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RamView: Preseason Week 2 – Quarterbacks

Questions on offense continued to dog the Rams in the Dog Pound, even as they won the game in Cleveland. Suddenly this week, the o-line was the best part of an offense that sputtered in the red zone, lacked open receivers, lacked an NFL-quality backup RB and appeared to lack trust in its $50 million rookie QB. All questions that will need answers by the time the Rams play games that count.

Position by position:
* QB: A.J. Feeley (5-6-45, 1 TD, 137.5 passer rating) was in a far better groove tonight than he was last week, leading the Rams on a nice, long TD drive to start the game, in what would turn out to be his only series. He made some accurate throws into tight spots, and certainly used his tight ends well, hitting Billy Bajema twice for nice gains and Daniel Fells over the middle for the Rams’ lone TD. He kept that drive alive with a 3rd-and-2 quick slant to Danny Amendola, firing just as he was getting clobbered in the head by blitzing LB Chris Gocong. Feeley also hurt the thumb on his throwing hand on that play and got the night off early. For a night, Feeley appears to be everything the Rams expected when they signed him: unspectacular, but steady and comfortable in the system. It was a frustrating night, though, for Sam Bradford’s fans, if not for the first overall pick himself. The QB everyone’s expecting to be the Opening Day starter has yet to be remotely turned loose, stuck for another week in what I like to call Pat Shurmur’s goldfish bowl, even though his pass protection was significantly better than last week. It’s like signing Lance Armstrong to your racing team and then sticking him on a tricycle. I don’t know what we, or even the Rams, can learn from a night of Bradford (6-14-24, 54.3 PR) throwing dumpoffs and useless screens to Chris Ogbonnaya, except to wonder if this coaching staff has anywhere near the trust in their rookie QB the rest of the world has assumed they have. Bradford made some rookie blunders. He stared down the receiver on his first pass and nearly got pick-sixed by Eric Wright. He bobbled the snap a couple of plays later, though unlike even many veteran QBs will do, he didn’t try to force the handoff anyway and managed to scramble around for a minimal loss. Bradford didn’t get sacked tonight, a tribute to his pass protection and his own pocket awareness. He checked down well against a couple of blitzes and slid away from pressure well when he had to. There was a 3rd-and-15 in the 2nd where he checked down to Ogbonnaya with Amendola seeming to be open on a deeper route, but other than that he stayed on the tight leash the game plan kept him on. He got to make a couple of probing throws toward the end zone, but both were broken up by blanket coverage. Actually, both looked underthrown, so maybe Bradford could use some work getting the timing down on those instead of 3-yard flares, if that’s OK with the Rams coaching staff. I mean, c’mon, they turn Keith Null (3-14-46, 40.8 PR) loose every week; why him and not your $50 million QB? Null managed to lead the offense to a couple of FGs despite a lot of bad passes. After he hit Michael Hoomanawanui inside the 10 with a sweet 25-yard bootleg pass in the 4th, it seemed like all he did from there was chuck high passes out the back of the end zone. Thaddeus Lewis did not enter the game, not that he missed much. Weather may have had a significant effect on tonight’s game plan. It was raining hard on Bradford a lot of the time but seemed to have let up a lot by the time Null got in. I’m sure we’ll all be told that’s what limited Bradford, anyway. But with preseason game #3 coming up in just a few days, it’s time for brass tacks, for the rubber to hit the road, to poop or get off the pot, etc. If the Rams ever planned to turn Sam Bradford loose this preseason, they’d better do it soon. If he struggles, he struggles, but I don’t know what anyone is learning from this steady diet of preseason pabulum he’s getting.

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