By Josh Kipnis
Two years after a 1-15 record, the St. Louis Rams were hoping to make 2011 a memorable year with their first playoff berth since 2004. They probably aren’t saying the same thing after the NFL’s opening weekend.
The Rams enter Week 2 of the season with question marks at five different starting positions.
Running back Steven Jackson had a promising start to the season when he busted through the Eagles defense for a 47-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, the great play had a bitter ending as Jackson limped back to the sidelines favoring his right leg. He would carry the ball one more time before leaving the game early with a strained right quad. Jackson is already listed as “out” for next week’s matchup against the New York Giants.
Another player unable to finish the game was quarterback Sam Bradford. The NFL’s 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year left in the fourth quarter after his throwing hand collided with an opponent’s helmet. Team doctors suspected the worst – nerve damage to his right index finger. Fans, however, can finally take a sigh of relief as reports have indicated the finger is simply bruised.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about cornerback Ron Bartell. Bartell was one of the few Rams to play the entire game, but the news that followed afterwards was devastating. A MRI indicated Bartell suffered two fractures in his neck and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Cornerback could be the biggest problem for the Rams with fellow starter Bradley Fletcher listed as day-to-day with a sprained toe.
The last player to suffer an injury was wide receiver Danny Amendola. The Rams’ 2010 leader in receiving yards and touchdowns, dislocated his elbow in Sunday’s game. It is still up in the air whether or not he will need surgery, in which case Amendola’s season would likely come to an end.
Plagued by injuries in Week 1, the Rams, who play Monday night against the Giants, could not be happier with the extra day of rest their players will receive.
With the injuries piling up after Week 1, it seems that the Rams’ hope of making it back to the playoffs may have to wait yet another year.