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Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys: 2nd down, second guessing

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Here’s what the Professor saw from the Rams’ second game of the preseason.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

As far as the Professor is concerned, this Los Angeles Rams team is extremely talented at the skill positions. Although the Rams lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 14-10, losing their second preseason game in a row, these games don’t count.

They’re still meaningful to me.

Rams fans got to see just how good the bench players are. I’m was very pleased with the way the the second- and third-team players performed showing a vast improvement from the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders.

There were still plenty of penalty flags like last week, but I’m getting used to it. I enjoyed watching this game. The key for me is looking for talent since Head Coach Sean McVay plays few, if any, of the projected starters in the preseason. Talent to me is someone who jumps off the television screen. It could be one play, or overall game play in general that impresses me.

I saw plenty of that this last Saturday.

Offense

Face it. QB Blake Bortles, no matter how poorly he may look to the eye, is going to be the backup quarterback to starting QB Jared Goff. The real battle is for the third spot on the team between, Brandon Allen and John Wolford.

Things can change in the last two preseason games, but I give the edge to Allen. He’s got last year’s experience in the McVay system and has this intangible—confidence. He can make plays with his legs and arm.

On the other hand, Wolford is new. He plays well when in there, but if the need arises, (which no Ram fan wants to have happen) there will be no time for learning and teaching. The regular season is about winning games, period, and Allen gives the Rams the best shot at that.

There’s no doubt that both Allen and Wolford can play. Given that every team in the league needs a competent backup, I would thank that that whomever gets cut has a good shot at making it on another squad.

Once again, RB Darrell Henderson was impressive, and I liked what I saw from RB John Kelly. It’s looking harder and harder for me to see RB Justin Davis making the squad being the odd man out, when you factor in RB Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown.

At wide receiver, this is a crowded field. I love this Nsimba Webster. Every time he’s out there, he makes a big catch. McVay is very high on Michael Thomas, and he did have an okay game...but I would just hate to lose Webster. So its going to be a very talented crop with Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, KhaDarel Hodge, Josh Reynolds and JoJo Natson, who can play the position as need arises since he makes the squad as the Rams starting punt return man.

On the offensive line, I’ll leave it to the coaching staff. However, if Jamil Demby makes the team I’ll be shocked. He’s having a tough preseason with the penalties, but worse yet, he’s getting beat off snap of the ball. When they moved him to center, he has made bad snaps one of which came at a key time against the Cowboys. If he wants to be with Rams, he’s gonna have to really step up his play in the last two preseason games.

I feel very good about the Rams’ offense going into the season even though they’ve only scored 13 points in two games.

I am predicting that QB Jared Goff is going to leap into the elite category of quarterbacks this year. He has improved every year since he was drafted number one overall by the Rams, and this year should be no different especially if he wants the big bucks elite quarterbacks are making in the NFL. Now’s the time to shine.

Defense

I may be going out on limb here, but from what I observed and feel, the Rams under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is going to be top ten defense.

This team is stacked with young, aggressive players.

On the first drive of the game for Dallas, they sacked starting QB Dak Prescott. They followed that up with a bonehead play allowing Cowboys rookie RB Tony Pollard to run for fifteen yards putting Dallas into a makeable third down situation.

I became very concerned at that point, but the Rams held Dak and the Cowboys to just three points. I imagine it might have been a lot different if players like CB Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib along with starters, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Clay Matthews and Dante Fowler, Jr., were out there.

What stood out from the Professor’s point of view was undrafted free agent rookie LB Natrez Patrick. This kid can play. With the injury to LB Micah Kiser, the Rams are going to need him.

Patrick needs more experience, but I can’t wait to see him in the last two preseason games especially if can get a shot against the projected starting offenses for either the Denver Broncos or Houston Texans.

I was really down on OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo after he got that penalty for lining up in the neutral zone on a third and four. I thought I was watching the second coming of DE Robert Quinn. You just can’t get that penalty. You’re giving the game away! But he settled in and had a good game after that. If he can stay healthy, I’m looking forward to seeing him out there.

Once again, S Taylor Rapp is doing everything I like in a safety. Get used to this Rams fans, because in my opinion he’s going to be the Rams’ starting free safety next year.

As for the secondary, forget about it. This is as talented a group as I’ve ever seen at the cornerback position, and I’m going back to the 1960’s. I love all these guys, especially CB Kevin Peterson. He’s got a nose for the football. Throw into the mix the starters, and this by far is going to be the hardest decision for the coaching staff to make as to who goes and who stays.

Because I’m so high on the Rams secondary, it’s the reason I think the Rams will have a top ten defense this year and better against the run then they were last year.

Looking ahead

I’m not second guessing, because the preseason is what it is. However, since Los Angeles have not had a chance to see the team since beating, ironically the Cowboys in the divisional round, it will be nice to getting the team back at the Coliseum.

If I’m excited about one thing for this next game at home, it’s the introductions. This will be our chance to stand up and cheer for the remarkable season the Rams had last year being introduced as the 2018 NFC Champions.

While not winning the Super Bowl was a disappointment, it shouldn’t diminish the appreciation Angelenos should have for our team.

We’re going on a fourth year since “The Return” as we get ready to head into our new home next year.

My motto for 2019 is: “Let’s finish this!”