The Los Angeles Rams’ preseason debut was not a pretty one as the offense struggled to maintain drives by consistently setting themselves back with self-inflicted mistakes such as penalties and drops. Looking ahead to week two, the Rams will face off against the Dallas Cowboys in Hawaii. Some guys have solid performances to maintain, and others have to improve.
Let’s take a look at some guys to focus on:
QB John Wolford
Wolford came out of nowhere in the preseason week one contest as he clearly outplayed fellow QB Brandon Allen. Wolford may not have jumped Allen on the depth chart yet, though another solid performance can and should help his case. The moment and speed of the game didn’t look too big for Wolford in any way. Hopefully for Wolford, he can continue to play with a calm demeanor and extend plays using his mobility. His passes were accurate to boot.
RB Darrell Henderson
Henderson did not have a good debut, though the offensive line really didn’t allow anything to develop in the running game. Tons of eyes are going to be on Hendo at all times, and they should be. Hendo was college football’s most explosive running back in 2018. It’d be fun to see some of that translate early with a long run or catch in this contest, though it isn’t a necessity. Hendo should receive a decent amount of work (8-12 touches).
WR KhaDarel Hodge
The Rams’ top-four receivers are locked in, leaving potentially one or two spots in the receiver room. Hodge did his best in week one to separate himself from fellow receivers JoJo Natson and Mike Thomas, though Natson does hold the advantage of returning kicks and punts over the remaining two guys. If Hodge continues to make plays and develop as a receiver, it’ll be hard for the Rams to not roster him, though there could very well be a spot on the practice squad for him (again). Ideally, Hodge could get some time with Blake Bortles and John Wolford as Brandon Allen proved incapable of accurately placing passes.
Backup Edge Rushers
Outside of one solid sack from UDFA Landis Durham and a coverage sack by Josh Carraway, the defensive line hardly applied any pressure. The backup defensive line/edge rusher spots are wide open, with nobody separating themselves one week into the preseason. Trevon Young showed some impressive moments of play, though he’ll need to affect the game more as a pass rusher. The remaining names have more work to do, particularly Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (if he suits up).
ILB Travin Howard
A lot of the attention at inside linebacker was focused on the two guys fighting for the first-team spot at ILB, Micah Kiser and Bryce Hager, yet it was Howard who had the most impressive performance manning the inside of the defense. Howard is a former safety who converted to linebacker in college, and it shows with his quicks and open-field ability. Howard is noticeably thicker than he was in his rookie season (2018), confirming the Rams see him as a linebacker and linebacker only.