Rams 10 takeaways: Lance McCutcheon, youthful DBs impress as soon as extra; QBs beneath stress
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Rams succumbed to the Texans 24-20 inside the second recreation of the preseason, nevertheless far more important than the scoreboards this time of yr is what head coach Sean McVay and his employees can take from the performances of perform players and other people combating to make the roster.
Listed beneath are 10 takeaways from Friday evening time’s recreation:
• As soon as extra, rookie cornerback DeCobie Durant confirmed up and made big performs. Durant had a strip-sack off a stress/chase down inside the first quarter, and had a high-flying transfer breakup late inside the second quarter down the Rams’ sideline that may very correctly have been an interception. Second-year cornerback Robert Rochell made just a few sturdy performs, too, along with a first-half transfer breakup that showcased his prolonged arms.
The “elder statesman” of the youthful group of starters on Friday, safety Terrell Burgess, had a nice recreation as correctly. Burgess had a run-stop at 5 yards to forestall Texans starter Marlon Mack from gashing the safety for a major down or further, and made a shoestring take care of in home on third all the way down to shut out the similar drive.
Reserve defensive once more Tyler Hall, inside the recreation inside the third quarter, even purchased in on the movement with a transfer breakup in the long term zone to forestall a Texans touchdown.
• Undrafted free agent receiver Lance McCutcheon as quickly as as soon as extra turned heads, this week early inside the first quarter with a 22-yard catch with No. 3 common draft select Derek Stingley Jr. in safety — and acquired a great deal of home to tug inside the ball. Usually, when a receiver has home like that on the catch stage, you want to see what switch he pulled off the street of scrimmage or early inside the route, and the Rams delivered the highlight:
[email protected] cookin’. 😳
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— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 20, 2022
McCutcheon moreover had a 29-yard catch-and-run inside the second quarter. The issue about McCutcheon: He doesn’t seem like he belongs available on the market inside the preseason. In a McVay-led system, when starters and key perform players don’t play, that’s a reward. Constructive, he seems youthful at cases — McVay wished him to plant his foot and protect working on an tried “Hail Mary” that was correctly wanting the tip zone on the Rams’ closing drive — nevertheless it certainly’s pretty clear McCutcheon can play at a extreme diploma, even in opposition to higher-level NFL experience.
“I was talking with (Zac Robinson), our coach, and I’ve barely thrown to Lance,” talked about backup quarterback John Wolford, chuckling. “My first few reps with him are in a dwell recreation. … Friendlier aim, higher physique, contorts correctly, catches it clear, sturdy fingers. Good aim (for) a quarterback.”
Furthermore, I observed some fascinating points when McCutcheon and second-year receiver Jacob Harris have been on the sphere on the same time. The Rams tried to get every of them snaps with Wolford and with quarterback Bryce Perkins, and inside the fourth quarter, Harris leveled a defensive lineman out of motion whereas selling the “beneath” route as McCutcheon cut back all through on the over, and secured the catch from Perkins downfield.
“It’s superior, man,” Perkins knowledgeable me postgame, laughing. “He talked to me on the sidelines about it, too. It’s superior to see guys with out the ball of their fingers truly merely competing. That goes an awesome distance with the coaches, goes an awesome distance with teammates. You do it like that, it’s good for the crew and displays what kind of character, what kind of specific particular person you are.”
Harris and McCutcheon may, ultimately, be roster opponents. Nonetheless Friday evening time, Harris devoted to serving to McCutcheon and Perkins in a method the Rams historically ask of their receivers: Not by catching the ball, nevertheless by paving the freeway.
• As McVay well-known earlier this week, Wolford started the game and carried out by means of the first half. Wolford made just a few good throws, along with to McCutcheon twice, nevertheless it certainly’s going to be troublesome for the Rams’ employees to completely think about Friday’s effectivity because of Wolford was sometimes beneath stress — sometimes instantly after the snap.
“It’s a part of the game,” talked about Wolford evenly, inside the locker room after the game. “These guys are battling up entrance, (Houston) has their ones (their first-team) in, they often’re doing the simplest they’re going to. We knew that moving into. I really feel they did job, all points considered.”
