After two weeks of practice, the St. Louis Rams got a first chance to test drive their new look offense on Sunday in Indianapolis.
The Rams first team offense played two drives in Sunday’s 38-3 loss to the Colts and though they were unable to put points on the board, running back Steven Jackson came out of the sample confident in what the team can accomplish this season.
“I felt we moved the ball pretty well. We looked good. The running game was pretty good. I felt really comfortable out there,” Steven said. “We had a couple of runs that we wanted to get a feel for me and the offensive line, get some stuff on film to work off of and practice off of.”
Steven toted the ball four times in the game for a total of 17 yards and also caught a screen pass that he moved up the field for six yards. New Rams coach Jeff Fisher came away grinning at the production that his running back gave on just five touches.
“He’s a big back, he’s still got it,” Fisher said. “It’s fun to watch him, it’s fun to be on his side rather than watching him run. He pushed through some camp soreness and wanted to get in there and get a few carries and he did. I thought the guys did a good job for him.”
Fisher wasted no time putting the ball in the hands of his star back, giving Steven a carry on the first play of the game. No. 39 burst through a hole in the line for a gain of six. The Rams went right back to SJ on second down and he took the ball around the right end for another gain of six and a first down.
“Jack looked like Jack. He looked like the great running back that he is. He ran the ball strong today and obviously that’s going to be something we are going to be good at this year,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “Hopefully we are going to be able to come out and pound the ball at people. Anytime you have got a running back like Steven, it’s nice to know you can just hand the ball off and know that you are going to end up with positive yards.”
All five of Steven’s touches came on the first drive of the game as the Rams marched 46 yards in 10 plays. But the drive short-circuited when the Rams went for it on 4th and 3 and Sam Bradford couldn’t connect with Danny Amendola to pick up the first. After the Colts scored a touchdown, the Rams offense went back to work and Steven returned briefly, but only as a decoy on a pass play from Bradford to Steve Smith.
“We kept it really basic. We had some core runs and core passes that we really wanted to rep and get some good film,” SJ39 said. “We got guys out there hitting someone else outside of what we’ve been doing the last two weeks. I believe we have some good film that we can go over, learn from and continue as an offense to grow.”
The rest of the game belonged to the young players and though they made some mistakes in the loss, SJ liked some of what he saw and knows it’s a learning experience for many.
“This is definitely a time when our scouts and our coaches evaluate certain players and learn from it,” he said. “The one thing about the preseason is it allows young players to learn from the mistakes and hopefully not make them again.”
Among those who are still learning on the job is Steven’s backup, rookie running back Isaiah Pead. Pead carried 10 times for 33 yards in Sunday’s preseason opener, but he did fumble once. No. 39 said he was sure that would be sticking in Pead’s head this week, but that he and running backs coach Ben Sirmans would be going over it with the rookie in practice and the film room to help him learn.
“Pead is going to be fine. He’s a very talented young man,” S-Jax said. “This game, I’m sure, is going to play in his head. But once we get in the running back room, myself as well as coach, we’ll coach him up and get him ready.”
The Rams returned home following the game for another week of camp leading into their first home game of the preseason this Saturday against the Chiefs.
Steven said the Rams have more to unveil in the coming weeks and believes they’ll show what they’re made of as they continue to get ready for the season opener against Detroit, which is now less than a month away.
“We’re going to be a tough-nosed gritty team,” SJ39 said. “We’re going to go out there and challenge whoever we’re playing week-in and week-out.”
Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. CDT kickoff and can be seen live locally on KTVI FOX 2. It will replay nationally on Monday at Noon CDT on NFL Network.
- Jackson Pleased with First Performance (StLouisRams.com, August 12, 2012)
- RB Steven Jackson Press Conference (StLouisRams.com, August 12, 2012)
- Rams Drop Preseason Opener (StLouisRams.com, August 12, 2012)
- Box Score: St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts (ESPN, August 12, 2012)
- Rams trying to establish power-running identity (CBSSports.com, August 13, 2012)
- Bernie Bytes: 10 thoughts on the Rams (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 13, 2012)