Well that was interesting… I had five questions/things to watch and I think they were pretty much answered. Let’s just get into it, shall we?
What I learned from the Rams loss at Dallas:
1) They need to go back to fundamentals. For a team that is lead by a defensive minded head coach their tackling was atrocious. And that’s being nice. Even veterans like Cortland Finnegan were grabbing high (weird for a shorter-ish corner). I’d expect growing pains from the rookies Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson but Finnegan, Quintin Mikell, and Craig Dahl. C’mon guys. In all fairness, those guys did make some plays but the ones they missed were just maddening.
2) The 2011-2012 Sam Bradford reared his skittish head. No movement in the pocket just killed him in the first half. I know he’s still trying to shake the bad memories of being sacked 36 times in 10 games last season but he has to get more mobile. Which leads me to wonder if his doesn’t want to test out that ankle just yet. Wish Bradford had more “escapability.” He finished the night going 6 of 17 for 67 yards.
3) Daryl Richardson is the rookie RB we are excited about. At one point I had to ask myself who was the second round pick and who was the seventh round selection. Pead is still struggling to find open holes (or create them for himself) while Richardson is making headway. Both shared time with the ones and Richardson shined just a bit brighter. Pead finished the night 9 carries for 22 yards while Richardson went for 51 yards on 10 touches. At this point do we crown Richardson RB2? Pead hasn’t shown enough to say no.
4) Rams need to make a decision on the right tackle position and let him get reps. Let’s end this Barry Richardson experiment and get Jason Smith in there. Holy cow, did I just say that?! I don’t know if Smith is the absolute answer at RT but I sure believe it’s not Richardson.
5) Speaking of offensive lineman, center Scott Wells got some much needed reps with Sam Bradford. I didn’t see any glaring hiccups but I’ll have to go back and see the first quarter again. Wells was eventually replaced with Robert Turner for the rest of the first half. He spoke to Tony Softli on the sidelines and said “It was good to be out there with the guys. I feel healthy and ready to go.” Good to hear and expect Wells to get more playing time against the Ravens in the preseason closer in the Dome.
6) Rams run defense held the Cowboys running game to under 100 yards. It wasn’t pretty much the Cowboys didn’t break anymore of Emmitt Smith’s rushing records so that was an improvement. Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray combined for 11 carries resulting in 60 yards.
7) My fantasy kicker is great in reality, too. One of my Twitter followers poo-poo’d my kicker selection saying Greg Zuerlein would not be fantasy relevant. Young GZ kicked a 55-yard and a 52-yard field goal. That’s an easy 10 fantasy points. His “competition” Garrett Lindholm missed an extra point attempt. For what it’s worth, the Rams lost by one point. Yeah, I know it’s just preseason.
8) DE Robert Quinn is coming along very nicely. He had one sack, one tackle and two passes defended. But he did more than those stats. He was putting lots of pressure on and getting into the Cowboys backfield.
9) WR Greg Salas is back on the map. His strange disappearing act has some of us scratching our heads but he had made a remarkable one-handed catch in the end zone that should have been a TD. Replacement zebras overturned the call but we know those six points belonged to Salas.
The Rams won’t have a shortage of things to work on this week before facing the Baltimore Ravens in five days. It’s worrisome that the Cowboys weren’t even functioning with a full deck. Pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Miles Austin didn’t even play tonight. I doubt the Ravens will be less stacked or any more forgiving.
I’m hoping this is just a very savvy move by a veteran coach by not showing his hand in the preseason. But with that being said…
Three words to end the evening: Back to fundamentals.