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Thread: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

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    Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Feed wasnít great so Iím not going to be as detailed this time around, but here are some thoughts on the Ramsí pre-season win over the Tennessee Titans.

    -The first team offense was stagnant aside from the opening play. Sam Bradford had to love the sight of Brandon Gibson streaking wide open down the middle of the field. 83-yard pass plays donít get much better than that. Unfortunately, the rest of the game wasnít as easy. Protection broke down, and no one made adjustments to blitzing defenders. Samís INT was tipped at the line before it reached Sims-Walker, suggesting there may not have been a clear throwing window. Feeley had an impressive touchdown pass to Donnie Avery but was rather quiet the rest of the night. Thaddeus Lewis played the hero by showing good poise and mobility leading the offense at the end of the game.

    -Steven Jackson made his debut, and didnít really show much. Some tough running with little room to go, but there was a clear difference in urgency when Cadillac Williams entered the game. Caddy definitely hit the holes with more downfield quickness. Neither Norwood nor Toston did much, there just wasnít much room to run. Even on screen passes, the blocking was not well developed enough to take advantage. Blitz pick-up looked like an issue for the whole RB unit.

    -It was nice to see some other Rams receivers get involved, even though it may only be in baby steps. Gibson and Amendola remained the two top targets. Mike Sims-Walker had an up and down night. A nice catch on an intermediate in route, but otherwise not much positive for him. Pettis did very little in the passing game. Near the end of the game, Salas made a boneheaded drop on a perfect pass by Lewis, but then came back to make some nice grabs. Kendricks was quiet tonight. Gilyard showed some nice elusiveness on special teams and on a late-game crossing route. Heís trying to make this team any way he can. Danario Alexander had a solid catch and run on a quick hit adjustment route, but did nothing else. Donnie Avery had a nice body catch on his touchdown reception, and had a nice WR screen that was called back due to penalty. Slowly some guys are getting involved, but the first team offense still leaned heavily on Gibson/Amendola.

    -The offensive line, simply put, did not have a good night. Pass protection started off strong, but deteriorated quickly. Sam took a beating and limped off the field at one point, though he looked to be okay. The holes in the running game were just not there, and you canít blame it all on Jacob Bell not being in the game. The Titans were not as easy to push around as the Colts, and the Rams struggled all night to control the line of scrimmage. Hank Fraley looked lost at left guard, but the Rams werenít able to put Goldberg there due to him being needed elsewhere on the line. Renardo Foster was called for a personal foul penalty that negated DXís catch and run.

    -The defensive line seemed intent on matching the offensive lineís ineffectiveness. Tennessee had their way with all units of the defensive line, pushing them around, establishing a new line of scrimmage, creating big holes in the running game. There was little to no pressure on Matt Hasselbeck from the defensive line; the Ramsí only sack of the game came on an early James Laurinaitis blitz. So, this unit has a lot of film to watch after tonight. Robert Quinn, George Selvie, and Darell Scott had some solid plays later in the game, but nothing to drastically change the tone of the night for this crew, which was rather negative.

    -With the DL getting pushed around, you would have liked to see the linebackers step up and fill the holes, preventing big gains. Well, that didnít happen. James Laurinaitis looked pretty solid tonight, and Kehl had some good moments early, but the rest of the crew was rather spotty at best. The Titans gashed the Rams consistently with cutback runs on slant plays, and the Rams had little to no consistent backside containment. There are a lot of new bodies here, but none are really standing out. If anything, Poppinga is hustling so thereís that. Diles had a nice hit late in the game. To be continued on this unit, as thereís still some work to do.

    -The defensive backs, what can you say. Hasselbeck was 7 for 9 before leaving the game, so he wasnít having much trouble completing passes. The Rams struggled to cover the tight end tonight. There werenít many positives that stood out. The defense tightened up once Tennessee got into the red zone, but the defensive backfield shared the front sevenís inconsistency. Quintin Mikell, Justin King, and Darian Stewart all whiffed on notable open field tackle opportunities. King later had some solid moments in run support, but he makes me nervous as a third corner. Dinkins was inconsistent as well. Jonathan Nelson had a few stand out moments towards the end and may earn himself a spot.

    -Not much to say about the kicking game. The Ramsí special teams were solid all night long. Donnie Jones punted the ball well, the Rams covered fairly well, and the return game showed some flashes. Mardy Gilyard had some nice moments both in coverage and on returns. Josh Brown was Mr. Dependable on the game-winning field goal, even after being iced (preseason!).


    If weíve learned one thing, itís probably that installing a new offense with limited offseason practices is going to take some time. Theyíre not always going to come as easy as Gibson being wide open by 20-yards in all directions. The Rams still looked hesitant to challenge the intermediate part of the field. They need to continue to work on their screen game, as those plays largely failed every time they were drawn up. The lines were challenged more tonight than against the Colts, and didnít really come through. The run defense tonight was concerning to say the least.

    But the Rams squeaked out a win because (1) their red zone defense kept forcing Tennessee to kick field goals and (2) Thaddeus Lewis marched the third stringers down the field in order to secure a winning field goal. This wasnít the shellacking performance so many were excited about last week, but the feedback from this contest may be more valuable in helping the Rams prepare for the regular season.


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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    The ball hit MSW in the hands it wasn't tipped at the line

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    The ball hit MSW in the hands it wasn't tipped at the line
    Actually, I believe it was. I had a clear picture, and it did appear to skip off someone's hands at the line.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Didnt he drop another?

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Nice read Nick. Despite the not so great feed, I think you summed things up rather well.

