Late last night, I scoured the sporting world for opinions on the Rams. I know we are not alone in our thinking this "new look" Rams team was impressive... Or are we? The first article I read covering the Rams - Colts game was a couple of hundred words long. Seventeen of those words were about the Rams, and they could not have been more benign. This trend continued until I decided to get some rest and awaken to exciting, well written prose by football gurus announcing the Rams had arrived, or at least a team to watch... Nope! Nada except this one on the impressive debut for the Rams, and it was a commiseration more or less for a Manning-less Colts team. Where were the trumpets! Even though it was nighttime, I'm sure the clouds were parting as the sun of a new day raced toward dawn. Monday, surely the financial markets will open with record highs? Where's my copy of Handel's Messiah? Thank God Van "da' man" Ram was up bright and early to prove the game the night before wasn't a dream.
First, let me say the Rams offensive line is impressive. When a running play was called, the ball snapped, there were actually holes for a running back to run through. Last night, the "Bell - Dahl-ed" for theeeee Colts defensive line (Ok, a forced literary reference, but I'm working on it). The Rams offensive line was my main focus before last night's game. They are the key to not only the running game, but keeping Sam Bradford out of a wheelchair. The line also showed depth, with second tier players showing little drop in quality over their 1st string counterparts.
Next, I looked at the wide receiver corp and though I saw a few titches and misses, they showed me a vast horizon of possibilities. I even saw flashes of the player Mardy Giyard could be, his speed and quickness making others on the field look almost slow at times. If Gilyard fails to make this Rams squad, I think he may very well find a home on another team sooner rather than later. I think the Rams coaching staff has to be both giddy and dreading their final choices at the wide receiver position. The next game will present coach Spagnuolo with a quality problem of who will stay or let go.
The defense did great with the exception of the cornerbacks. While I know the lockout can very well be blamed for the lack of solid play here, it is a cause for concern. The only big play last night was given up by a cornerback that joined the team yesterday morning, so he gets a pass as far as I'm concerned. (Puny?) Our free agents did a good job and will only get better. Our special teams were indeed special and I'm sure the San Diego Chargers will watch film of this unit, grinding their teeth with both longing and envy.
The general rule is pre-season games mean very little in the broad scheme of things. I'm told the reason the Colts lost the game is because they always lose their pre-season games. 4-22 I believe? What a bunch of tosh! Yet their low standard of play was the accepted rule, so much so that the previously mentioned sports gurus felt a collective need to talk about it, and not an obviously improved Rams team. Maybe it is because McDaniel and Bradford didn't combine for 700 passing yards? Jake Locker made front pages for throwing a 45 yard pass... In the right direction. Cam Newton got mixed reviews, but all of those reviews made front pages... Do I sound a bit mifted? Bitter? Unrequited? Well yes, I guess I do, but I've also consigned myself to this being the status quo into the very near future.
We, as Ram fans, are going to be reveling amongst ourselves for a while. Enjoying this Rams teams is ours, and ours alone for now. When the 2011 season begins things will change. Past seasons will be swept into dusty achives and a new Rams picture will inprint itself on the NFL world. The respect will come in time through regular season wins. Until then, our way will be...