Preseason week one likely didn’t go as planned for the Los Angeles Rams, though there were still positives when evaluating player performances. We’ll take a look at the guys who fall under three separate categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let’s get into it:
WR KhaDarel Hodge
If you thought Hodge didn’t have a shot to crack the 53-man roster, it might be time to adjust. Yes, the Rams are absolutely loaded at wide receiver, meaning the logjam represents almost no playing time whatsoever at the position. Though, for the second preseason in a row now, Hodge has proven he absolutely belongs in the NFL. His crisp route running and strong hands led to three receptions for 48 yards, with the potential for another chunk of yardage on an intermediate route that QB Brandon Allen overthrew.
QB John Wolford
Wolford came out of absolutely nowhere. As the last quarterback on the roster, Wolford hardly got any playing time, though he did the absolute most with his minimal time. Wolford went 6/8 for 54 passing yards in the game, with another 12 rushing yards. The stats aren’t eye popping, though Wolford displayed a distinct ability to keep his eyes downfield, read through his progressions, and deliver accurate passes to receivers’ hands. Not only that, but he looked composed the entire time throughout.
S Steven Parker
Parker was one of the Rams’ defenders who stood out as he pulled down an interception and long return. Parker was also active as a tackler, chipping in four by himself. His speed is evident, and even though the Rams are stacked at safety, Parker could very well spend the season on the practice squad again.
CB Darious Williams
Williams was probably the best player for the Rams all night. He was consistently in great coverage, he made multiple plays on the ball, and he lead the team with six solo tackles. Williams will have a tough time cracking the 53-man roster. If he doesn’t make this roster, the tape he’s putting forward will be sure to land him a job somewhere.
S Taylor Rapp
Rapp’s first action on an NFL field was a success. The Rams elected to use Rapp in man coverage on tight ends and in the box as a subpackage linebacker majority of his time on the field, which is likely to be his role in his rookie season. Rapp displayed exactly what he showed in college with a clutch tackle on 3rd-and-medium (short of the first-down marker) as well as another pass breakup on fellow rookie WR Hunter Renfrow.
DT Greg Gaines
Sebastian Joseph-Day may have garnered the start as the first-team nose tackle, though it was Gaines who made the biggest impact. Gaines was routinely knifing through the offensive line and finding himself in the backfield of the Raiders. It was evident Gaines outplayed SJD, potentially gaining some ground in the battle for the starting spot at nose tackle.
WR Nsimba Webster
Webster — like Hodge — showed out when nearly the everyone else on the offense struggled. Webster reeled in three receptions for 27 yards while also making plays on special teams as a gunner. For a guy who doesn’t have a fantastic chance of making the 53-man roster, Webster is making it as hard of a choice as possible.
OL Bobby Evans
The main positive from Evans was the positional versatility he was asked to display, though he struggled in his first NFL game. Fellow rookie offensive tackle David Edwards and backup OL Jamil Demby both showed better, potentially leading to better roster spots for those two.
CB Dominique Hatfield
Hatfield has been in the NFL long enough to stand out at this point, though he still hasn’t. He wasn’t impressive.
QB Brandon Allen
Allen struggled mightily in his 2019 preseason debut. There really wasn’t much to highlight as a positive. Overthrows, taking too long to read progressions, and not moving the ball. It was a very bad night for Allen. John Wolford is in the lead for the third quarterback spot on the team currently.
Penalties + drops
Very ugly and very sloppy. Time to clean up the mistakes that you can control for the second game.