Thursday, August 30, 2012
Three things: Ravens-Rams
By Mike Sando
Three things to watch for Thursday night in the St. Louis Rams' final exhibition game, this one at home against Baltimore (7 p.m. ET):
1. The score. Wait, preseason scores are irrelevant, right? Yes, they are. But it's possible this game will serve as a partial exception. Rams coach Jeff Fisher might play his starters into the second half. I'll be watching to see how competitive the Rams appear overall, while still mindful that Fisher and staff will not be devising game plans the way they would during the regular season.
2. Bradford's comfort level. Quarterback Sam Bradford did not appear comfortable against Dallas last week. That could have been because the Cowboys were hitting him regularly. They even hit him with one of Bradford's own linemen. Let's see how comfortable Bradford appears in the face of pressure. "He is starting to remind me of David Carr," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said Thursday. "I’ve been a huge supporter. He is learning a new system, the offensive line is terrible. I get that. But he doesn't look confident. I don't like the way he is throwing the ball. Football Outsiders said I overrated Bradford. And if you look at his career, how many good games has he had? Really good games? He's had like none. I love the prospect, but at some point you can’t be a prospect any more." Bradford can't overcome those perceptions in one preseason game. Will he reinforce them?
3. Pead vs. Richardson. The lead-in reads like a court case. Fisher did provide a defense for second-round running back Isaiah Pead, noting that the blocking hasn't been there for him. Even so, seventh-round choice Daryl Richardson has looked better to this point in the preseason. Which one should emerge as the primary backup to Steven Jackson? Perhaps this game will return a verdict.