Well, Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay came away with a victory in his first game as a head coach, albeit a preseason game against a Dallas Cowboys who refused to play their stars. Still, “a win is a win.” Rams fans are happy football is back, and especially happy to see the “boys” lose. Nonetheless, there are three more preseason games to go. Here’s my 2nd down, second guessing armchair quarterback evaluation of the game.
Nine times the ball hit the turf, five of which were on the Rams. Two of those fumbles were attributable to rookie RB Justin Davis, who showed promise—if he could just hold to the ball. “Fumblitis” is a problem that will plague him from here on out. He created a resume for other teams to bone up on when he gets the chance to replace RB Todd Gurley. Instead of tackling Davis, defenders will go for the strip. If the past is prelude to present, that ball is going to go rolling out again.
It’s hard to teach someone who has reached the NFL level how to do the basic stuff. Davis has his style holding the ball too far up and away from his body. That’s what got him to the pros. Now, he must learn to tuck the ball into his chest; otherwise, he won’t be long in this “Not For Long” (NFL) league. McVay is aware of the problem and hopes to correct it. Yet, if Davis puts too much concentration onto holding the ball, it will invariably take away from his thought process needed to hit the hole and get up the field.
Rams fans should be crossing their fingers and hoping this gets resolved.
The right side of the offensive line is just bad. Jamon Brown got beat down by the Cowboys, and this isn’t a problem that can be corrected. He’s just slow, and he can’t make that up. This led to bad angles being taken. The Cowboys’ front four exploited it by shooting his gaps, stuffing the run or causing QBs Jared Goff and Sean Mannion to hurry their throws.
Not to put just Brown off the hook, RT, Rob Havenstein was merely serviceable. He’s just so big, it’s hard to get around him.
Group that together and Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer has his work cut out for next week to get this situation fixed.
You have to feel bad for Gurley. He’s getting beat up. Yes, he made mistakes too by not hitting the hole as quickly as he should, but he’s forcing himself to wait that split second longer for something to develop. He has to have confidence the hole will be there.
Catch the Ball!
WR Robert Woods had a stellar performance by dropping the first pass thrown to him. Then he decided to top that by catching the ball at the Cowboys one yard line and simultaneously fumbling it in the end zone which got picked up by WR Cooper Kupp for the only touchdown of the game.
Overall, the Rams receivers were competent, though not superstars. The one stand out was Kupp. He made some really good plays, ran well after the catch and of course has a nose for finding the ball while its rolling around in the end zone—that’s called instinct.
Good and getting better
The Rams’ defense came to play. The corners played great man-to-man coverage. CB Mike Jordan was especially impressive as was CB Nickell Robey-Coleman. The defensive line was putting pressure on the Dallas QBs causing them to hurry their throws, but no sacks. Once DE Aaron Donald gets in, the sacks will come. Truth is, the Rams held the Cowboys to three straight three-and-outs and just 10 points.
Even though it’s a preseason game, that is impressive.
For a preseason game, this played itself out as one with the proverbial stupid penalties and lack of star power on the field. Nevertheless, Goff led to the team to a TD after the muffed punt by the Cowboys and Mannion who played the bulk of the game was the player of the game by showing he could step in and led the team when necessary.
The Rams have a long way to go still but it’s looking like things are coming together.