There was little progress shown for the St. Louis Rams between their first two preseason games.
After a loss to Cleveland in their preseason opener, the Rams took the field at the Edward Jones Dome Saturday night, falling to Green Bay, 19-7.
“I don’t feel like we saw that, but you look at the tape and hope you can find some things,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said of any improvement from the first two games.
Keeping things plain schematically for the preseason, the Rams had issues with missed tackles, converting third downs, turnovers and penalties.
Defensively, the Rams had 12 missed tackles in the game, eight of which came from the first-team unit.
The Rams had seven missed tackles in the Cleveland game.
“We had one-on-one situations and you need to finish the play. So we’ll look at it. Those things get corrected,” Fisher said. “I thought overall last year we were a good tackling defense and we’ve got to do better than we did today.”
The Rams’ defensive players agreed that the tackling needs to improve.
“We should have that ingrained in our heads to know how to tackle. We’ve got to shoulder the football and just tackle. It wasn’t good enough tonight,” said Rams defensive end Chris Long. “It’s a preseason game. Had we tackled early on and shut them out, we wouldn’t be gloating on a great performance. We’d just say we need to work harder and get better, and I’ll say the same.”
Offensively against Green Bay, the Rams were 1 for 14 on third down conversions and missed on all three of their fourth-down tries.
“Everyone saw there’s a lot of things we need to get cleaned up. We’re a long way from where we need to be by the time week one gets here,” said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. “We’ve still got a couple of weeks. We’ll look at the tape, figure out exactly what needs to be corrected. Everyone in this locker room knows that we’ve still got a lot to prove.”
The Rams also lost the ball on a fumble at the Packers two-yard line.
“I just didn’t secure the snap. It’s on me. I’ve got to make sure I get the ball first before I get out of there, and secure it,” Bradford said. “Obviously that’s unacceptable. We can’t have that happen. That’s really what costs us games. When we get down there, we need to score.”
The Rams were called for nine penalties for 52 yards. Much of those penalties were before the snap, such as illegal formation and offsides infractions.
“There’s an emphasis on it this preseason and it’s good that it came up. We’ll get it resolved,” Fisher said on the illegal formation penalties. “The players were frustrated at the process. Normally if the tackle starts to get back a little bit, he’s warned and then the next series they usually, if you don’t adjust, then they’ll penalize it. We can get those fixed.”
On a positive note, Bradford completed eight of 12 passes for 156 yards, including a long of 57 yards to Chris Givens.
“There were a lot of good things. We were able to generate some explosive plays, which is always nice to see. That’s an area we’ve struggled with the past couple years,” Bradford said. “I think we had three explosive plays in the first 20 plays of the game, which is great.”
Newcomers Jared Cook and Tavon Austin also got involved in the offense.
“As an offense, there could be a lot better things done. That’s just up to us to do it as players. At times we’ve got to step up and do the big things. Everything’s going to be on our shoulders,” Cook said. “From here to the start of the season to the end of the season, we’ve got two weeks to get it together. We have to focus on the little things that are going to make us better, and that’s going to get the job done.”
The Rams return to action Saturday at Denver at 7 p.m. The final preseason game is set for Thursday, Aug. 29, at home against Baltimore at 7 p.m.