Friday, August 30, 2013
Rams' rookie review: Stacy gets long look
By Nick Wagoner
As the bulk of their starters sat out Thursday night's preseason finale against Baltimore, it was a busy night for many of the Rams rookies. Here's a look at how much the each member of the draft class played, and how they fared in their opportunities.
WR Tavon Austin, first round, No. 8 overall: Austin didn’t sit out completely like the rest of the projected starters, but made no more than a cameo with eight snaps on offense and one on special teams. He was targeted three times and made three catches for 26 yards. The only punt return he dropped back for was booted out of bounds.
LB Alec Ogletree, first round, No. 30 overall: One of the busiest rookies, Ogletree played 25 defensive snaps and four on special teams. He finished with two tackles in unofficial pressbox statistics. Ogletree needed all the reps he could get during this preseason and played more snaps than any defender during the exhibition slate.
S T.J. McDonald, third round, No. 71 overall: McDonald played a dozen snaps and another on special teams as one of the few regulars to make the start. He made one tackle in unofficial pressbox statistics. Progress was evident in McDonald’s first preseason, and he nailed down a starting spot.
WR Stedman Bailey, third round, No. 92 overall: Bailey continued to get steady work, playing 22 snaps on offense and four on special teams. Bailey had three targets and made two catches for 38 yards. He was a bit shaky on the balls he caught, more so than he had been throughout preseason, but still managed to haul in a couple catches. He showed some willingness on special teams, leading the charge on punt coverage once.
OL Barrett Jones, fourth round, No. 113 overall: Jones continued to get extensive work as the Rams try to get him up to speed, playing 57 snaps on offense and six more on special teams. Jones seemed to be a bit more comfortable than he’s been in the previous three games. He’s going to make the roster, no doubt about that, but it will be interesting to see if the Rams feel good enough about his state of readiness to part ways with Tim Barnes, who plays a similar role.
CB Brandon McGee, fifth round, No. 149 overall: McGee is nursing some sort of unknown injury and didn’t play Thursday night. Last week against Denver, McGee played one play on special teams and none defensively. It doesn’t appear that he’s got a serious ailment, but until we know the extent of it, his status for Week 1 remains in doubt.
RB Zac Stacy, fifth round, No. 160 overall: Seemingly healthy and ready to go for the first time in the preseason, Stacy got his first extensive work of the exhibition season. He played 25 snaps on offense, finishing with 37 yards on 11 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run. There wasn’t a ton of room to work, but Stacy’s short-yardage and goal-line ability might be enough to garner chances in those situations when the regular season comes.
Undrafted Rookie Roundup: Two undrafted rookies that have made positive impressions all along showed up again Thursday night -- running back Benny Cunningham and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong. … Cunningham played 18 snaps on offense, 12 on special teams and was the sharpest of the team’s backs. He had eight carries for 76 yards and likely solidified a roster spot. … Armstrong was active again at linebacker and on special teams, playing 30 snaps on the former and 20 on the latter. He had another big hit and finished with a tackle and pass defended. … End Gerald Rivers made one final push to make the final roster, leading the team in tackles with six and tossing in a sack, three tackles for loss and a hurry in a defense-high 61 snaps. … It remains to be seen whether it will be enough, but cornerback Darren Woodard was sticky in coverage again on his 57 snaps before he left the game with an apparent hamstring issue. If nothing else, Woodard showed enough in the final two preseason games to merit practice squad consideration.