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This was at least a step in the right direction for the Chargers to be removed from my worst team of the preseason label I’ve applied. The Washington Redskins have now taken the lead.
The Chargers won this game 21–19, and the Rams missed a field goal late to give them a possible win. The final score is irrelevant in the context of that the Chargers took a 21–0 lead and embarrassed the Rams before going to sleep in the second half. Now, it has to be said the Rams were kinda running a second team on both sides of the ball (especially on defense) versus mostly the Chargers first team. The Chargers took advantage of a depleted Rams unit but they did what they had to do.
It was pretty bad for the Rams. They may have entered themselves in the sweepstakes for terrible looking 2017 preseason teams because of this game. Woof. The Rams may have the worst offensive line I’ve ever seen — at least their second unit. Why Jared Goff was put out with some backup blockers against the pass rushing starters for the Chargers, I have no idea — they traded everything to get this guy and then put him out to die. It may have been the try to toughen him up. He may have asked for it. Whatever it was, Goff was under duress often and looked pretty bad in this one.
We should probably chalk it up to the disparity with what guys the Chargers used versus the Rams – but Jared Goff does not seem to be taking a step forward at this stage. He’s not as bad as what the media is pushing, but for what I wanted to see this preseason I’m not seeing any type of ‘it’ factor emerging. It could be different when they run the real first team opening week. Last week they ran more of the first team unit and looked pretty good. So I’ll give them some grace, but this Week 3 was not Jared Goff’s finest hour…nor for the Rams entire team.
Fantasy player note…
— Let me begin by praising a player who I am usually cutting down at every turn – for the second week in a row I’ve thought Melvin Gordon (8-36-1) looks like a different runner. There’s more pep in his step and a little more confidence running the ball – but his first unit was also dominating the second unit so the optics worked in Gordon’s favor. I’m not endorsing Gordon, but it’s my duty to report what I see – and Gordon, who are usually mock, I think had has a nice preseason.
— I think I heard a couple weeks ago that the Rams traded for Sammy Watkins (0-0-0/1). Did you hear the same? Was I just daydreaming? He is like a ghost on this team after two weeks.
I’ve been the most anti-Sammy Watkins person you know since day one. I don’t hate him, I just never thought he was as good as the football pundits were promoting. So when I say he looks terrible so far with the Rams – I’m already starting from a place where I didn’t really like him all that much, to begin with.
Talent wise Watkins is good but overrated. The problem is there has to be some kinda issue off the field. Buffalo just doesn’t give up on him the first time Sean McDermott gets around him without good reason. First, the Bills denied his contract option, which is unheard of. After a few more weeks, he just dumped Watkins like a hot potato on the Rams. There’s something about Sammy Watkins the mainstream isn’t taking into account…because they don’t want to know.
I would like to offer the theory that Sammy Watkins doesn’t care all that much about football and/or doesn’t work hard, and/or is a limited wide receiver – just a guy going for bombs and doesn’t want to get involved in all the other messy stuff. He’s running routes this preseason with no heart or passion, and with Jared Goff working with a mix of first and second team offense of players – he never looked for Watkins for like the first 10+ plays of this game. Something isn’t right, and I sure wouldn’t want to take a position in it for fantasy.
— The Rams wide receiver who has looked great the last two weeks – rookie Josh Reynolds (3-71-1/6). He isn’t working anywhere near the first team, but he’s coming in as a second and third team star. I liked Reynolds coming into the NFL, but then downgraded him because he was likely to get crowded out of touches…especially cutting back on him when Watkins came over. Now, Reynolds is taking a step forward again – because of his on-field work.
Reynolds looks like he’s added muscle/weight, which he absolutely needed to do, but he’s kept his athleticism/speed. What you have with Josh Reynolds is a guy who’s a better version of Kenny Golladay…with less hype and in a more crowded situation.
— No Aaron Donald in this game, obviously, and no one knows when he’ll be back.
I said it months ago – if I were Aaron Donald I would hold out for a major contract and I would not step foot on the field until I got it. The Rams hired a defensive coordinator that runs a scheme somewhat opposite of what Donald’s elite gifts deploy. Not that Donald would do nothing under Wade Phillips, but his numbers would go down as a 3-4 defensive end (or DT) versus working at 4-3 DT…one of the greatest 4-3 DTs the NFL has ever seen.
Donald cannot afford to go into contract negotiations at the end of the year coming off ‘down’ statistics because that’s what the negotiators will use to argue for a lesser deal (whatever ‘lesser’ happens to be). If I am Aaron Donald, I’m prepared to sit the entire season. This season will do him no favors, and then likely lead to him getting a franchise tag in a cat fight. He should hold out for a massive contract with huge guaranteed money, or just sit out. So, I think this very real sit out is very real. I don’t expect him back until he gets what he wants. I don’t believe this is an idle threat. Holdout players usually come back at the last second before Week 1, so I’m not ruling that out, but if I had a bet a nickel – I bet Donald holds out into the season if that’s what it takes. You have to start marking down the Rams defense in anticipation.