LA Rams: Jordan Meredith and J.R. Reed get PFF top marks

Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams may not have won their preseason debut against the crosstown rival LA Chargers. But that is not to say that the team did not find some sparkly shiny things along the way. What I particularly enjoy is the appearance of players with exceptionally good grades for their performance that few saw coming. For the LA Rams, the experts over at Pro Football Focus were gracious enough to identify two such gems from the first preseason contest.

Before taking a look though, let’s set the stage a bit here. PFF grades the plays where the action takes place, not where it does not. As an example of how that may impact a grade, All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey does not score well in these conditions, because quarterbacks invariably throw elsewhere. No passes equal no targets.  So with no action taking place with Ramsey, he does not score as well as say, teammate Darious Williams.

The top scorers for the team were interior offensive lineman Jordan Meredith (who played right guard) and free safety J.R. Reed. So let’s dig into what we can tell you about the pair

We’ll start with the defender, J.R. Reed.

Good 2021 debuts

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

J.R. Reed was a solid player claimed off the waiver wire of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and assigned to the team’s practice squad. At the time, the Rams had experienced injuries to both Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller and wanted to bolster the depth at the back end of the secondary. Reed is the son of former Minnesota Vikings standout Jake Reed, so this young man knows all the ins and outs of the NFL and plays with a ferocity that stands out in games.

He ultimately was activated to the 53-man roster due to his smart physical play and will be a key player for Raheem Morris’ defense. Reed was exclusively a special teams player in 2020, but clearly is aiming to expand his role. He showed up with several big hits in the preseason debut against the LA Chargers and even broke up a pass play.

Jordan Meredith was added to the LA Rams roster after the 2021 NFL Draft with no fanfare, ESPN analysis by Mel Kiper, nor a video montage of his football highlights. But even as he joined the team, we saw his arrival as more than just that of a camp body. Meredith was a college offensive guard who was projected as an NFL offensive center. With the LA Rams facing a potential shortage at the interior offensive line positions in a year, Meredith’s development would be a huge positive for the team’s offensive line.  In his preseason debut, he was extremely solid. His crisp and efficient blocking stood out for the Rams.

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Just as we must temper disappointments with the reality that this is just preseason, it is a positive moment for both players. Now, the trick is to build on that positive first impression and play at or better than their first game. After all, now that they have the coaching staff’s attention, it’s time to impress them.