Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest
By BEN FREDERICKSON  |  Last updated 8/17/13
Whiffs in the secondary Rams coach Jeff Fisher has stressed his team will keep things vanilla-flavored on both defense and offense during the preseason. But it's doubtful his desire to hide certain schemes includes a wish to shy away from basic fundamentals like proper tackling. The Rams' starting defense -- specifically the secondary -- showed some rustiness wrapping up during its three series on the field. Two players most likely to hear about their form in film review are cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety Darian Stewart. Both came up empty-handed more than once on stops that should have been made. None was worse than the spin move Packers' rookie running back Eddie Lacy used to leave Johnson hugging air. Whiffs aside, credit the Rams defense for shoring things up in the red zone. Green Bay's first-team offense never reached the end zone and twice had to settle for field goals. "I'm disappointed in our tackling," Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said at halftime. "We didn't play our best on defense. But, I'm proud that, I guess looking back we held a dang good quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) to six points. I think that's a positive, but we definitely have to get better at tackling because we have some plays that should be 4-yard gains end up 11, 12 yards -- stuff like that. Hopefully, we will learn from that and we have a couple more games to get that down." Problems punching it in While the Rams' starting defense stepped up in the red zone, the offense did the opposite on its second series. After Bradford and Givens connected in a big way (more on that below), the unit had as good of a chance as any to put six on the board. But a first-and-goal from the Green Bay 4-yard-line ended with the Rams leaving the field empty-handed. An Isaiah Pead rush got stuffed for a loss of two yards, followed by back-to-back passes to Austin. The first sailed over the rookie's head. The second was completed, but went for just one yard. The Rams then turned back to Pead, who rushed for one yard before Green Bay linebacker A.J. Hawk sent him to the turf. The Rams went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard-line, but the play never got a chance. Bradford fumbled the snap and the Packers recovered. "Obviously, I'd like to have the throw to Tavon down on the goal line back," Bradford said at halftime. "But I thought we executed pretty well. We moved the ball, we've just got to find a way to put some points on the board." Givens, again Chris Givens was a highlight of the Rams' preseason opener and showed the same reason for excitement Saturday. After hauling in a 59-yard reception from Sam Bradford in a loss to the Cleveland Browns, he thrilled hometown fans when he and Bradford connected on a 57-yard catch and run Saturday. Givens is now averaging 34.75 yards per catch this preseason. Plenty of Pead Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said second-year back Isaiah Pead would get a chance to impress against the Packers. He wasn't kidding. Pead, who fumbled one of his few attempts against the Browns, got the ball nine times on the ground he totaled 14 yards on those carries and also caught a pass. After taking his first handoff for 11 yards, he slowed. His best plays didn't show on the stat sheet. Multiple times, Pead picked up blitzes to protect Bradford. He stuffed a linebacker that allowed Bradford to find Givens for the big pass play mentioned above. Cook flashes After a quiet preseason opener, Rams tight end Jared Cook showed why his team and its fans have been clamoring about him since he arrived from Tennessee. Cook made the most of the one pass Bradford threw his way. He caught it over the middle and rumbled up the sideline for a 37-yard gain. "It was good to get a catch in," Cook said at halftime. "I wish we had a little more time to prove what the offense could do, but I understand it's a stepping stone and we're still building." Rams rookie Tavon Austin also got on the board, making his first professional catch. Bradford targeted Austin heavily (seven times) after not finding him in the preseason opener. Austin finished with four catches for 28 yards, including a 15-yard catch and run that sent a ripple of excitement through the Edward Jones Dome. Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him atfrederickson.ben@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Could Bills trade LeSean McCoy next?

Jags coach says Blake Bortles’ starting job is in jeopardy

Report: New Marlins owners will seriously consider trading Stanton

Report: Raiders CB Sean Smith charged with felony assault

Red Sox owner wants to rename Yawkey Way

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFLPA leader: Lockout or strike in 2021 a ‘virtual certainty’

Ex-Cav: LeBron James-Kyrie Irving relationship can be fixed

Le’Veon Bell reportedly will return before regular season

Report: Aaron Donald has not ruled out skipping all of 2017

Multiple brawls erupt during 49ers, Broncos joint practice

Goodell: Josh Gordon reinstatement not under consideration

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

Box Score 8/16: There is no stopping the Dodgers

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The Cardinals have their season back by the unlikeliest of means

The BIG3 in L.A.: The reverse Danny Almonte comes to Staples Center

Box Score 8/15: Stanton's power surge has no end in sight

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

The Cardinals have their season back by the unlikeliest of means

The 'For Sale this fall: All of the awards' quiz

The BIG3 in L.A.: The reverse Danny Almonte comes to Staples Center

Getaway Day: It's an all-inclusive Wild Card party

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker