Last week, Ramblin’ Fan posted a satirical bit detailing how the St. Louis Rams’ season would play out if our preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns was used as the sole predicting measure for the rest of the year. In the spirit of continuing to downplay the “issues” that the Rams have displayed over last couple weeks, we figured it would be fitting to do our second installment in the series.
So, what if we based the entire St. Louis Rams roster and season outcomes on their single preseason performance against the Green Bay Packers?
1. Andrew Helmick, the Rams new starting running back
Obviously, the St. Louis Rams “benched” Daryl Richardson, despite how they spun it to the mainstream NFL media, which gave Isaiah Pead a shot at the starting role. That failed. However, St. Louis has clearly found their new “feature back” in undrafted rookie, Andrew Helmick. The Lindenwood University star has quickly become a fan favorite as a receiver on the team, but he may have found his true calling as a running back, averaging 5.0 yards per attempt. Yes, he only had one carry. So what?
2. King Sam is here to stay!
Bradford was, again, nearly perfect on the night, finishing with a 67% completion percentage and averaging 13.0 yards per catch. If the St. Louis Rams were smart, they would simply eliminate the running game all together, have Bradford throw 40-ish attempts per game, and send the Rams on their way to the Super Bowl. Assuming that plan holds up, the St. Louis’ signal caller would be averaging around 350 yards per game… not too bad.
3. Reshuffle the wide receiver depth charts… again
After last night’s performance, it is obvious that Nick Johnson should be seeing Chris Givens-like snaps with the 1st-team offense. Yes, Chris Givens can burn the cornerback for a 50+ yarder every game, but can he get in the endzone? Obviously not. Givens is good for a catch per game, but the real workhorses are Johnson and rookie receiver, Tavon Austin. The duo combined for 34% of the team’s total targets, and 41% of the total receptions. Who cares about average yards per catch when they can be earning top-tier points for PPR Fantasy Football owners, am I right?
4. Starting from scratch on the defense
There is no way to justify keeping big money contracts, like those of James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, when the St. Louis Rams obviously have better players earning significantly less. Set the depth chart to: Gerald Rivers, Kendall Langford, Mason Brodine, and Robert Quinn on the defensive line; Alec Ogletree, Josh Hull, and Ray Ray Armstrong at linebacker; Trumaine Johnson, Cortland Finnegan, Rashard Hall, and Cody Davis in the secondary. Chris Long and Michael Brockers haven’t even sniffed the quarterback this preseason, Janoris Jenkins has obviously lost his “sense for the football,” and James Laurinaitis is clearly not the tackling machine from last season… I mean really? Only one tackle? Time to cut our losses, boys and girls…
5. The “Bend, but Never Break” Defense
While the depth chart still needs some sorting out, the Rams appear to have implemented a new “style” of defense, unlike anything we have seen in the NFL before.; we’ll call it the “bend, but never break” defense. Jeff Fisher and Tim Walton may, in fact, be defensive masterminds, allowing the opposing offense to waltz down the field with ease, only to stonewall them once they cross over the 20-yard line. BRILLIANT! The St. Louis Rams may be dead last in yards allowed by the end of the season, but that doesn’t mean they cannot top the league in points allowed per game. Who cares if opposing quarterbacks throw for 500 yards per game, as long as they finish the drive with 3-points every time?
6. All “Greg,” and no “Leg”
One shot. One miss. No excuse for missing field goals at this crucial point in the (pre)season. Luckily for the St. Louis Rams, there are plenty of veteran kickers out there ready to be plucked and inserted into the starting lineup. Not sure, but I think Jeff Wilkins might be available…
For those who may have completely skipped over the introduction and went straight into reading through those highlights without any context… WE ARE JOKING!
Both Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer have repeated set the tempo for the team at “mild” and described the gameplanning as “basic” and “vanilla.” The reason you aren’t seeing Greatest Show on Turf caliber offensive play-calling or the exotic blitz packages that landed the Rams with 52.0 sacks last season is because you aren’t supposed to be seeing them. The preseason is a time to hone in on the fundamentals, get young starters reps against “new” personnel, and gather some tape on fringe players to better evaluate each of them when cuts start coming down for the 53-man roster. Obviously, the Rams would love to see more production out of both starting units. However, it is the preseason, and there is no better time to makes mistakes and learn from them than during a meaningless, uptempo scrimmage against a quality opponent. Take a deep breath Rams Nation, there is still plenty of “practice” left before the start of the regular season.