Aug 12, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) directs the team in warm ups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams opened the preseason much like they finished the regular season last year. Prior to the game, head coach Jeff Fisher made it a point to mention that he wanted to see good fundamentals from his players, regardless of the score. He should have plenty to talk about in practice this week.
Fisher made it a point to mention "self-inflicted wounds" in a quick sideline interview at the half. He expressed some discontent with the team's inability to convert on third down and the penalties, including Barry Richardson false start that thwarted their best scoring drive.
Some quick reactions:
Sam Bradford has some work to do. He completed 7-of-9 passes for 57 yards. Six of those throws were the classic dumpoffs that made his rookie season so successful. His best was an 18-yard slant to Austin Pettis of all people. He missed Steve Smith for what should have been a touchdown and wide open Danny Amendola to convert a fourth down. Under pressure all too often, he still looked tentative.
The running game is going to be strong. Steven Jackson looked lighter (he is) and more explosive than he was last season. That's a good sign. Isaiah Pead looked good too, but has a bad case of the rookie jitters that caused a fumble. Fisher mentioned both those guys in his half time comments.
Blocking did nothing to erase any concerns about their ability to keep Bradford upright. They did a better job opening holes, but this unit is still a real concern. The Colts were able to get pressure in the middle as well as the expected routes over the backup tackles that were starting.
Fundamentals were lacking on defense as well, as seen in the screen pass touchdown that opened the game for the Colts. Craig Dahl blew an assignment deep which led to Luck's second touchdown.The linebackers were inconsistent as well, blowing some key assignments that allowed the Colts get the ball moving.
The defensive line was inconsistent, but left me with nothing to be concerned about. As they get more in sync with the defense, it should be a very good unit.