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What to watch for in Rams-Denver Broncos exhibition game Saturday

Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry tell you what to watch for when the Rams play the Denver Broncos in an exhibition game Saturday.

QUARTERBACK ROTATION: Starter Case Keenum will get a more extended opportunity in this third exhibition game, which is traditionally the last one starters play in to avoid the possibility of injury in the preseason finale and allow the backups to vie for roster spots.

Keenum has completed 10 of 12 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown in the preseason. He has not had a pass intercepted, nor has he been sacked. Coach Jeff Fisher said Keenum would play three or four series and then give way to Jared Goff. The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft must overcome the mistakes that plagued him in his first series against the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs. Both ended in turnovers.

Goff has said that he got into a rhythm against the Chiefs after his first two series and aims to continue that against the reigning Super Bowl champions. After passing for three touchdowns against the Cowboys, Sean Mannion did not get to play against the Chiefs. He is expected to play against Denver.

OFFENSE: Most starters will probably play through the first half against the Broncos — but running back Todd Gurley is the exception. Gurley played one series and scored a touchdown against the Chiefs. If he plays against Denver, it won’t be for long.  This is a big game for receivers fighting for roster spots. Twice this week, Fisher called out veteran Brian Quick about the need to eliminate drops. Rookie tight end Tyler Higbee should return after sitting out against the Chiefs.

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The first-team offensive line has done a good job despite the absence of right tackle Rob Havenstein, who is working his way back from injury. This exhibition will provide a clearer picture of the offensive line rotation.

DEFENSE: Defensive end Robert Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, is scheduled to play for the first time since undergoing back surgery. Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who sat out all of last season because of a foot injury, returned and played is a reserve role against the Chiefs. He will probably start against the Broncos as the Rams move to solidify the secondary.

Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree was frustrated last week because the Rams gave up a touchdown drive for the second exhibition in a row. Teammates say he is in command, but the defense needs to respond early.

ODDS AND ENDS: Rookies and undrafted free agents can possibly ward off being cut — the roster must be trimmed from 90 to 75 by Tuesday afternoon — with an impressive special teams performance.

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The Broncos traded for former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez after Peyton Manning retired, but Trevor Siemian will start and first-round pick Paxton Lynch also will play.


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