Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  By STAN McNEAL  |  Last updated 8/29/13
ST. LOUIS -- The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens are coming to town, but you can be forgiven for not excitedly counting down the hours to 7 p.m. Thursday. The Ravens are visiting for a preseason game against the Rams, the fourth and final one, at that. Most teams tend to sit their regulars in the preseason finale under normal circumstances, and the Ravens have even more reason to keep their regulars on the bench. Baltimore opens the regular season at Denver next Thursday, three days before the rest of the league. Rams coach Jeff Fisher isn't expecting to see Baltimore's A team. "It's reasonable to assume that they're probably going to rest some key players," he said. So you are not likely to watch Super Bowl hero Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice or any other key members of the champs. But there still are reasons to watch. Here are four: RAMS REGULARS -- SOME OF THEM, ANYWAY Fisher is known to play his regulars more than most coaches in preseason finales, but he has been noncommittal about this week's playing time. When pressed by reporters trying to determine how much the starters would play, Fisher said, "We're going to make some adjustments, so that's really all I can say." Even if the big names sit out all or most of this one, plenty of notable Rams should see the field. Among the position battles that still appear up for grabs include backup quarterback and safety. Rookie receiver Stedman Bailey should get his most extensive look as he tries to move up the depth chart, and linebacker Alec Ogletree could use another strong game to build on his success in Denver last Saturday. Pay attention to special teams, too. Those who stand out on special teams usually find a spot on the 53-man roster. RAMS ON THE RUN With so much attention focused on Sam Bradford and his upgraded set of receivers this summer, the St. Louis rushing attack has gone unnoticed in the preseason games. Or maybe the ground game has been overlooked because it has underachieved. The Rams have gained 92, 52 and 50 yards in the exhibitions while averaging barely 3 yards a carry. Fisher figures to focus more of the offense on rushing against the Ravens. "I think you'll probably see some more (rushing attempts)," he said. Whether that means much of starter Daryl Richardson is another matter. Richardson carried five times at Denver last Saturday after not getting any rushing attempts in Week 2 against Green Bay. Still, the Rams know what Richardson can do. What they still seem to be figuring out is who will be his primary backup. Last year's second-round pick, Isaiah Pead, hasn't distinguished himself this preseason and is out for the season opener because of a league-mandated suspension. That leaves a couple of rookies, fifth-round pick Zac Stacy and undrafted Benny Cunningham, as the most likely candidates. THE BATTLE TO BACK UP BRADFORD When Fisher said "there could be some jobs decided" Thursday night, he might have been talking about backup quarterback. Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis remain in another too-close-to-call competition, based on their play in practice as much as the exhibitions. Davis, the youngster, made the 53-man roster last season but Clemens, who was cut and then brought back in September, was the only one of the two to see game action. He didn't see much, either. In two appearances, he completed one of three passes with an interception. THE BATTLE FOR THE SIXTH WIDEOUT The final roster definitely will include five receivers: Chris Givens, Tavon Austin, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Bailey. It might include six. If it does, the final spot figures to go to practice squad holdover Nick Johnson or one of two undrafted rookies, Justin Veltung or Emory Blake, so you can expect them to play plenty against the Ravens. The difference could come down to their play on special teams, which would give Veltung an edge. He didn't sign with the Rams until July 31, three days after he had been cut by the Seahawks. "He picked the system up very quickly," Fisher said. "He's active in the slot as an inside receiver and he does good things for us in the coverage areas on special teams." You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Trout progressing towards return before All-Star break

There's nowhere for Chris Paul to go

Mother Nature stops Tim Tebow's St. Lucie debut

Carson Palmer not sure if 2017 will be his last NFL season

Report: Spurs, Clippers among teams interested in Andre Iguodala

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vanderbilt players shot while trying to get teammate’s phone back from thief

Would adding George, Hayward make Celtics a super-team?

Kevin Durant congratulates Russell Westbrook for earning MVP honors

Colts QB coach: Andrew Luck should not be double-digit INT guy

Jim Kelly praises Sean McDermott, throws shade at Rex Ryan

Did John Paxson just admit the Bulls are tanking?

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker