Three things: Chiefs-Rams

August, 18, 2012
8/18/12
1:00
PM ET
Three things to watch for Saturday night in the St. Louis Rams' second exhibition game, this one at home against Kansas City (8 p.m. ET):

1. First-team execution. The Rams lost 38-3 in their exhibition opener, the largest margin of defeat in a preseason game since the team moved to St. Louis for the 1995 season. That was not good, obviously, but preseason outcomes aren't nearly as important as how the starters execute when given a chance to play. The Rams moved the ball pretty well early in the game against Indianapolis. I'll be watching for progress on that front, specifically on third down. Can the starting offense finish a drive in the end zone? How the offensive tackles play will remain in focus.

2. Rookie RB rebound. The Rams expect rookie second-round choice Isaiah Pead to provide a change of pace, and eventually more, for starting running back Steven Jackson. Pead struggled early in his preseason debut. He fumbled. He contributed to a botched handoff. Pead is better than that. Let's see how he handles the mechanics of the position, and whether he finds any running room.

3. Pass defense. The Rams gave up very little on the ground, especially early, during their opener against the Colts. Indy had 13- and 9-yard runs right before halftime, when those runs were inconsequential. It was the Rams' pass defense that had problems against Andrew Luck, despite some early pressure by defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Was Indy game-planning to make a prized rookie QB look good? Rams coach Jeff Fisher indicated that might have been the case. Either way, the Rams will be looking for some first-team progress against the pass. They'll be looking to see whether Craig Dahl or Darian Stewart stands out for the right reasons at strong safety. Dahl, battling Stewart for the starting job, was late in support against one of Luck's touchdown passes.

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