Welcome to the inaugural edition of RamblinFan’s St. Louis Rams Post-Game Roundtable, where co-editors Nathan Kearns (@nkearns12) and Blaine Grisak (@bxgrisak1993), and staff-writer (and co-editor at LASportsHub) Anthony Khoury (@askmeabouthelaw), gather ’round to weigh in on five of the most pressing issues to arise from the Rams’ most recent game.
This week, the Roundtable will cover the Rams’ 26-24 loss in their first preseason game at home against the New Orleans Saints.
1. While Sam Bradford and Jake Long have been recovering well from their respective season-ending knee injuries in 2013, and both are reportedly healthy enough to get a few reps during a pre-season game, neither played in the Rams’ loss to the Saints. Could we really learn anything about the Rams’ 2014-15 offense without their starting QB and starting LT in the lineup?
Jul 25, 2014; Earth City, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during training camp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
: I actually think we DID learn a few things: 1) the Rams’s offense IS going to be centered around the run game, 2) the Rams WILL find creative ways to get Tavon Austin
the ball, and 3) the Rams will throw the ball to their ‘big’ targets (e.g. Jared Cook
, Lance Kendricks
, Kenny Britt
, Brian Quick
) across the middle of the field.
While the Rams were missing significant pieces on offense, they were clearly trying to do the three things I just mentioned. Zac Stacy
rushed for 22 yards on 4 carries early in the game, Garrett Gilbert came in for Shaun Hill
in the second quarter and got the ball to Austin three different times during the Rams’ 13-play, 65-yard drive over the final two and half minutes of the first half, leading to a Greg Zuerlein
field goal, and Hill was looking down the field early for Quick, Cook, and Kendricks. While Britt and Quick didn’t have any receptions, the offensive ‘concepts’ will remain the same once the expected starting lineup is in place.
: Yes and no.
To some extent, we got a better understanding of the “style” of football the St. Louis Rams are going to play in 2014; run heavy, with some play-action and deep shots down the field sprinkled into the mix. We learned a little about Greg Robinson, and how much progress he has made in his move to the interior of the offensive line.
We should have gotten a general sense of who might round out the back-end of the final 53-man roster. Particularly, Alex Bayer was phenomenal and could unseat Justice Cunningham for the final tight end spot on the roster. Conversely, players like Mike Person and Mitchell Van Dyk did not perform well, and could face an uphill battle as they fight for only a handful of spots on the offensive line. Lastly, we saw some specular play from Shaun Hill, who looked every bit as good as Kellen Clemens did last year.
Outside of those few tidbits, taking anything else from a preseason game in which nearly half of the offensive starters were injured or held out might be reaching.
: It is preseason, so although we can’t look too much into it, I do believe that we can learn a little about the offense. I think the biggest thing I learned was how disappointed I am that Stedman Bailey
is suspended for the first four games. It looked like he got going right where he left off with the touchdown.
But like you said Anthony, I think it was very encouraging to see Austin get the ball. It seemed like every time he touched the ball last season something exciting happened, and we can only hope after watching film, Schotty has come to the realization that he has a special player to work with.