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Rams vs. Browns: Five Rams Players to Watch

The Rams have been bit by the injury bug as of late. The players tabbed to fill in are being entrusted with playing vital roles.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The bye-week is behind us. We have football this week. The Rams play host this week to the Cleveland Browns.

So let's get straight to it. Here are your five Rams players to watch:

Players to Watch

WR Tavon Austin

With the Rams shifting moreso to the power run offense the team has planned on running since Jeff Fisher first got here, Tavon Austin is the Rams' playmaker. He may be small in stature, but a big playmaker.

Austin's ability with the ball in his hands has shined through more often this season. In the team's wins, Austin has played a vital role. In the season opener versus Seattle, Tay Awesome scored twice. In Arizona, Austin scored two more times via the passing game.

It seems offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. has figured out a way to make the most of Austin's abilities. He uses Austin as a multi-threat, not just a dangerous return man.

He has not practiced all week. Hell, he was even mentioned in the Thursday injury report. If he ends up not playing, his absence will be a pretty big blow.

S Mark Barron

In the absence of Alec Ogletree, Mark Barron moved down from safety to outside linebacker. We saw this against the Packers. Bringing Barron closer to the line by shifting him to linebacker plays into Barron's strengths. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can then move Mark and OLB Akeem Ayers around, giving the linebacker corps a different look. Both can rush the passer. Barron may have decent coverage skills as a safety but he is exceptional at linebacker.

RB Todd Gurley

305 yards in two games. Ever since Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, it has been the Todd Gurley Show. Do not expect that to change any time soon.

The Rams want to run the ball. Todd and... Todd (Where is Tre Mason?) will do just that. The Browns have the worst run defense in the league. It would be nice to see Gurley blast off for 200-plus yards and a touchdown or two. He also has the chance to become the only rookie other than Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson to run for 140+ yards in three consecutive games. Given Gurley's previous two performances, it is not out of the question to see Todd put in this type of work.

Can't wait to see this guy at 100-percent.

DE William Hayes

With Chris Long out with a knee injury, backup & regular rotation D-end William Hayes will be filling in.

Hayes is a more than capable replacement. In extended starting duties last year, Will accumulated four sacks and 42 tackles. Hayes is stout against the run and is than adept at rushing the passer.

He is, however, more suited for the rotational role. His finest year came back in 2012 in which he posted seven sacks in as niche role.

Since he is a starter now, expect the other defensive linemen to see more snaps in the rotation. This could be beneficial for guys like DT Nick Fairley who is exceptional at getting to the quarterback. DE/DT's Eugene Sims and Ethan Westbrooks could also be seeing expanded roles.

LG Garrett Reynolds

The offensive line shuffle continues.With the injury-prone Rodger Saffold out, veteran Garrett Reynolds will slide right into the starting line. However, after bouncing rookie Jamon Brown to the left side mid way through training camp, they are flipping him back to right guard.

Reynolds fair well after filling in for Saffold in Week 5. In his seven seasons in the league, Reynolds has played every where except center and left tackle. He's also started 27 games and has played in 57.

The question now comes from the inexperienced right side of the line. With Jamon back at right guard, it means he and fellow rookie RT Rob Havenstein are side by side. It will be worth to keep an on that side of the line.


Comments? Have other candidates to watch? Leave your two-cents below.