Week One of the 2017 preseason is in the books.
The game gave us plenty of tidbits to work with. As is the usual in recent Rams history, the defense showed that it is the strength of the team. Depth was a concern given the team’s switch to Wade Phillip’s 3-4 scheme. Those concerns quickly faded as the second and third units proved the defense is a stout unit.
The offense, on the other hand, still has plenty of work to do.
With the addition of former Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins, the receiving corps shifts a bit. Watkins is in clear position to be the team’s No. 1 option – the vertical threat Head Coach Sean McVay’s offense was lacking.
This moves Sammy’s
former, err, current teammate Robert Woods over to the No. 2 WR spot; a more suitable role for the possession receiver.
Tyler Higbee was a non factor in the game. He logged in one catch for three yards, but nada after that. Rookie Gerald Everett showed glimpses of the weapon Sean McVay envisions him as.
The old saying of “the game is won in the trenches“ remains true.
Big Andrew Whitworth and
Glass-man Rodger Saffold form a formidable left side of the offensive line. If both parties stay healthy (seriously, knock on muhf*ckin’ wood) the Rams should have no worries coming from those two.
The issue with the O-Line lies on the right side... specifically RG Jamon Brown. Brown was repeatedly manhandled at the line of scrimmage. Hell, even McVay said, “We had a couple runs where it seemed like they got into our backfield.“ It is a safe bet McBae was referring to Brown.
The backup units did not fare well either. C Austin Blythe blew a snap that resulted in a fumble and loss of about 20 yards. OT Pace Murphy also struggled mightily.
Pray for no injuries to this group.
The Rams’ defensive depth was shown in the secondary on Saturday night; a unit once considered to be thin. Former USC Trojan CB Nickell Robey-Coleman proved to be a solid free agent addition.
Rookie CB Kevin Peterson was a pleasant surprise. The rookie UDFA out of Oklahoma St. was flying all around making plays all game. He ended the night leading the team with five tackles.
Second-year corner Michael Jordan played well too, defending a few passes that came his way.
The strength of the defense is definitely its front seven. With several key starters being held out as a precaution and Aaron Donald’s continued hold out, the backups shined. DE’s Matt Longacre and Morgan Fox proved they can hold their own. Rookie DL Tanzel Smart also looked solid.
On the offensive side of the ball, the running back depth emerged as a strong suit. Malcolm Brown may have the RB2 job on lock, but UDFA rookie Justin Davis proved he has tons of burst. The former Trojan needs to shore up the ball security issues, though.