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  • RamView - Raiders

    From the Couch

    (Report and opinions from the game.)

    Preseason Game #4: Raiders 28, Rams 24



    The Rams churn out a lot of ground yardage, but don't do enough on defense to stave off the Raiders.



    Bright spots: Good offensive line play all-around; no significant new injuries.



    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger played only the first series and was perfect (3-3-66), sandwiching a 46-yard pass to Cam Cleeland within two quick hitters to Marshall Faulk, who scored a 7-yard TD on the last one. Not as much of Bulger as I would have preferred to see, but he ended the Washington game well and was rolling in this one, so I guess he's maintaining positive momentum. Chris Chandler (6-9-85) played the rest of the first half and looked fine, again getting mostly excellent protection. Jeff Smoker played the whole second half, mostly handing off, but he got enough action (10-15-105) to show nice poise on third down, and he drove the offense to a couple of TDs. Jeff's got some mechanics to work out, though. Many of his passes were too low, at the receiver's feet, or too low at the line of scrimmage, where he gave up a couple of tip balls, one of which the Raiders intercepted. His second interception was the game-ending pass, so the two picks aren't as bad as they look at first. Heading into the season opener, then, it looks like Bulger's back into the groove a little bit, and his backups are capable and know what they're doing for the most part Ė a nice place to be.



    * RB: The Ram running game was Hydra-like, a multi-headed threat that scared up 171 yards on the ground. Faulk was just 4-11 but had two catches for 20. The receptions engaged him more in the offense than last week, and he flashed a little more speed and drive than we saw against Washington. Lamar Gordon had his annual "oops, my job is being threatened" night, where he suddenly puts all his aches and pains aside and has a big night, 22-77. Lamar ran with a lot of power and effort behind the solid Rams front, and also had some outside runs where he turned the corner quite well. He's probably the Rams' best outside runner. He foolishly pulled himself off the field at one point for some little ding, though, or maybe a breath, and that was Stephen Jackson's cue. The rookie tore off another 72 yards on 12 carries. He did a lot of his work right up the middle again, and showed not just Gordon's power and effort, but some of Faulk's footwork and elusiveness. Another good night from the team preseason offensive MVP. All the RBs took good care of the ball, too, including Arlen Harris, who added another 19 yards on 6 rushes, as the Rams seem likely to carry all four tailbacks into the regular season. Waiver bait: Dusty McGrorty.



    * WR: Marchin' Martz only called pass plays about 40% of the time, so it wasn't a big receiving night. Torry Holt sat out with back spasms and if Isaac Bruce played, it wasn't for long. The big receiving threat tonight was Cam Cleeland (4-72), who made a good catch over the middle and broke a tackle for a 46-yard gain to spark the first TD drive, and caught a second-half TD from Smoker. Snake-bitten Cleeland, though, sprained an ankle on his last catch. Seventh-round pick Eric Jensen had a catch and a near-TD, but sprained a knee on that play. The Rams could carry a surprising number of TEs on the active roster as a result. Mike Furrey had 4 catches for 51 and nearly got the Rams downfield on their final drive by his lonesome. Dane Looker (3-43) made a spectacular sideline catch of a Chandler pass in the 2nd. Waiver bait: WR Jamal Jones, and Jensen, depending on Cleeland's injury. Jensen or Mike Brake should clear waivers to the practice squad; Brake has the advantage of being healthy.



