"Five Things to Watch" when the Rams play the Miami Dolphins at 6 tonight (Channel 2 locally):
1. SAM VS. WESTBROOKS
If you were scoring this defensive end battle like a heavyweight fight, give Ethan Westbrooks both Round 1 (New Orleans) and Round 2 (Green Bay). Round 3 (Cleveland) went to Michael Sam. The fourth and final round of the preseason, tonight in Miami, ranks as one of the most important games of their careers. Will it be Sam, Westbrooks, or both on the 53-man roster?
2. LIFE WITHOUT BRADFORD
Shaun Hill gets the first of what could be many starts as Rams quarterback. Jeff Fisher declined to reveal, even in general terms, how much Hill would play tonight. If Hill is shaky, does it cause Fisher to re-think his QB plans going forward? The same holds for backup Austin Davis and No. 3 Garrett Gilbert. Fisher and GM Les Snead will sleep better if all three play well.
3. BACKFIELD STABLE IV
If Benny Cunningham isn’t challenging Zac Stacy for the starting job, he’s certainly pushing him for playing time. He’s been the best Rams RB on the field this preseason. And what to do with Tre Watts? A strong showing against the Dolphins could push him into a roster spot. If so, that would be five RBs on the squad again, which is a lot assuming Chase Reynolds makes the squad.
4. CORNERBACK CAROUSEL
With Trumaine Johnson sidelined until at least late September with a knee injury, the auditioning is under way for a starting cornerback job. With Brandon McGee (ankle) not practicing this week, Mizzou rookie E.J. Gaines could get the first crack tonight. But Marcus Roberson, Darren Woodard and Greg Reid are also in the picture. Not all of them will make the final roster.
5. BUBBLE BOWL
There are roster battles to be decided at several other positions. At tight end, will it be the blocker (Justice Cunningham) or the receiver (Alex Bayer) for the fourth tight end spot? ... Travis Bond and Brandon Washington are fighting for a backup guard job. Both have also played some tackle as well. ... Phillip Steward and Lawrence Wilson are vying for the sixth LB spot.