FanPost

Notes from Rams' scrimmage at Lindenwood University

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UPDATE 08-08-09: More pictures added to the Picasa site.

We went out to Lindenwood University this evening and watched the Rams' scrimmage.  I thought I would post some observations about the scrimmage and some pictures. The pictures were all taken by my girlfriend Allison and they came out really well (mine were all blurry). There are a little over 30 pictures that I posted and all of them are on my Picasa site here. I tried to add a caption about what was going on on that play if it mattered to the picture. Most of the pictures are from earlier in the night, because once it started to get dark the pictures were blurring because of the long shutter speeds required to get a decent picture in low light. Observations are after the jump. Enjoy! 

These are just a few of the things I noticed tonight at the scrimmage. I am not an expert at evaluating football players and I spent a lot of the time checking back and forth with my roster to match up a lot of the lesser known players with their numbers, but I wanted to share what I saw with everyone (especially those of you who aren't in STL and still want to support the Rams). The scrimmage was basically broken down into a series of situations and the first, second, and third string teams rotated in and out. There were 2 minute drill situations, goal line, etc.

Quarterbacks:

  • Marc Bulger had a pretty good night throwing the ball. He had two interceptions (that I saw), but one was on a tipped pass. He had a good amount of poise in the pocket, which was something I was watching closely for. On multiple occasions he stepped up into the pocket with confidence and made a strike down field. He wasn't perfect, but he had a solid night and didn't looked scared back there.
  • Kyle Boller didn't look very good to me. I don't think he threw any interceptions, but he didn't have very many good completions. He appeared to hold on to the ball a little long on two or three occasions, and these probably would have resulted in sacks if the QBs were allowed to get hit.
  • Brock Berlin also didn't look too great. He threw at least one interception to K.C. Asiodu (LB - 56).
  • Keith Null really impressed me. Granted he was going against the third team defense most of the time, but he made some great throws in the two minute drills and goal line situations. It was a great performance and I am excited to see more of this guy.

Wide Receivers:

  • Donnie Avery looked pretty solid. He made some nice catches. He didn't do anything too amazing, but didn't have any drops and had some good gains.
  • Laurent Robinson had a really good series on the two minute drill, making a few catches and showing some good speed.
  • Tim Carter made some great back-to-back plays and really stood out to me on multiple series. I don't know much about this guy, but he made two 3rd down conversion catches to move the chains.
  • Keenan Burton had one or two good catches, but nothing earth shattering.
  • Didn't notice Ronald Curry much at all. I might have missed something, but I can't think of a pass he caught.
  • Rookie Brooks Foster had a few catches that stood out. He looked pretty good out there. Plus, according to this roster I have, he has my birthday but was born 1 year later so he gets some bonus points for that.

Defensive Line:

  • These guys had a nice night. They were getting decent pressure and made a few good run stuffs.
  • Adam Carriker was injured early in the scrimmage. It appeared to be is left ankle and it was put on ice. He spent the rest of the game on crutches. I hope he is ok.
  • James Hall looked dominant early on in the scrimmage. He was power rushing from the RE position and was putting pressure on the QB. He took Phil Trautwein to school on one play (see the pictures) and got an arm on Kyle Boller to break up the pass. He looked explosive off the ball.
  • Chris Long started a little slow on the first series or so and Alex Barron had him in check. Later on he had some success against Barron, getting some good pressure. However, when Long was up against Trautwein and the second team OL, he totally dominated. Chris Long basically manhandled an entire series by getting pressure on the QB for all three downs and taking the offense off the field. He went outside of Trautwein on his first rush and got to the QB. Then he made a great cut inside on his next rush to get there again (see pictures). Really great performance out of Long later in the scrimmage. He also made some nice run stops.
  • Leonard Little looked fantastic. In a bit of good news/bad news, he basically took Jason Smith to school most of the night. He really had Smith backpedaling into the QB for a while early in the game. In fact I think he knocked Boller over on one occasion because Little pushed him back into him so hard. Smith got stronger later in the game and made a few good stops, but Little looked great on his pass rush.
  • I didn't notice too much out of the DT's. I noticed that Hollis Thomas is one giant man, but other than that I didn't catch any details. I was hoping to catch Darell Scott out there, but I guess I missed him.

