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Nick's Rams/Cowboys Rapid Response
Basing the format off of some of the post-game writer-ups done by ESPN's bloggers...
What it means? Last night's game illustrated that the Rams still have a lot of work to do, despite losing by only one point. When the fundamentals are so poor, it's hard to brush off a showing like this to lack of gameplanning or scheme, because those aspects of the game shouldn’t have such a big effect on the basics of football. Pick an area - tackling, coverage, blocking, accuracy, catching. Improvements still need to be made on this young rebuilding team.
Who played well? Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn were active on the defensive line. Greg The Leg Zuerlein converted both of his field goal attempts, including a 55-yard boot. Daryl Richardson looks like he’s pushing for playing time, carrying the ball for 51 yards on ten attempts and seeing first-team action in Steven Jackson’s absence.
Who didn't play well? The offensive line had a forgettable night; they did not open many big holes in the running game and allowed too much pressure in the passing game. Sam Bradford did not look sharp; more on this in a moment. Isaiah Pead continues to test fans’ patience as we’ve not seen the advertised other dimension he brings to the offense. Aside from a massive sack and forced fumble by Jo-Lonn Dunbar, the linebackers didn’t have their best night.
So how did Bradford perform? Maybe not as poorly as his stat line would indicate, but certainly not well. There were a couple of drops and more pressure than you’d like. But even when protected, Bradford looked slow in the pocket, hesitant to make throws, and his accuracy was off on a number of occasions. He made a nice throw early to the tight end, but that was about it on the night.
Pead/Richardson: Jeff Fisher might deny that there’s a competition for the #2 running back job behind Steven Jackson, but I think most fans have been more impressed with Daryl Richardson than they have been Isaiah Pead. The latter averaged less than two-and-a-half yards per carry on the night, with a long rush of six yards. The former found holes and averaged over five yards per carry, gaining fifteen yards on his longest jaunt. The amount of time that Richardson saw with the first unit seemed to suggest he’s earning some more opportunities.
In the Trenches: Center Scott Wells saw his first pre-season action against the Cowboys, and was responsible for the protection calls for the line. Perhaps he’s a little bit rusty, but the protection looked like it could use some more work despite not facing Dallas’ best players. Harvey Dahl’s presence was missed on the right side of the line, and Quinn Ojinnaka did not look ready for primetime after allowing an early sack. One of Jeff Fisher’s priorities when he came to St. Louis was to make sure his quarterback was well protected; the Rams did not achieve that goal against Dallas.
Defending the Run: My overall impression from the running game was that the interior run defense held up adequately, but the Rams allowed too many big runs off tackle and wide on the outside. Overpursuit and poor angles allowed DeMarco Murray to scamper his way to first down yardage on the outside. Where were the outside linebackers and secondary help? Missing tackles, probably. Murray and back-up Felix Jones combined to average 5.45 yards per carry; that’s a far cry from Murray’s double-digit average in the regular season against the Rams last year, but at times, it didn’t feel much different.
Jenkins: Oh boy. Janoris Jenkins has had a rather impressive rookie campaign up to this game, showing some flashes of the talent that Jeff Fisher couldn’t pass up in the draft. He nearly gave Andrew Luck his first interception, and has had some nice coverage moments. But tonight was one he’d like to forget. His tackling was poor (and that’s if you can even call his weak shoulder bump of a move on the deep sideline touchdown a tackle) and too often he was not around the receiver in coverage. If we’re being honest with ourselves, it was probably only a matter of time before Jenkins looked like a rookie out there. Hopefully he’s gotten that out of his system, because he’s being counted on.
What's next? The Rams' final preseason game is in just five days, Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Jeff Fisher has a different philosophy from other coaches in that he likes to slowly build on the playing time of his starters, culminating in having them see their most time in the fourth and final preseason contest rather than using them primarily in the third game and resting them in the fourth. So expect a lot of work by the starters on Thursday, with the understanding that it will likely be against many of Baltimore's back-ups.
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Re: Nick's Rams/Cowboys Rapid ResponseQuinn Ojinnaka did not look ready for primetime after allowing an early sack.
We have a ton of rookies, they all are going to have bad moments all rookies do. Jenkins will be fine.
Re: Nick's Rams/Cowboys Rapid Response
Excellent writeup, Nick, very much captures what happened imo.
I'm also ready to Rok at left guard.
Re: Nick's Rams/Cowboys Rapid Response
Great re-cap Nick. You pretty much hit all the main points, and this statement summed up the situation:
Originally Posted by Nick
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