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Thread: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

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    Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    The Rams just finished mopping the turf with the Colts, so let’s talk about some of the things we saw from the team!

    -Sam Bradford looked solid, but doesn't yet seem to be as comfortable in this offense as he may say he is. He was staring down his receivers at times, and opted for safe underneath throws and checkdowns rather than throwing downfield. His 3.75 yards per attempt average is not going to get it done, but as he gets more comfortable with the offense, that’ll likely change and things will open up. It's easy to forget he's a second year player entering his first year in this system. He showed a good rapport with rookie tight end Lance Kendricks, who looked very good in his debut and converted on a number of third downs and scored a touchdown. He looks like he’ll be a nice weapon this season for Sam, and will help open things up in the intermediate passing game.

    -The receivers did not get much of an opportunity to separate themselves from one another today. Gibson and Amendola had three combined catches with the first unit, which were all on short routes. Austin Pettis had some balls thrown his way, but was generally well covered on the night, making it tough to complete the reception. Danario Alexander had some good and bad moments; the biggest play he may have stood out for was his failure to pull in a perfectly delivered TD pass in the back of the end zone. Mardy Gilyard looked elusive in the open field, both as a receiver and on punt returns. Mike Sims-Walker was noticeably absent from the box score, and I can’t recall seeing him on the field. It’s possible he ran with the first unit and Sam just didn't look his way or he was well covered.

    -The back-up running backs looked great tonight, and that’s partially because of the good work the Rams’ offensive line did to open holes for them. Cadillac Williams churned through defenders tonight (11 carries for 40 yards and a TD), and Jerious Norwood showed the turbo boost that made him an appealing signing. But the surprise among all of them was Keith Toston, who was still fighting hard for a roster spot. Toston ran hard and gained tough yards, leading the Rams with 64 yards and a touchdown of his own.

    -The offensive line overall had a good night. To be balanced, it should be noted that the Colts were without Dwight Freeney and have been traditionally poor against the run. But having said that, Bradford was very well protected while he was on the field, and the line – first and second unit – opened up a number of holes tonight.

    -Defensively, the Rams played very well. The rushing numbers are skewed a bit by the late-game heroics of Darren Evans (and the Rams’ failure to tackle him), but early in the game, there was not much running room for Colts runners. Defensive tackle Justin Bannan made his presence felt in the middle of the line, and Robert Quinn had a solid debut with some nice pressures and a great unblocked run stop. George Selvie flashed a little bit as well, but it’s a bit odd that the Rams failed to register a sack against the Colts’ back-up quarterbacks. Perhaps Spags didn’t completely unleash the hounds tonight, as he’s saving their release for a more important contest.

    -I didn’t notice who got the start at WLB for the Rams; it looked like Diggs was starting at SLB. However, Poppinga made some plays later in the game that indicate he may be pushing for that job. Looked pretty solid against the run, at one point denying the Colts a first down conversion on a third down attempt. Diles saw time at OLB well into the game, so either he’s down on the depth chart or is just getting all the work he can.

    -One of the concerns on the team was at defensive back, where a number of cornerbacks were injured. Justin King looked like a liability on the outside at cornerback. He missed an open field tackle to allow a first down catch and run, and was beat deep down the sideline by what was admittedly an outstanding throw to Pierre Garcon. Atchison had some nice moments, but also bit on a QB scramble and allowed a receiver to get behind him for a touchdown. Dinkins made some plays but also got dinged up twice. Both starting safeties (Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl) were in the right place at the right time and came down with some great interceptions; Jermale Hines climbed the ladder and got one of his own as well.

    -Special teams looked very strong tonight. The Rams consistently covered well on both kicks and punts, and Mardy Gilyard did a nice job weaving through traffic on returns. He had a bobble in the endzone and fell once while fielding a punt, but otherwise showed some flashes that could go a long way towards keeping him around in 2011.


    Overall, I think it’s hard to ask for more in a first pre-season game coming off of a lockout. The Rams found the endzone, created turnovers, and were generally efficient. They did not make many mistakes, had some nice debuts from new players, and most importantly, came out of the game pretty healthy from the looks of it. This is obviously still a work in progress, but you have to like what you saw tonight. The line protected well, Bradford minimized mistakes while taking advantage of good field position, the depth at running back looks outstanding, the defensive line was active, and the defensive backfield made plays.

    Great way to start the 2011 football year, Rams!!
    Last edited by Nick; -08-13-2011 at 11:44 PM.
    THOLTFAN81 and swatter555 like this.


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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    I agree with everything you posted here Nick. I would only add that AJ looked really nice in the second quarter. Much to my protest the bar at was at turned away at half-time and never turned back so I'm not sure beyond the second quarter but what I saw made me feel like we have a quality backup... that we hopefully will never need.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One




    Very nice write-up, Nick!

    Looks like you covered things very well.

    Sims-Walker was out there with the first unit. I think Hull started at 'mlb' and I did not catch the 'wlb' starter either. They had plenty of rotation and I think just about everyone that was uninjured saw some action.






