On Friday, the St. Louis Rams played the Oakland Raiders and lost 3-18. No one watches preseason games for the box score. We match it to see how players perform. Before the preseason game, I looked at ten players to pay attention to during the game. So how'd they do?
Foles performed as expected in his first game as a Ram, finishing the game (two drives) throwing for three out of five passes and 69 yards. He threw some good passes, but what was really worrisome was how he played under pressure. Obviously, most quarterbacks do not play well when pressured, and that has been the story on Foles throughout his career so far. The Rams offensive line will have to play better, or Foles will have to learn how to play under pressure real quick.
Jones did not impress as much as fans thought he would. Jones was routinely walked in to the backfield by defensive linemen. It was not all bad however, he did keep the quarterback from getting destroyed, so that is a positive.
With E.J. Gaines missing the season, the next man up to play the slot position is Joyner and he made an impression against the Raiders. It just was not positive. Joyner had problems covering his man which resulted in a couple of catches and at least one touchdown. Granted it was not all bad for Joyner. He still looks good tackling and finding the man with the ball.
Watching Watts run is a real treat. In the game he showed good vision and acceleration on runs and routinely made the first guy miss and he set up his blockers well, he also looked natural catching. He might not play often with the Rams but he could be a good change of pace somewhere in the league.
Mannion played really solid going 8-of-13, and finishing with 53 passing yards. I really liked seeing him pass the ball and the zip on it. Not going to go in to much more detail, but can't wait to see more of Mannion.
The Rams did not play him too deep a lot, he was able to find the ball to help on some tackles. He did also allow an easy touchdown in front of him that he did not react to fast enough. He looked rough.
Ayers started for the Rams and by the looks of things brings another dimension to the linebacking core. Ayers looked quick and looked like a natural pass rusher. I would have liked to see him make better tackles in the open field, but he looks like a good addition so far.
The big second round rookie made his NFL debut on Friday and he was impressive. He did have a bad pass blocking play and he got walked back a couple of times, however he was good at run blocking and surprisingly he looked solid pass blocking. Based on this game, he should be a good piece to the offensive line.
What a flash! Austin did what the Rams will need him to do in a game: make a play with the ball in is hands. Now, to show that he has really improved, it would be nice to see him win on a route and get some good yardage...but baby steps first.
Westbrooks was on the field for 45 snaps against the Raiders, tied for the most snaps on the defense. I liked what I saw from him. He can shed the blocker and get in to the backfield and he did it at ease at times.