This whole "win" thing - especially in preseason - is something to drop down my want list. An NFL team can't really lose a preseason game either, unless the injury gnomes make an appearance. With the shortened - and bizarre parameters - of how and when a team can practice, these games are nothing more than dress rehearsals for the understudies, with stars spending most of their time in the wings, stage right or left.
Meaningless? Yes, but at the same time, fans start to form opinions on various players just like the coaches do. It's a God given right to be an armchair quarterback - as stated in the DC proverbs; a little known and VERY hard to read text found in a Superman lunch box next to the Dead Sea Scrolls... Written in what I've been told is a "More than dead and slightly obtuse language, in a kind of cat scratch on old Lowes sales receipts", it appears to have been written by the first - and only - prophet of the NFL. Attributed to a vague historic figure named "Brandon of the Bad Air" in either 2013 B.C., or 2013 A.D., all we know about him is he became the inspiration for Tic-Tacs...
I'd like to share a few of his proverb-esk thoughts with you. I think they still apply to the NFL today, and to the preseason game between the Rams and Packers"...
"Do no evil, in sight of the masses who yearn for more than the day is worth. Hold fast, allow sharing the moment of the lessors; for they deserve to shine before becoming salesmen of chariots and money lenders..."
Hmm? I can buy this one. The preseason is about seeing players in a variety of situations, and getting injured in a meaningless game would be idiotic at best. He also observes the fact many of the players we're seeing in the preseason won't even be in the NFL in a few weeks.
"If you must engage in contest and maylay of no worth, then get it right, dammit! The end-ith of the line, of those who would tally and tally, houses Goliaths fleet of foot and hands of the surgeons. Pay heed to them, for they will cost, and cost again, you who stand before them..."
In the Rams game last night, I can see this one applying. The St. Louis defense showed - for the second week in a row - covering tight ends in pass coverage is something they desperately need to work on. There were times during the game where Jermichael Finley was left virtually untouched, let alone covered. In the Cleveland game in Week #1, they let a mediocre tight end look great too. The Rams outside linebackers, safeties and nickle corner backs need to up their game covering tight ends.
"You must name two kings, who will guard your peace deep and away. Beware those of years, for they may not be worthy..."
Darian Stewart hasn't impressed me. I'm inclined to take the rookie/second year leap on McDonald and McLeod/Davis over the fourth year Stewart. I'd like a chance to see what Matt Giordano can do, and he needs to get healthy before the season starts to add some veteran depth.
"Hurry not your young, for their season may not be upon them. Throw no stones at them, or beat them with sticks;
unless they REALLY deserve it. Be understanding, for youth is the future; unless you can find a wandering soldier who can do better and your purse has the coin not wasted on the most foul...
I take two things away from this passage. First, "Brandon of the Bad Air" didn't have whiteout. Second, the closer we get to the regular season, the harder it will be to have patience with the enormous numbers of rookies and second year players on the Rams' roster. They're being asked to step up this season, as they were last year. The sad fact is, we may be expecting too much, too soon. The Rams hit big with their rookies in 2012, and to expect the same this season may be a reality stretch.
Alec Ogletree simply isn't ready. Don't get me wrong, I think he has all the talent in the world. But his being thrust onto center stage this early in his career may not be the smartest move. In the game against the Packers, he was out of position most of the night, and spent most of his time "watching too long before reacting". It's not surprising that Finley's biggest plays started off of Ogletree's side of the field. He has to at least 'check" the progress of a tight end before handing the coverage off to a defensive back. If he doesn't, a guy like Vernon Davis is going to have a field day when the Rams play the 49ers.
"Hold thy searching judgement to the last moment; for gold is not easily found. But never fear calling a rock a rock, then cast it away in the direction of money lenders and those of all knowledge like Douglas, who gets all the women, curses my "that-s", and makes fun of my wife's bean curd..."
Isaiah Pead is a confusing player to watch. You can almost feel the pressure the young man is putting on himself before he touches the ball. It's like he's trying too hard, and at the expense of being able to play at all? I have zero doubt he has all the physical talent in the world, but he's living the game in his head way too much. Someone need to tell him to have fun and relax.
"Some fires are slow to light. Green wood makes smoke, but will take time to warm you. Casting precious oils on the fire will only waste precious oils, and burn away facial hair. My missing eyebrows hold this story for you, so heed my words..."
Wise words indeed... Am I the only one laughing at the thought of an eyebrow-less "Brandon of the Bad Air" writing his thoughts down next to a smoke billowing fire? But I get his message, and "green wood" is an apt metaphor for the cloud of young players the Rams have on their roster. Yelling, screaming - or in my case: flinging whole bags of Cheetos in the air - won't hurry the learning curve along for all these new players.
I get it. Count myself among all of you who knew in our hearts preseason games mean little, but still hoped to see the Rams come out of training camp in a instantly-brilliant way. In the first series at Cleveland, I hoped against hope for perfection. But what NFL fan doesn't, right?
I'll leave you with one final thought from "Brandon of the Bad Air", then leave you to your Sunday:
"The West is filled with beasts. Trust new arrows to fly straight and true to smite those who set upon your tribe; because in the end, that's all you have to shoot. If you hear my screams, sounding like a very young woman, do not run. I need a head start..."
Enjoy your Sunday!