Well folks, the preseason officially opens tonight for our beloved Rams, as we will be hosting the Favre-less Minnesota Vikings at the Jones Dome this evening. Regrettably, I will not be in attendance, as I have to work. I know most people don’t like preseason games, but I happen to love them. I love guys who are fighting for jobs getting a chance to showcase themselves. With the being said, here are the Top Five things I will be watching for from the Rams tonight.
1. Sam Bradford- Pretty obvious number one. Our $50 million man gets his first taste of real NFL action tonight, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the NFL pass rush. Also, it will be interesting to see how long it will take before Bradford to get into the game, and how many starters will be with him when he takes the field. All eyes will be on Sammy tonight, so hopefully he can keep his strong summer going.
2. Wide Receivers- Possibly the most interesting battle this summer, I will be looking to see who steps up at the receiver position tonight. We have talked plenty here about the candidates, and this race is close enough that solid performances in preseason games could make the difference. I am anxious to see Brooks Foster, who missed last year and has been impressive this summer, and I also want to see if Danny Amendola can stay hot.
3. Tackles- No, not tackling (although it would be nice to so an improvement in that area), but offensive tackles. Let’s see where Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold line up, and let’s see how the perform against a good top-unit pass rush from the Vikes. We could learn plenty about how good Saffold really is tonight.
4. Rookie Ends- It’s been no secret that we need to get a pass rush from somewhere, and we will get our first look at the three rookie ends in action tonight. I am obviously a big Gorge Selvie fan, but the coaches are big on Hall Davis and Eugene Sims as well. Don’t be shocked if you hear Selvie’s name plenty, but keep an eye out for Davis and Sims (if Sims is healthy) as well.
5. Corners- I like our group at cornerback, but the position has been ravaged by injury over the last few weeks. I don’t expect Ron Bartell to play, and Justin King will probably be out as well. Bradley Fletcher has been slowed from soreness during injury recovery, so plenty of guys should get a chance to showcase their skills. Two guys to really watch (if they play) are Kevin Dockery and rookie Jerome Murphy. Dockery has quite possibly been the biggest surprise at camp, as he seems to make plays every time he steps on the field. Murphy is still acclimating to the NFL level, so this will be a good test for him.
Those are the top things I will be watching for, but if anyone has anything else, feel free to let us know in the comments section. For those of you who aren’t going to be in attendance watching it live, you will have to wait until 10:30 p.m. to watch in on TV due to blackout rules. It is Saturday night, so don’t forget to set the DVR before you head out on the town.