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The Cowboys muffed a punt after the Rams first drive fizzled – setting L.A. up at the Dallas 33 and punching a score in from there…happening on a catch near the goal line, a fumble, the ball bouncing around and a Rams player falling on it for the score. Aside from that gift – the Rams offense was garbage from the 1st-team on. Dallas didn’t look a whole lot better on offense but didn’t play most key 1st-team players to start.
— I know Todd Gurley (4-2-0, 1-10-0/1) is going to get all the carries and good looks in the passing game. I know he’ll have some RB1-like numbers in PPR, I’m sure. Our rankings on him are very good for 2017 because of projected touch count.
Data aside, the human in me…I’m getting to the point where I will not touch Todd Gurley. Let’s review where we are at in this story:
Gurley bursts onto the NFL scene in 2015 with four 120+ yard rushing games, once he’s starting/playing (missed the first few games of the season with injury). He was wonderful…early.
He had a kinda quiet end to that 2015, with lower rushing output and terrible yards per carry — but still won Rookie of the Year.
In 2016, assumed to be great, but he never rushes for 100+ yards…nor 90+ in any game. His ypc is terrible. He kills fantasy owners. We all blame it on Jeff Fisher.
I watch all the Rams documentaries this offseason – Todd Gurley doesn’t impress me at all behind the scenes.
2017 preseason debut with a new coach and renewed hope – same old Gurley…four carries: -3 yard run, 1-yard run, 0-yard run, 4-yard run…and done.
We can debate in circles what the problem is, but on the first opportunities of the new season, Gurley looked no different than last year. I don’t know if it’s the O-Line or Gurley or what. I just know – I saw nothing encouraging to start 2017 with Gurley. I not going too overboard on a few preseason carries, especially against what might be one of the five best defenses in the NFL, a top run defense from last year in Dallas. He flops again next week in more work against Oakland, and I’m slashing his projections for 2017. There are too many other RBs to get excited about than worry about who’s to blame for Gurley’s ever-extending every week inefficiencies.
When Rams’ RBs Malcolm Brown entered the game after he posted 5.0 ypc for the game, and rookie UDFA Justin Davis (9-70-0) went for 7.8 ypc with help from a nice 32-yard jolt. Gurley averaged 0.5 ypc for this game. I know it’s apples-and-oranges, but these fruit all smell funny with Gurley.
— Dallas has their own RB issues to deal with. Everyone agreed that Darren McFadden (6-28-0, 1-8-0/4) had a better showing this game than last, and is the leader in the clubhouse for the main role if Ezekiel is out.
Alfred Morris (5-11-0, 1-9-0/1) looks to me to have more life in him, but I know where Jerry’s heart is with DMC.
If I know Dallas…I’m not sure door #3 would be an option. Not Rod Smith (1-2-0, 1-5-0/2), but someone off waivers come cutdowns. It would have to be the perfect situation. I wonder if Ryan Mathews has been in touch…as he awaits his cut from Philly?
— When I watched Mitchell Trubisky the other night, I was instantly like ‘wow!’ I was looking for it and expected it…and got it. I was hoping for Mike Glennon to show off…I could instantly tell ‘not-wow!’ You could try to excuse Glennon, but then you see Trubisky by comparison and it changes all the optics.
I wanted to see a nice change/step up from Jared Goff (3-4 for 34 yards, 0 TD/0 INT). I didn’t see it. He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t eye catching. He’s OK/good, but he just doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor yet…if ever. Wobbly passes (but all in the right places), and still looks like the criticisms still weigh on him. Like the full confidence isn’t there yet like he had very early when he started last year…before he had the snot beat out of him.
I’m still hopeful Goff settles in, but I see more spark in Trubisky. Tom Savage looked more comfortable.
— Rico Gathers (4-47-1/8) had another preseason moment and is now the toast of the town. The MVP of the preseason in the media potentially. A TD in each of his two games. A great backstory and a giant human – and he keeps growing. It’s gone from he’s a big 270+ pound tight end last week by game analysts to ‘look at that from a 280+ guy’ mid-week…to now everyone has signed off on – ‘all that from a 290+ pound guy!‘.
Stay tuned next week for the first person to propose he might be over 300+ pounds.
By Week 4 of the preseason, Gathers will take a smooth stone to the forehead from a young shepherd’s slingshot.
Gathers has had nice moments and is progressing, but he’s nowhere near ready for starting. In 2018-2019, he could really be something amazing.
*OK, I’m going to rapid fire a bunch of my player notes next…and they are mostly all fawning to Dallas and disappointing for the Rams. Can I just say, Dallas is so deep in young talent? They are the Patriots of young talent acquisition…the Patriots are the Patriots of veteran talent acquisition. Dallas and New England are on a Super Bowl collision course. If the Dallas over/under win total dropped down amid the Ezekiel mess – I’m still a buyer because RB is the most meaningless to wins position in the NFL.
— Dallas rookie DB Xavier Woods (7 tackles) was absolutely fantastic here. I liked Woods coming out of La. Tech, but thought he’d be a 1-2 year project to get ready. He was terrific in this game. He’s going to be a contributor as a rookie. He was making some of the best tackles I’ve seen a rookie DB make this preseason. Maybe the best rookie DB performance I’ve seen this year. It’s early…
— Dallas rookie WR Noah Brown (3-41-0/3) looked like a starting NFL WR in this game. So smooth catching the ball. Great routes and hands…and toughness. He takes hits. He delivers hits. I would be shocked if he pushed Terrance Williams out of the way by midseason.
— Taco Charlton (3 tackles, 1 sack) is going to be a very good-to-great player for Dallas. Remember, this is the guy beat writers said was a bust by their eye 2-3 weeks ago because they’re such great practice evaluators.
Charlton was lined up on the right end on a play in this game, and a running play went to the left…and the runner was trying to get to the sidelines and turn upfield. Charlton was blocked initially, kept following the play, kicked into gear and made the tackle at the sidelines. He had no reason to give that extra pursuit from the other end of the field. That’s a play Myles Garrett stands and watches from where he rushed as the play went way away from him – that’s what Taco Charlton brings extra to this party…a pass rusher and a run stopper.
— Rams Jordan Reed-wannabe Gerald Everett (2-12-0/3) didn’t impress me at all. Next dynasty rookie draft rankings…he’s dropping down. I was a skeptic and my first view is – the athleticism is nowhere near what it needs to be.
— Cooper Kupp (2-35-0/3) looked as expected. Ran proper routes, etc. he looks exactly as I remembered. He’s going to be a fine pro. He takes a fantasy hit with Sammy Watkins in, but I don’t think it’s as bad as you’d think. Robert Woods is the big loser. Kupp will be Goff’s old reliable.
— Rams rookie DE Ejaun Price (1 tackle) was a 2nd-team DE pass rusher, and I saw no pop that I was hoping to see.