First off, a confession: I didn't watch the Rams' fourth preseason game. I'm not one of those people that pooh-poohs the value of the preseason, but that last week is often a gruesome spectacle with few starters and little resemblance to actual football.
That said, we can perform a little archaeological dig through the remains before we seal the preseason up in its tomb. Some clear themes and takeaways emerged:
While showing progress, the Rams seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot.
Few teams have positioned themselves for dynamic growth like the Rams have this offseason, loading up with weapons on offense and defense, and building a young core on top of a veteran coaching staff that has already built its foundation here. They have been catching the eyes of many a national pundit, even predicted to finish ahead of the mighty 49ers by SI's Andy Benoit.
If that pie-in-the-sky prediction is going to come through, the Rams will have to clean up their penchant for turnnovers and penalties.
Sam Bradford has played a mostly spotless preseason, but his skill players have been laying the ball on the turf. Isaiah Pead and Tavon Austin both fumbled in the span of five minutes last night. Brian Quick, who otherwise had a much-improved preseason, also lost a fumble this week and couldn't control a last-second, game-winning catch as he went to the ground last week.
Jeff Fisher's playmakers on defense have shown equal penchant for getting the ball away from the opposing offense, which could help build a decided edge in the turnover battle, but only if our offensive players take care of their own end.
The Rams finally have the talent in place to go 10-6 or better. But until they equal that talent with discipline, this is a .500 team.no comments