Another week of the preseason, another matchup that appears to be deceptively easy. The 33-10 win over the Colts has to be asterixed because Indianapolis barely tries to compete in August. Now the Rams face off against a Titans team in transition, one that lost 8 of its last 9 regular season games and now appears to be lining up denuded of its best offensive talent.
Earlier in the week, we pointed out that Chris Johnson's contract holdout would prevent him from taking the field. Now it appears that several of his supporting cast will be absent as well, according to a series of tweets from Nashville Tennessean beat writer Jim Wyatt.
Munchak said Javon Ringer and Barret Ruud likely out vs Rams
Also, no Kenny Britt. Munchak ruled him out for Rams on Wednesday
This turn of events leaves former Missouri Tiger Justin Gage as maybe the Titans' top offensive weapon on the field. Him or kicker Rob Bironas, maybe. Meanwhile, the Rams are getting healthier at their skill positions.
WR Donnie Avery made it through practice again and fellow WR Mike Sims-Walker also did some team work. Both likely to play against TEN.
RB @sj39 also got back into the action today though Spagnuolo says he "didn't open it up" but he's planning on playing.
G Jacob Bell was held out of practice but he's expected to be ready to go Saturday night, barring a setback.
Add TE Mike Hoomanawanui and WR Greg Salas to the mix as well, both coming back from injuries to enter pitched position battles. Much has been said and written already about the Rams' WR situation, which is the battle to watch and speculate on. But Hoomanawanui is also battling to secure his role as a first-rotation tight end capable of working alongside Lance Kendricks, and pushing veteran Billy Bajema into a backup role. His health, not his ability, is the only obstacle.
It also appears as though the Titans are preparing to start the season with Matt Hasselbeck as the starter, rather than try to accelerate Jake Locker ahead of him. Which fits the plan of signing Hasselbeck in the first place, especially considering Locker's still-raw tools and the super-abbreviated offseason of work.
Munchak said qbs will work in same order vs Rams -- Hasselbeck, Locker, Smith and Ratliff.
Munchak said Hasselbeck's work will likely be doubled though
The Rams are also looking to double the workload of their starters on offense.
Spagnuolo says he'd like to get the first string through the majority of the first half.
While the absence of skill players make this look like a second consecutive "soft" challenge for the Rams, Tennessee has traditionally been one of the toughest physical matchups to play against. With less flash on the outsides, expect the team to bring more banging in the trenches and plenty of attempted pressure on Bradford and the Rams quarterbacks.