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3 Things To Look For: Rams Vs Broncos

Tim Godfrey
Coty Sensabaugh is fighting to earn a starting corner spot. But despite his tight coverage, he has shown he is a liability against favorable targets and deep passes. | Photo Credit: USA Today - Sports

The Los Angeles Rams enter their third week of the preseason 2-0, which if preseason meant anything, would be a good thing.

But, sadly, it does not. The only thing that matters is the team’s progress or regress. So far, the Rams appeared to have progressed, albeit in a very small manner.

There are still plenty of questions that need to be addressed.


Will Mannion make another appearance?

It’s a definite that rookie quarterback Jared Goff will see the field during Saturday’s game against Denver. This appearance will follow a longer appearance from Case Keenum. Third week of the preseason is usually when the starters play longer.

But what about Sean Mannion?

Mannion made his 2016 debut in spectacular fashion two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys. He led the team on the comeback trail and sealed the win in the final minutes of the game. Since then, he’s been relatively quiet and out of sight.


Rams want Goff to improve against Broncos

Goff had a rough introduction to the NFL in week one of the preseason when he turned over the ball after getting pummeled by Dallas linebacker Derek Akunne. The following week was slightly better, but Goff was slow to start the game and could not getting anything going on his first drive of the game.

In fact, Goff turned the ball over again after tripping over the feet of his own lineman and fumbled the football.

This week, Goff is expected to take a big step forward and continue his progression, head coach Jeff Fisher said the Los Angeles Times.

“Getting rid of the football, being decisive, making adjustments on the line of scrimmage — all those little subtle things,” Fisher said.


How concerning is the Rams’ secondary?

The Rams are a little past the halfway point, so the panic button should not be pushed, yet. But I suggest fans remain on standby.

Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are gone, and their absence is apparent.

Jenkins is being replaced by a committee in EJ Gaines, LaMarcus Joyner, and Coty Sensabaugh. Gaines is the favorite to start, but nothing is set in stone, especially when it comes to Gaines, who is coming back from an injury that sidelined him all of 2015.

Gaines rookie season, in 2014, set him apart from the rest of the pack and he was the favorite to start opposite Jenkins in 2015 before he was injured, which Trumaine Johnson earned and held on to throughout the season.

But the competition for Gaines isn’t much of a threat. Sensabaugh and Joyner have been the most disappointing defensive players this preseason. If anything, they are only helping Gaines’ case for the starting role. Sensabaugh, despite his tight coverage, has shown he is a liability against favorable targets and deep throws and Joyner oversteps his coverage, allowing for big plays.

Even when the quarterback is staring down a receiver, like what Alex Smith did against the Rams last week, the two corners cannot seem to break up the pass. Could Joyner and Sensabaugh just have had bad games on consecutive weeks? These next few weeks will answer that question.

But until then, the Rams have no definitive answer at cornerback opposite Johnson. At this point, the Rams can only deal with 'what if's'.

If Gaines can stay healthy and find that 2014 form, the Rams might be in good position. If not, then the defense will be in trouble.

Tim Godfrey is a Featured Analyst who covers the Los Angeles Rams for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on Twitter @MrTimGodfrey!

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Will be interesting to see what the Rams do with Mannion. From what I've heard, Goff is nowhere near to being ready and could even be demoted to third string. This could leave the door open for Mannion for the No. 2 quarterback job in LA. It's interesting cause Goff is the definite future of the franchise and yet both Keenum and Mannion could start the season ahead of him on the depth chart. 

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