Los Angeles Rams were defeated by the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Here are the ten thing we took away from this one.
1. Case Keenum is unquestionably the Rams starting QB for week one
Keenum went 8-for-12 for 77 yards and even though he failed to score a touchdown he led the offense in what looked like a smooth offense at that. There is no hiding it now, the ball moves down the field when Keenum is under center. He spread the ball out well tonight and threw some nice passes on the Super Bowl champion defense. He was sacked once by of course who else Von Miller who completely obliterated Saffold on the right edge and he gave us quite the scare when he was blasted by Talib on the sidelines.
2. Dropped passes are killing Jared Goff and Sean Mannion
It is getting out of control the drops were crazy tonight. Goff had multiple including a couple from Mike Thomas who looks lost on offense but we will talk more in detail about him later. Duke Williams is on this roster by the skin of his teeth after tonight dropping a pass that Goff had to really work for to find him open for a long first round conversion. It ended up instead being a drop by Williams but he got a free pass (at least during the game) for a late hit on him. It’s hard to evaluate Goff when he is making some positive plays and putting the ball right where it needs to be and then guys are dropping them. Goff only finished 4-for-12 because of them but probably could have gone 8 or 9 for 12.
Mannion came in and again Hemingway quite possibly dropped the game-tying touchdown to go with 2 others. Mike Thomas dropped some more. It was a rough night for the receivers but for the QBs its tough because you want to see these guys be able to get quality reps and they aren’t able to extend drives because of drops.
3. Nelson Spruce might have sealed his spot on the roster week one
Well we have been thinking it but these receivers have done nothing compared to what Spruce did week one. He has by far been the most impressive and the receivers aren’t doing themselves any favors.
4. Brian Quick might only have one legitimate competitor at WR
Brian Quick did everything he was asked to do tonight. He ran routes, blocked well, got open and he caught the football! It’s a small sample size for Quick but he caught three of his three passes thrown to him. So what does that mean. Well it would have meant nothing if someone went out and absolutely dominated the game.
The fact of the matter is only one WR is really standing out to us and that’s Paul McRoberts. He has five catches for 44 yards on seven targets. He isn’t flashy and maybe you didn’t notice him wearing Sam Bradford’s old jersey number but that no. 8 is playing well enough to give a guy like Quick some competition.
5. The starting front seven is going to be special
Denver was too scared to let Trevor Siemian throw a pass when they were all out there. Maybe that doesn’t speak volume but just look at how dominant the defense looked with Quinn back in the lineup. Three former first-round picks and their own right Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald all had tackles for a loss. New middle linebacker Alec Ogletree made a very athletic and pursuit driven play to bring down RB CJ Anderson before the first down marker something former LB James Laurinaitis would not have been able to replicate. All in all this defense looked crisp and you could see the Broncos offense with no answer.
6. Great teams convert on third-down so the Rams need to work on that
Besides red zone efficiency this is the one stat that really separates the good from the great teams. Third down efficiency was poor tonight. Not even poor it was worse than poor and you know it will be a thing that OC Rob Boras yells at his offense about in practice. How bad exactly well how about 2-of-15 converting on third-down bad. If you are a percentage person that’s 13 percent on third-down which is atrocious. No matter who was playing quarterback 2-of-15 is a thing every team needs to work on.
7. The Rams have found a diamond in the rough in Matt Longacre
This guy does not get talked about enough. At least Pro Football Focus likes him…Longacre was in the Denver backfield all day he just has a non-stop motor to him. At the start of OTAs many felt he could be pushed off the roster. I continued to defend this guy and he has shown me why. Longacre may not be the household name but he is one of those key ingredients you need to have an elite defensive line rotation. This guy can flat out play and the Rams might be better off grooming him to replace veteran Hayes when his contract expires then playing Eugene Sims on the 2nd-string.
8. The first team secondary appears to be all set
The coaches got down to the bottom of the lackluster performance from the first team secondary the previous two games. It’s officially the fact they moved Cody Davis in at free safety and E.J. Gaines as the starter opposite Trumaine Johnson that has apparently put things on the right track. The Rams met a nice challenge in defending two Pro Bowl receivers and Johnson played Demaryius Thomas tough as well as Gaines on Emmanuel Sanders. LaMarcus Joyner continues to be the weak link and a disappointment as a former second-round pick. Joyner flashes here and there but he gets exposed in the tackling department as he sometimes just bounces off receivers. Troy Hill looks like the man for the job but he took friendly fire from Jordan Lomax and went to the locker room so hopefully he is alright.
9. Jared Goff is getting more comfortable but is still a ways away
Yes, fans may want to see Goff in action immediately but that’s just not realistic at this point in time. He looked better as far as handling pressure, going through his progressions, making the right reads, stepping up in the pocket and his overall touch and placement of the ball but, the thing is Keenum has shown that he is no doubt the most ready for week one. Goff’s performance showed that it won’t be necessary to wait until the bye to put him in. You absolutely can but, it looks to me Goff could be ready as soon as week four. It really depends on the way the team is playing. Obviously if the Rams are undefeated with Keenum at 5-0 or something along those lines the Rams aren’t going to just go to Goff. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It appears Keenum is the guy for the job and Goff will have to wait and that’s fine.
10. The offensive line in charge of protecting Sean Mannion could all be cut
Head coach Jeff Fisher loves to win and takes preseason games more seriously than just about any coach in the NFL. Fisher was pissed off at the way one of his QBs was protected at the end of the game. Darrell Williams might have given up five sacks (I tried keeping track but lost count). That’s just not good, as a head coach you want to go out there and be able to put players like Mannion in position to succeed but not even just that, at least be able to throw the football. Those offensive lineman responsible for the lack of protection for Mannion at the end were: Williams, Brian Folkerts, David Arkin, Eric Kush and Isaiah Battle. It was not a good look for them in what could be their final games as Rams.
Have any other takeaways? Leave a comment down below!