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Recent posts by Dan Arkush
The news could have been a lot worse in the wake of the Rams' painful season-opening 31-13 loss to the Eagles, as it appears the finger and ankle injuries suffered by former first-round draft picks Sam Bradford and Jason Smith, respectively, are not nearly as severe as initially feared. It also appears the Rams have dodged a deadly bullet in the case of workhorse RB Steven Jackson, who has a strained thigh that has been diagnosed as a "week to week" injury that probably will keep him on the sideline during the Rams' Monday-night visit to the Meadowlands to take on the Giants.
But the loss to the Eagles still took a mighty toll, particularly at the CB position. A Sunday-night MRI detected two fractures in the neck of Ron Bartell, which means it's quite possible the Rams have lost their most reliable corner for the remainder of the season. It also was not known at this writing whether or not Rams WR Danny Amendola had suffered a similar fate after dislocating his elbow in the fourth quarter in Week One, but the odds appear strong that the team's slot specialist will be sidelined for an extended period.
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While the Rams can breathe a bit easier knowing that Bradford should be able to overcome the nasty collision his right index finger had with the outstretched palm of Eagles DE Juqua Parker, there is no guarantee at all he will be able to play Monday night, even though he is saying he should be good to go. Performances in practice this week ultimately will tell the tale, but concern remains over an injury that could alter the all-important touch on Bradford's passes, which, quite frankly, were all over the place before he got hurt late in the season opener.
The advice in this corner would be for the Rams' hierarchy to exercise extreme caution with Bradford, who took every snap last season but had major durability concerns entering his rookie campaign. If he doesn't feel 100 percent right for the Giants, the Rams would be better off replacing him with backup A.J. Feeley, even though until Sunday Feeley had not thrown a pass since 2007. In the weak NFC West, the Rams could afford to start the season 0-2 if one week on the sideline helps assure Bradford's availability for the long haul.
As for Jackson, the Rams should be able to weather the storm sufficiently thanks to Cadillac Williams, who did an excellent job replacing Jackson against the Eagles, rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries and catching five passes for 49 yards. Daily team observers report that Williams has looked great since the moment he hit Rams Park, and GM Billy Devaney deserves kudos for signing both him and Jerious Norwood and providing the team with its best backfield depth in eons.
The team's CB situation is more than a little scary, however, considering that Bradley Fletcher, the Rams' other starting cornerback, has a sprained toe and is considered "day to day." Even before Bartell and Fletcher got hurt, the depth at cornerback left a lot to be desired.
Losing Amendola for an extended period is a major blow, also taking into account his kick-return chores. But at least in Amendola's case, there are plenty of warm bodies around to hopefully pick up the slack, with rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas at the top of the list. The Rams also could persevere without Smith for a while if need be, as Adam Goldberg always has been best-suited as a decent fill-in off the bench when need be. But let's not forget fellow starting OT Rodger Saffold's lower-leg ailment, which is also considered a "day to day" injury.
Suffice it to say, the Rams didn't catch any breaks at all in Week One.