Following an excruciating Week 1 loss to Minnesota, the Rams look to bounce back against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. When questioned after practice on Thursday about what he expects from the youngest team in the league this Sunday, Coach Jeff Fisher simply replied ,” We will be prepared”.
While that’s not quite the vigor and chest pounding response Rams fans were hoping for, it will have to suffice. The Rams first 3 games on the schedule ( Minnesota, @Tampa Bay, Dallas) appeared to be their easiest heading into the season; however, after falling flat in Week 1, it doesn’t appear that any game will come easy to a team that hasn’t seen the post season since 2004.
Rams fans, myself included, had high expectations for this team coming into the 2014 season. These expectations were severely diminished after former 1st pick overall, QB Sam Bradford, torn his ACL for a second year in row. Questions about his future in St. Louis swarmed, but a win in Week 1 would have stifled critics. Unfortunately, things only got worse. The Rams fell out of the gate, losing 34-6 in an embarrassing opening day loss. Lets take a look at a few of the disappointments we took away from Week 1 :
– Chris Long required surgery on his ankle, placed on IR-designated to return in 2 months
– #2 pick overall T/G Greg Robinson did not start, but saw action at the end of game when Rodger Saffold was forced to come out from neck injury
-3rd round pick Tre Mason and 4th Round pick Maurice Alexander were inactive
-Shaun Hill did not come out after halftime due to a bruised thigh
From an observational stand point, the offensive line looked rusty and overpowered, which led to the running game never getting going. Poor tackling(specifically on Cordarelle Patterson’s gallop to the end zone) and the pass rush being neutralized by Cassel’s 3-step drop were also at fault.
However, there were a few bright spots:
– It has finally “clicked” for Brian Quick between the ears.
-TJ McDonald is going to thrive under Greg Williams. I expect a Roman Harper-esque type season.
This Sunday is going to be a statement game for the St. Louis Rams. Another blowout loss will drop them to 0-2 and have fans beginning their Mock Drafts (Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston anyone?). A convincing win on the road will give this young team momentum heading back home to play a troubled Dallas team. 2-1 going into the bye week will give Fisher and Co. something to build off of. And they will need it considering the 8 game stretch that follows.