The Los Angeles Rams just wrapped up their first preseason game tonight with a win over the Dallas Cowboys. With the regular season kicking off in just under a month, the Rams still have plenty of work to do. It takes much more than 1 preseason game to undo 5 years of wrong, but tonight was the first step in the process. Here we look at the people who helped (and hurt) that process.
Cory Littleton, ILB
Littleton was voted the Rams Rookie of the Year last year, and tonight he showed why. He was flying around the field, being in on nearly every single play. Was as solid as one could hope in run defense tonight, while also more than holding his own in coverage. To me, he should be roster lock. While also being one of the first men up if there should be an injury.
Matt Longacre, OLB
Matt Longacre has been with the Rams since the 2015 season. While his playing time has been limited, he has been more than impressive when given an opportunity. Tonight was no different, as Longacre regularly found himself in the Cowboys’ backfield wreaking havoc. With the uncertainty along the defensive line and at outside linebacker, Longacre could be playing himself into a roster spot.
With 5 fumbles in the game, ball security severely failed this week. With 4 combined fumbled from Todd Gurley’s backups, (Malcolm Brown & Justin Davis) one cannot help but be concerned with the depth behind our lead back. Ball security and fundamentals MUST be a major point for Sean McVay and the Rams’ offense this week and beyond.
The Rams’ offensive line tonight was atrocious. There is absolutely no way around it. From the get-go the line struggled to get any push in the run game. This led to Todd Gurley getting 4 carries for a meager 2 yards, (sounds familiar doesn’t it?). Offensive guard/tackle Jamon Brown, and offensive tackle Pace Murphy were the main culprits. Brown looked overmatched from the start, getting blown up on the first play of the game. While Murphy nearly stood and watched as Taco Charlton blew past him and absolutely walloped Sean Mannion, nearly causing a safety. Murphy would eventually give up another sack. It may be early, but this unit still looks to be a major weak point.
The lack of tackling in Rams camp could not have been more apparent today. Defenders regularly looked timid coming up to a rolling running back, and refused to wrap up. Going for the big hit instead of wrapping the ballcarrier up was a major issue under Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams, here’s to hoping Son of Bum can correct it.
Winner And Loser
Justin Davis, RB
Davis had some good tonight, as well as some bad. Davis would routinely rip off a big run, leaving him finishing the night with 9 carries for 70 yards. But almost right after, Davis would make a mistake. The former USC RB fumbled the ball twice and picked up a penalty in pass protection. Davis has all of the talent in the world. But if he wants to make the roster in a wide-open RB competition, he has to hang onto the rock.