Offensive Line:

  • Alex Barron had his ups and downs. Early in the game he gave up a FALSE START on third down which killed the momentum on the drive and would have resulted in a punt (sound familiar to anyone). He had some pretty good pass protection on most plays and seemed to do a good job of guiding the edge rushers out wide enough so that Bulger could step up into the pocket and make a play. He got beat on a few occasions though. I think James Hall had his way with him on a play, but mostly solid pass blocking.
  • The interior of the line looked pretty strong to me. With Bell, Brown, and Incognitio inside the defense didn't get  a ton of pressure up the middle. Laurinaitis broke through on a MLB blitz and got in Bulger's face (see pics) once but that was all the inside pressure I can remember. I don't have a ton of details here unfortunately, but they looked strong in run blocking and there were some open holes in the middle.
  • Jason Smith had an up and down night. As mentioned earlier, Leonard Little really had his way with him early on in the passing game. He looked strong and physical in the run game and was driving guys back on most run plays. A few times he lost his footing, but he held his block long enough for the RB to get through the hole. His pass protection got better as the night went on, and he was able to hold Little in check for a while near the end.
  • Backup left tackle Phil Trautwein didn't have the best night. Both James Hall and Chris Long gave him trouble and if it were a game situation he would have given up 4 or 5 sacks probably.
  • Nothing too huge with the other lineman. Whoever was playing center for the second team offense (maybe Mark Setterstrom?) had one or two low snaps, but that was aboutall I noticed.

Running Backs/ Fullbacks:

  • Steven Jackson looked awesome in the running game. He basically broke it through for a TD (or what would have been a TD if they hadn't blown the play dead) 5 or 6 times. There were nice holes in the middle of the line and he wasn't hesitating to get through them. No stuffs 5 yards in the backfield during the hand off (which I remember seeing on numerous occasions in the pre-Jason Brown era). Unless I missed it, Mike Karney wasn't playing due to his ankle injury, but that didn't seem to stop S-Jack. I didn't see Jackson make any receptions which surprised me a little, but he sure looked good in the running game.
  • Kenneth Darby looked pretty speedy and solid in a backup role and Antonio Pittman actually had some powerful runs for good yardage.
  • I saw Jerome Johnson in there quite a bit with Karney out, but I can't say that he wowed me. I was expecting to see some good stuff because he has had a lot of positive training camp reports, but nothing stood out to me about his play.
  • Chris Ogbonnaya had some nice runs and I was pleasantly surprised by him. He and Keith Null (QB) looked good out there on the third team offense. Ogbonnaya had some nice receptions and looked comfortable in the receiving game.

Linebackers:

  • I didn't notice a lot here because I was focusing on the lines a lot. Sorry I don't have more here.
  • Laurinaitis looked pretty good when he was in. He got good pressure on one MLB blitz and got his hands in the air to throw off the QB. What stood out to me was when they put him out there on the first team defense during the two-minute drills he was calling to the sideline to get the play and really seemed to be in charge out there which is nice for a rookie. K.C. Asiodu (backup LB I didn't know existed) had a really nice interceptions on a deepish pass  from Brock Berlin.
  • I don't remember any Will Witherspoon pressures/sacks, something I was hoping to see.

Secondary:

  • I didn't get to see a ton of the DB's because I was watching the lines a lot. Sorry again. WisH I had something on Bartell, Hill, Butler, or Atogwe but nothing is popping into my head.
  • Quincy Butler hAd a great interception off a Bulger pass where he jumped the route. I keep hearing stuff about how he is having a good training camp and he looked good in the scrimmage.
  • David Roach (S) (I think it was him but I could be wrong) had a gimmie interception that was thrown right to him on a blown pass/route. Roach actually made some nice plays at safety as well.
  • Eric Bassey (S) was injured early in the scrimmage. It looked like his right knee. They put ice on it for awhile and he was put on crutches with a knee brace on.
  • Cord Parks (CB -42) had the hit of the night when he collided full force with a WR (don't know who) to prevent any yards after the catch.

Tight Ends:

  • Randy McMichael had a really nice series where they went to him on back to back passes and he made nice receptions for a good amount of yardage. He looked good out there.
  • Daniel Fells almost made a great catch on a pass in coverage, but instead he tipped it and Todd Johnson had a nice interception. He didn't make too many catches.
  • Billy Bajema made one or two catches. He looked a little awkward catching it and fell over afterwards, but he held onto it and got some yards.
  • Joe Klopfenstein disappeared as usual. I don't think he was involved at all in the passing game. I just am sad when I think about the lack of value we have gotten out of this pick.

Special Teams:

  • Josh Brown was kicking the ball really well and made all of the in-game kicks. He missed a few during warm-ups but also made a couple of 58 yarders so no complaints.
  • Donnie Jones looked awesome as usual punting the ball.
  • It was hard to tell who really stood out on kick returns because there was no contact. Donnie Avery probably looked the best because he caught it well and had good speed. Derek Stanley had a drop on the opening kickoff, but he recovered it ok.

Well, that's all I know. I didn't write anything down while I was there so I am going off of memory. Hopefully everything is correct, but if there are any errors or stuff I didn't mention feel free to mention it in the comments. It was a great night in St. Louis and the stadium at Lindenwood was packed with fans. It was great to see everyone out there, excited about the 2009 Rams. I can't wait for the season.

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