The Rams are getting ready to play the Broncos tomorrow, and week three is when you will normally see the starters for a lot longer than you would in any other preseason game. The Rams starters have a lot to prove this week, offensively and defensively. The first two games were not pretty and the fans would like to see a some improvement in effort and quality than they have the past two weeks.
It is only preseason, and teams aren’t going to show everything. However, in my view you cant take absolutely nothing from the preseason. The preseason may not matter, but you can’t completely disregard it and act like it doesn’t exist. Sure if the offense isnt making a lot of big, explosive plays, or the defense isnt getting a lot of sacks, thats one thing, but the areas that the Rams are struggling in, the fundamentals, thats a little worrisome. Here are three areas the Rams must get better in before week one.
Eddie Lacy may be a big back, but there is no reason it should take four or five tries to bring him down. There is no reason the secondary shouldnt be able to make an open field tackle. It is preseason, but tackling is the basics, there is nothing complex about it. Square up and bring the guy down, it’s that simple, yet the Rams have struggled, in the past two weeks the Rams have had 19 missed tackles. In order to compete in the NFC West or any division for that matter, you must be able to be physical and make tackles. If the Rams want to win week one and get where many expect them to go, they have to get better at making tackles. The Rams have been working on it as Fisher was even a little disappointed in the effort last week. This week will be a true testament to where the Rams are at.
This isnt just an area the Rams have struggled in during the preseason, the Rams have struggled in this area for quite some time including last season. Not being able to score touchdowns has cost them numerous games. The Rams especially struggled in this area last week going 0-3 in scoring position, one of which was at the one yard line.. You would expect the Rams to be better in this area with Jared Cook and Brian Quick, two big physical monsters. Cook has yet to be targeted in the red zone in the preseason, but that be something that the Rams wait to show until the regular season.
This is an area that has absolutely killed the Rams in the past especially last year as they were the most penalized team in the league and there have been signs of a repeat in the preseason. The Rams have committed too many offensive penalties so far in the preseason. There have been four false start flags, four illegal formation penalties, and four holding calls. These penalties kill drives. Tavon Austin had a holding penalty that took away a first down run by Daryl Richardson, Greg Zuerlein then missed the 50 yard field goal attempt. what could have been a for sure three points and possible six points, turned out to be zero points.
Penalties on defense have also been a small problem as Chris Long committed a couple neutral zone infraction penalties. Unless the whistle blows before the snap, the offense is given a free play. They have chance to go for a big play or if they dont like the result its a free five yards. It’s great that Long is trying to gain an advantage, but there comes a point when he’s just not timing it right and it’s hurting the team.
These are just three of the biggest areas the Rams need to improve before week one. They also need to improve in pressuring the quarterback, turnovers, and third down, but that should improve by the regular season which is quickly approaching. Two weeks and the Rams will be playing the Cardinals, and in that time they need to improve in these three areas if they want to win.