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St. Louis Rams: First Look Shows...?

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things..." Rene Descartes

This is the NFL, and who really needs truth during training camp, right? This time of year is about hopes, wishes, dreams, and big 'ol pairs of rose colored glasses. When all is said and done, we as fans are doing the impossible. Projecting how a player should have developed over last year is absurdly subjective at best, and tainted with more than its share of naivete. But we do it year after year, and rightly so...

While studying the St. Louis Rams for 2014, I'm giddy at times, and nervous at others.

I think there's a very good reason why more teams are scrimmaging against each other prior to the preseason game schedule. St. Louis walked into their Thursday night game with no real mission in mind other than getting young players a chance to show what they can do. Penalty flags were flying, blocks were missed, tackles were whiffed... In other words: A typical first preseason game.

The game between the Rams and New Orleans was a first dress rehearsal; players finding stage marks, trying to remember their lines. It was a run-through by understudies for the most part. The field was filled with young guys getting a glimpse at what's possible for their dreams to play in the NFL. Many of those seen on the field last night won't make an NFL roster by the start of the season. But this is a right of passage in the NFL. It's a reward for players who've trained and gone through training camp; an opportunity to rise up in their coach's eyes...

A few players made strong cases to make the Rams roster, while others simply failed to impress. Some - like Stedman Bailey - are doing just enough to anger fans with his incredible talent prior to slinking off for his four game suspension at the start of the regular season. Then there's the position battles, especially at wide receiver. Last night, 12 different receivers caught passes for the Rams. In fact, if I were the Saints head coach Sean Payton, I'd be very concerned about my defensive secondary. The same can be said for Jeff Fisher's defense, and their ability to make a tackle - Eeeew! Lot's of missed opportunities to quiet concerns regarding the Rams linebackers and secondary. Yes, quite a few players who'd normally be on the field weren't there. The 2011 CBA shrank the amount of time NFL coaches can work with their charges prior to the start of the season, so along with trying to learn complex playbooks and schemes, the lack of ability to refine fundamentals like tackling are missed.

The NFL officials had their first sortie into the grand flag toss, and quite a few will have sore shoulders after a night filled with heaving yellow linen around. A whopping 24 penalties were called last night for a gooey total of 222 yards. If penalties were a quarterback, he would have lead the other six signal callers. In fact, so far this preseason, the three NFC West teams who've played thus far have 36 penalties for 321 yards (SEA - 13-131, SF - 9-72, STL - 14-118).

There are three more incarnations of the NFL dress rehearsals coming our way in the coming weeks. Let's get ready to glean what's promising, and that which will fade away. Starters will begin to shows themselves soon. So take heart, and revel in the fact the long off season is winding to a close...

Give me your HIGH, and LOW points from the Rams- Saints game. Which players are you going to watch more closely as the regular season approaches, and which didn't impress you all that much?