So, like many of you Rams fans, I watched the last 2 pre-season games and I have some views that may surprise or maybe you're riding in the same boat as I am. Check it out.
1. Welcome to the NFL Tavon Austin!! Folks there is a fear that will be driving defenses to be on the lookout for Mr. Austin. Best thing about it is that it will open things up for other receivers. Yet, when a ball comes his way, it needs to be caught. Little too many drops for #8 pick of 2013 NFL Draft, Mr. Austin, but there were some good things that were done also in his game. Overall, he looked like a rookie. His chance at special teams was spoiled due to a kick that stayed in the air a little too long and deep to really make anything happen in the Green Bay game. In Cleveland, he had a little too much shake and not enough bake.
2. Sam Bradford needs a little more chemistry with his receivers. The pass to Austin in the Green Bay game on the 5 yard line should have been a touchdown. Yes, he is small in stature, but they have spent time this past offseason and the height should be compensated for by now. A couple of throws were high and out in the Cleveland game. Also, if he is truly big on trying to be a leader on the team, then he needs to have enough 'cojones' to get those receivers in place and cut out with 'Illegal Formation' penalties! Great quarterbacks gets receivers in place and makes the average player better. Mind you I am only judging Sam based on his own abilities that he has shown and no one else. Work it out Sam, work it out.
3. Offensive line still in flux - I don't see them as 'bad' or even 'ok', but it's hard to stare at 'good' when 'greatness' is so close. I haven't seen Wells on the injured list which is good. Everyone keeps blabbin' about Dahl hopefully being able to 'hold it up', but I think this vet still has a lotta punch in him. He is still a force on the line. Jake Long has not gained full cadence with the rest of the guys yet, but it's coming. The Chris Williams and Shelly Smith battle is one that provides the best of both worlds. Both have their niche based on their size and strengths, but I have not been disappointed with this competition at all. How am I able to see that the line is still in flux? It's the run game. Holes are small and short. Rust? Nursing lagging pains and injuries? Cadence? Either way, this is the unit that I am least worried about. Paul Boudreau is an Offensive Line 'Yoda'. He had lumps of coal to work with last year, sped up the process and made them into rough diamonds by the end. We went 7-8-1. How about now when he has some rough diamonds to start with? Watch that line shine baby!
4. Run game - Terrance Ganaway saw the writing on the wall. He decided to trade the cleats for the classroom and I think that's admirable. God bless him. Therefore I have a strong feeling we will be seeing a lot of Benny Cunningham. Yet, when I look at the play of all of our guys in the backfield so far, I see this as I talent chart:
Daryl Richardson - Starter, he has the experience, he hits the hole with authority. He also has soft hands out of the backfield. I like his consistency and his attention to detail of his craft as a running back. He may not be a 30-40 snap per game back, but I would lead off with him any game.
Isaiah Pead - backup to D. Rich until he learns how to hold on to the ball! I do think that he could still be a weapon, but when that happens, honestly can't call it. I wonder if he's trade bait? Wouldn't want him to be any place that makes him miserable.
Zac Stacy - Power back, 3rd downer, goal line guy - I hope he can be this guy for us and more, he's been dinged up so I really have not seen enough in these past two games. In cintrast to the open practices I have attended, this guy is an absolute tree stump of a player! Some body is gonna get ran over some time this season. Trust and believe that ya heard it here. Hits the hole strong and can push the pile. Low center, any football player knows the lowest man wins.
Benny Cunningham - There's something about this guy. I don't know it just kinda reminds me of a pressure cooker before it blows its top. If this guy gets any form of daylight, he's outta there. Anything in his way will suffer a bump. I am definitely not mad at having a guy like this in the backfield as his pass protection seems to be a bit advanced for a UDFA. I know he was hurt but hey maybe RB stock was just that high this year?
5. Defense lacking fundamentals - Why can't we tackle man? Why is that so hard? That's just wrong.
6. Special Teams - Meh. Not really worth a picture.
Lastly, there is really one area that concerns me the most on this great potential Rams team. That is backup QB. Folks, if Sam Bradford goes down, we are toast. Do not pass go, do not collect your money, we are screwed. Let Kellen Clemens go please? More to come later this weekend, but for now, let me know what you've seen and if you have been sucked into the 'doom and gloom' committee that says we are bound for bad times this season?