We're halfway through the 2016 Los Angeles Rams Preseason, and as you would expect there are still starting positions and key reserve roles up for grabs. Here's my view on how things stand after the game vs. Kansas City.
I'm ready to call this one after week 2. Case Keenum has solidified his status as the Rams' starting QB.
No preseason fluff talk. Keenum has played solid two weeks straight now and has shown he can be the facilitator the Rams want until Jared Goff is ready. And make no mistake, Jared Goff isn't ready yet. The game still seems too fast for him, which is absolutely understandable at this stage of his career.
Goff took some strides once he shook off two early fumbles and ended the night completing 8 for 12 passes for 82 yards and a TD to Malcolm Brown. Keenum finished 4 for 5 with 53 yards and a TD to Pharoh Cooper. For the rest of training camp the starting QB position is Case Keenum's to lose.
The Rams are stacked at RB, folks. I said the same last week, and this group delivered again.
Todd Gurley got his first preseason action(ever) and came in rolling like it was 2015 all over for him. In his only series of the game Gurley rushed four times for 20 yards and a score. Gurley looks ready to match the hype. Benny Cunningham continued his surprisingly powerful and explosive rushing performance and is doing his best to dispel the notion that he is just a receiving back.
Malcolm Brown also kept the ball rolling on his great training camp as well. With Tre Mason out of the way, the Rams would be wise to give Brown a healthy dose of carries to spell Gurley in the regular season.
Unfortunately for Aaron Green, he was unable to play Saturday but on the flip side, no other Rams RB did anything to really stand out.
It's possible the Rams keep five running backs on the roster but with the way the top three backs are performing, there could just be one more spot up for grabs between Green and Chase Reynolds.
Kenny Britt is getting a grip on the top WR spot after he drew a long pass interference call to set the Rams up deep in Chiefs territory and hauled in both of his two targets for a total of 27 yards.
Tavon Austin failed to get a target but had a couple nice blocks and was a factor on Cooper's TD catch and run.
Speaking of Cooper, it appears the Rams have him locked in as the WR3 for the moment, he atoned for his week one drops with a nice catch and run for the aforementioned TD.
Bradley Marquez injured his ankle during the game and surprisingly has been ruled out for just one week which is great news for him and Brian Quick haters.
Jeff Fisher and Les Snead's arrogance in proving questionable draft picks right (Isaiah Pead) is the only reason I can come up with in regards to Quick's status. He'll be extremely lucky to make the team if he continues to underwhelm.
Nelson Spruce sat out with a knee injury but his roster chances improved even more with Quick's drops. Duke Williams failed to garner a target for the second week in a row and is being outplayed and out-snapped by Paul McRoberts after the first two weeks.
With Tyler Higbee out with flu-like symptoms, Lance Kendricks widened the gap for the TE1. For now. A solid blocking performance and hauling in his only target for a 15-yard gain did nothing to hurt Kendricks' stock.
Temarrick Hemmingway stepped in for Higbee and impressed Jeff Fisher with his blocking ability and separation skills. Hemmingway will use the rest of the preseason to make the case to keep four TEs on the active roster.
Cory Harkey remains safe as the H-Back.
The first team group of Greg Robinson, Cody Wichmann, Time Barnes, Jamon Brown and Rodger Saffold looked good for the second week in a row. It has been a pleasant development for everyone after the first two weeks.
Rob Havenstein remains sidelined with an injury and doesn't appear to be ready anytime soon. OG Garrett Reynolds has one of the reserve positions locked down. The rest of camp will be big for players like OT Darrell Williams, C Eric Kush, and C Demetrius Rhaney. OT Isaiah Battle has fallen way behind in the battle for the swing tackle position and is shaping up to be a bust.
The Rams top eight defensive lineman are starting to lock in roster positions.
DT Ethan Westbrooks suffered a scare when he was chop blocked by a Kansas City lineman but luckily was able to walk off on his own power. Should he be forced to miss any time, DEs Ian Seau and Matt Longacre are putting together excellent training camps. One of them may force the Rams into carrying nine lineman and some lucky team will gladly scoop them up should one or both get cut.
The battle for backup depth in this group hasn't really materialized yet. At least not on the surface.
Akeem Ayers had two boneheaded neutral zone infractions on one drive and Cameron Lynch filled in for Mark Barron as he sat out. Bryce Hager remains the primary backup MLB while rookies Josh Forrest, Brandon Chubb and Cory Littleton are fighting for reps as well.
E.J. MF Gaines made his return, and it was a promising one. He was active when he entered the game after Coty Sensabaugh and Lamarcus Joyner got the lion's share of reps early on. Joyner was ejected after throwing a punch at WR Jeremy Maclin. I'm sure Maclin undressing him for a TD earlier in the game likely had nothing to do with that...
Sensabaugh is playing like a placeholder for Gaines to come back. Cody Davis started in place of Mo Alexander, who sat out, and Christian Bryant also got a long look at safety as well. This entire starting group has struggled the first two games. Rookies CBs Troy Hill and Mike Jordan built off their solid week one games and could end up giving Marcus Roberson a battle and/or could force the Rams to go light at running back or tight end if they continue to flash.