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Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens preseason 2018: The good, the bad, and the Sean Mannion

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The LA Rams showed up in Baltimore for a week one matchup that gave us a lot to talk about. There were several encouraging aspects and also performances that might be a cause for concern.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Los Angeles Rams need not to ring any alarm bells.

The existences of a panic button hasn’t even been brought up yet because this is a young team with rising stars and loads of potential. So, when the 2018 Los Angeles Rams showed up for their first preseason game, it was instantly clear that this matchup was looked at by Head Coach Sean McVay and his staff as an evaluation game. You’ve heard it a million times — these are the guys fighting tooth and nail for the last dozen roster spots. But what did the #2 guys like QB Sean Mannion (roster preview). RB Malcolm Brown (roster preview) and CB Troy Hill (roster preview) play like?

The Good

DT Ethan Westbrooks is most likely going to be a backup this year while playing a lot of defensive snaps last year. But rest assured, this guy has been training this offseason like a starter and that’s exactly what Rams’ fan love about Westbrooks — he’s a scrappy fighter.

QB Brandon Allen (roster preview) and second year RB Justin Davis (roster preview) showed flashes out there, proving that he can contribute to the depth of this team. With a so-so showing by Brown, the competition at running back suddenly looks a LOT more intriguing with the emergence of 6th round selection RB John Kelly (roster preview) from Tennessee. I will say that John Kelly’s explosion out of the backfield was the best part of the game as a Rams’ fan. The guy is just fun to watch with the ball in his hands.

The Bad

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, the star power was on sidelines. The highlight for me was seeing CB Aqib Talib with the double chains around his neck, keeping the relationship alive with WR Michael Crabtree.

The intensity from the team was missing though. I’m sorry, but if the most pumped up person on the field is your strength and conditioning coach, then maybe step it up a little? I guess when the star players are chilling out on the sidelines in matching T-shirts, it feels less like a game and more like a reality show. And Rams Twitter went a little nuts, calling for Hill’s head. After that first half drubbing, it felt like these guys needed one of those movie pep talks where Kurt Russell does acting for several minutes and everyone gets the feels because the music is awesome and they really want to win the game. Instead, the Rams gave up 87 yards in penalties. Granted, they did play better and even scared a touchdown. Yay.

The Ugly

Is Mannion going to be the third string QB going into the season or is he going to get his act together? It felt like in the time between Mannion made the decision to throw the ball and the moment he releases the ball, I made a sandwich, took out the trash, forgot about the sandwich, ate the sandwich, called my Aunt Julie, had a beer, a light nap, and watched two episodes of Frasier reruns. This guy is technically a veteran of the team and he’s playing like a guy who won a contest.