The news from Rams Park on Sunday wasn’t all bad. It just seemed that way.
Mixed in with confirmation that quarterback Sam Bradford re-injured his surgically repaired left knee in the first quarter of Saturday night’s 33-14 victory over the Browns in Cleveland and will be lost for the season, Rams coach Jeff Fisher pointed out that three other players who went down with first-half ankle injuries — offensive lineman Rodger Saffold and defensive tackles Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford — are not expected to miss significant time.
“All three can potentially play this Thursday night,” Fisher said.
And the news about cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was carted off in the second quarter with a knee injury, was more promising than anticipated.
“We got good news, considering the mechanism of what happened to Trumaine Johnson,” Fisher added, “We’ll miss Trumaine anywhere from four to six weeks with an MCL sprain,’’ Fisher said. The injury does not require surgery.
The young Rams secondary features some options, including second-year player Brandon McGee and rookies Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines.
“They’ve been coming on,’’ Fisher said. “We’ve got a good group, a good solid group there. We’ll be OK there until Tru comes back.’’
Asked who might replace Johnson at cornerback opposite fellow third-year pro Janoris Jenkins, Fisher did not tip his hand.
“Brandon, E.J., or Lamarcus, it’s a good group to pull from,” he said.
ROBINSON OFF THE BENCH
Greg Robinson, the No. 2 overall selection in May’s draft, did not start in Cleveland, but the 6-foot-5, 332-pounder from Auburn did lead the team with 58 snaps.
“I wanted to get Rodger some time early,” Fisher explained. “We knew that Greg was going to play both positions (guard and tackle), so we got Rodger in there early and (right guard) Davin (Joseph) is playing well.
“Greg played pretty well. Again, he got plenty of snaps. He’s improving. He’s going to be a really good player for us.’’
WATTS, SAM SHINE
Undrafted free agent Trey Watts highlighted the Rams’ strong finish Saturday in his first significant playing time. The Tulsa product showed explosiveness and elusiveness in leading all rushers with 36 yards on nine carries to go along with three catches for 31 yards.
He closed out the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run. On the play, Watts started right before cutting back to the middle of the field for the score.
“He’s very talented with the ball in his hands (and) I thought he was OK without the ball in his hands last night,” Fisher said. “In college, he was a versatile back, worked out out of the backfield, lined up in the slot and did all kinds of things. (He has) good run skills and vision. ... It was good to see him make some plays.’’
Speaking of making plays, defensive end Michael Sam, the seventh-round draft pick from Mizzou, made the most of his 19 defensive snaps, sacking former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel twice and following up the first one with Johnny Football’s “money fingers” celebration.
“Michael’s making plays, yeah,’’ Fisher said. “We’ve moved people around because of the flow of the game, we played guys a little longer, so (we) didn’t give him as many reps as we’d like, but he’s probably going to get plenty of time to play this week.’’
The Browns were paced defensively by linebacker Chris Kirksey, a Hazelwood East High product who led all tacklers in the game with five solo stops and a pair of assists. He had one tackle for loss, one pass defended and a third-quarter interception that he returned 23 yards to set up a 7-yard touchdown scramble by Manziel.
Kirksey, a 21-year-old who played at Iowa and was drafted in the third round, entered the game with a team-leading 11 tackles in the preseason and is making a bid for a starting spot at inside linebacker, a spot that’s crucial to the success of the Browns’ defensive system.
Another area product who played Saturday was rookie fullback Ray Agnew (DeSmet, SIUC), who had one reception for 4 yards. Agnew is the oldest son of former Rams defensive lineman Ray Agnew, an 11-year pro and a member of the Rams’ Super Bowl championship squad in 1999. The elder Agnew has been a fixture in the Rams’ front office since his playing days ended and was recently promoted to director of pro personnel.