I: Raw rookies
As much as you prepare for the regular season, I don’t think OTAs and the training camp can truly prepare NFL rookies for their first preseason contests where young players experience live action. The Rams’ offensive line backups are in a heated competition right now, and the team is eager to see who will remain on the team as a backup, who may land on the practice squad, and who will ultimately seek to sign on with another team.
The Rams started their first preseason game with the following configuration:
The offensive line shuffled multiple times throughout the evening. At one point, Alaric Jackson played at the right tackle position and surrendered a sack. But another configuration that we saw as well as:
And then, we witnessed the team slide another backup center into the offensive line, this time the team afford UDFA offensive lineman Jack Snyder into the center position. He is someone we’ll take a look at soon, as he was a solid performer for the team.
The LA Rams wanted to see how individual offensive linemen would perform in their first NFL game scenario, which made it difficult to generate any chemistry or cohesion up front. That, in turn, exaggerated the rawness of the rookies on the offensive line, amplified the struggles in the running game, and put the offense at risk of failing to move the chains.
The Rams played well enough to win, and there is certainly plenty to feel good about after the team’s first out. But there is plenty to work on
That same rapid rotation effect also impacted the team’s defense as well. The pass rush, run defense, and pass coverage were all susceptible to the rotation effect of the preseason script. Curiously, the Rams did not have nearly the discipline or mental mistakes suffered by the Chargers in the opener.
The LA Rams will host the Houston Texans in Game 2, while the Chargers will host the Dallas Cowboys.