Wolford, who usually does not play inside the preseason, was sacked 4 cases inside the first quarter by the Texans’ first crew or backup defensive place, along with two sacks on the similar sequence (a major down and a fourth down), and 5 cases inside the first half. The Rams couldn’t uncover lots rhythm working the ball, each — that that they had 21 web rushing yards inside the first half on 9 makes an try, along with 4 scrambles by Wolford — nevertheless did uncover some success executing pressure-beater catch-and-run performs to working once more Raymond Calais, who did a nice job discovering yards when in home. Wolford accomplished the half 14 of twenty-two for 142 yards.
McVay talked about he was “pleased” with Wolford and “thought he did what he may, based totally on various the circumstances in surrounding elements. … I assumed he hit some big performs, significantly off the play-action. … There have been some strong points the place the pocket collapsed pretty shortly on him, so, common I felt like he had good command, made good selections, observed the coverages the right method, after which there have been some circumstances the place we’d help him out just a bit bit further spherical him.”
In a recreation by which the Rams clearly wished check out every quarterbacks, it’s laborious to say that the backup offensive line gave them a chance to make a superb evaluation of each participant on a continuing basis (caveat proper right here: It’s the preseason, and positive, the Texans carried out various of their defensive starters/key perform players inside the first half and the Rams did not).
• Perkins, who started the second half and carried out by means of the rest of the game, seems to have developed a coolness in tight conditions over time. Perkins, who was 11 of 14 for 123 yards, moreover confronted stress recurrently nevertheless, like Wolford, made some big throws — along with a third-and-3 conversion by which he stood inside the pocket whereas stress bore down to complete his throw to receiver Austin Trammell. Perkins moreover appeared very poised on a attainable game-winning drive.
A variety of that is Perkins’ private notable development, just a few of that is his long-built rapport with offensive coordinator Liam Coen, who was on the Rams’ employees and inside the quarterbacks room when Perkins joined the crew as an undrafted free agent in 2020. Coen has known as quite a few the performs inside the preseason and it’s apparent that he and Perkins motion off of each others’ energy, significantly in nerve-racking late-game situations.
“He’s truly calm as a play caller, even when points go unhealthy,” Perkins talked about. “Not getting too riled-up, at cases (all through a recreation) you’re riled and the players are riled nevertheless I merely love his demeanor and him as a person.”
• It might be truthful for the Rams to be mildly concerned about their inside defensive place depth (earlier their starting three of Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson), significantly with an injured Bobby Brown moreover suspended for the first six video video games of the 2022 season. Nonetheless they are often impressed by the pop Michael Hoecht and Jonah Williams are exhibiting (Williams had a first-half sack-fumble on third down and a tackle-for-loss inside the second quarter, and Hoecht had three tackles and compelled a fumble). The crew has moreover seen sturdy development by Marquise Copeland (who, attributable to his standing as a result of the No. 4 DL, acquired’t in all probability play inside the preseason).
“Do you have to merely watch him strike the sled in comply with, that issue snaps once more super violently,” Hoecht knowledgeable me after the game. “He breaks the sled frequently.”
• Rookie guard Logan Bruss left the game with a correct knee hurt inside the first half and did not return. McVay talked about he had no precise substitute on Bruss, who returned to the sideline to take a seat down with teammates on the bench whereas carrying a giant snug wrap on his correct leg, “it didn’t seem prefer it was good, though.”
• McVay well-known that reserve offensive linemen Tremayne Anchrum and AJ Jackson have put collectively some sturdy reps, as they battle for spots on the two-deep. Jackson has carried out all through the street, on Friday evening time transferring from take care of to guard higher than as quickly as.
• Tight end Brycen Hopkins had a robust recreation for the second consecutive week. He had six catches for 41 yards and appears to be transferring confidently; Perkins moreover took a difficult shot on the end of the game and briefly left the sphere for the locker room with a crew doctor, nevertheless returned to the sideline as players greeted followers and family postgame.
Hopkins purchased known as for a preserve on a two-point conversion attempt inside the third quarter, which pushed the Rams backward for an extra stage in its place with 3:11 left inside the third quarter.
• Two important (literal) takeaways: Reserve inside linebacker Jake Gervase (who switched positions from safety a yr prior to now) shed a blocker inside the second quarter and compelled a fumble on a Rex Burkhead carry, which Derion Kendrick scooped up and returned just some yards. Then inside the third quarter, cornerback Duron Lowe laid profitable on a punt return that stripped the ball, which tight end Roger Carter grabbed and ran in for the touchdown. Lowe moreover prevented a touchdown on a deep transfer with a breakup in the long term zone.
• Riley Dixon: Can punt the rock!