St. Louis Rams preseason 2013: By the numbers

Dilip Vishwanat

What do the stats say about the Rams' preseason progress?

Preseason stats mean nothing. Nothing.

Well, almost nothing. Throw out the final scores. However, some of the other numbers reveal something about a team's readiness for the season ahead. So what numbers standout for the St. Louis Rams though two weeks of preseason play?

7-for-27

The Rams have converted just over a quarter of their third-down attempts this season. It was something Jeff Fisher made note of following last week's game against the Packers, when the Rams converted one out of 14 attempts on third downs.

Last season, the Rams converted 32 percent of their third-down attempts. The NFL average was 38 percent.

0

That's actually supposed to be a pair of goose eggs, one to represent the number of times Sam Bradford has been sacked and the other for the number of interceptions he's thrown. Bradford's completing 65 percent of his passes. He has a QB rating of 125.0. Best of all, the Rams starter is averaging 12.9 yards per attempt.

Compare those numbers to Bradford's preseason in 2012. He didn't throw any interceptions then either, but completed just 58.8 percent of his passes for an average of 7.8 yards per attempt.

Again, you can't put a lot of weight in these numbers. Bradford's not seeing the kind of defensive play he would in the regular season. That said, don't ignore the stats either. Bradford's quietly and confidently putting together a very strong exhibition season. It's something to build on when game start counting.

80 percent

Chris Givens leads all Rams receivers in yardage, with 139. That 80 percent number is his catch rate, he's hauled in four passes on five targets. Two of those came on big plays of 50 yards or more, but he's caught the ball much closer to the line of scrimmage. More and more, it looks like Givens could be the Rams' top receiver this year.

7.0

Speaking of receivers, that's the average yards per catch for first-round pick Tavon Austin. He's caught four balls, tied with Givens for the most on the team, but he has just 28 yards to show for it. The Rams have thrown him the ball eight times, so he's got a 50 percent catch rate.

This is where the vanilla offense factors in. Austin's not doing some of the things you'll see him do in the regular season, lining up in the backfield for instance.

But don't overlook that number entirely. The Rams got him the ball on shorter throws, hoping to see his break off big plays with his quickness and speed. Not every throw and target was ideal for that, but the rookie looked like a first-year player with the ball in his hands last week, trying to do too much with is moves.

You can get away with that stuff in the Big 12, but this isn't the Big 12, where players can coast on their natural athleticism.

19

That's how many missed tackles the Rams defense has in two games. It's a problem, and one that they need to figure out before the season starts.

3.0

The run defense has done a solid work, across units, stopping the run. Opposing rushers are averaging just 3.0 yards per attempt. But on the other hand ...

3.2

The Rams aren't getting much from their running game so far, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. League-wide, the average is 3.82.

This is one of those preseason stats that can be significant, despite the sample size. You generally want to see a back exceed 4.0 yards per carry in the preseason, as a slight predictor of success. Only Daryl Richardson is doing that for the Rams.

21

The Rams have incurred 21 penalties, six of those have come from starters. There have been four false start flags and four illegal formation penalties. There have also been four holding calls.

-5

That's the Rams' turnover ratio through two preseason games, Kellen Clemens' four interceptions account for most of the Rams six turnovers. On the flip side, the Rams have just one takeaway.

There's plenty here to be pleased with, but it's clear that the Rams still have some work to do before the games actually start counting.

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