    * Offensive line: The offensive line had a good night, protecting Bulger, Chandler and Smoker well, creating running room up the middle, and even getting the RBs room to run on the edge, especially to the left. Ben Noll was beaten badly on the only sack, of Chandler; Scott Tercero was spared a similar fate on a tuck-rule play. Blitzes were picked up well, Gordon and Brandon Manumaleuna were two I saw make good blitz pickups. The problem with Manu is he's a finesse TE. 290 pounds of finesse, but finesse all the same. I think he's the main culprit for the Rams' problems running right. He can't move his man off the line, so the defense strings the play out, so 1-yard loss. That's hard to excuse for his size, and makes his BIG offseason contract harder to understand than Ozzy Osbourne reading James Joyce. Hell, Cleeland, a true finesse TE, has made better blocks this preseason than Manu. The starting line had Grant Williams flipped to RT, where he did well. Tercero wasn't a disaster at LT, but his name in a starting lineup come regular season is a bad sign. Gonna have to live with it, though, until the last of the lazy, me-first holdouts, Orlando Pace, gets his selfish ass back to work. Second string line was dominant in the second half, with Greg Randall, Noll, Larry Turner, Andy King and Tercero. Strong up the middle; strong run blocking by Randall, Noll and Tercero. But whether or not the line is ready for prime time is something we'll have to find out on the first jailbreak blitz. Waiver bait: Noll, T Matt Morgan. Randall's not great but stays around until Pace shows up.



    * Defensive line/LB: Loose and sloppy is no way to head into the regular season, but the Ram defense is going to do just that, giving right at 5 yards a rush, failing to put consistent pressure on the QB, and having a terrible night tackling against the Raiders. Adam Archuleta has been a noticeably bad tackler this pre-season and needs to step up his game. Aeneas Williams was not a strong tackler tonight or this preseason. Tyoka Jackson, Justin Lucas and Pisa Tinoisamoa also all blew tackles the first drive, and Damione Lewis blew a sack, though it is good to see him again getting into the pocket. Unfortunately, when Lewis blew that sack, Rich Gannon hit Justin Fargas for Oakland's first TD. The linebacker play is still encouraging. When Brandon Chillar sacked Kerry Collins in the first, it was the hardest a QB's been hit by a Ram since Jeff George in the 1999 playoffs. Tony Newson also had a sack and showed he's got some game. Tommy Polley was on the field with the last string at the end of the game. The demotion doesn't seem to have motivated him into playing any better, and he may be counting some blessings this time next week. Brian Howard should make the team at DT; he got some good pocket pressure and blew up a screen pass. It's cheap to compare him to Brian Young, but there are similarities in their play. Waiver bait: DE Sean Moran, who I don't think has outplayed Erik Flowers; DT Kevin Aldridge, although I never saw much out of Bernard Holsey; LB Brandon Spoon, though if Polley has outplayed him, it's not by much. I don't know who David Thompson is, and neither does the Rams website, which thinks he's the David Thompson who played here in 1997. Now, if he really is a 6'5", 295 big-play threat on kickoffs as they say, I'd keep him, but not being sure he actually exists, I'll drop him.



    * Secondary: I thought tackling by the safeties was especially poor. They were bad against the run and the pass. On Alvis Whitted's 60-yard TD, Rich Coady missed him badly and Jason Shivers was out of position to clean up. I'm having a whole lot of trouble finding any positives in Shivers' play, and I don't understand what the big deal with Justin Lucas or Tom Knight was, other than they used to play for Larry Marmie. Kevin Garrett keeps getting tested downfield and passing, so I'd call him ready for opening day. Nijrell Eason has shown better playmaking ability than abysmal Dwight Anderson and ought to beat him out for last CB standing. Waiver bait: Anderson, Lucas, Knight.



    * Special teams: Jeff Wilkins is going to be the leading tackler on special teams again this year, isn't he? He sure was tonight, having to stop a couple of long Raider returns. Ram kick returns again stunk, though Mike Furrey showed some outside speed in the 2nd half and made the best returns of the preseason. Punt returns didn't do much, either. At least Wilkins is still kicking well, and Sean Landeta is punting well enough.



