A couple thoughts on last night's game.
It's always tempting to put a ton of stock behind any observations in the preseason. This guy looks good, he's a bust, etc. But the main takeaway for me was how isolated the top units were. Three starting O-linemen missing, no Michael Brockers, no James Laurinaitis, Janoris Jenkins on the bench...and no Sam Bradford. There are still realities to glean from the on-field action, but let's not act like this was representative of anything vis a vis week one.
Sack City...Under Construction
As good as the Rams' D-line pass rush is (even when bolstered by a Chris Long interception), they have to act as a the bulwark against opposing rushing attacks. In that regard, they struggled somewhat early. The second unit came in pretty quickly without much better results, though for my first time watching him in a Rams uni, Aaron Donald makes a mess of offensive backfields. Michael Sam did more than I expected with his early time as well.
Offense...Under More Construction?
The offense was disjointed from the go. To be fair, it's the preseason opener without the starting quarterback, so I didn't expect things to be clicking without issue. When Lance Kendricks pulled an early holding call to put the Rams in a very 2013 Rams position of 1st & 20 from the New Orleans 44, I was prepared for the Rams defense to get on the field. But a nice reaction catch from Jared Cook on a pretty seam route and a Saints defensive lapse saw Cory Harkey march into the end zone with ease.
Once the deeper backups came in, the offense was all over the place. So be it. The team will have to go back and isolate the responsibilities of individual players and figure out who's closer to where they're supposed to be and who's not. To me, it certainly seemed like a lot of "who's not"s on the first night, including confused rookie QB Garrett Gilbert.
Seemingly, the only injury for the Rams from last night was a pretty serious one. Mason Brodine, He suffered a lower leg/ankle injury getting rolled up on a return and will miss the season. As always, the TST family wishes him a full recovery.
Work. Three practices this week should allow the team opportunities to iron out some of the missteps from last night and then turn the page toward a second home preseason game a week from today, that one against Green Bay.
Hopefully, we'll get to see something more representative of the expected week one offensive line next Saturday. Getting Jake Long and Greg Robinson on the same page on the left side will be crucial to the Rams' early season fortunes. You got a sense of how those relationships aren't supposed to work from an early bust up play thanks to some miscommunication between GRob and starting center Tim Barnes last night. As for Sam Bradford, I wouldn't be surprised if he sits again. More than anything, the Rams need to get their running game and defense clicking.
Speaking of the D, there's plenty to iron out there as well. Cleaning up some things on the line would be helpful to allow the back end the comfort you know they'll have when the full frontal attack is on.
Of course Coach Fisher called in a fake punt...in a preseason game...never change, Coach. Never change.
What stood out to you from last night? Any players impress you in limited time? Any depth chart shifts you think are coming that can be attributed to the Saints game?