Tonight was a great night for me. Tonight I took my two children to their first Rams game. I was fortunate enough to not only have them, my beautiful wife, but also her beautiful mother at the game. I couldn't help but smile when my son said, "Go Rams, do something!". They did something, what exactly I dont't know. What I do know is that my kid's first game was a winner and that was what I hoped it would be for them. I felt like taking them in the preseason would give them the best chance to see a winner, but I had doubts. This is what I saw:
1. The OLine play was nice tonight. Sam looked like he felt comfortable enough to wait for the play to come to him. When the ball snapped, cadence was good and there were holes for Steve to act crazy in. SJax looked like he always looks.....like a BEAST and that was from good line play. There were some times when Sam had all kinds of time. At one point during the game, one of the hosts said, "Bradford with all kinds of time" and the next thing that happened was a Danny 'boy' Amendola touchdown. Sam was able to be Sam tonight. Good job O-line!
PUMP YA BRAKES FOR A SEC...
These were the Baltimore 2's and 3's. I did not see Uncle Ray Ray dress out, nor did I see any other dangerous starter out there tonight from the Ravens, so although I am pleased with the play, I will feel better when we can handle sitting at the "big kid's" table. I think playing the 1's would have told us a bit more, but I'm not too mad.
2. We ran the ball. We ran the ball like a run first team should due to good line play. When SJax broke the hole, he got no less than 4 yards. He handled business as usual.
Now this young man Mr. Pead? First of all, I can't hate on him too much as I have never walked in his shoes. Yet, when he keeps his head down and those same shoes moving forward, he can be dangerous. Problem is, right now that's rarely happening. I see a lot of 'jitterbug' collegiate stuff where if the hole closes he skips down the line to find something else. Young man this is the NFL, THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE BUT FORWARD. Run through the line sir!! Why? Cause you are simply not good enough to make those same moves you made in college on the professional level. Not yet. When this guy let's the game come to him, he will be someone that defenses will be concerned about.
Daryl Richardson on the other hand is downhill all the way. If SJax is a BEAST, this guy is a beast. He is young, raw, but a player flat out. He runs with authority. He hits his holes and moves the chains. I think his average was 4 ypc. I really like this guy's consistency, his "football nose" is on straight. He attacks holes and has great vision of the field! To not keep this back is an absolute mistake and I think the coach knows that.
I am always glad to see Chase Reynolds in the mix. I think he has talent too.
Man, a steam roller named Ovie came through for a 20 something yard run after catch. He was kinda beastly. Kinda.
See the street sign that asks you to "PUMP YA BRAKES!!" above, cause it still applies to the run game. Yes that includes Sjax!
3. We threw the ball. Sam was the way Sam should be...a BALLER. He threw the ball like he knew what he was doing. He knew the play, knew where everyone should be, made his checkdowns nicely. Not a perfect game for him, but definitely the kind of momentum needed to move into the regular season. His handoffs were well done, his anticipation of the pocket and his poise was much better than last week. (Jason Smith is gone....riiiiiiiight) Nice piece of work for tonight.
Kellen Clemens. KC. Nothing personal but I hope they let you go tomorrow. There were so many unnecessary mistakes that cost entire drives made by this man that I actually said, "Please let him go tomorrow!!" With my hands around my mouth to direct the sound of my displeasure to anyone on the Rams staff that would listen. Let this man go. If he still wants to play, let him go on, but if we still need him and he's on the fence about retiring, make him a consultant. The plays that he missed tonight were a lot of throwing behind the receiver or just missing the guy all together. I do not think its a good idea to keep him, but we probably will because Schotty and Sam need a security blanket that knows the playbook better than average. The system is new for everyone except those who have played with Schotty before. Not a whole lot of that on the team right now and for those that are there, they may not make it on the roster.
I still like Austin Davis and I think he is worth practice squad work till next year or until someone gets hurt under the QB position. Problem is, will he make it through waivers? I say no, so we may have to go into the year with three QB's. If not and we let the guy go, it would be a huge mistake that may come back to haunt us. He commands the huddle, plays like he belongs on the field and can throw the ball. He didn't have the greatest night, but he is definitely talented and worth a spot.
