The St. Louis Rams got their first win of the preseason as they defeated the Browns 33-14. Despite several injuries, there were a lot of positives that came out this game for the Rams. Here is Ramblin’ Fans’ third Rams rookie stock report after week 3 of the preseason. This series will continue each week throughout the 2014 campaign.
Greg Robinson: Stock DOWN
Rodger Saffold started at left guard between LT Jake Long and C Scott Wells. Offseason signee Davin Joseph slid into RG to fill the void left by Saffold. Robinson entered the game on the Rams second offensive drive after Saffold exited with an ankle injury. He was solid on runs and was a bit shaky on passing plays, as he got fooled several at times. Early on, he gave up a sack on QB Austin Davis when he failed to notice LB Karlos Dansby blitzing up the middle. Later, Robinson got confused by a Brown’s stunt which caused Davis to take a hit as he threw. He also had a hands to the face penalty in the third quarter. According to coach Jeff Fisher, Saffold has a decent chance of returning to the lineup Thursday against the Dolphins for the last game of the preseason. Whether he starts at left guard is uncertain. This is definitely something to monitor going forward.
Aaron Donald: Stock UP
DT’s Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford started against the Browns. Donald did get opportunities to rush the passer on third down on the first couple series, which is a role he figures to play starting week one. Donald spun off his blocker and forced a throw away by QB Brian Hoyer in the first quarter on a crucial third down play. In the third quarter, Donald ripped under the right guard and engulfed Hoyer from behind. The hit jarred the ball loose and CB Marcus Roberson scooped it up. Next, he cut inside the left tackle and disrupted RB Terrence West behind the line of scrimmage, which allowed S Lamarcus Joyner to swarm towards the ball to make the tackle. This was easily Donald’s best game as a pro.
Lamarcus Joyner: Stock UP
Joyner resumed his normal duties in the nickel corner spot to start the game. He finished with one solo tackle and one assist. Both tackles were positive plays for the defense. His solo tackle was a failed WR screen that went for only three yards, and his assist came behind the line of scrimmage as he helped stuff RB Terrence West on third down and short. He didn’t allow a catch in coverage. He played about three quarters before his day was done.
Tre Mason: Stock DOWN
Mason entered the game after RB’s Benny Cunningham, Zac Stacy and Trey Watts. Mason had another tough day finding any running room – he finished with 29 yards on 10 carries. He also caught two balls for seven yards. Watts’ increased playing time and on field success is overshadowing Mason at this point.
Mo Alexander: EVEN
Alexander first saw action near the end of the second quarter. He was a non-factor on the field, as he failed to make a tackle or to register any other statistical tally. He was, however, involved in 11 special teams snaps on top of 16 defensive plays. He figures to earn his paycheck as a special teamer in his rookie season.
E.J. Gaines: EVEN
Gaines registered one tackle for the game after entering in the fourth quarter. He also broke up a pass on third down that forced the Browns to punt. CB’s Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson saw a lot of playing time before Gaines. This may just be a case of the coaching staff wanting a longer look at the bubble players on the roster. Gaines appears safe after a productive outing during his first two preseason games.
Garrett Gilbert: Stock DOWN
Gilbert entered the game after QB’s Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill and Austin Davis. He completed one pass for 23 yards to TE Justice Cunningham in the fourth quarter.
Mitchell Van Dyk: Stock UP
Van Dyk saw time at left guard in the fourth quarter. He flashed some nice run blocking potential in this one. I was also impressed with his scrappiness and grit when finishing blocks. However, same as last week, he must work on staying balanced and on his feet.
Christian Bryant: EVEN
Bryant tallied one tackle on the night, after entering the game in the fourth quarter. That hit came after a catch and first down by his assignment on the play, WR Taylor Gabriel. After finally being a healthy participant, Bryant may be on the outside looking in when final roster cuts take place. The recent injury to CB Trumaine Johnson should help his chances though.
Michael Sam: Stock UP
DE Ethan Westbrooks got snaps on the first defensive series, which doesn’t bode well for Sam. Sam did play well though, as he finished with two sacks on the night – both at the expense of Browns QB Johnny Manziel. He also had two tackles and two QB hits. Westbrooks has looked like a superstar this preseason, but he finished with just one tackle and one batted ball against the Browns.
Demetrius Rhaney: EVEN
Rhaney did not play. He is still battling a deep bone bruise in his knee that occurred last week against Green Bay.
None of the Rams’ undrafted rookies will be documented in this series until they make the final roster. As mentioned above, this series will continue after each game this season. Check back in with us for updates.