In Micah Kiser’s NFL debut as a defensive player in Week 1, the Rams linebacker made seven tackles and missed seven tackles according to at least one source. The results in Kiser’s second opportunity could be more in line with the type of season he’s going to have this year.
Against the Eagles in Week 2, Kiser finished with 16 tackles and missed only one. What is more interesting is the amount that Kiser was targeted in coverage by Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, no doubt looking for one of his tight ends, and the results on those throws. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Wentz was 10-of-15 when throwing in Kiser’s area but gained only 81 yards and no touchdowns.
Kiser is now tied with Eric Kendricks and Jaylon Smith for the third most tackles in football. He also has three passes defensed, one forced fumble and has been asked to blitz seven times by defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
He wasn’t the only Rams defensive player to improve upon his tackling in Week 2. Rookie safety Jordan Fuller was credited with a team-high eight tackles in Week 1, but three missed tackles. Fuller was credited with nine tackles and no misses against the Eagles.
Another LA defensive player who won’t hate his advanced stats is safety John Johnson. Through two weeks, PFR notes that he’s had seven targets in his area, allowing two catches for 14 yards and no touchdowns.
Next Gen Stats credited Jalen Ramsey with allowing no catches on two targets, but as I’ve warned in the past these numbers are rarely consistent from one source to another and advanced stats must be taken with an understanding that:
A) We’re blindly trusting someone to do the work that the average person wouldn’t be physically capable of doing on their own and there’s often no way for us to verify these numbers.
B) These are often based on judgment calls of football plays and decisions made by average joes and one site’s target for Ramsey is another site’s target for Darious Williams.
Pro-Football-Reference, wherever they get their numbers, does not agree with that. The good news is that they think Ramsey was even better than that. According to PFR, Ramsey was targeted five times, allowing one catch for three yards. That would mean that Ramsey has given up 84 yards on 16 throws in his direction this season, if you believe PFR, which is as good as you’d expect from him.
Leonard Floyd went from no blitzes in Week 1 to seven blitzes in Week 2. That’s as many blitzes as anyone else has had all the team in both games combined. He notched one pressure, a QB knockdown.
Offensively, Van Jefferson has been Jared Goff’s go-to deep threat through two games, averaging an average depth of target of 12.8 yards. By comparison, Cooper Kupp is at 4.1 ADOT. Goff’s average intended air yards per attempt of 6.2 ranks near the bottom of the league but again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. This is where Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees are living too.
Goff was credited with a bad throw on 20.2-percent of his throws in 2019, sixth-worst in the league. Through two games this year, Goff is at 14.8-percent and has “dropped” to 20th. Goff had 15 throwaway passes all of last season and he’s already had four this year. The intention to avoid the mistakes he made in 2019 is obvious.
Goff has the fourth-most “pocket time” to start the year at 2.6 seconds and he’s number two in play action passing attempts. Per NextGen Stats, “Goff’s average air yards per attempt jumped to 8.6 yards per attempt in Week 2, up from 4.3 air yards per attempt in Week 1.”
One area Sean McVay would like to see improvement from would be the running backs group. While noting that this position has been impacted by injuries, releases and features little starting experience, in addition to the fact that they’ve been asked to carry the ball 61 times through two games despite players missing snaps to ailments, they’ve yet to create much on their own.
Each of the three players has one broken tackle on the season and the rate of three broken tackles on 61 attempts is one of the worst in the league. Some of that may hinge on Cam Akers’ availability in the upcoming weeks given that what he was known for at Florida State was broken tackles, but it’s something to consider as an improvement opportunity for the offense.
It’s a nitpicky note on an otherwise exemplary start for the Rams, advanced or classic edition.