Friday, September 6, 2013
Morning Ram-blings: Ogletree's debut
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Much has been said and written this week and this preseason about what we'll see from Rams receiver/returner/all-purpose dynamo Tavon Austin when the real games actually start.
The excitement wrought by Austin's addition is understandable given his speed and game-breaking style. Somewhat lost in the shuffle has been the development of fellow Rams first-rounder Alec Ogletree.
Aside from a bit of a shining moment in the third preseason game in Denver, Ogletree hasn't been discussed much or, when he has, it's his struggles that have been pointed out more than his successes. Yes, Ogletree is like any rookie in that he's a work in progress.
Ben Frederickson of Fox Sports Midwest had a good look at how Ogletree has come along in the preseason and discusses the anticipated production of the talented rookie linebacker this season.
As the article points out, Ogletree had his share of rough patches in the preseason. In fact, aside from the tour de force of a second quarter he posted against the Broncos, Ogletree struggled in run support and in coverage. Former NFL coach and radio analyst Rick Venturi said Ogletree needed a GPS to find the ball such were his struggles in the first couple of preseason games.
The light seemed to come on a bit following his performance against the Broncos, and Ogletree played with more self-assurance thereafter. With only James Laurinaitis and Will Witherspoon providing any sort of experience at linebacker, much will be asked of Ogletree right from the start.
In fact, given Ogletree's starting role and the likelihood that he'll stay on the field all three downs, producing right away and performing consistently might actually be more important for Ogletree than Austin.
I.C.Y.M.I.: A quick roundup of yesterday's stories about the Rams here on ESPN.com. ... The Rams are again the youngest team in the league but they have no intention of making that an excuse should things go awry. ... While other NFC West teams have struggled with costly injuries in the preseason, the Rams have managed to make it through without anything serious to a major player. ... Receiver Chris Givens made some impressive strides on the field in the offseason, but the moves he made away from it are ultimately what could have him ready to step into a bigger role in 2013. ... The Rams have made it a point to build through the draft and develop their own. That's already starting to show in their current roster makeup.
Looking for a change of pace from the game previews, season predictions and all other things that go with the first weekend of the NFL season? Look not further than this fun piece from USA Today offering the five most important useless facts about the Rams.
Over at stltoday.com, the home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnists Bernie Miklasz and Bryan Burwell offered some opinions on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford heading into the season. Miklasz observed Bradford's more laid-back attitude heading into the first game; Burwell offered his takes via video.
Jim Thomas, the Post-Dispatch's beat writer, took a look at backup quarterback Kellen Clemens and how things changed from February when Rams coach Jeff Fisher indicated Austin Davis would be the backup to now with Clemens in the role.
Finally, some details on the contract of DE Eugene Sims.