Found September 01, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
Photo courtesy of St. Louis Rams The start of the NFL season is less then a week away and the St. Louis Rams are a team looking to take the next step in making the playoffs. It will not be an easy task as they play in the toughest division in the league. They have made significant improvements during the offseason, but it came at a price as they lost some key contributors. Although the preseason is just a glorified scrimmage, there are some observations that could be indicators of what is to come. Running game will struggle Daryl Richardson is the week one starter and will most likely be the number one back on the depth charts for the season. Behind him sits second year player Isaiah Pead, who was given most of the preseason to surpass Richardson. Pead will have to watch the first game of the season from home as the league, under the drug testing policy, has suspended him. The Rams had high expectations for Pead as he was taken in the second round where Richardson was taken seventh round. Last preseason Richardson showed off his speed and shiftiness earning him the back role to now departed Steven Jackson. Pead struggled and told reporters that he wanted to forget about last year and start anew. Pead has struggled in the preseason as he has rushed for 86-yards, no touchdowns, and two fumbles. Although Richardson only put up 34-yards rushing, he did not touch the ball in two games as Pead was given the start in his place. When Pead is out running the ball he looks frantic. He tries to do too much with the ball instead of running in his lane. St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (Photo by Chris Humphreys/USA Today) Richardson has looked more like a fluid back, but also showed he cannot carry the run load on his own. The Rams have a lot of depth at running back and will most likely need to use it to have a decent running game. When the Rams had Jackson they were one of the very few teams that had a workhorse back. After a string of Hall of Fame running backs in the backfield for the Rams, it looks like that era has ended for the St. Louis Rams. Rookie defensive starters can play This offseason the Rams were thin at the outside linebacker position and safety. In the draft they went out and selected Alec Ogletree and TJ McDonald to come fill the void. Many were skeptical if the two could be solid contributors at their position. Many general managers did not want to touch Ogletree in the first round because of his history and McDonald lacked coverage skills. Since the first game the rookies have came out and played. Although Ogletree did not rack up a lot of tackles in that game he was always near the ball ready to make that tackle. In his third game of the preseason he had one fumble for a touchdown and an interception off Peyton Manning. He is definitely going to solidify the Rams front seven as one of the best in the league. In McDonald’s first game he finished near the top in tackles. The safety has been known for making a few big hits in college and has showed some of that in the preseason. McDonald knows what his weaknesses are and is putting in the work to improve them. This work ethic and determination has earned him the starting spot at safety. Sam Bradford and his weapons Sam Bradford is entering his fourth season as the Rams starting quarterback. He showed improvements last years and is looking to build off that. The Rams have added even more offensive firepower to surround him. All of the talk coming out the offseason was the chemistry Bradford built with his new tight end Jared Cook. They didn’t do much during the preseason, but expect Cook to be a redzone favorite. Cook is fast and big tight end that will beat the linebacker and out jump the secondary to grab the touchdown pass. He gave the Rams a preview of what it looks like in the third game against the Denver Broncos. St. Louis Rams rookie Wideout Tavon Austin (Photo by Ron Chenoy/ USA Today)Many reporters have also created a lot of hype around Tavon Austin during the offseason. He showed off his speed on a punt return against the Broncos, but outside of that nothing to wow us. Jeff Fisher has said he has not truly revealed how they plan on using Austin yet. One problem the rookie wideout has had so far is catching and securing the ball. Sometimes it looks like he is trying to make a move before even receiving the ball. Austin will need to tame his nerves in order to show off the talent he has. Sam Bradford has looked solid at times during the preseason and has put up solid numbers. He has shown off his arm strength and pinpoint accuracy. He would have a lot better stats if his receivers would catch the ball. He has placed it where it needs to be with the right zip on it. He has also shown he can be flustered in the pocket and a lack of confidence on third downs. The Rams took advantage of the preseason by going for it on fourth downs after struggling to convert on third down. They have also struggled to reach the redzone because they cannot convert. Bradford has shown he will improve this year, but he will need his offensive weapons to step up big. The Rams defense will be a force to be reckoned with, but if the Rams want any chance at making the playoffs they need to play well on both sides of the ball. They have a much-improved team this year, can they show it on their win-loss columns.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Rams cut 21 players, place 2 on suspended list

The Rams have released 21 players to get down to the 53 man limit via their website.

