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Much to Learn from Preseason Opener

Posted by nickwagoner on August 12, 2012 – 10:19 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Well, the first preseason game is in the books and of course the 38-3 loss to the Colts is not the result anyone wanted to see but it’s important to keep perspective. Preseason games have no bearing on the regular season and this one today doesn’t mean anymore for the Rams future than the 33-10 win they had last year at this time against these Colts.

- That isn’t to say that there can’t be some things taken from this game, both negative and positive.

- One thing that was very clear for the Rams on Sunday’s game is that they were extremely vanilla in how they approached the game. Coach Jeff Fisher said the team had just a couple coverages, fronts and pressures in on defense and similar approach on offense. The Colts had far more schemed up and it was evident in the result.

- The best news is it appears the Rams made it out of the game without any injuries of note. In the preseason, that might be the most important statistic of all.

- A nice start for RB Steven Jackson. He carried four times for 17 yards and had a catch for 6 yards. It wasn’t a lot of work but he looked good in the time he was in and drew praise from Fisher and QB Sam Bradford after the game.

- Speaking of Bradford, he too had a solid start, throwing good, accurate passes on the opening drive. By his own admission, one area to clean up is his awareness of the play clock. The delay of game penalty the Rams took on their opening drive killed the Rams chances of scoring on the opening drive.

- Speaking of that first drive, it was a nice mix of run and pass for the Rams and they seemed to have a quick rhythm. A shame the penalty ended the chance of that drive ending in points.

- The offensive line was simply not good enough and Fisher said that Bradford got hit more than they’d like. It’s clearly something that will have to improve as the preseason goes on. Although Bradford wasn’t sacked, he did take more hits than the Rams would like to see. For the record, Barry Richardson did get the start at RT with Robert Turner at C and Quinn Ojinnaka at LG.

- The first team defense also had its share of hiccups. Fisher referenced some blatant holds that went uncalled on the Colts’ 63-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage but said those “things happen.” Still not the way he or his defense wanted to start the day.

- The Colts offense seemed to scheme a lot of misdirection stuff early, including the screen that went for a touchdown. Many times, those misdirection plays went at DE Robert Quinn, who was getting pressure on the quarterback but wasn’t home for some of those plays.

- Massive DTs Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford looked stout in the middle of their first games as Rams. One play early in the game went for a 5-yard loss as Brockers and Langford just collapsed the middle of the line.

- Rookie RB Isaiah Pead looked nervous in his first game, understandably so. He put a fumble on the ground that the Colts recovered and seemed to struggle to keep traction when running. He did seem to get better as the game wore on but Fisher mentioned he’d like to see Pead running more north and south and he suspected there was a lot of east and west in his game Sunday.

- The Rams tried a few different looks with returners. CB Janoris Jenkins had the first look at punt returner but didn’t get an opportunity. Pead had the kick return duties to open the game. He had one nice 30-yard return early. Chase Reynolds (three returns for an average of 19.7 yards) and Chris Givens (one return for 28 yards) also got looks as kick returners.

- One positive that can definitely come from this one is the work of Givens. The Rams made no secret of the fact that Givens is their best deep threat. They took a number of deep shots to Givens. One resulted in a 54-yard defensive pass interference penalty. One was overthrown and another Givens should have hauled in. Either way, it’s nice to see a legitimate deep threat with the ability to stretch the defense and an offense willing to give him the opportunity to do it.

- Some nice work from WR Austin Pettis, who hauled in some tough catches to lead the Rams with three grabs for 25 yards.

- Good start for TE Lance Kendricks, also. He caught both passes thrown his way for 18 yards. Good time for him to rebuild confidence.

- Rookie QB Austin Davis had some ups and downs in his first game action but he also showed some moxie and escapability. He finished 12-of-18 for 84 yards with no touchdowns and an interception but there was probably more good than bad. He played the entire second half.

- DT Jermelle Cudjo continues to make a push for a roster spot. He recorded the team’s only sack of the day.

- Players who did not play because of injury issues Sunday: S Darian Stewart, WR Danario Alexander, WR Brandon Gibson, C Scott Wells, CB Bradley Fletcher and DT Trevor Laws.

- Players who did not play because of coach’s decision: QB Tom Brandstater, TE Jamie Childers, TE Brody Eldridge

- That’s going to do it for this one. As always, thanks for reading. Back tomorrow with a wrap up of Fisher’s day after game news conference and then it’s back to practice and on to taking on the Chiefs in preseason tilt No. 2.


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