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A win!?! Morning after kvetch thread

To read the headlines you wouldn't know it, but it hardly looked like the end of the world last night. When your first team offense hasn't scored a TD in two and a half preseasons, though, you're not allowed the benefit of the doubt. Not scoring is a story, not THE story, but still one that gets more attention than anything else. 

Five things to like:

 

  1. Execution. Well, other than Marc Bulger, both sides of the ball played, mostly mistake free football. Alex Barron threw in a false start in the second quarter for old times' sake, but the offensive line played very well. They opened holes, they made plays. They did allow two sacks, one potentially scary for Bulger, but it was an encouraging performance  and a teaser of what this team could do with Steven Jackson running the ball. 
  2. Intensity. Check. That's a factor that can compromise good execution, and we saw that on a couple penalties: Looker's personal foul late in the first and Wade's unnecessary roughness in the third. The defense, the toast of the evening, looked really good, tough and hard to beat, with some nice stands in the red zone. 
  3. The d-line looked really good, and the starters came away with 4 sacks. Ok, starting LBs Witherspoon and Culberson had two, but Little looked like a man reborn on his sack and Clifton Ryan put one on the board too. In fact, the front seven together had a great game. Backups too. Chamberlain had 4 tackles, tying for the most with Bartell and Culberson.
  4. The tight ends got in on the action. McMichael looked particularly sharp, and if Bulger can get the cob webs out of his brain, talk of his big season should hold up. The backup runners, especially the speedy Pittman, looked good too, thanks largely to the o-line. 
  5. The return unit(s) played well too. Dante Hall had two nice kick returns. That helps the offense. The coverage units were okay, with one glaring 36 yard punt return from Chris Davis in the 3rd quarter marring their night. 
Five things not to like:
  1. Bulger. Can't blame the o-line. Can't blame the lack of a run game. Bulger threw liked I think some people, myself included, hoped Brett Favre would throw like in his preseason debut after a whiny summer. Bulger overthrew guys and made mental mistakes, like throwing to Bennett who was in double coverage for his second INT. It's tough to judge the first team receivers from last night because Bulger played so poorly and force Saunders and Linehan to use the run game more. (That decision lit up the message boards last night with reminders of Olsen/Linehan offense, but Saunders made the right call to try and settle Bulger down and get him some breathing space.) I think a lot of it's rust and nerves for Bulger, and he'll need to shake it off next week for us to breathe easier. 
  2. Setterstrom's likely out for the season. Granted Setts wasn't pegged to start, but he did give the Rams solid depth in the middle. This means Greco, who's had a good camp at guard, has a real chance to have an impact this season. It hurts to lose your depth, but this should be an injury the Rams can live with. 
  3. We never really got the chance to grade the receivers battling it out for the final spots on the depth chart, in part because of Bulger's terrible night. 
  4. With Avery and Holt sitting out, the Rams had no speed at WR. They need speed to give the passing game different looks.
  5. They still didn't score or have Steven Jackson out on the field, and that's all the ammo nay-sayers need and enough to give fans an excuse to stay away from the Dome. 
Thoughts?