St. Louis Rams – Blog

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.

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