2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Rams subs rally to beat Ravens subs 24-21

By R.B. FALLSTROM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:15

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The preseason finale showed the Baltimore Ravens' opponents nothing.

Coach John Harbaugh used none of his starters, and even let Joe Flacco and Ray Rice skip the trip for a 24-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

The Super Bowl champions were already in regular-season mode, leaving plenty of playing time for hopefuls fighting for roster spots. Rams coach Jeff Fisher used a handful of his first-stringers, including both first-round picks, but none of them for too long. He told everybody else two hours before game-time that they'd be getting the night off.

Typically, Fisher has given everyone playing time in Week 4, but he noted it's a ``new world.''

They were looking ahead, too.

``It feels pretty good for it to be over with. They (preseason games) don't really count,'' said cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who saw limited action. ``It all counts now, so you got to be ready to roll.''

The Ravens (2-2) open the NFL season on Thursday night at Denver, while the Rams (1-3) will be at home next Sunday against Arizona.

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Here are five things we know about the Rams from the preseason:

FISHER'S GUYS: Entering Fisher's second season, the Rams' roster overhaul has been drastic. There's about a dozen holdovers from failed regimes, and it'll again be one of the NFL's youngest teams. A few players have been simply too good to show the door: middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, defensive end Chris Long and quarterback Sam Bradford.

WIN NOW: Expectations are increased after the additions of free agents Jared Cook and Jake Long and what appears to be a strong draft class. The NFC West is stacked but the Rams were 4-1-1 in the division, and Bradford could be ready to make a leap in his second season with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. ``I think obviously we are much improved at the skill position group just in the sense that we've got a lot more speed,'' Bradford said.

BRADFORD'S BACKUP: Both players seeking the Rams' second-string quarterback job played well in the finale. Veteran Kellen Clemens played his strongest game despite breaking his nose, and second-year player Austin Davis threw two touchdown passes, one for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. Fisher wasn't tipping his hand, but joked that Clemens ``was a little worried about his modeling career after football.''

KID STUFF: The Robert Griffin III trade keeps paying off. Surplus picks from the deal with Washington emboldened general manager to trade up for wide receiver Tavon Austin this year. Austin and fellow first-rounder Alec Ogletree will start, two rookies started on defense last year and they've still got the Redskins' 2014 first-rounder in their pocket.

VANDY DANDY: Rams fifth-rounder Zac Stacy bid to nail down the backup running back job, showing grit on a 1-yard scoring run. St. Louis traded its last two draft picks to get Stacy, the Vanderbilt career leading rusher. Isaiah Pead is suspended for Week 1 and didn't help himself when he fumbled the opening kickoff, his second giveaway of the preseason.

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And five things we know about the Ravens:

CHAMPS RE-MADE: The Ravens had more than their share of comings and goings in the offseason, saying goodbye to starters Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams, and hello to Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Daryl Smith and Michael Huff.

FLACCO'S CHALLENGE: Joe Flacco has a new six-year, $120.6 million contract but must adjust to losing two of his favorite targets. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded after refusing to take a pay cut and tight end Dennis Pitta could be out for the year with a dislocated and fractured hip.

NICE SHOW: Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam, second on the depth chart behind James Ihedigbo, has had a strong preseason and was among the early standouts in the finale with a fumble recovery and four tackles in the first quarter. It's expected he'll quickly become part of the rotation in a new-look secondary.

REPLACING RAY: For the first time in their 18-year existence, Lewis isn't manning middle linebacker. Daryl Smith, who signed a free agent deal in June, is the veteran replacement. He's a sure tackler entering his 10th season and could help provide some of the veteran presence the Ravens lost.

LAST LINE: The second-largest challenge for the Ravens is moving on without Reed on the back end. Free agent pickup Michael Huff, who played every game for Oakland last year, will take on that unenviable task.

---

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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