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St. Louis Rams Fans Takeaway from Preseason Game One: Don’t Panic

August 10th, 2013 at 7:53 AM
By Sports Media 101
Alarm bells have begun, but it is so early that Rams fans can hit the snooze button.  
Most everyone would agree that they were disappointed following the 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns.  Despite the final score, Rams fans would also agree that questions they wanted answered are still foggy.
Keep in mind that this is the first exhibition for the team, including many rookies expected to fit right in. Even so, starting the new year down 17-0 can cause some alarm, especially to the Trent Richardson-less Cleveland Browns offense. As we pointed out Thursday, though, defensive coordinator Tim Walton would stick to a gameplan that was plain, contained few blitzes and even fewer press coverages.
Of course a much scrutinized play was second year back Isaiah Pead's fumble on the first possession.  After a disappointing rookie year, Pead has a great opportunity despite his suspension for the season opener.  Pead finished with 18 yards on three carries.
The continued chemistry between Sam Bradford and Chris Givens was pleasing.  Givens has had a terrific camp and could step up after glimpses his rookie season.  After going over the top for a 59 yard reception, Bradford and Givens connected once more in the confined space of the red zone for a three yard score.
The 91 yard punt return to Travis Benjamin is a concern, but keep in mind that Thursday night was the first night of "real practice" for special teamers. There are usually some gaps in kick coverages in the preseason. Getting the kinks out against other teams is one of the benefits of preseason action.
New sensation Tavon Austin has been exciting St. Louis in camp and during the scrimmage, but he failed to make a play in Cleveland.  Austin did not catch a pass. Perhaps the Rams want to hide the speedster.  Who knows how much he figured in Brian Schottenheimer's plan for game one. We should begin to see him play a more prominent role in the next two preseason games.
Quick final notes: 
It may have been two receptions but Brian Quick showed some physicality with tough catches.
We've heard about it, we've seen it, but in the first exhibition second year man Austin Davis relieved Sam Bradford while Kellen Clemons finished the game.
Rodger Saffold's shoulder injury appears to be significant, but it could have been worse.  Jeff Fisher acknowledged that Saffold will miss some games.
The Rams open the dome as they host the Green Bay Packers for the second preseason game Saturday night, August 17.

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