Compared to years past, the Rams have been the picture of health this preseason. Although some players have missed significant time up to this point, we have still yet to have a significant injury. Earlier in the week, numerous sources cited the expected comeback of a large group of players, including projected starter Scott Wells cautiously returning after a knee scope. In addition to Wells, a number of players that are battling for the starting spot were expected to return, including Darian Stewart, Bradley Fletcher, and Brandon Gibson.
With all of these returns, many expected a shake in up in the depth charts, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. There have been some changes, but not the ones they might have expected. In the absence of Bradley Fletcher, Trumaine Johnson and Josh Gordy were taking a majority of reps at the nickel corner position; that is, until the Rams unexpectedly shipped Gordy to the Colts. To fill in the slot left vacant by the trade, the Rams surprisingly picked up the 2008 sixth overall pick, Vernon Gholston to add to the defensive line rotation.
Rams beat writer Jim Thomas tweeted out late Thursday a number of updates, most of which were bad news for the so-far, relatively healthy Rams.
For those of us hoping to see more of Craig Dahl on the sideline, we got our wish. However, most expected the additional bench time to come as a result of Darian Stewart’s return, not because of additional injuries. Rams Nation will now likely watch a pair of UDFA, Daniels and McLeod, get some first team reps alongside Quintell Mikell. With Gordy gone, the Rams secondary is now extremely young, since the first team will likely be featuring rookies Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson in addition to whoever get the reps at safety.
Jim Thomas continued to tweet out a the injury list, this time featuring some previously unmentioned names,
At this point, fans are far more surprised to see DX on the field than off of it. However, the addition of the four defensive lineman is a bit worrisome, although it may shed a little more light on the Vernon Gholston acquisition. DT Trevor Laws was brought in during the offseason with Kendall Langford, and prior to the drafting of Michael Brockers, was expected to battle for the other starting DT sport left open after the departure of Bannon and Robbins. With Brockers handling the starting role and DTs Cudjo and Conrath playing well in the preseason, Laws has somewhat faded into the background, seeing most of his reps in rotation on the second and third teams. Thomas later revealed more details about the specifics of the injuries, noting that DT Darrell Scott will likely miss the rest of preseason, but that DE Eugene Sims’ injury, which was feared to be a high ankle injury, does not appear to be too serious. The Rams defensive line rotation has been one of the most impressive units thus far in preseason, but injuries can quickly change that.
It wasn’t all bad news, with Jim Thomas confirming a couple of players that were projected to return this week,
This week, we will be get the chance to see a plethora of new talent, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. It should be interesting to see how the young secondary players handle Tony Romo, although he will be coming in without a majority of his receiving core, including TE Jason Witten. It should also be interesting to see how the defensive line performs against the shaky Dallas offensive line, especially new acquisition Vernon Gholston. All in all, the injury report is not that bad, especially in comparison to other teams. The Rams should use this week to get the young guys some additional reps and let the walking wounded heal up before Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.