Sorry again that this is coming a day later than desired. In the middle of changing jobs. Busy. The exciting part is that I am writing this while flying - on the way to LOS ANGELES baby!! Excited to see the Rams play for the first time in person since 2008, where they traveled to Washington, and won 19-17 thanks to a Donnie Avery 43 yard catch on 3rd down followed by a 49 yard FG by Josh Brown as time expired. Prior to all of that, the Rams scored a TD on a 75 yard fumble recovery by OJ Atogwe. The win was the first for the Rams in the 2008 season and what would ultimately be 1 of only 2 wins in a sufferable season. This same year - Sean McVay began his NFL debut as an offensive assistant with Tampa Bay; coaching the wide receivers. Crazy, where things are now 13 years later... As for the upcoming game - I'm sure SoFi stadium will blow my mind and hopefully the Rams get a win against the other juggernaut of the NFC.
Onto the grades from Week 2 - where we will find some consistency with certain players and where trends also start to develop. Let's get to it...
Matthew Stafford: 82.9 (+3.2)
Our first taste of seeing Matt Stafford respond to some adversity. Good to see he handled the moment with ease. His INT was a result of his release point; and the ball sailing high on him. Rather see those type of correctable errors, than bone-headed mistakes. He even made smart decisions to kill plays (shovel pass when pressure clearly blew up the play). Goff would have either taken a sack or thrown up a floater for an INT. Staff's performance also tallied a game-winning drive to his career resume (his first as a Ram). While Staff's final line wasn't explosive as Week 1; he didn't get help from 2 drops from Woods, 1 by Van Jefferson, and 1 by D. Henderson. His final stat line: 19/30 for 278 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT ultimately got the job done. 2-0 as a LA Ram.
Week 2 Grade: B, Overall: B+, Trend: Very Slight Downward
Darrell Henderson: 69.7 (-2.0), Sony Michel: 61.0 (+15.1)
While fans may still be clamoring for the run game to get going. The RBs themselves have been producing. Henderson & Michel combined for 99 yards on 23 carries. That's 4.3 yards a pop. Henderson also shows his ability in the passing game where he's very underrated (yes, he did have 1 drop). But McVay feels comfortable using him out wide pretty often. Michel came in due to Henderson's rib cartilage injury, and showed good muscle downhill. He alone averaged 4.6 per carry. I'm not hitting the panic button on the RB depth. Cam Akers came back from a similiar rib cartilage injury last year. Yes, it does not help Henderson's case for the starting job, but I'm not worried about the talent in the room. Lastly, using Michel against TB might be a better fit. Henderson's slashing ability was snuffed out last year vs the Bucs. Perhaps, Michel can churn out some yards with his bigger frame.
Week 2 Grade: B, Overall: B, Trend: Very Slight Upward
Robert Woods: 70.3 (-3.9), Cooper Kupp: 90.7 (+9.2), Van Jefferson: 61.9 (-13.5), DeSean Jackson: 64.5 (-0.4), TuTu Atwell: 60.0 (N/A)
Mixed bag with this group. Cooper Kupp saved the group with a monster performance. Some on here said that Kupp is not a #1 WR in the NFL. Where are you now? Kupp is ranked #1 in PFF; accumulating a 91.6 receiving grade : 56.2 rushing grade. Cooper Kupp wins the short game, the intermediate game, and downfield. His YAC ability is insane! 146 yards after the catch thru 2 weeks! He breaks tackles, makes guys whiff, and destroys ankles with his route running. What more can you ask for a guy to be a #1? For the rest of the group, Woods (5 rec, 64 yards) dropping two balls is uncharacteristic - I expect that to be cleaned up by a guy like him. Van Jefferson (1 rec, 14 yards) dropped a pass as well. DJax did not total any receptions; seeing the field for only 3 out of 59 (5%) offensive snaps. McVay admitted he needs to do a better job at rotating those guys. I would say especially so, if Van is not contributing. Is the DJax/Stafford rapport an issue? Is McVay hiding DJax for TB, to use his big play ability against a good defense? TBD.
