St. Louis Rams Preseason Highlights

Every week we will recap what we thought of the St. Louis Rams players and units. Last nights 34-13 blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans at LP Field was in one word, ugly.

  • Starting O-line – Orlando Pace, Jacob Bell, Brett Romberg, Richie Incognito, Alex Barron. This unit played the entire first quarter. Orlando Pace was beaten several times by Vanden Bosch and looked a little slow. Albert Haynesworth did not play much, but it was obvious the Rams line was out manned this night.
  • Starting D-Line – Leonard Little, La’Roi Glover, Adam Carriker, Chris Long. This unit played the entire 1st Quarter, and Chris Long played the entire first half. Glover and Little each had one tackle while Carriker and Long were kept off the stat sheet. Glover missed a sack on Vince Young and was unable to even touch him on the play. The unit overall put on very little pressure and were not very strong against the run either.
  • Running backs – Brian Leonard and Antonio combined for 11 carries for 33 yards. Overall they seem to run hard but really do not go anywhere. The line did not give them much to work with. After seeing the Titans backups the Rams talent without Steven Jackson is underwhelming to say the least.
  • Marc Bulger – Marc was 3 for 9 for only 29 yards in the game and also through a pick that gave the Titans their first score of the game. Marc looked a little slow in the pocket, slow with his decision making, and a little off on throws as well. Not a good start for Marc. Can Marc play well in the preseason?
  • Orlando Pace – It was great to see Pace out there but he is not in game shape yet. It was also concerning to see him say that he is worried about his shoulder still and “punching out”. If a LT can’t bunch out and strike the D-lineman coming in they are in trouble. The Big O has four more weeks to get game ready, let’s hope he can do it.
  • Special Teams – The combination of Josh Brown and Donnie Jones is clearly one of the best if not the beat in the NFL. This combination will come in handy for the Rams. Josh Brown can come up big with his ability to nail a large percentage of kicks beyond 40 yards. Donnie Jones is a monster in the punting game, if only we could get a coverage team to take advantage of it.
  • Kick Coverage – The Titans speed seemed close to busting one, but never quite did. Hopefully the coverage will get better as the preseason moves along.
  • Kick Returns – Derek Stanley continues to have problems holding the ball, he bobbled one kick and fumbled another. We simply can not afford this. Dante Hall who seems to be in great shape heading into the season should be the returner for now. I believe Stanley will have a hard time making this roster.
  • Quinton Culberson – Quinton made a nice play in pass defense on the TItans first drive as he covered Alge Crumpler in the end zone. I think Quinton locked down the third linebacker position ahead of Chris Draft. Can Chris Draft play or is he just a team leader and teacher?
  • Linebacker Battle – I would say Chris Chamberlain had the best game last night. He seems to be a sure tackler. Magro made a bad play on the first of Quinton Ganther’s two touchdowns. Vobora and McGarigle were both in on a few plays as well. This battle will probably go deep into the preseason.
  • Backup secondary – Jonathan Wade still does not appear to be great corner yet, and his time should be growing short. Eric Bassey shows good speed but does not seem to be able to make any plays. Sebastien Sejean should be on his way out any day now as should Darius Vinnett who is too small for the NFL but the Rams keep giving him a shot.
  • Wide Receiver Battle – Clear winner last night was Dane Looker. Looker had 4 catches for 73 yards and was pretty much the Rams offensive star last night. Looker who no longer has a lock on a job because Donnie Jones will hold for Josh Brown, is still a great possession receiver and a valuable asset. Avery was unable to play with his pelvic bone issue. Hagans caught 1 ball for 4 yards, and Burton was unable to get a catch. Reche Caldwell was able to 3 catches for 30 yards and he looks very quick. Along with Dante Hall Al Saunders may like their quickness over the other receivers. This battle will go deep into the preseason with Looker, Stanley, Caldwell and Hagans all on the bubble.
  • Backup Safety – Todd Johnson had several tackles and can also play on special teams. Jerome Carter was once again not very good, and I am not sure how he remains on the roster. The Rams could really use a thumper back there, but they failed to draft a safety this year in the 2008 NFL draft.
  • Backup QB battle – Brock Berlin saw a lot of action on Saturday night. Brock was able to go 11 for 14 for 139 yards. I think Berlin is a much better option than Brad Gradkowski who was 2 for 5 for only 6 yards. If Brad could not stay on the Buccaneers roster than he is not very good. Berlin is fine for a #3.
  • Fullback battle – You can probably throw a blanket over Dan Krieder, Richard Owens, and Russ Weil. Nobody stood out to me on Saturday night.
  • Eric Moore – Seems to make plays. Could deserve a look as the #5 D lineman on this team. I would like to see him get some snaps in the preseason against some starters.
  • Fox 2 Coverage – Fox 2 was a little rusty on Satuday night. At last count I believe I missed 6 plays because they were not back from break, or the cameraman was unable to watch the play. Martin Kilcoyne and D’Marco Farr seem to think they are on last comic standing some times. Please note you are not very funny just bring us the action. In addition there was 2:15 left in the first quarter when they announced the Rams starters on defense. Also the lack of talk about Steven Jackson seemed on purpose, like the Rams said not to mention him.
  • Lasting Impressions – The Rams have a lot of work to do. Without a healthy Orlando Pace and Steven jackson this team would just be plain awful. Hopefully Jackson comes to camp soon, and Pace improves week to week. In addition the Rams seem to be at least average from #1-22, however their depth appears to always be second tier compared to other teams. You need more than a few good players. Look at last night we have Pittman (could not even make the Saints roster) and Brian Leonard while the Titans have LenDale White, Chris Johnson, Chris Henry, and Quinton Ganther. From #23 through #53 this Rams team needs more talent.

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