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LA Rams Vs Dallas Cowboys: Report Card Looks Good For The DL!

There was some impressive showings, but none really compared to that defensive line.

Arizona Cardinals v St Louis Rams Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images


A minus grade

Starting QB Jared Goff didn’t play much, but he did a good job when he was in there. He looked sharp and decisive, and most importantly, was accurate. Sean Mannion also had a good game. He was finding receivers all over the field and was spreading the ball with effectiveness, ultimately leading the team to multiple long drives that ended due to an inability to hold onto the ball. Either way, both QB’s looked pretty solid. Orlovsky barely played.

Running Backs

B minus grade

There was not much space at all for Todd Gurley, though he didn’t look great himself. For whatever reason he was moving real slow, let’s hope that can be chalked up to it being the preseason. After him is where the confusion starts. Malcolm Brown was running tough as nails, but his two fumbles weren’t a great sight. After him came UDFA Justin Davis who made his triumphant return to the Coliseum, and man he had juice. Looked incredible effective as a one-cut runner who had explosion and quickness, though he also had two fumbles.

Wide Receivers

A minus grade

Finally, going into a season our WR core looks destined to make some plays, and that was without now top dog Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods had a nice catch headed for the endzone until he fumbled, which seemed to be a theme. Cooper Kupp the rookie looked really good. He was creating major separation and reeled in multiple catches for decent yardage, and he also got his first NFL TD. Pharoh Cooper looked crisp running routes and was making plays out there with the first team. After them, Paul McRoberts and Nelson Spruce also had some catches.

Tight Ends

B grade

Tyler Higbee wasn’t super involved, though he had some time out there and had a catch. The “B” grade mostly comes from his backup, and second round pick Gerald Everett. The rookie looked impressive, and showed us why he was worthy of his selection. He had multiple catches, and even showed his unique RAC ability, resembling McVay’s former TE Jordan Reed. Also, Temarrick Hemingway was making plays, though his fumble sort of negates that.

Offensive Line


This is a “soft C”. The first team OL didn’t look good in the running game. Gurley was consistently stuffed in the backfield, and the main culprit was RG Jamon Brown. The second team OL had much more success with running the ball though, as Malcolm Brown and Justin Davis were very productive, specifically the latter. Austin Blythe also had a high snap which resulted in a 20 yard loss, and Sean Mannion was sacked multiple times. All in all, it was a decent showing, and nothing we didn’t expect. The backup OL was shaky in pass pro, but hopefully some improvement is coming.

Defensive Line

A plus grade

Impressive. That’s the word to describe the defensive line last night. With a team missing star Aaron Donald, another starter in Dominique Easley, and even guys like Robert Quinn and Samson Ebukam, guys stepped up. Cassanova McKinzy, Ejuan Price, Matt Longacre, and Carlos Thompson were all solid rushing the passer. There was consistent pressure on the Cowboys QB’s and they were collapsing the pocket effectively. Interior DL like Mike Purcell, Tanzel Smart, and Omarius Bryant looked very solid as well, particularly against the run. Morgan Fox was also very active. This DL ran the game, and they deserve the game ball for it.


A minus grade

Also a solid performance by the linebacker group. Missing Mark Barron, these guys were active all over the field, and that included the passing game. Cory Littleton stood out as a guy that was extremely active and consistently around the ball. Josh Forrest had a fumble recovery, and though I included the OLB’s up with the DL, they can be counted towards the LB’s, and they had plenty of pass rushing juice all game.

Defensive Backs

A minus grade

You seeing a consistent theme here for the defense? Wade Phillips had these guys gaming. FS Lamarcus Joyner looked impressive in his few snaps playing man coverage and coming up for a beautiful tackle on 3rd down. Rookie Kevin Peterson was extremely impressive knifing through offensive lineman to make tackles on screens, and his coverage was solid. Second year player Mike Jordan was also an impact player, grabbing an INT that was eventually ruled a drop.

Special Teams

B plus grade

GZ and Travis Coons both hit their one field goal attempt. Johnny Hekker looked like his usual self punting the ball. And Coons even punted the ball all of the second half, and for a kicker, he looked impressive.


A plus grade

Easy A+ for me. The Rams came out of the gate hungry and ready. Outside of major fumbling issues, this team is clearly miles ahead of where they were last season, in terms of play calling and coaching. Tackling, fumbles, and penalties need to be cleaned up, but it’s very evident the additions of Sean McVay and Wade Phillips, and the remainder of their staff, are going to be crucial to this teams success during the year.