I don’t really care what the Rams record is during the preseason, but I have to admit that I was rooting hard for the team to hold on for the victory in the final minutes of Friday night’s game in Kansas City. I couldn’t tell you what the Rams finished record-wise in any preseason, but there’s something about being “undefeated”, even if it doesn’t really count.
After going back and watching the game from last night, I saw some things that make me very excited for the regular season to begin. I touched on it a bit last night, but I think it’s very telling that this first-team offense has managed to score on their opening possession of all three games. They are doing that against what is mostly the opposing first-team defense, and if the offense can continue to score early during the regular season this team will be in awfully good shape. Playing from ahead will allow the offense to be balanced, and that will make everyone better.
I also learned that Brandon Gibson and Lance Kendricks are both really good. Kendricks has been getting a lot of publicity, and rightfully so, but I think his presence is even more important now with Illini Mike sidelined. He’s still a rookie who didn’t have the benefit of minicamps or a full training camp, so I think we need to keep our expectations realistic. He looks like he’s going to be very good, but don’t expect too much too soon. As far as Gibson goes, I’ve been critical of him in the past but he has really won me over. His play on the 3rd-and-19 play on the first drive to break two tackles and get the first down is something he didn’t do last year.
Defensively, I really like the potential of our linebackers. The new guys (Ben Leber and Brady Poppinga) are still getting comfortable with the system and playing with their new teammates, but these guys certainly look like the real deal so far. Poppinga has really impressed me with his style of play, that fly around with no regard for his body style. Once these guys get comfortable out there, I think this defense has a chance to be awfully good.