4. Wide outs were on point for the most part. I am holding my breath at the thought but dare I say it...OUR Steve Smith is 100% ! Maniacal laugh!
The Muppets - Maniacal Laugh (via shiZelZaZyZel)
That is probably one of the funniest muppet scenes every, but anyway. Healthy Steve Smith on the Rams roster = plays. Period! Getting kinda hype about thiiiiiiiiiiiiss!
Danny 'boy' Amendola is the MAN. No real need to try to analyze his play, but we can make a few points. Routes were professional, catches were on point, mouths were gaped open at the skill. I salute you sir.
Everyone else did their job as best they could. Chris Given stood out to me like a real weapon. Everyone did their part though. Some routes were questionable and some were pretty 'crisp'.
Was good to see Illinois Mike get a TD. He is worth keeping. I say him, Kendricks and two others would be good for the squad. Don't ask me who the other two should be cause that race is too close.
5. Now for the D. The Defense.
First up, whoever is calling the plays please add some mid scrimmage protection. We got burnt many times through out the game on "dink-dunk" ball plays. Ball snapped, Dline rushes, Baltimore QB waits until just before the pocket closes and then moves to the right or left where a back has been waiting to take the pass. They collect 7 or more yards. Or, instead of left or right, he's got a guy right in the middle of the field waiting for the ball about 6 yards deep, yet the corners are so deep he's able to get the first and then some because we did not seem ready. The kind of errors I saw tonight from a play call standpoint cannot happen in the regular season. So, onward....
Let's talk about the DLine or the 'biguns' as I like to call 'em. Not enough sacks, not enough pressure, not enough penetration. Not enough. Not horrid, made some good QB rushes, but they can do better. They played against the 2's and 3's. I've said enough.
Next, linebackers. Linebacker play seemed solid. So much so that when we did get beat on those "dink" plays, they were far enough away for someone to notice it was the play that was called and not their fault. They reacted and adjusted well on the play.
Corners made plays. Heads up play by Janoris Jenkins tonight "takin it to tha house" on a tipped ball. The way he moved made me wonder why we haven't seen more of him on special teams cause he moved smoothly through the pack on that play, making no less than 3 men miss. Spooky.
Safeties saved the day on some plays that could have turned into TD's easily. Not mad at the play here either.
6. Special teams faired well. I think this season we will have a Special Teams unit that we can moreso call "Special Ops" than just plain 'Special' like we did last year.
And last but not least...I can't believe I am saying this, but Greg Zuerlein will keep Defensive Coordinators up late at night. There, I admit it, I doubted at first why they spent a pick on a kicker, but I am a believer now. He is always an option at the 50 yard line. My daughter said that she couldn't believe that he kicked a 60 yard field goal. Yeah, I think all of us stood up for that one.
So all in all, not bad, some great plays, but First Week is coming. That is when we take our plates to eat at the big kids table and hold our own. Both at home and abroad. Right now, I give us 6-7 wins this season, which I would be cool with.
Yet consider this, what if this team really gels and comes together like the Jeff Fisher era Titans. Come on don't act like you don't remember.
Ok fine I'll say cause you won't.
Weren't there some games that you saw them pull off wins in games that you said right before kick off they would surely lose. You would sit there scratching your head afterward saying, "How did they do that?" I would say just as I have said in my past posts, this team is the first one Fisher has had full input on. This is more his ship than ever before. Schottenheimer has better personnel to work with. Our Defense is getting scarry. If we catch on to that fire that made Jeff Fisher era Titans so tough, we may even sniff a wild card spot. Wipe that damn smirk off your face I'm serious. Come on don't laugh!
Wish we had a better #2 QB situation. REALLY WISH THAT WAS A BETTER SITUATION, but what can you do. Thanks for the 'W' Rams, you made my kids proud!