The Rams got some bad news today when an MRI revealed that their first round pick Michael Brockers suffered a high ankle sprain in last nights preseason finale. Brockers had already locked down a starting job on the Rams defensive line and was showing great promise in the preseason. Typically NFL teams do not play their starters in the fourth preseason game, instead electing to let the 2nd and 3rd string players make their case for a final roster spot. Jeff Fisher chose to break with tradition and get a little more work in for the starting units, and after the Cowboys game it was clear they needed more work. However how much could really be gained by playing the starting offense and defense against Baltimore’s 2nd and 3rd string? Before the game had started I for one wondered whether the risk was worth the reward.
I am not questioning Jeff Fisher or his coaching methods. I have always respected him as a coach and his teams in Tennessee were always very difficult to play against. Brockers’ injury will definitely bring some criticism upon the veteran coach. Looking back at some of the comments Fisher made regarding playing the starters in the preseason finale one thing in particular sticks out to me. He wanted to get them used to the halftime adjustments and playing into the 3rd quarter. However the Rams had a huge lead at halftime and had been dominating the Ravens backups, and most of the Rams starters never saw the field in the 2nd half. The Rams had been having incredible luck up to this point with injuries, especially when compared to previous seasons. So why tempt fate against the Ravens? If you are going into the preseason finale with a goal of getting the team ready to come out after halftime and see how they play in the 3rd then why not play them in the 3rd quarter?
I am glad the Rams came out and played a solid game against the Ravens even if it was just the backups. They probably needed that confidence boost after being thoroughly outplayed in Dallas. That and any player can be injured on any play so you can’t sit everyone because you are afraid of injuries during the preseason or your team wouldn’t be ready for the regular season. This certainly isn’t a rant against Fisher, but I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t go ahead with his plan to play them into the 3rd quarter. Other than seeing how they play out of halftime I can’t imagine what the benefit of dominating a bunch of players that are on the bubble to make an NFL team can have in terms of team evaluation. Hopefully this coaching staff is better at managing injured players than the previous staff was and they don’t rush Brockers back onto the field before he is ready. On a lighter note how about those rookies? Jenkins, Pead and Richardson were all very impressive last night giving Rams fans everywhere reason to hope! Go RAMS!!!