    * Coaching/discipline: The story is going around that Mike Martz was playing for the field goal on last night's final drive, until Smoker reminded him the Rams were down FOUR points, not three. Bully for Smoker, but wtf, Martz? I've heard of players lacking focus, but you can't even keep track of the doggone score? Martz ran a ton tonight; 60% of the time, and it's going to prove good for this team going into the regular season. All the key players stayed healthy and the line will head into the season with confidence after a dominating night. And opponents will have to think twice before selling out to stop the pass, because the Rams have shown some explosiveness on the ground. Martz seems to be running a lot more of the good old-fashioned counter play. Martz seemed happy having Bulger only throw three times; I hope that's enough to ensure a good outing from him September 12. After that stretch of the Washington game, I just don't know. The first-unit offense did look sharp, an encouraging sign. A hallmark of bad coaching on defense is missed tackles, and Larry Marmie, who has a LOT of selling to do to convince me he's any good, absolutely better get that cleaned up, because if the Rams get beat by his old team, he might as well pack up and leave that night. Two linebacker sacks in one game is something to celebrate, though. I never thought Lovie Smith sent the LBs after the QB enough. As for special teams, I give up. Larry Pasquale, Bobby April and Mike Stock all came here with excellent ST credentials, and though it's unfair to judge Stock's work so early, special teams are apparently still going to stink. The last year the Rams special teams were any good was 1999 under Frank Gansz and Dick Vermeil. Of course, there's another way to phrase that, which is, Rams special teams have stunk ever since Martz took over. I rant; you decide.



    * Waiver bait: I listed a total of 12 after each position summary. My potential surprise cut is Polley, whose stock has really dropped and whose contract is up after this year anyway. He'll back up at best. Shivers has not played well at all, either on special teams or safety, but I think he'll make the active roster. He's got second-round talent and wouldn't clear waivers. My practice squad is: QB Russ Michna, RB McGrorty, OL Noll, OL Morgan, OL Peter Heyer (who they have to keep; NFL Europe) TE Jensen, DT Aldridge, and CB Anderson, though it's not realistic to think they'll only keep guys they cut.



    * Upon further review: Tony Corrente and crew made some glaring mistakes. They allowed some time to run off that they shouldn't have at the end of the first half. Johnnie Morant got away with a brutal pushoff on his TD catch. Those are game-turning errors. They also allowed too much holding Ė there were Rams getting tackled all night. But they got Looker's catch right without the review, a very nice call. Funny thing is, this was a good performance for this crew, which has to be one of the league's worst and is usually awful. Call it a D-plus.



    * Cheers: The Rams are in their tenth preseason in St. Louis, and we're still waiting for our first decent preseason broadcast. All St. Louis got to do this year was listen in while Tom Kelley and Vince Ferragamo announced the game to the Los Angeles area. The local-interest player was Brandon Chillar. From UCLA. They seemed to care about the other former-LA team, the Raiders, as much as they did the Rams. Kelley stumbled over Rams player names as if he spent little time with the team or was only announcing their games for the second time or something. OH, riiiiightÖÖ Good for L.A. fans that they have interest and got to see the team(s), but St. Louis deserves a local broadcast with competent, prepared announcers, occasional sideline cut-ins from Rich Gould notwithstanding. The Ravens and Vikings use regular Fox national crews (Stockton/Johnston, Menefee/Baldinger). The Bucs have Fox's Chris Myers and ESPN's Ron Jaworski. On NFL Network, you can hear local broadcasts all over the country covered by legit network talent: Bob Griese, Dan Fouts, Steve Tasker, Marv Levy, Mike Ditka, Don Criqui, Jim Gray, Tim Green, Kevin Harlan, Bill Maas, Tim Brando, Vern Lundquist and more. Other teams use more than one sideline camera to catch the action on the field. This crew did not, apparently preferring the University of Indiana Assembly Hall angles for shooting games. There is no reason, based simply on what other teams do, that the Rams have to have cruddy preseason coverage year after year after year. At least consider sticking a camera in the radio booth with Steve Savard and Jack Snow, huh? They can call a game.



    * Stars of the game: 1. The Rams' second-string offensive line; 2. the apparently-unstoppable Alvis Whitted; 3. Furrey, who made plays at the end of the game and showed he's the team's best kickoff returner.



