Colts To Test Rams In Opening Game Sunday
September 7, 2017
Ready of not, the Sean McVay era is about to begin for the Los Angeles Rams. The team will host the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon, September 10, at the Coliseum to open the 2017 NFL season. Rams Head Coach McVay and his coaching staff will be compelled to quickly instill a winning attitude and record due after a dismal 4-12 season under the previous coaching regime.
The Rams finished the preseason with a 2-2 record after losing at Green Bay, 24-10, last Thursday. The game's only considerations featured non-starters vying to secure a spot on the final 53-player roster. Two days later Rams General Manager Les Snead and McVay named their team... minus the services of their best defensive player, Aaron Donald, who is holding out for a better contract to date.
"Like we said, our message continues to remain the same, if he's (Donald) here, great, we'll accept him back with open arms, but in the meantime we've got to get ready to play a football game and we know the Colts are getting ready as well," said McVay on Monday.
"Yeah, I'm optimistic that we're going to continue to work to find a solution. That being said, if we're not able to, the game goes on Sunday at one o'clock, there's going to be a kickoff and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to come together as a team and see if we can come away with a W against a great opponent."
The Rams are fortunate to be facing a Colt team that will be without the services of their star quarterback, Andrew Luck, still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. That should increase the Rams' chances for an opening season victory as last season's ninth rated NFL defense will certainly pressure Colt backup quarterback Scott Tolzein.
Ram quarterback Jared Goff will be starting the eighth game of his career. Last season, under a compromised coaching situation he ranked at the bottom of the NFL quarterback ratings. He has already gained confidence and traction under McVay and new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. Goff showed promise with McVay's system versus the Oakland Raiders weeks ago but lapsed in his final preseason outing against the Chargers last week.
There were also few unexpected players who made the cut. Les Snead spoke about one those players during the Ram/Packer broadcast: "You know what's interesting, the great stories... let's take Dominique Hatfield on the field. It was rookie minicamp. We had signed a kid from UCLA and he failed his physical."
"So it's 10 p.m. We got practice at 8 a.m. and we need a corner for practice. So basically you go to: who is from the 2017 draft here in Los Angeles or at least within driving distance that can get here in about eight hours or ten hours or so. Guess what? He did it. He was living downtown, drove up and he's still here and made an interception last week... So it's those stories that are great."
Ram projected starters for Sunday's game against the Colts: Offense - Tavon Austin (WR), Tyler Higbee (TE), Andrew Whitworth (LT), Rodger Saffold (LG), John Sullivan (C), Jamon Brown (RG), Rob Havenstein (RT), Sammy Watkins (WR), Robert Woods (WR), Jared Goff (QB) Todd Gurley II (RB). Kicker – Greg Zuerlein. Punter – Johnny Hekker. Key backups – Cooper Kupp (WR), Pharoh Cooper (WR), Gerald Everett (TE).
Defense – Ethan Westbrooks (DE), Michael Brockers (NT), Tanzel Smart (DT), Robert Quinn (OLB), Connor Barwin (OLB), Alec Ogletree (LB), Mark Barron (LB), Trumaine Johnson (LCB), Kayvon Webster (RCB), Lamarcus Joyner (FS), Maurice Alexander (SS). Key backups – Nickell Robey-Coleman (CB), Morgan Fox (DE).
The rest of the Los Angeles Rams 53-player roster: Sean Mannion (QB), Brandon Allen (QB), Blake Countess (DB), Justin Davis (RB), Malcolm Brown (RB), Dominique Hatfield (CB), Cody Davis (S), Marqui Christian (S), John Johnson III (S), Jake McQuaide (LS), Samson Ebukam (OLB), Ejuan Price (OLB), Bryce Hager (LB), Corey Littleton (OLB), Darrell Williams (T), Andrew Donnal (T), Austin Blythe (C), J.J. Dielman (C), Quinton Jefferson (DT), Aaron Neary (C/G), Josh Reynolds (WR), Derek Carrier (TE), Tyrunn Walker (DT), Matt Longacre (DE), Connor Barwin (OLB).
Practice Squad – Paul McRoberts (WR), Isaiah Johnson (DB), Sam Rogers (FB), Cassanova McKinzy (OLB), Carlos Thompson (OLB), Jake Eldrencamp (C), Louis Trinca-Pasat (DT), Omarius Bryant (DT), Travis Wilson (TE). Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) – Lance Dunbar (RB). Reserve / Did Not Report – Aaron Donald (DT). Reserve / Injured – Bradley Marquez (WR), Lenard Tillery (RB), Josh Forrest (LB), Temarrick Hemingway (TE), Dominique Easley (DT), Nelson Spruce (WR). Reserve / Suspended – Troy Hill (CB), Michael Thomas (WR).
McVay: "There's an excitement. There's a level of urgency that's raised in the entire building and this is what everything is built toward, is really the regular season. Our guys have done a great job of utilizing the offseason program, training camp to put ourselves in a position to be ready to go on Sunday."