I've yet to see a forum for Rams fans that wasn't filled with positive impressions of the team after last night's preseason win.
There's a lot to be excited about...even if it much of it came against a Minnesota team struggling to find itself.
Carriker proved the beast label was more than just intrasqaud scrimmage hyperbole. The Rams' first round pick was stuffing the middle, drawing blockers, and getting penetration. The photo of Carriker tackling fellow first round pick Adrian Peterson sums up his night perfectly and offers a glimpse of better things to come this season.
In fact, the whole D-line did a great job of playing the run, taking away the middle for the most part. Here's where I feel really jipped that the game was blacked out here in Springfield, MO; I would have loved to see how the other DTs, Ryan and Jackson, looked. Apparently, Wroten was really solid, and got past the Vikes' o-line to disrupt several times. Of course, we understand that their not playing the best the Vikings have to offer in this game, but it's a really positive start.
Anyone out there have some observations to report on tackles not named Carriker?
The return units opened big holes and the coverage units were physical and stayed on the ball well.
There's some buzz out there about Wade too. The third round pick played a tough game and did well in coverage. The preseason caveat applies here as he likely wasn't facing the best and/or sharpest of the Vikings receiving corps, but the fact that he did well in the two areas mentioned above could translate to success once the games start counting.
How could we not mention Brian Leonard, who now might be called a beast himself? He ran, he caught and he even scored. I still remember lots of "experts" questioning this pick in the spring, but Leonard could turn out to be our secret weapon. If you consider the offensive tools the Rams have at their disposal now, they should be able to move the ball and score how and when they need to. Even with Linehan's conservative approach to offense the team's ball control will make the defense that much better.
The second year coach controlled the game really well. Even with all the demands of player evaluation that goes into a preseason game, he was still able to manage the clock and control the ball well. Much of that comes back to the multi-faceted offense at his disposal.
Besides that, the coaching staff as a whole gets an A so far for this preseason. The players were motivated and really did their jobs well as far as the basics of the game go: guys executed assignments, ran the right routes, and so on.
Add to that the fact that we saw a little more confirmation that the Rams did really well in the draft. The top three picks all look like their gong to contribute this season, with the top two with the potential to be major factors in the team's success.