    * Whoís next?: Itís go time, and the Rams' season makes or breaks the very first week as far as I'm concerned, because if they lose at home the first week to the Big Dead, who are not only one of the few easy opponents on the schedule but are the team the hometown fans hate the most, the going will get very, very rough very, very quickly. Dennis Green's Big Dead will apparently run Emmitt Smith behind their big, but underachieving, offensive line. About all Emmitt has left is his smarts, which will get him somewhere, but the Rams really have no excuse to let him get rolling. Troy Hambrick could be used as a power-back change of pace. (James Hodgins, by the way, is on injured reserve.) Marmie ought to have some idea how to attack the Big Dead, having coached there last year. It will be important to keep QB Josh McCown in the pocket. He is a run-first QB who can be dangerous if he gets loose. That makes him trouble for a Ram defense known to overpursue. McCown's target when he gets in trouble is TE Freddie Jones, with Pro Bowl WR Anquan Boldin out with an injury. WR Larry Fitzgerald wasn't the third pick in the draft for nothing, but he has been slowed by injuries in the preseason and may not be in top form. Martz can pick his poison on offense; the Dead still can't stop the run and aren't that great against the pass. The guy to watch will be DE Bertran Berry, a former training camp Ram who became a top pass rusher in Denver. He is quick and will be lined up on Grant Williams, who's been getting beaten right off the snap a lot. Of course, if Orlando Pace doesn't get his ass in gear, Berry could be lining up on Scott Tercero. The battles on the ends of the lines will be the ones to watch. But unless Berry goes ape, which he could, the Big Dead just don't have the defensive talent to stay with the Rams unless the Rams commit a gob of turnovers. So, there are your keys: don't turn it over; keep McCown in the pocket; hope Pace shows up (please introduce the offense during pregame so we can boo him hard), keep Jones in check. The Rams have the most to lose in this game, but appear to be up to the challenge. (They'd better be.)



    -- Mike

    Game stats from nfl.com

    sage~~~~~
    Attached Files

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  • RamDez
    RamView
    by RamDez
    RamView, September 2, 2004

    From the Couch

    (Report and opinions from the game.)

    Preseason Game #4: Raiders 28, Rams 24



    The Rams churn out a lot of ground yardage, but don't do enough on defense to stave off the Raiders.



    Bright spots: Good offensive line play all-around; no significant new injuries.



    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger played only the first series and was perfect (3-3-66), sandwiching a 46-yard pass to Cam Cleeland within two quick hitters to Marshall Faulk, who scored a 7-yard TD on the last one. Not as much of Bulger as I would have preferred to see, but he ended the Washington game well and was rolling in this one, so I guess he's maintaining positive momentum. Chris Chandler (6-9-85) played the rest of the first half and looked fine, again getting mostly excellent protection. Jeff Smoker played the whole second half, mostly handing off, but he got enough action (10-15-105) to show nice poise on third down, and he drove the offense to a couple of TDs. Jeff's got some mechanics to work out, though. Many of his passes were too low, at the receiver's feet, or too low at the line of scrimmage, where he gave up a couple of tip balls, one of which the Raiders intercepted. His second interception was the game-ending pass, so the two picks aren't as bad as they look at first. Heading into the season opener, then, it looks like Bulger's back into the groove a little bit, and his backups are capable and know what they're doing for the most part Ė a nice place to be.



    * RB: The Ram running game was Hydra-like, a multi-headed threat that scared up 171 yards on the ground. Faulk was just 4-11 but had two catches for 20. The receptions engaged him more in the offense than last week, and he flashed a little more speed and drive than we saw against Washington. Lamar Gordon had his annual "oops, my job is being threatened" night, where he suddenly puts all his aches and pains aside and has a big night, 22-77. Lamar ran with a lot of power and effort behind the solid Rams front, and also had some outside runs where he turned the corner quite well. He's probably the Rams' best outside runner. He foolishly pulled himself off the field at one point for some little ding, though, or maybe a breath, and that was Stephen Jackson's cue. The rookie tore off another 72 yards on 12 carries. He did a lot of his work right up the middle again, and showed not just Gordon's power and effort, but some of Faulk's footwork and elusiveness. Another good night from the team preseason offensive MVP. All the RBs took good care of the ball, too, including Arlen Harris, who added another 19 yards on 6 rushes, as the Rams seem likely to carry all four tailbacks into the regular season. Waiver bait: Dusty McGrorty.



