5 things to watch in Rams preseason matchup vs Oakland


The St. Louis Rams open their preseason schedule tonight against the Oakland Raiders at O.co stadium in Oakland. The game is set to begin within the hour, so we’ll breakdown some final thoughts, and a few things to watch for in tonight’s matchup. [related-cateogry]

#1 The play of quarterback Nick Foles.

Yes, it’s early, very early in fact, but it’s still a fair assessment of the quarterbacks play. Head coach Jeff Fisher has said that he expects Foles to play in the early part of the first quarter, but that’s about it. We should the look out for his ability to move the ball down field, something the Rams have struggled with in the past and his mobility. Foles is not the most agile quarterback, but he may learn in a trial by fire with such an inexperienced offensive line in front of him.

#2 Speaking of the offensive line.

The front five will be a long debated topic this preseason and regular season. Keep your eyes on the right side of the line with expects to be held down by two rookies, Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown. Havenstein, St. Louis’ second round pick in this years draft, will man the RT slot, and Brown, the Rams third round selection will fall inside at RG. Across from them we should see second-year man Greg Robinson at LT and the sole veteran of the line Rodger Saffold at LG. It’s imperative we begin to see this group come together as early as possible.

Sep 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers (90) defensive end Robert Quinn (94) and defensive end Chris Long (91) huddle up before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Even more offensive line.

The center position is the most important along the offensive line, and the Rams couldn’t be in a more precarious spot with it. Demetrius Rhaney, Tim Barnes and Barrett Jones have been battling it out since OTA’s for a shot at the starting job. Recently, St. Louis listed Jones as the #1 center on the depth chart, but the favorite to win the role was Barnes, so it will be interesting to see who Fisher starts and the play of all three. Keep an eye on this position all night.

#4 Defensively, this team should be fine.

The strength of this 2015 squad will be it’s ferocious front seven on defense. The defensive backs groups can be a little shaky at times, so it will be a point of focus through out the preseason to clamp down on the opposing teams passing game. Don’t expect too many of the starters to see much time on this side of the ball. The name of the game here is to avoid injuries and get through this game unscathed.

#5 The Rams continue to battle preseason injuries.

St. Louis has had as many as 11 players miss time this camp year due to injury. Most notably, first-round selection Todd Gurley at running back, although that was to be expected. Gurley has already been ruled out for the preseason and beyond. More damaging though may have been the loss of starting cornerback E.J. Gaines who went down early in camp with an ankle injury. Fisher has not eluded too many details about the extent of Gaines injury, but expect players like Trumaine Johnson, Marcus Roberson and LaMarcus Joyner to step up in his absence. This one is a no-brainer. It’s vital to get through this game, and more, without major injury.

Check out the details on how to watch/listen to the Rams opener!