St. Louis Rams – Blog

Wrapping Up Baltimore

Posted by nickwagoner on August 31, 2012 – 6:25 PM

– Because of the nature of today, this week’s edition of “Wrapping Up” will be short and sweet with a quick look back at last night’s win against the Ravens.

– Coach Jeff Fisher is going to address the media and the team’s cut down to the final 53 players at 5 p.m. today. Most of the attention will be on that when the time comes.

– In the meantime, here’s a quick recap from last night’s 31-17 win in the preseason finale against the Ravens.

– DTs Michael Brockers and Matt Conrath both suffered some sort of lower body injuries. The Rams’ hope is that neither injury is too serious but we’ll know more after the full battery of tests. No matter what, the Rams are going to need to add another body or two at DT. With Trevor Laws on I.R., this position is now neck and neck with safety for the thinnest on the team in terms of depth.

– Some are questioning the veracity of playing the starters in the preseason finale for as long as the Rams did. But not sure you can look at it in a vaccuum. Yes, Brockers was hurt but who is to say that wouldn’t happen in a practice or in some other every day activity. The fact is, if the Rams were a veteran team coming off multiple playoff trips like Baltimore, then perhaps you sit your starters. But the Rams are the youngest team in the league and guys like Brockers, CB Janoris Jenkins, etc. need as many reps as possible to prepare for the real thing.

– Nice to see TE Michael Hoomanawanui get in the end zone and make a play. Still think the Rams keep four TEs but it’s going to be interesting to see how it shakes out after Lance Kendricks and Matthew Mulligan.

– Said it last night and will repeat myself here: CB Quinton Pointer had his best game of the preseason. Who knows if it lands him a roster spot but is it out of the realm of possibility? Probably not.

– Failed to mention this and shame on me but there needs to be some props given to the special teams beyond K Greg Zuerlein and P Johnny Hekker. The coverage units were outstanding and they had some good returns in the preseason, especially on kick returns. Chris Givens had a nice one last night.

– Will be interesting to see how the Rams sort through the options at places like backup linebacker and fullback when it comes to special teams. Guys like Aaron Brown remain on the bubble there.

– RT Wayne Hunter – who I’ll have more on later – is REALLY happy to be out of the New York market and in a more comfortable setting like St. Louis.

– Rookie WRs Brian Quick and Givens didn’t get the opportunities with the first unit Fisher had hoped. He said that’s because the first unit didn’t play as long as expected after it produced so well early in the game.

– Another nice TD for Austin Pettis. He had a really strong preseason and seems to be position to have a spot waiting for him on this team when he returns after week 2.

– Seeing the replay of the Brockers injury, is there any way that play is considered legal? Classic illegal high-low block away from the play, missed by officials.

– That’s going to do it for this one. Back more with all of the cuts and the breakdown of the remaining 53. Keep in mind – as Fisher was quick to remind last night – the 53 remaining players aren’t necessarily the “final” 53. Fisher made it clear the Rams will continue to churn the bottom of the roster in search of players that can help.

– Figures to be a busy few days around here even without a practice lined up.

– Thanks for reading.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Rams Find Some Rhythm in Preseason Finale

Posted by nickwagoner on August 31, 2012 – 3:50 AM

– The Rams emerged from Thursday’s game against Baltimore with a 31-17 win at the Edward Jones Dome but the result was of little consequence after the game to Coach Jeff Fisher and Co.

– What the Rams wanted, was an opportunity to get some production, create some momentum and maybe find a bit of rhythm in the preseason finale. They got it, even if Baltimore played next to none of its starters.

– More on the game in a moment but let’s hit injuries first.

– The Rams almost made it through an entire preseason without an injury scare. Almost.

– DT Michael Brockers left the game with an apparent right ankle injury. He left in a walking boot. The extent of the injury is not yet known but he’ll have an MRI tomorrow. We’ll see what it is then.

– Likewise, DT Matt Conrath left the game with an undisclosed injury and his status moving forward is unknown. The Rams are already a bit thin depth wise at DT and any serious injuries would not be good moving forward.

– As for the game, let’s be very clear here: Baltimore played almost none of its key players. No Flacco, Rice, Lewis, Reed, Ngata, etc. So yes, everything from this one has to be taken with a grain of salt.

– But here’s the thing: if you have your starters playing a group of backups and they DON’T jump all over the backups, you might have a problem. So yes, the Rams did what they were supposed to do and that’s a good thing.

– In the process, the Rams were again quite vanilla as were the Ravens. But the Rams got a look at some things they haven’t been able to do yet. They ran some no huddle looks, they worked in a variety of players and they got the type of production you’d hope for from your top offense and defense.

– QB Sam Bradford was sharp and had clean pockets most of the night, as you’d expect. He was pleased with the offense’s work while acknolwedging the backups on the other side. Still, anytime you post three touchdowns with no INTs in about a quarter and a half, it can help build some momentum.

– Likewise, the defense had a solid outing after a shaky first drive. They settled in, tackled much better and made some big plays.

– The starters didn’t play as long as projected because of the aforementioned production. Fisher didn’t want to risk injury and had seen enough after the starters staked a 21-0 lead in next to no time.

– Big time play for CB Janoris Jenkins on the interception and 76-yard return for a touchdown. Those are the big plays he’s capable of and he’ll make more as the season goes on. After a rough go last week, it was good for him to bounce back.

– Speaking of bouncing back, RB Isaiah Pead finally found some running room. It’s worth noting that Daryl Richardson got most of the work with the first team offense when Steven Jackson left the game. But Pead entered with the backups and had his best game of the preseason. He rushed 10 times for 58 yards.

– Another nice effort from fourth string RB Chase Reynolds, too. He carried eight times for 48 yards and had a shoddy call go against him for a fumble after the whistle blew.

– K Greg Zuerlein finally missed, though it was just short from 62 yards out. He hit from 59 yards to atone for that a bit later. The kid is a weapon. Fisher probably won’t so regularly attempt field goals that long in the regular season but if nothing else, Zuerlein has proved nearly automatic from inside 60 yards. In fact, I’m struggling to recall a miss from him, either in practice or a game, from inside 60 yards.

– T Wayne Hunter stepped right in and played with no issues though OC Brian Schottenheimer called plays he already knew from New York to help him adjust. Hunter is a BIG human being and seemed very happy to start fresh in St. Louis.

– He’ll probably be among the 22 cuts made tomorrow but a tip of the cap to CB Quinton Pointer, who made an interception and had some other nice moments against the Ravens. Way to put some good film out there.

– Fisher said the plan was to play Robert Turner with the starters at right guard next to C Scott Wells though a pregame indication came that it would be Rokevious Watkins. Still, Watkins ended up getting plenty of work with the backups at both left and right guard.

– Richardson again was solid and perhaps most encouraging was his work in the passing game. He had three catches for 19 yards on three targets. That’s an area of his game he had yet to show in this preseason.

– That’ll do it for tonight’s game. The Rams make final cuts tomorrow and Fisher has a news conference scheduled for 5 p.m. We’ll have all of that for you and plenty of instant breakdowns of the final 53-man roster.

– I’m happy to say it’s about that time Rams. The next time we have one of these post-game blogs will be for the real thing on Sept. 9 from Detroit. Thanks for reading.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »