Abeln: Rams improved 2-0 after victory over Titans
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, left, is sacked for a 10-yard loss by Tennessee Titans Will Witherspoon during the second quarter of an NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) By Seth Perlman
St. Louis Rams' Mardy Gilyard, right, is upended by Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw, left, while returning a kick during the first quarter of an NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis (KMOV.com) -- The Rams improved to 2-0 during the preseason after an uninspiring victory over the Titans; there were more negatives than positives to take away after watching the 17-16 win.
First off, I have to commend new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel for stretching the field right off the bat. Sam Bradford's 83-yard touchdown to Brandon Gibson was, pardon me for not coming up with a more intelligent word here, but 'awesome' is the only word to describe that play. And did you hear the crowd's reaction, yes that's right, the Edward Jones Dome erupted because something exciting occurred. I remember when that used to happen. Going deep, tossing the long ball, heaving it down field, is that going to happen on a consistent basis? I'm not sure right now, but it's nice to know the Rams can execute the deep ball, and yes it does need to happen more often this season.
The Rams' run defense did not play well. Tennessee's number one running back Chris Johnson is in the midst of a hold out, so he didn't even play. However, third string running back Jamie Harper did and racked up 83 rushing yards; the Titans as a whole rushed for nearly 200 yards. If Johnson did the majority of the damage that's one thing, but when the star of the team is out and you still can't stop the back ups, that's unacceptable. I'm not concerned the least bit though. It's the preseason and the Rams would have been more prepared for the 'cut-back' type runs if this were a regular season game.
Steven Jackson ran the ball six times for ten yards; not the preseason debut I wanted to see, and I'm sure he wasn't too happy either. I remember Albert Pujols started the year going 0-5 his first game, and while this hasn't been his best season, Pujols still has 31 home runs; my point, Jack will be just fine, no need to freak out about one preseason game. In fact, Jackson finally got some back up help in Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams, so if '39' stays healthy this could be a monster year for him.
And finally the offensive line must do a better job protecting the Rams future, and of course I mean Sam Bradford. He was sacked a couple of times, hit a few times hard, and that can't happen on a consistent basis. I understand the o-line isn't going to be perfect every game, but Bradford can't get seriously hurt this season. If Sam Bradford goes down, the Rams go from a seven or eight win team to a four or five win team.