*Lots of games to cover and moving faster than editors can keep up with, so forgive any typos, etc. 2,000+ word articles on preseason games ain’t easy. Going for quantity over quality to get the news out ASAP.
A couple of interesting notes from this game…at least, to me. All about backups who won backup jobs and who may matter at some point in the next few weeks, but not so much hot right now. And also I have one side note on a unit from this game that could be a harbinger of things to come…
Fantasy player notes…
— People seem to be intrigued by the Green Bay Packers backup RB/handcuff situation. Honestly, I haven’t found much interest in it. There are two reasons why…
1: I don’t own much Ty Montgomery stock. I’m not against him, I just don’t like the price associated with the risk today.
2: None of these rookie Packers RBs have me very excited/none of them really stand out to me.
Observing the preseason, there seems to be no doubt that Jamaal Williams (11-31-0/1-6-0/1) is the #2 (today). The issue for me, for Fantasy, is Devante Mays (6-18-0, 2-36-0/3) who’s running #4 on the depth chart doesn’t look any better or worse than Jamaal Williams. Aaron Jones (4-48-0, 1-1-1-/1) has been the least impressive to me this preseason, but he’s running as the #3.
I suspect if Montgomery goes down this is just going to be an RBBC cluster. The whole situation I could live without.
— When I sat down to make pre-notes of this game, I did what most people who had any interest in this game would do – I wanted to see the latest in the Ty Montgomery handcuff sweepstakes. It’s what I led off the notes with. What really is never discussed/asked of me by people is the RB handcuff situation on the other side of the field.
Why does no one care? Somebody has to be the Todd Gurley backup? People have more money invested in Gurley than Montgomery, but somehow the Rams #2 situation isn’t a concern. Is it Mack Brown (likely) or is it UDFA Justin Davis?
I always say this for perspective, because it helps establish a valuation – Justin Davis may be a high ankle sprain away from being the waiver wire darling of the week in yet he could not make the roster of many NFL teams – there’s no way he would’ve made the Seattle 53-man. Ditto Mack Brown.
Justin Davis would not have made the Green Bay Packers 53-man, but here he is. Davis is every fringe-worthy NFL RB prospect to hit the league – he just happens to join a team that has little/no RB depth/talent. He could be a heart beat away for now, but I suspect the Rams would find another RB if it came down to it. I don’t put a lot of stock in Davis.
— Rams WR Brandon Shippen (7-58-0/8) had himself a pretty nice night to wrap up the preseason. It’s a lot of targeting but nothing stood out to me. There’s nothing here for fantasy that I see.
— Speaking of backups – Brett Hundley (11-21 for 99 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) jettisoned the competition and outright won the Aaron Rodgers handcuff sweepstakes, again. Hundley was on the trade block this off-season but because the NFL adores Blake Bortles-like QBs there were no takers. Nathan Peterman is closer to starting an NFL game than Brett Hundley, and that should be a sign of the apocalypse.
Just in case you were wondering, Hundley has now thrown 10 TDs and 1 INT in his three preseasons…and because the NFL is run brilliantly, and they are much smarter than us…none of them care.
The Packers must have renewed confidence in Hundley because they released both Taysom Hill and their true favorite Joe Callahan. Hill was grabbed by the Saints because that’s with the Saints do — they like Green Bay cast-off QBs on their practice squad.
Hundley’s numbers don’t look great here, not bad, just not what you’d want to see you in a week for from my supposed next level guy. I would just add that he looked a lot better than the numbers suggested. For two reasons – he had several big plays taken away from him. TA TD pass called back. A sweet bomb connection but the WR came down a hair out of bounds.
But the second reason is more interesting and is my next and last note…
— As I was going back through this game for an additional time, it was to watch Rams rookie DT Tanzel Smart. I wanted to watch how he’s progressing because we had a pretty good scouting grades on him over at College Football Metrics, and because I’ve seen him listed as a starter on some depth chart, which may have been an error, but made me really look to see how he was specifically battling in this game. Smart looked fine and I walked away satisfied but not jumping out of my socks like with rookie Cleveland DT Larry Ogunjobi. However, watching Smart led me down another bunny trail…
This Rams defense was pretty impressive from a scheme pressure standpoint. You wouldn’t think a Week 4 preseason game would stand out for a backup defense but after watching it close from Brett Hundley’s perspective and then some more from Tanzel Smart’s perspective – it jumped out at me how good the Rams looked on defense. They were flying all over the place. I’ve seen this before…what kind of feeling was this that my eyes were drinking in and my mind was processing? What memories did this conjure up? I thought to myself… Man, this kinda looks like Denver’s defensive pressure and swarming. Oh, yeah…that’s right. Wade Phillips coaches the defense here. How quickly I forget about the Rams D when Aaron Donald is not there.
If these backups were any indication of the impact Wade Phillips is going to have — buckle up. If only Donald were there to take part in it.
Again, I don’t think Donald will step foot on the field until he has his long-term deal. He’ll miss the whole season if he has to. And he should. The Rams are going to have to blink – but they haven’t blinked yet, which is surprising.
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