Rams-Bills preseason game
My latest $.02: I only listened to the audio feed over the web, but I was pretty pleased with the Rams second action. Hopefully people that saw the televised broadcast can give better insights, especially as to individual progress, but it sounded (and the stats suggest) that the Ram D made some good improvement.
Getting back to those four issues I posted after the Hall of Fame game:
1. The jury is still out as to how we can hold up against a strong running game, but aside from a couple big runs, we seemed to improve a lot here.
2. We completely reversed our dismal opponent third down conversion rate. Buffalo was 4-13 on third downs, and had only 81 net passing yards?? I had become accustomed to giving up 4 third down conversions and 81 yards in just one drive! In addition, Buffalo is trying out a new "West Coast" style offense, and I've been worried about how Lovie's scheme matches up (since most of our present and all of our future division competition is "west coast" offenses). I despise the "west coast" offense style, so I was happy to see us shut it down.
3. Fundamentally, it sounded as if the defense was tackling a lot better. It also sounded like another ticky-tack penalty, this week a facemask, opened the door for the 2nd quarter Buffalo score, but since I didn't see it I can't comment on if it was a stupid mistake or a bad call. Certainly we broke down on the 25 yard TD run, but this is a work in progress still & won't be perfect.
4. The special teams continue to be a big problem. At this point, I'd rather fair catch every punt and kickoff as long as we never fumbled.
Now, this was just the "first week" of preseason, so I'm not going to count on only allowing 10 points a game. But the goal should be to improve every week, and that's what we did, so it's hard not to get excited.
I think what these two games have shown is that the Rams, despite being a top team in the salary cap era, still have real good depth and better benches than other teams, a tribute to management. We'll need the depth with the loss of Wistrom (please, please only be for a couple weeks).