EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers play their second preseason games Saturday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET. Here are three things to watch for from the Rams' end:
1. Bradford's return: Quarterback Sam Bradford hasn't played in an NFL game for exactly 300 days after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament last October. But after an extensive rehab, Bradford will play against the Packers. For how long remains to be seen. Coach Jeff Fisher indicated Thursday that Bradford would play about a quarter.
Bradford has looked healthy and taken all of the reps with the first-team offense in training camp but he has yet to take a hit. He said this week he isn't as concerned about that as others but he'll be happy simply to get it out of the way and get back on the field.
2. Sorting the secondary: The Rams were without three of their top cornerbacks last week against the Saints but it looks like they'll get Trumaine Johnson and Brandon McGee back against Green Bay. Janoris Jenkins' status is more up in the air after sitting last week and again in practice most of this week. He did practice Thursday but Fisher was uncertain whether he'd play.
That should mean plenty of opportunities for the Rams to take a long look at the safeties and cornerbacks vying for roster spots. Rookie E.J. Gaines was a standout last week in making the most of his increased opportunity and he figures to get more work this week as he continues building his case for a spot. Behind Jenkins, Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner and McGee, the Rams have plenty of opportunities for players like Gaines, Darren Woodard, Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson to battle for what is likely only one or two more spots.
The same applies to safety, where starters T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod are entrenched as starters and rookie Maurice Alexander is also probably safe. But Cody Davis struggled last week and could use a rebound performance in his efforts to fend off the likes of Matt Daniels and Christian Bryant.
3. Cleaning up mistakes: Like almost every team in the league at this time of year, the Rams struggled in the preseason opener with tackling and penalties, among other basic fundamentals. Missed tackles are par for the course in the preseason opener since it's the first time most teams tackle live, but that doesn't mean it won't be important for the Rams to fix those miscues as the preseason goes on. That doesn't mean they'll be perfect, but the expectation has to be improvement. Part of that improvement has to come from the linebacker corps. Beyond the starters, the Rams have no experienced depth, and Ray-Ray Armstrong and Phillip Steward struggled against the Packers.
As for the penalties, Fisher attributes them to young players who won't make the roster. While that's true, it's still something his team needs to work on after finishing second in the league in infractions a year ago.