It’s already technically Week 1, we’re less than 54-hours from kickoff of the first game of the 2013 NFL season. The St. Louis Rams have their 53-man roster pretty much set with plenty of new additions from 2012. The biggest factor is a new look in the backfield and a new receiving corps to go along with a new winning attitude.
The St. Louis Rams offense we’ve become accustomed to the past few seasons is gone. No more Steven Jackson, no more Danny Amendola injuries, no more Brandon Gibson and Greg Salas. Sam Bradford is back with his big contract though and will be handing off the ball to the committee backfield of Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy. Isaiah Pead had an opportunity before being suspended for Week 1 and rookie Benny Cunningham (Undrafted, Tennessee State) will look to make a name for himself. Bradford will have two new weapons to throw to with the rookie WR combo from West Virginia, Tavon Austin (1st Round) and Stedman Bailey (3rd Round). They will team up with youngsters Austin Pettis, Chris Givens and Brian Quick to form a young, talented receiving corps that should provide Bradford plenty of options. If it wasn’t enough, Jared Cook also comes to STL by way of Tennessee and provides a complement to Lance Kendricks at TE. They’ll find protection behind a stronger offensive line featuring new LT Jake Long who comes over from Miami and will team up with Scott Wells, Rodger Saffold, Harvey Dahl and rookie Barrett Jones (4th Round). Joe Barksdale and Shelley Smith will rotate in on snaps for depth.
On the opposite side of the ball will feature the typical 4-3 front we’ve seen in St. Louis including Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford inside at DT and Chris Long and Robert Quinn rushing outside at DE. Jermelle Cudjo, Eugene Sims and William Hayes will also see time up-front. Backing them up in the middle will be a tackle-concentrated linebacker corps featuring James Laurinaitis inside and rookie 1st-Rounder Alec Ogletree (Georgia) with veteran Will Witherspoon, who comes over from Tennessee. The fate of this defense lies in the secondary with corners Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins who will rep with Trumaine Johnson at the nickel spot. Quinton Pointer will rotate in with rookie Brandon McGee (5th Round) out of Miami. The vacant safety spots will be a test while Rodney McLeod and Darian Stewart will look to keep competition with Matt Giordano and rookie USC product T.J. McDonald (3rd Round).
With Special Teams, the Rams will employ Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein who will bring booming kicking power to the field and also John Hekker will take punting duties. Return duties will be split with Austin Pettis and Isaiah Pead, and just maybe Tavon Austin, too.