The St. Louis Rams put its new offense on display for the first time at the Edward Jones Dome since signing tight Jared Cook and left tackle Jake Long while drafting wide receiver Tavon Austin at No. 8 overall and things went alright. The offense certainly showed flashes of brilliance, particularly on a 59-yard by quarterback Sam Bradford to second-year wideout Chris Givens, the second long connection the two have made already this preseason.
There was also a nice catch and pass from Bradford to Cook for 37 yards.
But other than those two big plays, the Rams offense sputtered in the red zone, made too many mistakes and lacked the execution necessary to give fans too much confidence that the offense truly will be as dynamic as people in St. Louis are hoping. Here are some thoughts..
Bradford was dynamic on Saturday night. He stood in the pocket with poise and made great decision and was on the money. The ball to Givens was absolutely perfect and he also made an outstanding touch pass to running back Daryl Richardson, which was fantastic as well.
Bradford was accurate, which you always like to see, but the most impressive play of the night came in the second quarter when he realized nobody was open and scrambled up the middle before heading to the sidelines for a five-yard game. It sounds small and silly to say that this was a big play, but Bradford made something out of nothing, a part of his game that has been lacking in the past. Bradford has always been able to make all the throws, its his ability to make a play when things break down that has been lacking and he put that on display Saturday night.
Bradford did make two costly mistakes in the red zone though. He missed a wide open Tavon Austin badly on what would have been an easy touchdown and his fumble on fourth and goal is inexcusable. He does need to clean these two things up.
The decision to feature Isaiah Pead is baffling. A week after coughing up a fumble on his first play against Cleveland, and coming off a summer off the field that earned him a one-game suspension to start the season, head coach Jeff Fisher decided to feature Pead and give him a chance to shine.
I am not sure what Pead has done to earn that shot at this point, but he did alright. His first carry was an impressive, a speed run behind Joe Barksdale for 11-yards. But he never got going after that, partly because he really never had a good chance.
Pead never had a good chance because the Packers interior defensive line was getting pressure up the middle all night. The Rams guards and center have to be better at containing the middle . The running game will go never get going if the play on the middle of the offensive line does not improve.
Austin now has two drops in two weeks. Of course it is nit-picking, and it is only the preseason, but Austin dropped his second pass in two weeks on a tough sliding play over the middle. It was a tough play, but a play he must come up with. He will receive this type of scrutiny all season. It comes with the hype. Oh, and Givens dropped one too, it should not go unnoticed.
The penalties are a problem. Again, I know it is the preseason, but having two illegal formation penalties can not happen. I put that on the quarterback to be honest. Get your guys lined up correctly, it is not that hard. Be a leader and make sure these young receivers do not make the same mistake again.
I must reiterate, overall, Bradford was good.
Kellen Clemons on the other hand, was not. Must I really expand on this?
The defensive line did not get enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers. I know, I know, they are keeping things “vanilla.” But the Rams still need to get more pressure on Rodgers with a four-man rush. Rodgers was his usual self, except with a mustache, and carved up the Rams with a depleted receiving corp and a make-shift offensive line. He is good.
I do think, that the Rams defensive line will get better.
Jo-Lon Dunbar’s suspension really sank in last night. Not seeing him with the first team was odd and while I love Will Witherspoon, he does represent a downgrade at outside linebacker. The Rams will miss him sorely during the first four weeks when they have to play a revamped Arizona running game with Rashard Mendenhall in Week 1, followed by Steven Jackson and the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2.
Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing effort by the Rams. The flashes are certainly there, and for once, that is a change. But the lack of execution, particularly in the Red Zone and with some inexcusable penalties, felt like more of the same from this team.
Week 3, the Rams have to be better.
- St. Louis Rams: Why Isaiah Pead should start worrying about his job (stlsportsminute.com)
- Stedman Bailey will not be No. 5 on St. Louis Rams receiving depth chart for long (stlsportsminute.com)
- Which St. Louis Rams wide receiver will have the most receiving yards in 2013? (stlsportsminute.com)
- Sam Bradford: Matt Ryan’s new contract should have St. Louis Rams QB licking his chops (stlsportsminute.com)