EARTH CITY, Mo. -- When the groundbreaking, earth-shattering announcement of the 2014 NFL preseason schedule came out last week, I just so happened to be on vacation.
But let's face it, the NFL draft is still much further away than any of us would like so any morsel of information coming out now is a sort of an oasis in the desert. The preseason schedule is probably more like the last drop of water in the canteen than a full-on oasis but there are still some interesting things to note from the Rams' exhibition slate.
For those that missed it last week, the Rams will play two preseason games at home to open the schedule, hosting New Orleans and Green Bay in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. From there, the Rams close out the preseason with trips to Cleveland and Miami.
Some quick thoughts on the quartet of preseason contests:
It won't have the same feel as a regular-season matchup would but new Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams gets to see the Saints in the first week. Williams, of course, was involved in the bounty scandal while in the same role with the Saints which led to his one-year suspension from the league. It also cost him the Rams' defensive coordinator job and landed him in Tennessee for a year before he ultimately landed back in St. Louis this offseason. It won't be the same atmosphere as a regular-season game but in the preseason, any storyline to add spice is welcome.
There's nothing on that level in the second week against the Packers but I think it's worth noting that this is the second consecutive season the Rams are welcoming Green Bay to town in the preseason. It's something the Rams have pushed for and it's actually a really smart move on the part of the marketing/ticket sales group. Preseason games are difficult to sell to the public but the Packers have a rabid fan base in the St. Louis area (and in most places) so why not throw them on the schedule knowing that Green Bay fans will come see their team in just about any sort of setting? It's different in the regular season when you don't want opposing fans taking over your building but in the preseason, any ticket sold beyond the season-ticket holders is a small victory.
Also for the second consecutive year and third time in five years, the Rams travel to Cleveland for a preseason meeting. This time, it's the third preseason game, the one most equate as being closest to a "dress rehearsal." The Rams opened the preseason there last year in the game that saw offensive lineman Rodger Saffold suffer a shoulder injury in his first exposure to right tackle. That's the same shoulder injury that eventually left Oakland failing him on a physical and allowed Saffold to return to the Rams.
The Rams haven't played a preseason game in Miami since 2006 and will close the preseason there this year. It's the longest of the two preseason trips for the team.
Exact dates will be released at a later date but we do know that Week 1 will be played between Aug. 7-10, Week 2 between Aug. 14-18, Week 3 between Aug. 21-24 and Week 4 on Aug. 28.