    * WR: Marchin' Martz only called pass plays about...
    -09-04-2004, 01:58 AM
  • RamDez
    RamView : From Row HH
    by RamDez
    Mike Franke

    (Report and opinions from the game.)

    Preseason Game #1: Bears 13, Rams 10 (OT)



    More penalties than total points? Must be preseason! But hey, football is back. Hooray football!



    Bright spots: Starting offensive and defensive lines looked better than expected.



    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger drove the Rams to their initial FG on 3-6-57 passing, the highlight pass a 14-yarder to Dane Looker between two defenders to convert a 3rd-and-12 from the Bear 26. The drive and Bulger's night ended with Marc getting swamped by a Bear blitz. Chris Chandler was close to perfect in relief, 8-9-108 and a TD to Joey Goodspeed. Chandler showed nice accuracy and surprisingly nimble feet, though both a 5-yard scramble on 4th-and-1 and a nice improvised rollout and zinger to Shaun McDonald for 21 were nullified by penalties on Goodspeed and Grant Williams. He scrambled some more on the Goodspeed TD, buying a lot of time before finding the fullback for the score. Chandler showed he can run this offense if needed, though he'll need to avoid dumb interceptions like the deep out intended for Kevin Curtis late in the 2nd. Gotta know after 17 years in the league that you can't force that throw, Chris. Or at least get some air under it. Jeff Smoker (7-14-81) had some expectable rookie moments, but showed he's good raw material. He did a lot of checking down, but also showed a good arm and hung tough in the pocket. (Hmm. Like the Rams' last QB from Michigan State.) Smoker, whose theme song is officially "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, showed great touch on a 24-yard completion to TE Mike Brake early in the 3rd, but he lamentably overthrew a wide open McDonald in the 4th, which probably would have led to a score. Trying to drive the Rams for a score with 1:04 left, he held the ball too long on first down and took a sack on his own 7. He followed that with a HORRIBLE forced pass in the flat that Chicago LB Joe Odom should have intercepted and returned for a score. Smoker's got some skills, and he's definitely got Mike Martz mad at him, so he's right on schedule as a Rams rookie QB.



    * RB: Steven Jackson (15-73) got almost all of the work as Arlen Harris started but left early with an injury. (Hereís an SAT question for you: Arlen Harris is to Mike Martz as ? was to Dick Vermeil. Answer at end of column.) Radio said Jackson is still a little slow reading the defensive alignment before the snap, but he's fitting in nicely in the passing game, with four catches, and he made a sweet blitz pickup that belies his rookie status. As a runner, he's got explosiveness; he waits for his blocks; he can wiggle through a small hole and burst into the open, like on his long run of 18 in the 3rd; and he can take on tacklers. He didn't seem to have great speed to the outside, and he had footing problems a couple of times....
    -08-13-2004, 02:46 PM
  • RamDez
    RamView, August 12, 2004
    by RamDez
    RamView, August 12, 2004

    From Row HH

    (Report and opinions from the game.)

    Preseason Game #1: Bears 13, Rams 10 (OT)



    More penalties than total points? Must be preseason! But hey, football is back. Hooray football!



    Bright spots: Starting offensive and defensive lines looked better than expected.



