It's tough to fully evaluate a team when its third-string rookie quarterback is throwing to receivers who weren't on the roster when the regular season started, all while the starting right guard is drawing multiple 15-yard penalties for head butts and late hits.
These are the Rams of Week 14. And it showed during a 47-7 loss at Tennessee.
Perhaps most troubling for the team: Some key players aren't getting a chance to develop while the losses pile up.
The Rams likely do not have their long-term quarterback on the roster. That left sixth-round choice Keith Null, a rookie, to start against the Titans when injuries prevented Marc Bulger or Kyle Boller from playing. The experience was valuable for Null, but probably not for the Rams' future.
The offensive line should be building momentum at this point, but rookie first-round choice Jason Smith missed another game to a concussion, and right guard Richie Incognito landed on the bench after two more personal foul penalties. With left tackle Alex Barron probably gone after this season, left guard Jacob Bell and center Jason Brown were the only sure-fire 2010 starting linemen getting work -- and they're the ones who need it the least.
Second-round linebacker James Laurinaitis and fourth-round defensive tackle Darell Scott are getting extensive playing time. But the Rams remain without third-round cornerback Bradley Fletcher and fifth-round receiver Brooks Foster, both on injured reserve, while a return date for Smith remains unknown. Linebacker David Vobora, a seventh-round choice in 2008, left the game Sunday with an apparent knee injury.
There was a time several weeks ago when the Rams appeared to be making strides. That time has clearly passed.
Up next: a home game against the apparently rejuvenated Texans.