Week 2 Grade: B+, Overall: B+, Trend: Ever-so-Slight Downward
Tyler Higbee: 66.7 (-10.9), Johnny Mundt: 48.3 (+1.6), Brycen Hopkins: DNP, Jacob Harris: 60.0 (N/A)
Quiet game for the TEs. Higbee (1 rec, 8 yards) saw a significant grade drop for a guy that played all 59 snaps. It would seem that the grade drop was in large part due to pass and run blocking. His one reception was good for a first down. Mundt saw 3 snaps (5%); signaling that McVay may not feel comfortable with 12 personnel?
Week 2 Grade: D-, Overall: C-, Trend: Moderate Downward
Andrew Whitworth: 67.5 (+0.7), David Edwards: 72.9 (-9.1), Brian Allen: 78.5 (+0.6), Austin Corbett: 61.3 (-7.9), Rob Havenstein: 69.6 (-9.1)
Brian Allen haters are walking their stuff back. After 2 weeks, Brian Allen grades out as the #2 center in the NFL; accumulating a 60.0 pass block : 80.8 run block grade. Wow! Not bad for whom everyone called: "undersized". He's allowed 1 sack and committed 1 penalty thus far. But him and Stafford look comfortable together which is key. Big test for him this week against Vea in the trenches. The OL in general wasn't great - as they were pressured and put the offense out of rhythm in 3rd Q. Three 3 & outs. They kept Stafford clean for the most part, but pressure was there. Big Whit has been quiet thus far, we'll see if the big man starts mauling guys; improving his grade.
Week 2 Grade: C+, Overall: B-, Trend: Slight Downward
Aaron Donald: 91.3 (+9.9), Sebastian Joseph-Day: 59.8 (-15.5), A'Shawn Robinson: 59.4 (-7.2), Greg Gaines: 74.4 (-2.3), Jonah Williams: 69.6 (+1.1), Mike Hoecht: 64.4 (-18.2)
Aaron Donald doing AD99 things. Donald was giving the Colts RT plenty to ice up after the game. While he didn't record a sack (narrowly missing 1 or 2), Donald made Wentz feel his presence. He knocked out Wentz with the right ankle injury, and I'm pretty sure Donald just looked at Wentz's left ankle and it sprained out of fear. Donald was credited with 3 QB hits (though it seemed like more) and 7 tackles (3 solo). His PFF ranks #2 among DL and he has now graded out with a 69.3 run defense : 92.2 pass rush.
A'Shawn was quiet once again (0 tackles). Gaines collected a 0.5 sack with Taylor Rapp. SJD saw the field for 48 of 67 defensive snaps (72%), which seems pretty high for his role. Good thing/Bad thing? TBD. His low week 2 grade seems odd as he appeared to be having a impact, especially with the goal line stand early. Jonah Williams saw 11 of 67 snaps (16%). We'll keep an eye on him moving forward.
Overall, the run defense for this group was respectable as the Colts RB only collected 72 yards on 21 carries (3.4 per carry). Against a very solid IND OL, this group did as needed.
Week 2 Grade: B-, Overall: B-, Trend: Neutral
Kenny Young: 81.4 (-14.5), Troy Reeder: 62.2 (+22.0), Ernest Jones: 53.1 (N/A)
Regarding Kenny Young's ejection - yes he needs to keep his cool and not come into contact with a referee. As for the development of the situation. Kenny Young's reaction to no flag on the play is justifiable. He was TACKLED FROM BEHIND by Quenton Nelson. How is that not HOLDING, BLOCK IN THE PACK, AND UNNECESSARY ROUGHENESS. Get it together NFL. Troy Reeder meanwhile played his role well; in both areas; posting a 85.8 run defense : 90.6 pass defense grade - giving himself the 3rd highest PFF grade for ILBs. Both Young & Reeder collected 4 solo tackles each. I won't overreact just yet and give them a big jump in trend, but I am pleased with the progress thus far. Joe Barry leaving for GB was a good thing for this group. Ernest Jones saw his first 9 snaps (13%) in the NFL regular season; making 1 solo tackle. When do we think his usage will climb?