    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger drove the Rams to their initial FG on 3-6-57 passing, the highlight pass a 14-yarder to Dane Looker between two defenders to convert a 3rd-and-12 from the Bear 26. The drive and Bulger's night ended with Marc getting swamped by a Bear blitz. Chris Chandler was close to perfect in relief, 8-9-108 and a TD to Joey Goodspeed. Chandler showed nice accuracy and surprisingly nimble feet, though both a 5-yard scramble on 4th-and-1 and a nice improvised rollout and zinger to Shaun McDonald for 21 were nullified by penalties on Goodspeed and Grant Williams. He scrambled some more on the Goodspeed TD, buying a lot of time before finding the fullback for the score. Chandler showed he can run this offense if needed, though he'll need to avoid dumb interceptions like the deep out intended for Kevin Curtis late in the 2nd. Gotta know after 17 years in the league that you can't force that throw, Chris. Or at least get some air under it. Jeff Smoker (7-14-81) had some expectable rookie moments, but showed he's good raw material. He did a lot of checking down, but also showed a good arm and hung tough in the pocket. (Hmm. Like the Rams' last QB from Michigan State.) Smoker, whose theme song is officially "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, showed great touch on a 24-yard completion to TE Mike Brake early in the 3rd, but he lamentably overthrew a wide open McDonald in the 4th, which probably would have led to a score. Trying to drive the Rams for a score with 1:04 left, he held the ball too long on first down and took a sack on his own 7. He followed that with a HORRIBLE forced pass in the flat that Chicago LB Joe Odom should have intercepted and returned for a score. Smoker's got some skills, and he's definitely got Mike Martz mad at him, so he's right on schedule as a Rams rookie QB.



    * RB: Steven Jackson (15-73) got almost all of the work as Arlen Harris started but left early with an injury. (Hereís an SAT question for you: Arlen Harris is to Mike Martz as ? was to Dick Vermeil. Answer at end of column.) Radio said Jackson is still a little slow reading the defensive alignment before the snap, but he's fitting in nicely in the passing game, with four catches, and he made a sweet blitz pickup that belies his rookie status. As a runner, he's got explosiveness; he waits for his blocks; he can wiggle through a small hole and burst into the open, like on his long run of 18 in the 3rd; and he can take on tacklers. He didn't seem to have great speed to the outside,...
    -08-13-2004, 11:44 AM
  • RamDez
    RamView
    by RamDez
    , August 12, 2005
    From Row HH
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Preseason Game #1: Rams 17, Bears 13

    Mike Martz's goal for tonight was to see the Rams' young players in real game situations, and he got his wish. Not only that, but from players like Brandon Green, Claude Terrell and Ron Bartell, not to mention Steven Jackson, the coach and Rams fans should have liked a lot of what they saw in the Rams' victory.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Please tell me I'm not going to have to worry about Marc Bulger (3-5-38) throwing the ball to the wrong team all season. He played a quarter and threw two picks in the same possession, one, of course, called back for a defensive penalty. That pick was a dumb forced pass that Brandon Manumaleuna may not have been expecting. The second pick was even worse, a terrible pass intended for Isaac Bruce but a mile over his head and picked off by Charles Tillman at the goal line. Another failed drive in scoring territory for Bulger. He did hit Bruce and Torry Holt a total of 3 times for all 38 yards, and was under big pressure from a makeshift offensive line, so he's got some slack this week. But the ball needs to quit going to the other team, Marc. Saw a lot to like out of Jamie Martin (12-19-143). Mike Martz called the ideal offense for him Ė lots of plays with short drops and opportunities for him to get the ball out quick. At the same time, Jamie showed tons of poise in the pocket, throwing a lot of his completions a split second before being hit. And they weren't all dumpoffs; Martin threw a lot of medium-range passes and showed a pretty good arm for it. Martin played a quarter-plus and drove the Rams to both their TDs. Ryan Fitzpatrick (2-6-26) followed for a quarter and seemed to show good pocket poise and decision-making, but all I can really tell you about the guy so far is his arm's not very strong and he likes to call timeouts. Jeff Smoker (1-1-9) was the #4 QB, a first for Martz in a preseason game, but he threw only one pass and nearly committed a critical turnover on a blown exchange from center late in the game.

