Lance. Kendricks. Whoa. This guy is going to be a big part of this offense this year. I was very interested in what he was going to show us last night, after hearing about his prowess on the practice field thus far, and let’s just say he didn’t disappoint. He had 5 catches for 47 yards, including an impressive TD in which he ran right over Jerraud Powers and Melvin Bullitt; that was impressive. Honestly, as good as he was tonight, he could have been even better, as he dropped a ball that was catchable though it was thrown slightly behind him. Also, early in the game on Rams 2nd possession, Kendricks was wide open in the end zone, but Sam instead opted for Danny Amendola, who was stopped short of the first down and the Rams settled for a field goal.
The Rams gave Mardy Gilyard plenty of playing time both returning kicks and in the slot with the 2nd and 3rd team offense. I don’t want to say I wrote him off before the season started, but well, I had pretty much written him off due to his inability to grasp the offense last year, you’ve got have physical skills to play at this level obviously, but you have to have the Football IQ too. I have to say, he showed some flashes of what the Rams must have envisioned when they drafted him, making some nice moves with 2 catches for 21 yards, and having a decent night returning kicks (except for one drop on a kickoff, forcing him to take the touchback). Let’s not kid ourselves, the competition is stiff at this position, and certainly has a fight on his hands to earn a spot. What I am saying is that he is not going to just go quietly into the night.
The running game from all parties looked very good. The O-line consistently opened holes for Cadillac Williams, Jerious Norwood and Keith Toston. Williams had 11 carries for 40 yards, including one TD, and Norwood had 8 carries for 37 yards. Keith Toston ran like a guy who knows he’s playing for his job, because, well, he is. Toston had 11 carries for 64 yards and ran with an aggressiveness that absolutely made you take notice. If he keeps running this way, it’s going to be very hard for the Rams to cut him.
Austin Pettis must have the jitters. After playing well in practice he had a poor showing at the scrimmage last weekend, and in this game he was targeted twice, neither resulting in a catch. On one I’ll give credit to the DB for excellent coverage but on the other, it was just a bad drop on what should have been an easy catch. The story on him at Boise was that he had great hands, with a wide catching radius, catching the ball away from his body well. Now of course it’s just been one preseason game, but if he’s getting performance anxiety he needs to get over it, and quick, there’s too much competition at this position to start distinguishing yourself in a negative way. The good news for him is that he was the team’s 3rd round pick. As such, he’s going to get every opportunity to make a positive impact and produce (including three more preseason games) I hope he takes advantage.
Robert Quinn had no sacks and I don’t have a number for how many hurries, but he looked good. Yes, I know most of his playing time was aginst less than stellar talent, but quickness is quickness and he showed it. With Chris Long having his best year last year after moving to the left side, if Quinn can flash his skills quickly, we will have an impressive pass rush tandem.
Last thought – Josh Brown from 60 yards. 60 yards! He also drilled a 53 yarder that passed through with plenty of room to spare.
Of course, it’s very early, and there’s a long road ahead, but so far so good. I just hope we can stay healthy.