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RamView: Preseason Week 3 – DB/Specialists

* Secondary: Tom Brady got plenty of time to throw on too many plays tonight, but had difficulty finding receivers on such plays in the first half, and that is indeed a tribute to the coverage of the Ram secondary. Bradley Fletcher was on Randy Moss tonight like scuzz on Russell Brand. He stopped Moss short on 3rd-and-5 to force a 3-and-out and broke up another 3rd-and-short pass to Moss later for another 3-and-out. Physical play by Rams corners? How many aliens have infected this team? A nice run stop by Oshiomogho Atogwe helped that 2nd 3-and-out along. Weak point in the secondary tonight was probably Kevin Payne. The Patriots settled for another 3-and-out when Brady failed to hit Brandon Tate down the far sideline. He had beaten Fletcher by a step and Payne was way late in help. Even worse, Moss beat Payne by at least two yards for a 65-yard TD bomb in the 3rd just by running in a straight line. Payne appears a serious speed liability. Rams linebackers did not impress in pass coverage against TEs. Rod Gronkowski ran through and made Laurinaitis look awful for a 14-yard TD, making him look like an unlucky rodeo clown the last 5. Gronkowski haunted the whole Ram LB unit. He beat Larry Grant for 32, and finished that drive off in the 4th with a 20-yard TD, handily beating, unsurprisingly, Chris Chamberlain. Atogwe and Laurinaitis bit badly on a play fake to allow Wes Welker to roam the middle of the field freely for 32. I’d say the Ram LBs better step up their play, but only ask the corners to keep up theirs. They’ve had a good preseason.

* Special teams: Brandon Tate temporarily ran Tom McMahon’s resume through the shredder, shredding Rams kick coverage for a 97-yard TD to open the game and following it with a 45-yarder. Stay. In. Your. Lanes! On the TD, it looked like the whole left side was out of position, especially Burton and Ogbonnaya. Josh Hull got stopped at the 25, creating a lane that Jerome Murphy filled before Tate juked him from ten yards away and sped off for 6. On the 2nd return, Hull slipped, Bobby Carpenter missed a tackle, and Burton got manhandled, leaving kicker Josh Brown to make the ankle tackle, AND WE DO NOT NEED OUR INJURED KICKER HAVING TO BRING GUYS DOWN. But Josh did it again later in the night, impressively rumbling down inside the 30 to stop Taylor Price on a return. Brown also hit 3 FG, from 25, from 45 at the halftime gun, and from 37 at the final gun FTW, and was one of the stars of the night. He’s 7-for-7 this preseason. Special teams and defense really helped the Rams win the battle for field position and time of possession (about a 3-to-1 advantage) all night. That includes Amendola, with 31- and 16-yard punt returns. And Quincy Butler, who made a couple of nice punt coverage plays, including a fine diving effort at the goal line to keep a punt in play at the 2. The unit recovered well from its early disaster.

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