Preseason week one has come and gone, and largely, it was very tough to watch the Los Angeles Rams’ performance. Nevertheless, there were also some impressive performances from individuals, and plenty bad ones.
Let’s take a look at who performed and and who didn’t:
QB Sean Mannion
I mean, is there anything that really needs to be said? Anytime you go 3/13 for 16 yards and an interception, you had a terrible game. Sure, the surrounding circumstances for Mannion weren’t great: the offensive line struggled, and I recall a drop or two from receivers (Josh Reynolds), but wow, Mannion showed how truly inept he can be last night. He lacked any sense of mobility, decision making, accuracy, or the desire to push the ball past five yards (typical). Brandon Allen earned the start in week two.
OT Darrell Williams
Here is your equivalent, Mr. Mannion. Williams simply wasn’t good. At this point it’s hard to see a spot for him on the roster with how well Joe Noteboom and Jamil Demby played in their first action. Williams was beaten like a drum for a sack, he impacted the rusher so little that snap he may as well have not even been out there.
CB Troy Hill
Troy Hill also had a night to forget. Hill was beaten multiple times in the first two drives, one of which wasn’t necessarily his fault as the defensive line couldn’t apply any pressure. Hill also registered a flag, which didn’t help his overall performance. He was also put on a poster by QB Lamar Jackson, who juked him into a mouth full of dirt on his way to a touchdown. Hopefully Hill can shake this one off as rust and continue to improve as a young player.
DT McKay Murphy
Murphy made next to no impact. Actually, I vividly remember watching him get spun around and then proceeding to go tackle another one of his teammates.
WR JoJo Natson
Natson made his presence felt all night on special teams. Routinely he created yards on both punt and kick return units, showing a ton of shake and speed. Natson also got some playing time at wide receiver late in the game. He registered two catches for 14 yards.
RB Justin Davis
If you’re looking for maybe the only bright spot on offense in the first half, Justin Davis is it. After a sparkling performance in last years preseason (sans the fumbles), Davis carried it over and continued in 2018. A one-cut runner, Davis was fast, decisive, and played with tons of burst and vision. Davis routinely ripped off large chunk runs with seven rushing attempts for 41 yards, with an additional 20-30 yards called back from penalties.
RB John Kelly
If you were looking for the equivalent to Davis, then John Kelly is it. Kelly was simply brilliant in his rookie debut, pulling off a massive gain of 42 yards on a pitch where he cut back across the field. Kelly was tough, maintained balance, and used a nasty jump-cut to set defenders up. His burst was very evident.
LG Jamil Demby
Demby was Mr. Reliable last night. Lining up at both guard spots and right tackle, he was gaining a ton of experience and had a ton of playing time to prove he belonged, and boy did he. Demby sprung multiple big runs at RT, turning his defender inside out with ease. Demby also had multiple impressive pass pro sets inside at guard.
ILB Micah Kiser
Kiser was as advertised. Taking over after the Bryce Hager and Ramik Wilson experiment went poorly, Kiser was the opposite. He was consistently the first guy to sniff out the ball and go chase. Kiser registered two tackles and assisted four more. If he can continue to string together impressive performances, it’d be hard to see him not jump one of Hager or Wilson on the depth chart.
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day
The rookie defensive tackle certainly made his presence felt. Joseph-Day was playing with a ton of energy, chasing down running backs from behind and looking extremely active on the field. Joseph-Day still has a ways to go as a pass rusher (though that’ll likely never be his forte), but he proved he earned his playing time showing off his run-stuffing prowess. Look for Joseph-Day to continue to get major run.