Rams: 'Play the young guys! Wait, we already are'

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The premise: 'Tis the season when disappointed NFL fans call for their teams to take a longer look at young talent on the roster.

The reality: Teams generally do not have a long list of promising players sitting on their benches.

The Rams: We take a quick look at the 20 youngest players on the Rams' roster. Nine started in Week 13.

  1. David Vobora, LB, 22: Made his first NFL start in Week 13 and fared better than expected.

  2. Antonio Pittman, RB, 22: Injuries forced him into the lineup, but Pittman was effective only sporadically.

  3. Quinton Culberson, LB, 23: Opened the season as the starter, lost his job and then got it back through injury.

  4. Chris Chamberlain, LB, 23: Contributing on special teams.

  5. Derek Stanley, WR, 23: The Rams are playing him in the return game. Stanley had an 80-yard touchdown grab against the Cardinals, one of five receptions this season.

  6. Chris Long, DE, 23: Starting and making strides as the season progresses. Already a quality player.

  7. John Greco, OL, 23: Played extensively at right guard in Week 13 and held up better in pass protection than run blocking.

  8. Larry Grant, LB, 23: Signed from the 49ers' practice squad as insurance.

  9. Keenan Burton, WR, 24: Has nine receptions for 124 yards and projects as a potential starter in 2009.

  10. Donnie Avery, WR, 24: Has 35 catches for 499 yards and projects as a likely starter for 2009 and beyond.

  11. Adam Carriker, DT, 24: Starting and could use another big body next to him on the interior defensive line.

  12. Jonathan Wade, CB, 24: The Rams are still waiting for him to develop.

  13. Roy Schuening, G, 24: The rookie is strictly a backup at this point.

  14. Clifton Ryan, DT, 24: High-effort tackle has started nine games but might be better as part of a rotation.

  15. Joe Klopfenstein, TE, 25: Underachieving tight end hasn't justified draft status.

  16. Daniel Fells, TE, 25: Signed on an emergency basis after the Rams lost Randy McMichael to a season-ending injury.

  17. Steven Jackson, RB, 25: Productive when he plays, the franchise running back has had trouble staying healthy.

  18. Richie Incognito, OL, 25: Hot-headed starter has incurred the wrath of referees and fans, but Incognito remains a starter.

  19. Eric Bassey, DB, 25: Projects as a special-teams player.

  20. Victor Adeyanju, DL, 25: The Rams like what he brings to the defense, particularly against the run.

Fourteen of the Rams' youngest 28 players are starting. If you're looking for the Rams to play more of the young guys, you're essentially talking about Greco, Bassey, Grant, Chamberlain and Schuening from the above list. The others are playing, for better or worse.

Previously: 49ers, Seahawks.