The Road to 53: early thoughts on Pettis, Salas and the Rams’ youth movement

Austin Pettis, preseason fashion plate. Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Austin Pettis has been loud in practice, quiet on gamedays so far in the preseason.

The writing is on the wall for the Rams’ rookie WRs.

Prior to yesterday’s game, Jim Thomas look at the Rams’ countdown to cutdown and wrote that both Salas and Pettis are on the bubble to make this team. CBS Sports beat reporter Ron Clements predicts that the Rams will keep 7 wideouts, but Pettis is not one of them.

Let’s take a second to consider what a draft failure it would be to have either one of these guys not make the team. For a team whose mantra was/is “build through the draft,” an idea that Billy Devaney has taken very serious since his arrival, missing on either one of this guys (or both) would be a shame.

Now, let’s take a second to consider that these guys have been pros for less than a month. Weren’t slow starts expected by rookies?

First, I’ll make the case for Salas. Besides, one glaring drop against Tennessee, I think the kid has played nicely. He took a pop pass for a gain of a 11. He had another catch underneath before that. I think he’s come on just fine after missing week one against Indy.

As for Pettis, there is less to be said. He’s been basically a nonfactor over the last four weeks. Pettis is a special teams contributor. He returned kicks, blocked punts and held field goals at Boise. I think the Rams owe it to the scouting staff to give the guy more than 4 weeks to prove himself.

Which brings me to my next point, and that is I do not think Danario Alexander makes this team.

I’m sure that burns a few Mizzou fans but it is the truth. Although I am not a Mizzou fan, I have found myself personally rooting for DX. I thought how can a guy lead the country in receiving yards in college if his knees were that bad? And to DX’s credit, he’s shown how. He’s a tough, tough kid. However personal feelings aside, how will the Rams keep him on the roster if he doesn’t contribute on special teams and his knee only allows him to go every other game or so?

More thoughts from this weekend

I think Rams fan often hold Jason Smith under a microscope that may be unfair. Let’s just go ahead and put the cards on the table. He’s has not and may never play up to his draft slot. We knew that the moment Rodger Saffold was moved into the starting role at left tackle. What’s done is done.

I bring this up because I know Ram-Nation had their “This guy is a bust moment” when Chiefs’ rookie Justin Houston flew past Smith for a hit on Bradford in the second quarter. Any offensive lineman knows it is the plays that do warrant your name being called by the TV announcer are the ones that you are least proud of.

While Houston (a guy who led Georgia in sacks the two years prior), should not have beat Smith like he did let me point out there were plenty of times where the TV announcer didn’t say his name. In particular, all of the first two drives when SJ39 was pounding the ball of the right side. He did an excellent job in the run game last night and with exception to the Houston play, I thought protected Bradford fairly well. I do believe he will continue to develop his pass pro.

From one first round pick to the next, Robert Quinn looked sharp last night. He was finally able to record a sack after a couple opportunities slipped away in the prior weeks. He also blocked a field goal last night. Although he went unblocked, still impressive to get through there and block. He also had a handful of hurries. He has also been a nice surprise in the run game. Perhaps, this raw talent has progressed faster than expected.

Why did Todd Haley go for the field goal? Just asking…

Just curious, do people still question the Lance Kendricks pick?

After the first quarter ended last night, my initial thought was someone get on the phone and try to get the Eagles game bumped up. The Rams were clicking on all cylinders and the Eagles have shown glaring weaknesses thus far. There is no doubt in my mind that Andy Reid will have them ready to go. Regardless, week one is the absolute perfect time to play the Eagles.

Now, on to Jacksonville. 4-0?