Tonight, that included a 10-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, though the score was less important than the proceedings.
We saw a stronger performance from the offensive line, though that’s not saying much given how poorly they played in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. That improvement gave the Rams to work out more of the offense and that helped guys like QB Brandon Allen and RB John Kelly. Obviously though with just 10 points, 270 total yards and going 4-15 on third down, not a ton to love on offense. I think though that Rams Head Coach Sean McVay had to be careful not to use too much of his playcalling to open up the Cowboys and put too much on tape with the regular season less than a month away. Some of the early playcalls actually felt too sincere/aggressive in trying to open things up. While it helps the offense pick up first downs and extend drives...it’s the preseason! I’d rather keep those things closeted until we get the starters involved, though it’s a tricky balance.
On defense, it was another fine performance. LB Natrez Patrick, LB Dakota Allen and EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (FINALLY) had fine showings throughout. And DL Landis Durham had some good late work to add to his impressive first showing in Oakland. Plenty of good work in the secondary as well, though that’s to be expected holding the Cowboys to just 251 total yards and much of that coming early on as the Cowboys’ O-line opened things up for reserve RB Tony Pollard.
As is the case for the preseason in this current era of McVay’s Rams, it’s not all that meaningful. It helps add to the work the reserves are putting in, and it presents opportunities for young locked-in contributors like RB Darrell Henderson, S Taylor Rapp and others to settle into the NFL.
But the bottom line is that Week 1 of the regular season against the Carolina Panthers is going to look completely different than this.