Los Angeles Rams Early August Scouting Report
Pre-Season is here! The Rams beat Dallas 13-10 is HC Sean McVay’s first game as head coach. I know it’s only pre-season, but it is always good to get a win. Los Angeles travels up state to take on Oakland in week two of the pre-season and the starters will play more than they did last week. The big news since last month’s report is the trade for WR Sammy Watkins from Buffalo. The Rams gave up cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second round pick for Watkins and a 2018 sixth round pick. The other news is no news on the holdout of DT Aaron Donald. Let’s make a quick review of the Cowboys game and take a look at the current Fantasy positions.
QB: QB Jared Goff had a brief but successful appearance against the Cowboys. After going three and out on the first possession, Los Angeles recovered a muffed punt and Goff led the offense to a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Jared finished the day 3-4 for 34 yards. He came close to throwing a touchdown but Robert Woods fumbled near the goal line after making a reception. Fortunately for the Rams, Cooper Kupp recovered that fumble in the end zone for the first Ram score of 2017. QB Sean Mannion came in after Goff and finished 18-25 for 144 yards. QB Dan Orlovsky finished up going 1-2 for three yards. There were no touchdown but also no interceptions so it was a successful debut for the quarterbacks. With the addition of Watkins, Goff will have another weapon at his disposal so the potential is there for QB2 numbers this season.
RB: RB Todd Gurley (4-2 rushing and 1-10 receiving) started the game and will be more involved this preseason than under the previous regime. All reports indicate a bounce back season for Todd especially in the passing game and I am hoping for big things. RB Malcom Brown (5-25 rushing and 1-8 receiving) ran with the twos and was decent but had a fumble; fortunately the Rams recovered it. RB Justin Davis (9-70 rushing and 1-7 receiving) was the leading ground gainer but coughed up the ball twice, losing one of those fumbles. RB Lance Dunbar and RB Aaron Green are recovering from injury and did not play. Rookies RB Lenard Tillery (4 for -6 rushing) and RB De’Mard Llorens (3-8 rushing and 1-9 receiving) got some work but are long shots to make the final roster. This is the Todd Gurley show with Brown backing him up; however, Davis has made a good impression and could land a roster spot especially with Dunbar and Green unable to get on the field. Only Gurley has any Fantasy value.
WR: WR Sammy Watkins gives the Rams a true #1 receiver and hopefully he can stay healthy and fulfill his vast potential. Sammy is in the last year of his rookie contract so if he has a good season, the Rams will have to deal with his contract issue, which I am sure is a good problem to have. WR Tavon Austin has been dealing with a hamstring injury and has missed most of training camp. The addition of Watkins makes Tavon expendable, taking into consideration his big contract. WR Robert Woods signed a big free agent contract that now looks like a mistake considering the Rams acquired Watkins. Rookie WR Cooper Kupp (2-35) has been solid in camp and showed great awareness when he pounced on Woods’ fumble for his first professional touchdown. WR Josh Reynolds recently returned from injury and needs to catch up. Second year WR Nelson Spruce (6-30) had his annual big pre-season game against the Cowboys and will hopefully stay healthy and make the final roster. WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Mike Thomas are two more second year players looking to make an impression. With the addition of Watkins, none of the aforementioned three are locks to make the final roster.
TE: Rookie TE Gerald Everett (3-12) and second year TE Tyler Higbee (1-3) have had solid training camps and are gaining trust from Goff. TE Temarrick Hemingway (1-13) has come on lately and might push TE Cory Harkey for a roster spot depending on how many tight ends the Rams decide to keep.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (1-1 field goal (42 yards) and 1-1 extra point) is set as the starter. PK Travis Coons (1-1 field goal (36 yards)) was recently signed to give Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker rest as he punts as well as place kicks.
DEF: The defense held Dallas to 10 points and has been impressive under new DC Wade Phillips. DT Aaron Donald’s holdout is a thorn that will hopefully be resolved soon. LB Robert Quinn’s transition to linebacker has reportedly been smooth but he was held out of the Dallas game. LB Alec Ogletree is having a good camp and should thrive in this defense. Rookie LB Samson Ebukam was dominant during the special teams practice early in camp; unfortunately he injured his hamstring and has yet to return. The loss of Gaines does not appear to hurt the backfield as free agent pickup CB Kavon Webster seized the starting spot opposite CB Trumaine Johnson and many of the young players have improved. Starting DT Dominique Easley tore his ACL very early in camp and is out for the year. This defense could be special, but they need Donald back to reach their full potential.
The Rams are undefeated in the McVay era and can hopefully keep that record as they take on the Raiders. This is a great time of year for Fantasy and regular football fans alike. Next month’s report will continue coverage of the pre-season along with predictions for the upcoming regular season. Congrats to my nephew Sky on doing great on his Dental exam way to go my man. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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