Do you smell that? That is the smell of Rams football returning. Yes, no more caring about training camp reports to find out how players are doing. Now we can watch them play in game situations as we wait for the regular season to begin.
Here are Tevin’s "Ten To Watch" against the Oakland Raiders.
Nick Foles - QB - 5 - Foles will not play more than a couple of series, however all eyes will be on the Rams new QB. It would be nice to see Foles lead the Rams' offense down the field and maybe a "wow" pass to one of the receivers. More than anything, if he looks solid and does not get injured then it was a successful night.
Barrett Jones - C - 67-The Rams' offensive line has changed significantly over the offseason. The biggest question is who will play center for the Rams. It truly is anyone's guess as to who will start when the regular season kicks off, however it appears Jones will get the first crack. There has been hype surrounding the third year pro. This game will be his first chance to show that he belongs as a starter.
Lamarcus Joyner - CB - 20 - Playing cornerback is a difficult position to transition to as a rookie, and it appears as though Joyner is going through his growing pains. However with E.J. Gaines out of commission with a foot injury [for an undisclosed amount of time], the team needs their 2014 2nd round selection to step up.
Trey Watts - RB - 42- If Watts wants to make the roster he will have to have a good preseason, starting with this game. He could be on the outside looking in when the regular season begins since he'll suspended for the first four games. The Rams' top two running backs should be sitting out this week, so this could be the best chance for Watt to show he is worth a roster spot.
Sean Mannion - QB -14 - Mannion might not be the starting quarterback for the Rams in the near future since the Rams re-signed Nick Foles, but he was a third round pick for the Rams in this year's draft. It will be interesting to see how he performs, and if he plays well everyone will want him to become the starting quarterback...since everyone loves the backup QB.
Maurice Alexander - S - 31- Last season, the Rams drafted Alexander in the fourth round and besides a couple of tackles on special teams he did not make an impact. This season should be more eventful for the young safety. In practice he has played with the first team and the coaches are high on him. The Rams secondary is not great, so if Alexander can develop he might be be a solid player.
Akeem Ayers - LB - 56 - The Rams do not use three down linebackers often, but the reports have Ayers replacing Jo-Lonn Dunbar and that seems important. The biggest question is how will Gregg Williams use Ayers? Will he be an extra blitzer on passing downs, a coverage defender, is he considered a third down linebacker? This game should hold some of the answers as to Ayers' role.
Rob Havenstein - RT - 79 - Havenstein was handed the starting right tackle position, and was told it was his job to lose. The Rams offensive line could be a weakness of the team all, and all eyes will be watching the second round pick.
Tavon Austin - WR - 11- It is impossible not to place the third year receiver on this list. The hype around Austin at the moment is that he has improved as a receiver. The most interesting tidbit of information is how the Rams have been playing him as an outside receiver during practice. Seeing how that transitions to games will be worth watching.
Ethan Westbrooks - DE/DT - 93 - It is hard to make an NFL team and it is almost impossible to make the team as an undrafted free agent. Westbrooks was able to make the roster and stay with the team even though they were deep on the defensive line. Westbrooks could end up an important rotational player for the Rams in case of injury. He was good in the preseason last year and another good preseason could not only mean job security but also more snaps.