Rams' Long might always battle expectations

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo wasn't exaggerating when he said Chris Long's contributions extend beyond the statistical shutout he suffered Sunday against the 49ers.

Long Long did cause the problems that allowed teammate Larry Grant to get a sack.

Long does disrupt plays on occasion. He finds the ball. He makes tackles. He's simply not as dynamic as people expect a No. 2 overall draft choice to be.

My point: The Rams would be bragging about Long if he had been a third-round pick. They're defending him because he was the second overall choice and James Hall is starting. Expectations might always dog Long, same as they dog Cardinals right tackle Levi Brown, chosen fifth overall in 2007.

It's not their fault teams valued them so highly.