it looks like Kenny Britt will be the number one. If Stedman Bailey wasn't suspended for the first four games, I think he would have a good shot at the number two, with Tavon Austin lined up in the slot. That being said, I could see the Rams playing with two large receivers in Britt and Brian Quick to help enhance the run game. Chris Givens and Austin Pettis will have their chance to prove themselves, but I don't see them getting too much time, especially when Bailey returns.
PS - Is anyone else concerned with what Big Game Holt said about Tavon?
Jared Cook is locked in as the number one. After an average season from Cook, I expect a little more production from him. There were times last year where he looked like he was checked out. Not good. With Bradford back and a more productive team, Cook will prove to be a solid TE. Lance Kendricks and Corey Harkey will likely play for blocking purposes or line up as the fullback.
Jake Long is likely out again this week, but it is nothing to fret over. He will be good to go when it matters. What's more important is that Greg Robinson is getting useful reps. The front five with Long, Robinson, Scott Wells, Rodger Saffold, and Joe Barksdale is a strong and capable bunch. Brandon Washington, Barrett Jones, Tim Barnes, and Mike Person need to show that they can step up at a moments notice if/when someone goes down. Oddly enough, I will keep a close eye on the O-Line this week, love my boy Barrett Jones.
The bread and butter of this Rams team ... Mount Crushmore. Robert Quinn, Kendall Langford, Michael Brockers, Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Eugene Sims, and Alex Carrington are the sure-bet players in the rotation. That's the deepest defensive line I've ever seen. Rams fans are in for a real treat with these guys. Between Michael Sam and Sammy Brown, it will be interesting to see if the Rams bring on another DE.
James Laurinaitis has been out with an ankle injury but should not have a problem returning for the regular season. It is nice to know that Jo-Lonn Dunbar can step in and fill that role if need be. Alec Ogletree is locked in as the weakside linebacker and will be on the field for pretty much every snap. On the other side, Jo-Lonn (given Laurinitais is healthy) and Ray Ray Armstrong will be battling it out of playing time.
The cornerback situation is a lot like the wide receiver situation. There are a couple players that are probable to start, but other than that it is up in the air. Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins will likely be the starters with Lemarcus Joyner in the slot. Brandon McGee and E.J. Gaines will be eager to prove themselves, and in all honesty, I hope those two guys step up and put some pressure on Johnson and Jenkins. The cornerback position has been a point of weakness and it's time for these guys to step up.
As for the safeties, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod will most likely be the starters. I'd like to see some progress from Maurice Alexander, a guy that Fisher just could not pass on. Cody Davis is also vying for a spot and a chance to compete.
I think we will see the Rams lining up with Ogletree and Laurinaitis as the linebackers, Jenkins and Johnson as the primary CBs, Joyner will be in the slot, McDonald will be closer to line and McLeod covering. The Rams will be putting a lot of pressure on the opposing QBs this year. Expect them to create a lot of mistakes. High risk, high reward.
Johnny Hekker is a beast ... not much else to say. Greg Zuerlein can kick the crap out of the ball but seems to struggle with accuracy. He'll get there. I have faith.