    * RB: We all know Arlen Harris (9-27) is Martz's pet player for whatever reason, but he looks faster after losing last season's fullback weight, and he showed some of that tenacious running tonight he showed a couple of years ago in Pittsburgh. He appears to be ahead of Aveion Cason (6-7), who didn't get much of anywhere as the 4th tailback. Marshall Faulk (2-minus 2) was only in for a couple of plays. I'm expecting all this cool Martz-mad-scientist stuff when Marshall's in the game, and what do we get the first time Marshall touches the ball? One of those stupid delay inside handoffs that lost four yards every time the Rams ran it last year. And I believe it lost four yards. And, of course, there's Steven Jackson (7-47), who's starting to look like a breakout player. He showed excellent speed around the corner on an early...
    -08-13-2005, 12:17 PM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 8/29/2005: Rams 37, Lions 13 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, August 29, 2005
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Preseason Game #3: Rams 37, Lions 13

    After looking thoroughly beatable last week, the Rams looked unbeatable in tonightís regular season dress rehearsal, whipping a promising Detroit team. The Rams were sharp on both sides of the ball and are exactly where they want to be for the regular season, if not ahead.

    Position by position:
    * QB: The Ram offense partied like it was 1999, driving quickly for TDs on the teamís first two drives and never looking back. Now thatís how you open up a game. Marc Bulger (11-14-167) polished off a Steven-Jackson-powered opening drive by accepting a gift 7-yard TD run from a Lion defense that lined up as if to allow Marc a free run at the end zone. The Rams didnít encounter a 3rd down the next drive, but Bulger converted two second downs, including a pretty touch pass to Brandon Manumaleuna for 27, en route to a Jackson TD, making it 14-0. Marc hit a dry spell after that. After a sack, he threw a terrible, what-the-hell-was-that? pass Isaac Bruce couldn't have caught if he was Plasticman, and Kenoy Kennedy got the INT. After the resurgent Ram defense minimized that mistake, Bulger fought through a hand injury inflicted by Shaun Cody on an almost-late hit and struck Bruce perfectly for a 31-yard TD just before the end of the half. Though he held the ball for about half an hour and got sacked on the Ramsí final play of the half, Bulgerís numbers and the teamís results show he is ready for real games. The football appears to have helium in it when Jamie Martin (6-8-94) throws, but he looked very sharp again, getting the ball out quickly and decisively and throwing more accurately than I remember him throwing before. Super pocket presence, too: on his TD pass to Madison Hedgecock, he threw maybe half a second before getting walloped by a rusher. This is the best Martin has looked in any of his many stints as a Ram backup. Ryan Fitzpatrick (2-3-25) finished the game and continues to show very good pocket presence and accuracy. Things donít look so good for Jeff Smoker after a DNP tonight.

    * RB: Salivate away, Rams fans, because the rest of the NFL does not look ready for what Steven Jackson (14-108) is about to hit it with. Once again, Stevenís evening featured a long breakaway run, and he didnít mess around tonight, blasting off for 64 on the Ramsí first play from scrimmage. He cut inside Tom Nuttenís key block at the line, easily broke the weak tackle of a late-arriving safety and capitalized on some nice downfield blocking by Bruce. The league is not ready for Stevenís downfield speed. This run was the second time this preseason heís nearly outrun the entire secondary on a long run. Theyíre just not expecting that kind of speed out of him. He continued to show the entire package of skills with a graceful catch of a 12-yard pass well behind him the next possession,...
    Jeff Smoker
    11.11%
    2
    Aveion Cason
    27.78%
    5
    Bryan Barker
    11.11%
    2
    Kevin Garrett
    16.67%
    3
    Matt Willig
    11.11%
    2
    Mike's TiVo remote, thanks to McDonald punt "returns"
    22.22%
    4
    -08-30-2005, 12:03 PM
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