All the work I did trying to talk people (and maybe myself, a little), off the ledge following the Rams
' ugly week one loss to the Philadelphia Eagles
may very well have been for naught. Not that the game itself now means any more than it did the moment it was over, of course; it's still just one loss, no matter how painful a loss it may have been.
No, the reason things really may be getting rather dire around Rams Park isn't the game or the score, but the fact the Rams lost at least one and possibly two of their most important players for the season. Both injuries come at positions of weakness, and both could potentially have huge consequences for the team going forward as they try to make a run at a very winnable NFC West.
, the Rams' number one cornerback, will hit Injured Reserve in the next day or two, and while there's no official word yet on Danny Amendola's
status, one would have to think a non-serious injury would have prompted the team to make an almost immediate statement in the hopes of avoiding a rash of jumping deaths among season ticket holders.
Bartell suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck on Sunday, and the only really good news here is the fact he walked away from the injury at all. After all, we've all seen the sorts of things that can happen when neck injuries are involved. Still, as far as a purely football perspective, Bartell is out for the season, leaving the Rams even more desperately thin at an already weak position.
Both of the Rams' serious injuries this year have come at the cornerback position, with Jerome Murphy lost for the season with an ankle injury and now Bartell gone with his neck. This essentially moves either Justin King or Al Harris up to the number two spot on the depth chart at corner, and that's only if Bradley Fletcher's sore toe isn't worse than we think. Personally I'm expecting an announcement sometime Thursday afternoon to the effect Fletcher's toe was, in fact, found to be harboring an alien virus and has been quarantined indefinitely by the federal government.
As for Amendola, who suffered an elbow injury of still-nebulous severity, it won't be as serious a loss as Bartell, even if he does end up missing something close to the full season. Amendola was the Rams' most reliable target among the receiving corps last season, and while he may not be the most explosive player he does have a knack for making the tough catch over the middle when the team needs it most. Still, losing Amendola won't hurt as much because the Rams do have plenty of other players to try and spread the ball around to. It may very well mean we see much more of Greg Salas much earlier than expected, as he is the best fit to take over Danny's slot responsibilities and -- in my mind at least -- was basically drafted to eventually be Amendola's replacement.
It's still a little too early to panic, but it's definitely getting closer. Losing the game to the Eagles didn't hurt the Rams all that much, but losing the players they did threatens to derail the season before it ever really even gets underway.