Game 2 of the Marcus Mariota era is tonight when Jeff Fisher and his St. Louis Rams come to Nissan Stadium to take on the Titans. The Rams are a team with a ton of talent that just hasn't been able to get the quarterback play they need in order to get to the next level. This offseason they made a trade to get Nick Foles. Is he the answer?
That is just one of the 5 questions I asked 3k of Turf Show Times leading up to tonight's contest:
1. Give us an update on where Todd Gurley is. Will he be ready to go for the regular season?
Without any official injury reports to classify where he's at in terms of progressing from out to doubtful to probable, it's tough to really know how far off he is. If we're going off of what Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher has said publicly, which is always risky for someone who's been known to say one thing and do another, Gurley's first appearance isn't coming anytime soon. Fish has already said Gurley won't play in the preseason and has alluded to keeping him out of the early portion of the regular season. Add in Fisher's penchant for delaying playing his rookies beyond expectation/anticipation (see: Greg Robinson and Tre Mason last year), and I wouldn't be surprised if Gurley doesn't see any game action until after the Rams' bye week in week 6.
2. How has Nick Foles looked so far? Is he the answer at QB?
I think his camp work has been more telling than the short spell in Oakland last Friday, and the early results are, well, fine. He's looked comfortable with his possession guys, and clicking with the quicker wideouts, chiefly Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, was always going to take more reps. I'd put it like this: there's nothing we've seen from him to provide immediate concerns that it's going to be unwelcome for Rams fans.
3. How does the fan base up there feel about Jeff Fisher? Is he in any danger of being on the hot seat if things don't go well this season?
Well, you have to bear in mind the pre-Fisher battering the Rams took. The Rams' five-year run from 2007-2011 was the worst five-year stretch of any team in NFL history. That's not hyperbole. So Rams fans were in a state of coming to terms with the dismay. I say that only because while Jeff Fisher hasn't turned in a winning record in his three years wit the Rams, it was so bad before he arrived that the near mediocre records the Rams have finished with mark a legitimate improvement. I do, though, think the fan base is now eager for more. The Rams haven't had a winning record since 2003. The excuses that you could roll out to as why are fading, if they haven't done so already. Fisher still has backing within the franchise administration, but the fan base isn't as supportive after three losing seasons.
4. Give us a guy to watch in this game that we haven't ever heard of?
There's a couple players either in the starting rotation or in the mix for regular season playing time early that are on the injury fringe, so I'm not sure if WR Brian Quick will be in the mix. The Rams have great depth at RB beyond Gurley with second-year Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. The Rams might have the best backup defensive ends in the league with Eugene Sims and William Hayes. One 2015 UDFA that I really liked in the Rams' first preseason game was Bradley Marquez. He's as athletic as advertised and could easily fit the backup role in how the Rams use Tavon Asutin.
5. What are your expectations for this team in 2015? Are they ready to be a contender?
Back in April, I pegged the Rams for a 8-7-1 season. I don't really have reason to change that yet. The draft didn't really change the course of the team in the short-term, and the only major injury thus far has been losing E.J. Gaines for the season at cornerback, a position of solid depth for the Rams. And it's not as if this is Jeff Fisher's first year. I expect some of what we've come to know. A slow start heading into the bye. A marked improvement as the team heads into the thick of the playoff race with just enough losses to take them out of the mix by week 16 or so. Asking me today, that's my prediction.
....................but as soon as the Rams win their first game, I'm willing to throw that out and buy into the idea that the Super Bowl is a reality. It's what I bring as a super-serious blogperson.
A big thanks to 3k for taking the time to answer the questions!
You can head over to TST for 3k's questions to me and my answers.