OT Jake Long ready to get back into Pro-Bowl form: 'just ready for the real stuff to start'

A long list of injuries caused Long's play plunge into mediocrity over his final couple seasons in Miami. Long, the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and by the end of training camp, Long was one of three rookies listed as first-string on the depth chart. In 2009, Long yielded only 4 sacks and was ranked the second best offensive tackle.

Rams Sign DE Eugene Sims To A Two-Year Extension

Jim Thomas reports that the Rams have reach agreement with DE Eugene Sims on a two-year extension. Sims, 27, will be under contract through the 2015 season. Last year, Sims tallied 20 tackles, three sacks and single interception for the Rams defense. According to Pro Football Focus, Sims played 411 snaps in 2012, but graded out as one of the worst qualifying 4-3 defensive ends...

St. Louis Rams announce final cuts, trim roster down to 53 men

The St. Louis Rams have cut their roster to the league-mandated 53 allowable players, according to ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner. Among those waived or released was linebacker Josh Hull. His departure means the Rams will keep six linebackers on their active roster, four of which are rookies. To make things even more shocking, three of those four rookies were signed this season as...

Fantasy Football 2013: TE Jared Cook Will be a Strong Pick-up

The St. Louis Rams were in need of a tight end in the offseason, and they went out and grabbed Jared Cook, who played his first four seasons in Tennessee with the Titans.Cook only had 1,717 yards and 8 total touchdowns in his four years in the NFL, but things look to be different in St. Louis.What we've seen from Cook in the Rams' offense in the preseason wasn't too bad...

Rams sign eight players to practice squad

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams signed eight players to fill their practice squad Sunday. All eight players were with the team during training camp this summer. The practice squad includes: WR Emory Blake DE Mason Brodine LBDE Sammy Brown S Cody Davis T Sean Hooey FB Eric Stevens WR Justin Veltung CB Darren Woodard

Davis, Hull among Rams' cuts

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Austin Davis, who competed with Kellen Clemens for the backup quarterback job in St. Louis, is among 22 players cut by the Rams to reach the 53-man roster limit.Linebacker Josh Hull, who made one start in 2012, also was let go on Saturday.The Rams waived wide receiver Emory Blake, defensive end Mason Brodine, linebacker-defensive end Sammy Brown, safety Cody Davis...

Rams have league's youngest roster

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) For the second year in a row, the St. Louis Rams will begin the season with the youngest roster in the NFL.And that is just fine with coach Jeff Fisher, who believes young players have a greater capacity to improve."One would assume that we'll just continue to get better," he said.The Rams' 53-man roster has an average age of 24.98, lowest among...

Panthers Sign Veteran S Quintin Mikell

Joe Person reports that the Panthers have reached an agreement with veteran S Quintin Mikell on a one-year contract. Aaron Wilson reports that the Panther placed S Haruki Nakamura on season-ending injured reserve. There is an obvious connection here as Mikell is familiar with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott‘s system from their time together with the Eagles. Mikell...

Fantasy Fox: Improving your roster after a deflating draft

Here are five quick ways to improve your fantasy roster before Thursday's opener (Ravens-Broncos) and after an unsatisfactory snake or auction draft. 1. There should be no loyalty with late-round selections If you drafted Rams receiver Brian Quick in Round 16, on the hope he'll develop into a red-zone option of maybe five or six touchdowns, but prefer the upside of Patriots...

Panthers sign former Rams S Mikell; Nakamura to IR

The Panthers have signed former St. Louis Rams starting safety Quintin Mikell and placed backup safety Haruki Nakamura on injured reserve with a concussion. The deal was announced Monday. Contract terms were not released. Mikell, a 10-year NFL veteran, will compete for the starting spot with strong safety Mike Mitchell, who was held out of practice Monday with an unspecified injury...
Rams 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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.