    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Overall, I think itís hard to ask for more in a first pre-season game coming off of a lockout. The Rams found the endzone, created turnovers, and were generally efficient. They did not make many mistakes, had some nice debuts from new players, and most importantly, came out of the game pretty healthy from the looks of it. This is obviously still a work in progress, but you have to like what you saw tonight. The line protected well, Bradford minimized mistakes while taking advantage of good field position, the depth at running back looks outstanding, the defensive line was active, and the defensive backfield made plays.

    Great way to start the 2011 football year, Rams!!
    I think this sums it up nicely. Personally, I was very impressed for a first preseason game. The Rams looked hungry and well disciplined in all areas. It is going to be exciting to watch them build on tonights performance.






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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    I wasn't a Marty Gilyard fan before tonight, but he did very well. The thing I liked most was the tough play of our offensive line. If they continue playing on that level, it will be a good year. The passing game was a little off, but nothing I am concerned about. Timing is going to be off this early, not a big surprise there.

    Our running backs impressed. They were decisive hitting the holes and played tough. Nothing but smiles for this area. My only complaint is that they should be babying Norwood now or they arent going to have him for long. He is a known quantity, there was no need to give him 10 carries.

    This is the first preseason game I have enjoyed in years. Things are looking up.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    Great review, agree with everything you said.

    One thing I would like to add was the superb play of Josh Brown. The last couple of years I have been worried that Brown was on the decline, however tonight showed me what a 100% JB is capable of, a 60 yard field goal? Get outta here!
    In an interview after the game (conducted by new sideline reporter Orlando Pace ), Brown said that he focused on getting into better shape, that he started to focus on running more, something he said he hasn't done since he was young. Also said he felt the best he has in years, I'm looking forward to a great season by Mr. Brown. Heck, any time we pass the fifty we are in field goal range!

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    One thing I would like to add was the superb play of Josh Brown. The last couple of years I have been worried that Brown was on the decline, however tonight showed me what a 100% JB is capable of, a 60 yard field goal? Get outta here!
    And a 53 yarder! That's the Josh Brown I know. Let's hope he can be more consistent than last season.

    Didn't get to see the game, but have to say I'm most happy with the performance of our new backup RBs. Cadillac was consistent, and Norwood showed that he still has that 6.0 ypc potential he's shown in years past. Just keep them healthy!

    Glad to hear Gilyard flashed. He needs a good preseason to prove his worth.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    BTW Mike Sims-Walker left the game early because of a groin injury, was said not to be serious on Rams website. Quintin Mikell also got a non-serious elbow ding.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    Quote Originally Posted by evil disco man View Post
    And a 53 yarder! That's the Josh Brown I know. Let's hope he can be more consistent than last season.

    Didn't get to see the game, but have to say I'm most happy with the performance of our new backup RBs. Cadillac was consistent, and Norwood showed that he still has that 6.0 ypc potential he's shown in years past. Just keep them healthy!

    Glad to hear Gilyard flashed. He needs a good preseason to prove his worth.
    Oh yeah, totally forgot about the chip shot 53 yarder LOL!

    Gilyard is still an enigma to me, sometimes he flashes the stuff he had at Cincy, other times he looks lost and overwhelmed out there. I still have him at the bottom of my depth chart, but if Avery can't get healthy, DX can't keep his knees going, or if Pettis doesn't step up, then hopefully Mardy can get going and show us something.

    BTW, while DX had two drops, neither one of them would I consider "gimmes". They would have been great catches, and had he come down with them we, myself definitely included, would be singing his praise.

    Also Kendricks is gonna be a stud, McD is asking the kid to do everything. I can't wait till Illini Mike pairs up with him- mismatch heaven.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    Even considering Indy's stinky preseason tradition,I agree that was pretty encouraging stuff in most areas. The back-up RBs & runblocking were especially remarkable. A preseason outing without a false start?!

    I have to give a shout out to the much-maligned Feeley. He looked very sharp & poised.Hull didn't disgrace himself at MLB. Quinn is stronger than I expected.Whatever happens with Mardy, you can't say the kid is backing down from the fight.I wonder if he'll ever call for a fair catch?

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game One

    The wide receivers, except Alexander, still do not seem to be able to get enough separation.? Alexander has butter fingers unfortunately.? I wish Sam could stop locking on to Amendola, when there are other players wide open further afield, still not convinced with Amendola with his YAC. Gilyard has more potential than Danny.? Kendricks will be huge in this offense
    Loved the run blocking and the pass protection, although it is pre-season game, and the Colts are not the most physical of teams. Cadillac runs HARD, no dancing at all. Norwood looked a decent change of pace back. The first team D wasnt great, although they held in the red zone. The D showed signs though that it will be a much more talented unit.? Impressive as an all around unit, the team.? Josh Brown is a weapon with his improved leg strength.?
    This perfomance was what we all anticipated, hoped for, since last season. We showed,that we are the team to beat in the West in my opinion.?
    I cannot remember the Rams,playing as well as a team,in the first pre-season game, since 99.?

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