– Rams coach Jeff Fisher just finished up his day after game news conference and in the process revealed what he saw when he watched the tape of last night’s 31-17 victory against the Chiefs at the Edward Jones Dome.
– As usual, let’s hit the injuries first:
As first suspected, Fisher said the Rams came out of the game with no injuries of note, to the point that he said the Rams will be “plus 3” coming out of the weekend because he expects WR Brandon Gibson, S Darian Stewart and C Scott Wells to return to action this week.
CB Bradley Fletcher, who has dealt with a rib injury recently, is also expected back.
WR Brian Quick is sore, according to Fisher but he’s expected to be able to practice this week.
– Turning to Fisher’s thoughts on the game, he went into some detail about how the team approached this contest and what they did versus the opener against Indianapolis.
– Fisher said there was a little game planning for this one but nothing too extensive. The goal is to add more each week leading into the regular season opener against the Lions.
– For the most part, Fisher was pleased with his team’s performance but he pointed to one area that plagued his team again this week: third downs.
– The Rams defense has struggled to get off the field on third down in the preseason and the Chiefs added to that problem in going five-of-11 in those situations this week. In two weeks, opponents are converting more than 60 percent on third down.
– Part of that, of course, is a simple approach to defense, especially on third downs when teams are most apt to use their most exotic blitz packages and looks. Still, Fisher wants to see improvement.
– Likewise for the offense which was just four-of-12 on third down against the Chiefs.
– A couple areas Fisher was particularly pleased with: tackling and penalties.
– But Fisher made an interesting point on the penalties. Because there are replacement referees in right now, it’s entirely possible that the games are being called different than they normally would. So Fisher and his coaching staff have made it a point to locate plays that could be potential penalties and point them out to the players during tape review. Attention to detail.
– Fisher said G Rokevious Watkins did well in his move to left guard this week after playing the right side last week. Watkins had one monster block after pulling on the late touchdown by Daryl Richardson. He continues to work his way into the mix.
– The right tackle situation seems to be stabilized for the moment. Barry Richardson started and Fisher said he played well, though there were a couple hiccups along the way. He also said Richardson will continue to work with the first team this week.
– The Rams have allowed three touchdowns from 1 yard out in the preseason with little resistance from the defense. Fisher was asked if he was concerned about the struggles in those short yardage situations. Fisher said he isn’t and a big part of that is they are being extra bland with their defensive schemes in those situations.
– On the flip side of that conservative part of the coin is Fisher’s preference to go for it on fourth and short, especially in the red zone. The logic is simple: he already knows his kickers can make short field goals. He wants to get his offense some plays and put them in positions to come through in clutch situations.
– Fisher’s starters played exactly a quarter against the Chiefs and he was pleased with that, especially because Kansas City had its starters on longer, allowing the second team a chance to get extended reps against the Chiefs starters.
– Fisher also again discussed his approach to the preseason and said the Rams will continue the gradual build method in which the starters will get a bit more work each week leading into the regular season. He said the starters will play about the same, perhaps with another series or so this week in Dallas.
– Then, in the final preseason game, Fisher said the starters will play more, probably into the second half so as to get the experience of playing a full half, catching some wind and coming back out for more in the second half.
– One interesting topic broached with Fisher is his approach to roster spots for QBs. It’s become commonplace in the league for teams to carry just two signal callers and put one on the practice squad. Fisher said there’s no definitive thought in place for that and he’s carried three on the active roster and two on the active roster in the past.
– With that said, Fisher praised both backup QBs – Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis – for their work in relief of Sam Bradford last night.
– The Rams are back to work Monday at 3:30 with a practice which is free and open to the public.
– Before I go, I want to send some get well wishes to New Orleans LB Chris Chamberlain. The former Ram is one of the good guys and suffered a torn ACL in the Saints most recent preseason game, ending his season before it began. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Chamberlain.
– Thanks for reading.
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– After a 38-3 preseason loss in the opener against Indianapolis last week, the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher did not press the panic button. After a convincing 31-17 victory Saturday night against the visiting Chiefs to claim the Governor’s Cup, nobody in the Rams locker room was ready to throw a parade.
– And, really, that’s what the preseason is all about. There’s no reason to get too high or too low after a game like this one just like there isn’t after last week’s.
