How is everyone doing this fine morning. We are just a few days removed from the first week of football. It feel's really good to say that again, it would be even better if the Rams didn't lose again. Let's not kid ourselves if your not used to hearing the Rams lost, you must be a new fan. What made this game special however, is the fact that it was so competitive. You can say that the Rams should have won, but the way I see it if this was last season the Rams would have gotten blown out.
Yes, I know the Cardinals had Derek Anderson, but the Rams were very impressive out there on defense. Then you had Sam Bradford doing his best Peyton Manning impression. In my honest opinion the Rams could have pulled out the game if Sam Bradford didn't have to throw the ball ball 55 times, and Steven Jackson averaged more than 3.7 yards a carry, and went to beast mode in the second half. With that being said I got to watch the whole game on Sunday, for the first time in along time, so I'm going to tell you what I learned from the St. Louis Rams first game of the 2010-2011 season with an unbiased opinion.
1. Sam Bradford was the right pick in the draft.
I won't lie, I wasn't exactly happy about this pick. I felt like the Rams could have used Suh, or Jimmy Clausen, hell for all I cared we could have drafted Dez Bryant and let Keith Null throw to him. If anyone on TST saw my Facebook you would have seen how I felt about Sam Bradford during much of the first quarter. I saw overthrows, then there were the throws that hit a couple of his receivers legs. Shortly after his touchdown throw (that the Rams wouldn't have went for if Sam the Man wasn't a Ram.) to Laurent Robinson, it all became clear to me. Sam Bradford is still a rookie but the way he handled himself on the field made me think he was a veteran. Of course he will make mistakes, but it don't look like any worst than the trio of QB's we had last year would have done. Plus Sam Bradford did pretty good for his FIRST START. Sam the Ram went 32/55 for 253 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. The last two interceptions were when the Rams had Sam trying to be a hero, at the end of the game. When was the last time a rookie threw it 55 times in a season, let alone the first game of the season. I'm a Texas Longhorns fan and if Sam Bradford can change my mind after the first week of the season, then everyone else must love him.
2. The Rams offense will put up more points than last season.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Rams will be competitive this season. Just think about this Sam Bradford threw for more yards in his debut, than any other Ram quarterback before the bye week, That's 8 long games where the veterans that the Rams had couldn't do what a rookie did his first game. Sam Bradford will get a better grip on the offense every week. Also our WR's are better than they were last year with the addition of Mark Clayton. Even though Clayton came to the Rams a few days before our first game he already had the most receptions of his career, and more than any other Ram did last year. Plus the Rams have white chocolate and the other receivers. I still think that Brandon Gibson will have a breakout year this season, which is his second in the NFL. Add that with Mardy Gilyard starting KR most likely the rest of the season, and could come in later in the season when he learns the plays. Last but not least let's not forget about Steven Jackson, he almost always has a slow start of the season, but he has been a beast, and there is no reason not to believe that he will continue to be one with a good "rookie quarterback.
3.The Rams offense line needs more work.
I know this one might get a lot of heat but I really didn't like the way the Rams blocked for most of the game. Those two Sam Bradford sacks were horrible. I mean on one of them the linebacker came straight threw the middle untouched, and on the other sack Adrian Wilson came unblocked and rode Sam Bradford to the turf. I heard some people saying that Steven Jackson couldn't block, well if it wasn't for him Bradford would have gotten killed out there. I know it's just the first game but the Cardinals D was supposed to confuse Bradford not our veteran o-line. Those two sacks are misleading Bradford got hit multiple times after the throw, but at least we learned one thing about bradford, This man really is mobile in the pocket.
4. The Rams defense still needs some fine tuning
Don't get me wrong, the Rams defense is pretty nice. For every hit that Sam Bradford recevied Derek Anderson felt the same amount of pain if not more. That's how it was for most of the game. The only beef I have with the defense was the drive where they allowed five straight runs to go for 70+ yards and a touchdown, and when the pass defense went backward to last season and let Anderson carve them apart late in the second half. Also say what you want about Ronald Bartell having a good game against Larry Fitsgerald, but to me it looked like Bartell did horrible. If Anderson hadn't overthrew him or underthrew him, Fitsgerald would have had at least 6 receptions.
5. The Rams need to learn how to make the BIG play.
This game basically came down to can the Rams make "THAT" play, and the Rams failed in that aspect. The Rams had so many golden opportunities to win the game and they just couldn't pull it out. I can honestly say that the Rams dropped at least two interceptions. Then when it looked like everything was looking up after Bradley Fletcher picked up the fumble and put the Rams in scouring position, the Rams settle for a field goal. Then there was the Clifton Ryan "rumble to the endzone"which I won't even discuss, since I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about it. In this game sometime it comes to a the big unscripted play that wins your team the game, just ask the other Missouri team how big plays can win the game.
The most Surprising thing of the game.
The Rams using shotgun. I knew that the Rams would use shotgun a little bit, but this game they used it on more than half of Sam Bradford throws. Hell the Rams even threw in the no huddle offense some. I expect that was them getting Bradford used to the NFL, and keeping him feel comfortable. Maybe if Bradford was under center more throwing the ball Jackson would have had a better game, but it's important to get Bradford comfortable sooner than later.
The most disappointing thing of the game.
Had to be the production of Steven Jackson. Steven Jackson was supposed to make it easier for Sam Bradford to make his transition as a rookie. However after watching the game, It seemed like the only effect that Jackson had on the game was the play action on the Rams 4th and goal play. I know his stats say otherwise, but for a majority of the game except a few runs I forgot he was there. I'm sure Jackson will play better later on during the season, and that's good because even though Sam Bradford had a good game, this is still Jackson's team.
Sorry about how long it took to post this article, I'm trying to balance having six classes this semester, having a broke-down computer :( (I'm in the library now), and a social life while looking for a job. I just missed my TST fam so much, but now that this out the way time to look forward to the Oakland Raiders.