Rams: 'Play the young guys! Wait, we already are'
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The premise: 'Tis the season when disappointed NFL fans call for their teams to take a longer look at young talent on the roster.
The reality: Teams generally do not have a long list of promising players sitting on their benches.
The Rams: We take a quick look at the 20 youngest players on the Rams' roster. Nine started in Week 13.
- David Vobora, LB, 22: Made his first NFL start in Week 13 and fared better than expected.
- Antonio Pittman, RB, 22: Injuries forced him into the lineup, but Pittman was effective only sporadically.
- Quinton Culberson, LB, 23: Opened the season as the starter, lost his job and then got it back through injury.
- Chris Chamberlain, LB, 23: Contributing on special teams.
- Derek Stanley, WR, 23: The Rams are playing him in the return game. Stanley had an 80-yard touchdown grab against the Cardinals, one of five receptions this season.
- Chris Long, DE, 23: Starting and making strides as the season progresses. Already a quality player.
- John Greco, OL, 23: Played extensively at right guard in Week 13 and held up better in pass protection than run blocking.
- Larry Grant, LB, 23: Signed from the 49ers' practice squad as insurance.
- Keenan Burton, WR, 24: Has nine receptions for 124 yards and projects as a potential starter in 2009.
- Donnie Avery, WR, 24: Has 35 catches for 499 yards and projects as a likely starter for 2009 and beyond.
- Adam Carriker, DT, 24: Starting and could use another big body next to him on the interior defensive line.
- Jonathan Wade, CB, 24: The Rams are still waiting for him to develop.
- Roy Schuening, G, 24: The rookie is strictly a backup at this point.
- Clifton Ryan, DT, 24: High-effort tackle has started nine games but might be better as part of a rotation.
- Joe Klopfenstein, TE, 25: Underachieving tight end hasn't justified draft status.
- Daniel Fells, TE, 25: Signed on an emergency basis after the Rams lost Randy McMichael to a season-ending injury.
- Steven Jackson, RB, 25: Productive when he plays, the franchise running back has had trouble staying healthy.
- Richie Incognito, OL, 25: Hot-headed starter has incurred the wrath of referees and fans, but Incognito remains a starter.
- Eric Bassey, DB, 25: Projects as a special-teams player.
- Victor Adeyanju, DL, 25: The Rams like what he brings to the defense, particularly against the run.
Previously: 49ers, Seahawks.