Originally written on Rams Herd  |  Last updated 11/19/14

I will not make sweeping generalizations after one preseason game. I will not make sweeping generalizations after one preseason game.

— Brandon Bird (@JTPirate) August 12, 2012

Well Rams fans, the good news from today's 38-3 crashdown against Andrew Luck and the Colts was that we aren't going to have another 4-0 preseason to falsely raise our preseason expectations to unsustainable levels. At this point last year, the Rams' fan base was ready to anoint Sam Bradford as the second coming of Tom Brady and Joe Montana, only better. And when the Rams suffered their Icarus plunge back to earth, charred feathers and all, it felt like we had all been kicked in the gut.

This year, the Rams' season begins somewhat in more metaphorically appropriate fashion - at the bottom. Beaten open-handed by the co-worst team in the league. Now Jeff Fisher knows exactly where he stands, and how far this team has yet to go. And if and when he pulls the Rams back into playoff contention, he'll have this yardstick planted in the ground to let him and everyone else know exactly how far they've come.

Aside from the scoreboard, which doesn't count anyway, the game wasn't all bad as an exhibition of some individual players and their skills. Unfortunately, this is an 11-on-11 game, and it's plain to see that the Rams are still playing as a collection of parts, rather than a whole. Most of the game's big breakdowns (even the ones involving my personal punching bag, Craig Dahl) didn't fall on a single player. Breakdowns between players - missed assignments, missed handoffs, etc. - were much more prevalent.

Take, for example, the Colts' first touchdown. Or their second. Or that first-down completion on third-and-forever that the Colts' scrubs had against our scrubs. In each case, Colts' offensive players found their way into creases between the Rams' personnel groups - between the defensive line and the linebackers, or between cornerback and safety. These are coachable mistakes, and with time can be erased.

There were some individual breakdowns as well - Jason Smith on an early pass-protection that led to a sack on Kellen Clemens, Isaiah Pead putting the ball on the ground twice, Greg Salas failing to run a 4th down route to the proper depth. These breakdowns are on the players as much as they are on the coaches, and we need them to be better than that. (For his part, Smith actualy seemed to settle down and play pretty well laster in the game.) 

The things you worry about are the schematic ones, particularly on offense, which seems to be stuck in the Shurmurville. Sam Bradford worked his underneath reads efficiently enough, but rarely went over the top. In our lone red zone drill of the first half, Kellen Clemens and company gained a single yard before summoning our field goal kicker. But it's a start, and we have not seen all the wrinkles of a Brian Schottenheimer offense yet.

There also were some positives of note:

  • Second year players Austin Pettis and Lance Kendricks, both huge disappointments as rookies, had very strong games. Both players displayed good hands and the ability to make tough, must-have catches for first downs. Pettis in particular corraled a 12-yard pass on a quick slant, ducking just inside the cornerback and accelerating upfield. The ball was thrown well ahead of the receiver, who stretched his full frame while keeping his stride going to bring it in with his hands. Best of all, the ball didn't budge once it hit his fingers.
  • The first-team running game, with Steven Jackson plowing behind Harvey Dahl, moved the ball effectively at will, helping to set Bradford up with good field position early.
  • Janoris Jenkins looks like he's capable of handling man coverage against NFL players, nearly picking off Andrew Luck on a perfectly anticipated break and making an outstanding play downfield on a deep ball for a pass breakup.
  • Robert Quinn was nearly unblockable early, hitting Luck on his first two throws of the game. (Too bad one turned a dump-off into a 60+ yard touchdown.)
  • Chris Givens showed off his speed in a Donnie Avery-like debut, drawing a pass interference on one deep ball and nearly taking in another at the goal line. (He needed to get that ball, though.)
  • Johnny Hekker punted well all day, planting one ball inside the three yard line.
  • Best of all, the injury cart stayed parked on the sideline.

Bradford didn't wow, but he did what was asked of him, which wasn't much in two series of work. We want to see more, and we will. But it seems clear that Fisher isn't overly concerned with getting his almost-veteran QB a heavy preseason workload. (Especially behind an offensive line that is still a work in progress.)

Overall, this isn't a game that we'll look back on fondly. But it isn't meant to be. It's the preseason, after all. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the Rams have barely laced up their boots yet.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How much will Rousey and Zingano make for their fight?

Browns agree to three-year deal with Josh McCown

Peterson releases statement, no mention of the Vikings

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns


Shane Vereen squashes rumor he wants $5 million per season

Jon Gruden on Meyer: 'Greatest coaching job of all time'

Vince Young to work out at NFL Veteran Combine

Report: Mike Wallace unwilling to restructure contract

Report: Colts targeting Brandon Marshall

Rakeem Christmas leads Syracuse in exercise of futility

WATCH: Knicks' Alexey Shved tosses wild pass into stands

Ten players ready to make the leap in 2015

WATCH: Reggie Bush says he won't quit football

PHOTO: ECHL team will wear Dr. Seuss jerseys

Report: Baron Davis in talks to join a contending team

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

Pirates issue statement about ISIS executioner in team hat

WATCH: Dress debate threatens to derail Brooklyn Nets’ season

FIFA gave Fox the 2026 World Cup to avoid a lawsuit

WATCH: Charles Barkley rips analytics... again

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to step up

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.