Week 2 Grade: B-, Overall: B-, Trend: Slight Upward
Leonard Floyd: 62.8 (+10.0), Justin Hollins: 74.1 (-16.0), Terrell Lewis: 48.2 (-12.2), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo: IR, Chris Garrett: IR, Justin Lawlar: 58.2 (-2.0)
Classic Jekyll and Hyde performance by Floyd. He had 6 tackles (2 solo) and 1 sack; a big splash play on 4th & Goal to complete the Rams goal line stand. He just missed Wentz for a 2nd sack; going high on Wentz and Carson ducked out of the way for a scramble.
Hollins fell back to earth a little bit (I believe he got beat in coverage a couple times by Doyle). He still saw 75% of the snaps.
As for the rotational guys, Lawlar broke his hand - I'm unaware of his status at this point. Chris Garrett will likely be activated from the practice squad as he cleared the COVID protocols. Obo is still recovering from his injury as far as I know. Terrell Lewis saw 21% of snaps, but has had little impact to this point. We'll see how his knee holds up as well.
Week 2 Grade: B, Current Grade: B, Trend: Neutral (but concerned about depth)
Jalen Ramsey: 83.2 (+12.9), Darious Williams: 65.9 (+3.1), David Long Jr.: 64.3 (-1.9), Robert Rochell: 73.4 (+1.9)
Don't throw at Jalen Ramsey quarterbacks - when will you learn? Another blanketing performance by the star DB. Moving into Week 3, will we see him on M. Evans or Gronkowski? Personally, I say Gronk. With yes, the rookie Rochell on M. Evans. If AB81 plays, DWill taking him. Leaving David Long Jr on Chris Godwin (a Michigan vs Penn St alumni matchup).
Long Jr saw 72% of snaps and Rochell played 21% snaps. Big test for them this upcoming week.
This group was good vs. IND, while I thought the safeties could have been better...
Week 2 Grade: B+, Overall: B+, Trend: Neutral
Jordan Fuller: 51.1 (+0.1), Taylor Rapp: 65.5 (+1.8), Terrell Burgess: 60.2 (N/A), Nick Scott: 61.3 (+10.7), JR Reed: DNP, JuJu Hughes: INA
See I thought the deep pass for 42 yards to M. Pittman was Fuller's fault. That ultimately lead to a FG.
And on Pascal's TD, DWill had no help overtop and to the middle.
Rapp added 0.5 sack. But other than that, not a lot of splash from the safeties. Fuller's play is hit or miss. And I'm still concerned about the lack of speed for this group. Why is Burgess not a consideration for playing time?
Ultimately, Nick Scott's special teams blunder hurt the Rams in special teams; giving IND a lot of momentum.
Week 2 Grade: B, Overall: B, Trend: Very Slight Downward
Johnny Hekker: 60.0 (+3.7), Matt Gay: 69.4 (+1.9)
Matt Gay looks very solid - happy to see the place kicking under control.
Hekker punted 3 times for 109 yards (36.3) with 1 punt inside the 20. His punts were 33 yards (to IND 26), 46 yards (to IND 37), and 30 yards (to IND 10). The first two were less than desirable in terms of trying to flip field position.
The kick off coverage team (JR Reed) allowed another long return to open the game - a 41 yard return where Reed failed to keep containment on his side. Prompting Matt Gay to kick touchbacks the rest of the way.
Funk averaged 23.3 yards a return on kick offs, while Atwell was smacked for a 0 yard punt return.
Week 2 Grade: C-, Overall: C+, Trend: Slight-to-Moderate Downward
MCVAY AND CO.
McVay's team didn't blink when adversity hit. IND had all the momentum but Stafford & Kupp were able to propel the team to a win. McVay's two mistakes were the 3rd & 1 jet sweep to Cooper Kupp AND not utilizing DeSean Jackson nearly enough. His usage rate needs to be a floor of 30%. Obviously, the rhythm and flow of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods doesn't need to be shaken up, but maybe splitting time between Van and DJax could help.
The defense tightened its run defense and forced 2 INTS + a turnover on downs. Which was also a huge reason to come out with a win in Week 2. People may hate on the soft coverage (quarters usually), but the defense knows its assignments.
ST is still trying to find rhythm, but Matt Gay gives the unit hope with his leg strength and current accuracy.
Big game this week! SEE YOU THERE IN PERSON!
Week 2 Grade: McVay: B+/Morris: B+/DiCamillis: C-, Overall: B+, Trend: Neutral