(FootballStL) -- At this point in the year, no one really has any clue as to what a team is going to look like on the field. Even the worst of the worst organizations in the NFL can speak optimism since, obviously, nothing could possibly have happened to change their thoughts.
For the Rams this Thursday we will have some sort of a clue as to how all these new pieces will look. Now, of course, it won’t be until the regular season where we truly get a gauge on if these upgrades worked. But the preseason does provide at least a shred of evidence.\
At minimum, we get to see who gets the most repetitions in games among position battles where there’s no clear cut leader. For instance, who gets the majority of the carries early on offense? Will it be last year’s second round pick Isaiah Pead? How about Daryl Richardson? Rookie Zac Stacy anyone?
That’s a story line worth following, and noting, when the Rams find their way to Cleveland for their preseason debut in just three short days.
Others to pay attention to:
-- How are the wide receiver reps split up? Is Austin Pettis indeed going to start opposite Chris Givens and Tavon Austin (who will be in the slot)? Who will see more time early on with Sam Bradford, Stedman Bailey or Brian Quick? Or will those guys not see the field until Bradford is out? While the outcome of the game in utterly irrelevant, deciphering small clues provided by head coach Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is important.
--How do the new starting safeties T.J. McDonald and Darian Stewart look? Again, the outcome of the game is not note worthy but how individuals look can certainly be. Will McDonald get burned by speedy wide receivers and/or tight ends if they are sent down the field? Will he appear to be able to keep up? The safety position scares the living day lights out of me for 2013 to be honest.
--Will the Rams get out of the game healthy? Truthfully, everything else that occurs Thursday night in Cleveland means nothing next to this. The preseason is too long, everyone knows this. It doesn’t take four games for Sam Bradford and the starters to get ready for the season. They could easily do it by playing a full half in two games. The current setup is all about not getting hurt. Point blank. So, more than anything else, if the Rams come out of this initial game without anyone getting injured it’ll be a victory.