– That said, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he wanted to see his team improve in all areas against Kansas City and his request was rewarded. The first team offense was crisp and sharp and the first team defense wreaked havoc in the pass rush and created turnovers.
– Let’s hit the injury front first, which is really the most important score to keep track of in the preseason…
– At first glance, it appears the Rams came out of the game with no serious injuries for the second week in a row. That’s a big victory right there.
– DT Michael Brockers was poked in the eye early in the game but didn’t seem to have any issues carry over.
– WR Brian Quick left the game in the third quarter with what Fisher called back spasms. It’s not believed to be anything serious but Fisher said Quick will be evaluated further.
– That was about it on the injury front.
– Fisher also offered up some good news on expected returns this week. He said he expects some guys to return to action this week in WR Brandon Gibson, S Darian Stewart and C Scott Wells.
– No surprise on Gibson and Stewart but the Wells news has to be considered good news. Wells participated in some individual drills more and more as last week went on and it sounds like he’s poised to do more work this week. That would be big for an offensive line that needs some continuity heading into the second half of preseason games.
– On to the game, let’s get a couple of little details out of the way first:
– The Rams did a little more game planning for this one than they did last week. Now, they didn’t throw the kitchen sink at KC by any means but they did do more. That’s part of Fisher’s approach: put more in each week to get a gradual build toward the regular season opener.
– Fisher said he got to use the starters for exactly one quarter which was the original plan. He did not adjust the plan based on the success of the starters.
– And what a start it was. QB Sam Bradford was sharp and accurate, throwing a beauty to WR Danny Amendola to open the first drive. He went on to go six-of-nine for 102 yards and two scores in a quarter of work. Not a bad day at the office and a solid confidence booster for Bradford and the offense in the new system.
– RB Steven Jackson continues to look sharp. He picked up 49 yards on seven carries. That’s an average of 7 yards per attempt.
– Amendola continues to bring consistency and play making skills to the offense. And it should be noted that it was nice to see him down the field making plays, instead of his usual dirty work underneath.
– Tip of the cap to TE Lance Kendricks for his effort too. Hopefully he’s building some confidence because he’s going to be an integral part of this offense this year. Nice job on the catch, better job finishing it by getting in the end zone.
– Odd stat line for rookie RB Isaiah Pead tonight: six carries for negative 5 yards and a touchdown. Oddly enough, Pead and Fisher said Pead was more comfortable this week than last week. His leap for a 1-yard score was a heck of an athletic play. Pead said that’s not a signature move of his but maybe he’ll make it one.
– Fellow rookie RB Daryl Richardson got to show what he can do as well. He went for 35 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. He’s got some serious juice and it was good to see it on display.
– Special mention here for the offensive line, which might have been the most promising development of the night. That group was very sound in both pass protection and run blocking. The run blocking was there in spurts last week but it was the improvement in pass protection that Fisher wanted to see. For the first team offense, Bradford wasn’t sacked and he was hit just once.
“I thought those guys played great tonight,” Bradford said. “I don’t think I got touched once. Anytime that you come out of a game and you’re not sore, it’s a great feeling. So props to those guys.”
– Ho hum, another day, another long field goal for Young G.Z. (rookie K Greg Zuerlein). He booted a 52-yarder right down the middle with plenty of room to spare. Still need to see it in a pressure situation in a game that matters but it doesn’t seem that much fazes this kid.
– On defense, the Rams created four turnovers. Anytime you do that, you have a great chance to win.
– Nice play by CB Trumaine Johnson in timing up a pass play to lead to an interception for DT Matt Conrath, who continues to show promise.
– Strong outing from veteran LB Rocky McIntosh.
– DT Jermelle Cudjo continues to push the pocket and take advantage of his opportunities.
– S Rodney McLeod recovered a fumble after forcing one last week. He’s making an impression as well.
– LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar made a big play that will fly under the radar early in the game, dropping KC RB Shaun Draughn for a 2-yard loss on third-and-3 with a textbook open field tackle.
– That’s all for tonight. We’ll wrap this one up tomorrow after Fisher’s 4 p.m. news conference tomorrow. As always, thanks for reading.
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