The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Denver Broncos 41-0 on Saturday and the Rams finished the preseason with an 0-3 record. The Rams lost 34-17, 34-17, and 41-0 in their three preseason games, sometimes playing backups who could have key roles but also playing the starters significantly in the first two contests.
Head coach Sean McVay did sit several players now expected to start, such as rookies Puka Nacua, Steve Avila, Byron Young, and Kobie Turner. But rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett, competing with Brett Rypien to be Matthew Stafford’s backup, had the worst game of his young career. The fourth round pick was expected to play the entire first half, but was pulled in the second quarter for Rypien after going 4-of-9 for 14 yards with two interceptions.
The last time the Rams took on Denver in a regular season game they won 51-14, so maybe this is acceptable revenge in an exhibition contest. Unfortunately, McVay surely would have liked to have seen his players—backups and starters alike—come out of the preseason with more highlights than what the end result gave us.
What I have learned is that Sean McVay does not care about preseason. He (the entire organization) has players out there and it doesn’t matter in terms of NFL football. Does Jarrett Stidham going 17/28 with a passing touchdown mean anything other than it’s a better box score than Stetson Bennett’s performance?
Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp is all that matters in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. Does McVay feel confident that he has the offensive line to protect Stafford, to open lanes for Cam Akers? Does he have the defense to stop quarterbacks better than Stidham? Will the special teams do its job to keep the games as close as they can possibly contribute to?
The Rams have looked awful all preseason but if they win Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, that’s what will matter more than going 0-3 in the preseason. Are the starters ready for that? We will find out in two weeks.