Sunday, August 12, 2012
Three things: Rams-Colts
By Mike Sando
Three things to watch for Sunday in the St. Louis Rams' preseason opener at Indianapolis, scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m. ET:
1. Isaiah Pead's debut. Starting running back Steven Jackson doesn't need much work. Getting Pead ready for the regular season has to be a priority. The Rams would like him to emerge as a change-of-pace threat with the potential to supplement Jackson's usual 1,000-plus yards with 400-500 yards of his own. That was the model for No. 2 running backs when the Rams' new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, was with the New York Jets. Pead has shown promise in camp. He appears talented. But the second-round choice from Cincinnati missed organized team activities thanks to a college calendar that prevented him from reporting as early as most rookies could join their teams. Pead figures to need the reps. He could also be a candidate to return kickoffs.
2. Dueling No. 1 overall QBs. The Colts' Andrew Luck will get most of the attention as the top player chosen in 2012. Much has changed for the Rams since they made Sam Bradford the top pick in 2010, but the team still expects great things from him. How well will the Rams protect Bradford? Will Bradford develop a quick rapport with any of the team's young receivers, notably second-round choice Brian Quick and fourth-rounder Chris Givens? Will he appear as confident and lively in a game situation as he has appeared during camp?
3. Jenkins' impact. Second-round choice Janoris Jenkins has impressed the Rams with his athletic ability and feel for the game during the early stages of camp. Coach Jeff Fisher has come right out and said he expects Jenkins to become a top cornerback. Teammates, including veteran corner Cortland Finnegan, have pointed to Jenkins as an impact player already. There are no guarantees we'll see evidence of that in a preseason environment. But if Jenkins is indeed going to become a playmaking force right away, why not get things going against the most decorated college quarterback in recent memory? Jenkins also has ability as a return specialist.