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St. Louis Rams Need Big Preseason Debuts From Sam Bradford, Jeff Fisher

The St. Louis Rams, who take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at 12:30 PM (on NFL Network) in their preseason opener, have undergone enough of a transformation in the wake of their disastrous 2011 season that everything bears watching. But two performances can serve as shorthand for all the changes the Rams have claimed to make for 2012—Sam Bradford's command of the offense, and Jeff Fisher's command of his team.

Sam Bradford, after two years in various states of limbo, finally needs to show his upside as consisting of something more than a pretty good caretaker quarterback. We want to see yards-per-attempt that are at least in keeping with the league average; we want to see pinpoint accuracy, or at least pretty-good accuracy. We want to see passes downfield, for once.

As for Jeff Fisher, his influence will be harder to detect, but just ask yourself this: Does the Rams' performance infuriate you? Are there weird lapses in reason and common sense on offense and defense? Are the Rams in this game until the end? If you answered no to the first two questions, and yes to the second, congratulations: Somebody fired Steve Spagnuolo.