Thursday, August 29, 2013
Morning Ram-blings: hiding Austin?
By Nick Wagoner
Good morning and welcome to the first edition of Morning Ram-blings, which will serve as a sort of Rams-only version of Mike Sando's Around the NFC West. We'll look at some of the coverage around the web from yesterday and offer a little commentary along the way.
It's no secret that the Rams want to keep their plans for Tavon Austin under wraps until the regular-season opener Sept. 8. Coach Jeff Fisher went on the Jim Rome radio show and was asked what St. Louis has in mind for Austin.
As he often does, Fisher offered a non-answer that actually gave a clue on the fact that Austin figures to be prominently involved in a lot of what the Rams do this season.
At West Virginia, Austin was used as at multiple receiver spots, running back, punt returner and kick returner. Fisher has acknowledged that Austin will be the team's punt returner and he'll obviously play in the slot at receiver. Beyond that, anything else he does will only be limited by the imagination of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. An eager and somewhat anxious fanbase awaits the unveiling.
Right here, we dug deep into using our crystal ball yesterday with the unveiling of NFL Nation. Here in our new digs on the Rams blog, we started with my prediction of a 9-7 finish and a quick breakdown of how the Rams get there. ... We followed that with a marathon chat session, hitting on a variety of topics. ... And then roster breakdowns, with full 53-man roster predictions for the defense and special teams as well as the offense. ... Finally, I took a look at a six-pack of players who could help cement roster spots in the final preseason game tonight against Baltimore.
In the Insider realm here on ESPN.com, colleague Brent Sobleski wrote about kick returner Marc Mariani and the potential for his release . Sobleski, using quotes from a TitansInsider.com article, speculates that Mariani could end up in St. Louis given his connection to Fisher. Right now, the Rams don't necessarily have a solid option as a kick returner. If Mariani came available and Fisher believed he'd be a fit, it would make some logical sense given the need for help.
Over at stlouisrams.com, Fisher and general manager Les Snead did a live chat of sorts with season-ticket-holders hosted by play-by-play man Steve Savard. Of note, Fisher mentioned the Rams might carry "one, two, maybe three more than you ordinarily keep" on the offensive line. I projected eight with the possibility of nine, but if what Fisher said holds true, the Rams could keep as many as 10 or 11. Fisher and Snead hit on a variety of topics in about 30 minutes of conversation.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat took a deeper look at the Rams' backup quarterback situation, especially second-year signal-caller Austin Davis. This is a situation that remains unresolved heading into the preseason finale. I'll get into it more later in What to Watch, but so far, the backup-quarterback spot looks like potential trouble for the Rams should it become an issue this season.