Morning Ram-blings: Dunbar returning

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Since the St. Louis Rams released linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Sept. 3, it's been suspected that he'd make his way back into the fold after his four-game suspension for violation of the league's policy on performance enhancing substances was up.

Monday night, a league source confirmed to ESPN that Dunbar would re-sign with the Rams on Tuesday for what essentially amounts to what remained on his deal minus the first four games of the season.

According to league rules, Dunbar cannot be reinstated until the final game of week 4 is completed. Earlier Monday night, Dunbar tweeted a photo of his plane ticket taking him from his home in Florida back to St. Louis.

Not long after that tweet, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said on his weekly radio show that the Rams would be speaking to Dunbar soon after the Monday night game between Miami and New Orleans was over.

"We will be talking to Dunbar after the last play is made tonight. That is when we are allowed to talk to him."

A reunion with Dunbar comes at a good time for a Rams team that has been gashed in the run game the past two weeks. Dunbar's trademark intensity and emotion would also be a welcome addition to the locker room. Will Witherspoon, the man who replaced Dunbar, is dealing with a hamstring injury this week.

At the time of Dunbar's suspension, Rams coach Jeff Fisher expressed his disappointment in the player who finished second on the team in tackles in 2012. In no small part because of the need for salary cap space, the Rams parted ways with Dunbar while he served his suspension. Soon after, Fisher made it clear that bringing Dunbar back when the suspension was over was a strong possibility.

Getting Dunbar back won't be some sort of magic potion for the defense, after all he's likely to be more of a two-down linebacker (and possibly less depending on the opponent). Still, adding Dunbar's toughness and leadership should help the defense regain whatever swagger might have vanished in the first four weeks.


In case you missed any of our Rams' stories from yesterday, here they are in a nice little package. ... After the Ram-blings, we provided our weekly look at the Washington Redskins, how they fared and how it could help the Rams' draft position with their first-round pick in 2014. ... From there, we took a first glance at Jacksonville and how, despite the large line Vegas has put out shouldn't be a sign that the Rams can take anyone for granted at this point. ... We finished the day with a look at the All-22 film from the Dallas and San Francisco games with a glance at the offense and one more at the defense.


It's a topic I plan to address this week when it comes to rookie receiver Tavon Austin but SI.com's Chris Burke broke down the film to illustrate the team's struggles at getting Austin going.

Burke also recently posted a (very) early guess at a 2014 mock draft. He has the Rams drafting sixth and 15th and taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews with Washington's pick at six and Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley at 15. If either of the Rams' picks are high enough to take Matthews, I expect that will be a popular pre-draft mock pick given Fisher's history with the Matthews family and the skill of the young Matthews.

The guys at Turf Show Times lay out the ways in which quarterback Sam Bradford's career is on a similar trajectory to the signal caller he replaced, Marc Bulger.