Today marks a great day in the history books. This is the first time that most of the writers have gotten together to work on a project. We thought that you guys wanted to hear us talk about certain topics. This is just the first of many round table articles.
What better time is there to do this then after the first preseason game? Remember that during the preseason teams will avoid showing their good plays. With that being said you can still take plenty of things out of the preseason if you look beyond the stats; things like run blocking and pass blocking usually translate into the regular season.
Here is the question, what do you want to see out of the Rams this preseason? It's a simple question, but broad enough to get a variety of answers. After the jump you will see how the writers responded to the question. We would also like to hear your comments on the matter. If you are looking for something from the Rams this preseason, we would like to hear it.
What I want to see more than anything is resolve. I want to see a team that has it together. Not perfection, but the ability to execute things well and overcome those inevitable times when a play or something else fails to go as planned. There are plenty of players and position battles that will be interesting to watch in the weeks between now and the start of the season, but we have a pretty good idea of the basic outline of the roster. One thing that stood out in the Colts game was just how well connected the Rams offense was with just two weeks or so of practice. The offensive line and the running game worked hand-in-hand to make things happen. With a few exceptions on a couple of passes, players knew their roles and how they fit with the overall execution of the plays, on both sides of the ball. Sure, Spagnuolo kept it pretty simple on Saturday, but that was a far cry from the Rams offense that moved in fits and starts down the field last year. That, more than anything else, should inspire confidence for the season ahead.
Building a team is just as much about building depth as it is uncovering stars players. Now that the defense and offensive have clear directions, I'd like to see the Rams address quality depth at key positions. The choices to be made by coach Spagnuolo at the end of this pre-season will be absolutely crucial as this teams moves up to the next level. I'm concerned about depth at cornerback. More injuries at this position can bring a great Rams defnse to its knees. Sam Bradford needs a quality back-up. The possibility "that shall not be named" could leave us with a Ferrari with no one behind the wheel.
"I would like to see the Rams show signs of potency on offense as far as the deep ball, particularly at the WR position in this years preseason. I think that is probably the most critical area that needs to be solidified. Donnie Avery's speed was back in training camp and I'm hoping he can emerge. So far, that didn't happen after game one, with Donnie Avery injured, and it looks as though he is going to miss the second preseason game due to injury as well. On top of that, Bradford still used the checkdown an aweful lot. Hopefully it is just due to learning the new system. We'll see how it pans out."
I would like to see more of the Rams front four is. Last season, the Rams were one of the top teams with sacks. This season it would seem like they will be better than last season. Fred Robbins and James Hall might have gotten a year older, but the Rams now have solid depth around them. Chris Long should have a solid preseason. But I want to see what the young defensive ends like Robert Quinn and Selvie can do. We all know that the Rams defensive line should be improved this season, but I want to see it all come together. Mainly, I just want to see a defense line that brings constant pressure. The backup players also should show that they can at least have good plays against other backups.
One of the biggest sticking points for me last year was the offense. Now, it's tough to point the finger at blame someone, as everyone has their favorite scapegoat, but what I'd really like to see is the offense be put in some challenging situations. Obviously, in the preseason, the entire playbook will not be used, so it's tough to see what tricks McDaniels has up his sleeve. But we were subjected to the same plays again and again last year. I'd like to see if the Rams offense changes how they plan to move ball if they meet resistance from the opposing defense. That will be one of the biggest tests in the regular season. When the going gets tough, what happens? They might as well practice it when it doesn't matter and that is what I want to see.
I want to see the rookies and free agent additions gel with the rest of the team. Specifically I want to see the d-line, the linebackers, and the secondary to really come to, as I like to call it, gether. I would like to see the new additions on offense to develop a rapport with Bradford. I really believe that team chemistry is one of the most important aspects of the game, so I'm hoping that with all of the veterans and rookies we brought in, the team will gel and get started on the path to greatness this season.
I want to see the offensive line play well. Both the first and second strings. In my opinion, having a great o-line makes offense so easy to play at times. Having a good o-line can help a team have a dominate run game and if the Rams improve the run game the entire offense will open up, specifically the play action pass. The first game showed how having a good run game opened up the entire offense and allowed it to run smoothly. Also one of the first priorities of the team is to protect the investment made in Sam Bradford. There's a reason they call them franchise QBs. In the first preseason game the o-line played great and I would like to see them continue to play well.