Regular season football in finally back. The Rams have their first game on Sunday, taking on the Indianapolis Colts at home. This is a big game for the team as they look to kick off the Sean McVay era on a good note. In order for the team to do so everyone will have to do play well, but certain players in particular will need to succeed at a higher level.
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Quarterback Jared Goff
The Colts secondary is depleted due to injury, with their best player Vontae Davis out for Sunday. This will likely open up opportunities for Goff to throw the ball and make big plays down the field. He is one of the biggest question marks going into this season for the Rams, but has flashed great potential throughout the preseason in the Rams new offense. Hopefully the presence of new coach Sean McVay will allow Goff to thrive. Davis’ absence opens a big opportunity for the Rams in the pass game, Goff needs to get the ball to his receivers.
Offensive Lineman Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein
Brown and Havenstein make up the right side of the Rams offensive line. This, unfortunately, is where the Rams have struggled. These struggles have been both last year and in preseason. Both players are entering their third seasons in the league, drafted the same season under the Jeff Fisher regime. Havenstein was solid his rookie year, very strong in pass protection and also performing well in the run. Brown has seemed lost throughout his short NFL career. Early this offseason the Rams attempted to switch Havenstein to guard and Brown to tackle, that did not work. They are both back at their original positions. Todd Gurley was significantly more successful running the ball to the left than the right in the preseason. Hopefully this will correct itself, or the Rams will quickly become one-dimensional. It all begins with Brown and Havenstein.
Defensive Tackle Tanzel Smart
Smart was, somewhat surprisingly, listed as a starter on the Rams first official regular season depth chart. Smart’s presence in run defense will be very important and he will look to provide some pressure in the pass game as well. However, the reason that he is a key player is his inexperience. Smart must do his best to not look out of place in the fast-paced NFL game.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster
Webster will be playing his first game with the Rams on Sunday. The veteran cornerback was signed as a free agent this offseason, but was unable to make it to game action all preseason. Webster came from Denver along with new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, which proves Phillips’ confidence in him. He was given the starting job opposite Trumaine Johnson almost upon his arrival in Los Angeles, but has yet to demonstrate it on the field. Webster’s performance in the secondary will be important, it will prevent the Colts from having a weaker side of the field to throw to.