The Los Angeles Rams scraped by the Carolina Panthers in week one of the 2019 NFL season. In a game that was scrappy and messy on both sides, some players made their presence felt a lot more than others. Like every week of the preseason, I’m back to tell you who performed, and who disappointed. This is stock up, stock down for week one versus the Carolina Panthers.
Cory Littleton, Inside Linebacker
Cory Littleton was a game-changer in the game versus the Panthers. A forced fumble, some good open-field tackling, and some tackles near the line of scrimmage really helped the Rams. Especially early in the game. Littleton came into the year with some doubts about him and his inside linebacker running-mate Bryce Hager, but he played really well in week one. So, stock up for the guy the Rams will probably be locking up for the future, and even though he might not be a household name, he has made a name for himself in that Rams locker room.
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver
It’s unbearably obvious that Cooper Kupp is Jared Goff’s favorite target. In the first half, Goff was targeting Kupp on every play it seemed. Kupp was strong in his first outing since his ACL tear. Goff went to Kupp less in the second half, but his importance could not be felt more. The Rams offense was rusty, but Kupp was productive and smooth in his return. Here’s to some healthy games for Goff’s favorite target in 2019!!!
Malcolm Brown, Running Back
Malcolm Brown came into the game with a golden opportunity to get prime snaps when Todd Gurley needs rest. Brown took advantage of his touches. An early touchdown and some 10-15 yard run gave the Rams chances to score, and that’s all they’re asking him to do. If Brown comes out of 2019 with a bunch of spark-plug-type runs, then he did his job. Rookie Darrell Henderson may never get to see the light of day.
Dante Fowler Jr. EDGE
Dante Fowler played great in week one. Maybe it was because of Aaron Donald’s immense pressure up the middle, but Fowler was putting some serious heat on Cam Newton. He had two sacks in the first half, and it seemed like every play Fowler had his hands on Newton. For a guy who came into the league highly-touted, Fowler has vastly underperformed for his career. Can he come back and have a career year in his first full season with the Los Angeles Rams? His first game signaled that way.
Todd Gurley, Running Back
After a disappointing first half, Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams’ interior offensive line caught fire in the fourth quarter. Gurley finished with three yards shy of 100 yards, and he burst a couple of breakaway runs in the second half. He may have not scored in the game, but Gurley’s show of speed and running ability should keep the doubters off of him for at least a week. After Malcolm Brown stole the show in the first half, Gurley got his chance in the second and took it.
Jared Goff, Quarterback
The new big-money quarterback didn’t exactly live up to the contract against the Panthers. A couple overthrows, a late-game interception, and some indecisiveness costed Goff in week one. Now, he did lead the Rams on a lead-extending drive in the middle of the fourth quarter and I’m not discrediting that, but for the rest of the game, the panthers played Goff very well. Against the Saints, can Goff have a pro-bowl type performance? We are going to have to wait and see.
Josh Reynolds, Wide Receiver
Josh Reynolds had a couple of snaps to make a difference in the game versus the Panthers and he didn’t, at all. A drop on a wide receiver screen play and an overall unnoticeable performance slates Reynolds as a stock down player for week one. Playing behind three potential pro-bowl receivers is a privilege. When you are given your chance, you need to take it and run with it. Reynolds lacked the hands and explosiveness we saw from last year in week one, STOCK DOWN.
Sebastian Joseph-Day, Nose Tackle
Sebastian Joseph-Day didn’t make much of an impact from the Rams’ interior defensive line versus the Panthers. With Aaron Donald getting double and triple-teamed as a defensive end, and Dante Fowler having a career day, SJD should have gone off. Right? Well, he didn’t, and the Panthers offense had their way with him in the middle. I don’t expect a former sixth-round pick to dominate games in his first start, but the Rams sat Greg Gaines on the bench while starting SJD. Will that change going into the future? If Joseph-Day doesn’t make a visible impact on the game, Gaines will be seeing a lot more time sooner rather than later.
Downtown Rams Twitter HERE
My latest piece HERE