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RamView: Preaseason Week 2 – RB/WR

* RB: Though his appearance was ever so brief, Steven Jackson (4-20) was back tonight, and that was a good thing. He ran through the Cleveland defense for 11 on his first touch and was very good on blitz pickup, not a small part of the reason the Rams drove for a TD on their first possession, also Jackson’s only drive of the game. After Jackson, though, there’s still squaddoosh. Chris Ogbonnaya (7-6) again got nowhere. Now, a good part of that is because he got just atrocious run-blocking. Jackson seems to energize the offensive line; his replacements seem to give them that dreaded 2:30 feeling. Obie missed a couple of good holes that he did get, though. He seems tentative and doesn’t show good vision. He’s also still a near-disaster picking up the blitz, though that’s an improvement over the disaster he was last week. Kenneth Darby (5-16) was unspectacular and tried to put a ball on the ground; nothing new there. Keith Toston (13-23) got a bunch of carries late but all runs right up the gut. Though I’m confident Ogbonnaya can spell “potato”, the Rams at RB aren’t any more ready for a change at the top than the U.S. was circa 1990.

* Receivers: The Rams completed 14 of 34 pass attempts; 8 of those were to tight ends. Did a wide receiver get open tonight? Didn’t look like Laurent Robinson (0-0) did. Looked like he was the primary on the Rams’ third play but he could barely even get off the line. The most daring throw Bradford got to try was an end zone fade to Robinson, but Sheldon Brown had him blanketed and knocked the ball down. Didn’t look like Donnie Avery (0-0) did. All they tried to him were short sideline passes, both on which he was blanketed, both of which were nearly picked off. Robinson and Avery have combined for 3 catches in 2 games; I can’t see how that’s good for anybody. As usual, about the only Rams WR with a pulse was Amendola, and he was just 1-7. But he kept the first two scoring drives alive, one with a sliding catch on 3rd-and-2, the other by drawing a (cheesy) interference penalty on 3rd-and-8. Dominique Curry (1-13) revived his roster drive a little bit, making a catch while blanketed, drawing a penalty and showing well on special teams, but he also dropped a Null fastball at the goal line. Jordan Kent was just 1-7 despite getting in earlier and wasn’t as strong on special teams as he usually is. I don’t think Keenan Burton (0-0) got open. He was targeted on Null’s first two throws and never heard from again. Mardy Gilyard (0-0) looked lost at times and dropped a couple of passes. I don’t think Brooks Foster (0-0) can get open. Brandon Gibson (inactive) can’t get on the field. He’s still solidly in the mix, though, in a WR corps that can’t get any more separation than Chang and Eng Bunker. The tight ends were at least more productive. Daniel Fells (1-9) scored the opening TD, and pwned Brandon McDonald on the play, but that was all of him I saw. Billy Bajema caught 4 for 32 (two longer than 10 yards!) but also dropped a pass and missed too many blocks. Michael Hoomanawanui (2-33) was probably the best receiver tonight. He got open the most and made the biggest play, beating a LB downfield for a 25-yard catch in the 4th. He was also wide open in the back of the end zone several plays later but Null missed him badly. Fendi Onobun didn’t have a catch, but would have had a TD had Bradford made a better throw late in the first, and the Browns really seemed concerned about him. I hope there’s a fast-forward to hit on his development, because the way the Rams’ wide receivers looked tonight, they’re going to need all the tight ends they can get.


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