    As far as the throw to MSW, it looked to me to be tipped.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Regardless of the issues the Rams had vs the Titans they are still looking better than our division foes. I don't thing Kolb is anything more than a backup qb. The whiners are a mess at qb. The Seahawks look dreadful with Jackson at qb.

    We have a new system so to expect perfection may be asking too much this early. The run defense getting shredded is a little concerning but its preseason and I'm sure they will get a good tongue lashing.

    Overall I'm happy with the team so far. We aren't dreadful and will improve every week. After watching Mike the pick Vick I actually think we can upset them if we can make him a pocket passer and get some pressure we can pull it off.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Unless it went into a complete spiral after it was tipped and then hit MSW in the hands then thats what happened.... But I am almost willing to bet that it wasnt tipped i have it on dvr.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Quote Originally Posted by R8rh8rmike View Post
    Nice read Nick. Despite the not so great feed, I think you summed things up rather well.
    Ditto.

    Based on that, seems "business as usual" as far as a Pre-season game two is concerned, i.e., Work-in-progress!

    Glad no major injuries too.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    I think a lot of the running troubles and covering tight ends comes from no preperation for opponents. I still would like to see us dominate, but this was a reality check. This was last year all over again, plus the 83 yard touchdown. We have to improve, though there were some bright spots.

    So Mr. Nick, when will you be ordering yours?



    I just ordered mine.
    Last edited by sosa39rams; -08-21-2011 at 05:33 AM.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Fourteen of our players caught at least one ball. 14! That seems noteworthy, even if it is the Pre.
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Great write up as always, Nick. Thanks for it.

    Personally, I think teams learn more from losses than wins in the preseason. And they had a lot to learn from tonight.
    Nick, MauiRam and ramsanddodgers like this.
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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Last year, or the year before we would have found a way to lose. This year we found a way to win. Granted it is preseason. But I saw all sorts of effort, not really saw since I couldn't watch the game only the NFL feed, but the flashes are there of what we are becoming. I do find it annoying that I ave read a number of times complaints again about the game plan, and passing attack. All last year people complained about dink and dunk, no long ball. McDaniel's opened up the air pretty well in my opinion with a mix, and guess what? Complaints that we didn't attack the intermediate length enough. "Too much long ball, and too much dink and dunk. We need to attack the middle." Sigh.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    The ball hit MSW in the hands it wasn't tipped at the line
    I've since watched the replay from both angles, and while it's not conclusive one way or another, it looks to me as if Will Witherspoon may gotten a finger or two on the ball. He was right there in the throwing lane and got his hands up around the ball.

    Granted, it was not enough to completely redirect the ball, and MSW still had a good opportunity to make the catch and didn't. For whatever reason, Bradford and Sims-Walker don't seem to be completely on the same page, though that 20+ yard deep in was very nice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rampingitup View Post
    I do find it annoying that I ave read a number of times complaints again about the game plan, and passing attack. All last year people complained about dink and dunk, no long ball. McDaniel's opened up the air pretty well in my opinion with a mix, and guess what? Complaints that we didn't attack the intermediate length enough. "Too much long ball, and too much dink and dunk. We need to attack the middle." Sigh.
    Interesting comment. Bradford attempted 15 passes on the night. I remember two that were thrown beyond ten yards. That's a good mix? Sam Bradford finished the game with a 9.2 yards per attempt average, a great number. But take away the 83-yard wide open connection to Gibson, and his average was back under 4 yards per attempt, which is sub-par. If you get a chance to watch last night's game, I'd encourage you to do it. I have a hard time believing anyone who watched our first team offense was satisfied with what they saw after the opening play.
    Last edited by Nick; -08-21-2011 at 09:55 AM.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I've since watched the replay from both angles, and while it's not conclusive one way or another, it looks to me as if Will Witherspoon may gotten a finger or two on the ball. He was right there in the throwing lane and got his hands up around the ball.

    Granted, it was not enough to completely redirect the ball, and MSW still had a good opportunity to make the catch and didn't. For whatever reason, Bradford and Sims-Walker don't seem to be completely on the same page, though that 20+ yard deep in was very nice.
    I had a long comment to this but I really don't care enough to post it. All I know is the ball was NOT tipped by anyone other than MSW. If you would like a frame by frame proof of the event then I can do that. You can clearly see the ball hit MSW in the hands and was in a perfect spiral. Had it been touched even a little bit would of threw the ball off its perfect spiral.

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    Re: Impressions from Pre-Season Game Two

    I do find it annoying that I ave read a number of times complaints again about the game plan, and passing attack. All last year people complained about dink and dunk, no long ball. McDaniel's opened up the air pretty well in my opinion with a mix, and guess what? Complaints that we didn't attack the intermediate length enough. "Too much long ball, and too much dink and dunk. We need to attack the middle." Sigh.
    I'm not sure if we can say that we have a great mix. But I do find in "annoying" that Sam is being labeled as a QB that checks the ball down on every pass.

    Last year he was a Rookie, started all 16 games, set rookie passing records and now he is a dinker and drunker.

    Not only did we loose our two best deep threats last year, people wanted him to take shots down the field. Too who?


    This year he is learning a new system, he has three rookies that are in the mix TE and two WR. The one vet Avery is still trying to get back up to speed. Two games into preseason SAM goes play action hits a 83 BOMB and we are still talking about his underneath passes.

    I'm saying we are not having this conversation in three years he's just too good.
    Lets just give it some time before we tag him as anything good or bad.

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