Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Evaluating The Rookie: Justin Davis: Grade: C/C-
A reported crowd of 62,888, witnessed the Los Angeles Rams winning their pre-season home opener, against the Dallas Cowboys, by the score of 13-10. The game performance wasn't pretty, but the outcome became an ugly victory for the Rams.
The teams seemed to struggle with securing the football, as they both combined with turning over the ball nine times. The Cowboys special teams became the first victim to the turnover game, when returner Lance Lenoir, would muff his attempt to field the ball. The turnovers didn't end there, as it seemed as if there were more fumbles in this game, then sitting and watching a Pop Warner football game.
The Rams fumbled the ball on their second offensive attempt when Jared Goff would find a wide-open Robert Woods on a quick pass route. Woods would then get drilled by the Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens and the ball would squirt out forward landing in the end zone. Rams rookie receiver, Cooper Kupp, was Johnny-on-the-spot, as he dove on top for the recovery and a Rams touchdown.
The NFL has implemented a new policy allowing cuts after the last pre-season game, giving bubbled players the opportunity to gain significant playing time. Yesterday seemed to be an auditioning for a few players in particular, Sean Mannion and rookie running back Justin Davis.
Davis signed with the Rams shortly after the 2017 NFL Draft, as a UDFA (undrafted free agent), player. Davis played locally at the University of Southern Cal, the very same field he would perform against the Cowboys on Saturday.
The rookie running back seemed to shine early with his running ability, however; he would put the ball on the ground several times, one being costly in the red zone after ripping off a 32-yard run. Overall, Davis would lead all rushers with nine carries for 79 yards. He also was targeted once on a pass play which he caught for a seven-yard gain.
RUNNING THE BALL
Davis ran the ball very effectively, had several double-digit runs, including his first carry for 10 yards, his second for 16 yards, and ripped off his longest carry for 32 yards. Has a great vision and the ability to slither and explode through holes with that were developed by the Rams offensive line brought the Rams fans with cheers. Able to elude tacklers of first initial contact, crossed up the defense for extra yardage Davis led all ball carriers on a number of carries and run yardage, nine carries for 70 yards. GRADE: A
CATCHING THE BALL
Davis was targeted only once for a pass, and it was a check down pass in which he caught for a seven-yard gain. Showing nice hands grabbing the pass for a positive gain can only say it was a productive down. GRADE: A
On Davis very first carry, he ran the ball for a ten yard gain, but wait, uh… he would put the ball on the ground. Luckily for him, center Austin Blythe was there to recover the fumble. On his third carry in the game, he had a short two-yard gain and the ball thwarts forward and turned over inside the red-zone.
Turning over the ball in just his first three carries is of a great concern. When called upon especially in a high-stress situation, should be able to protect the ball in a game-winning situation. GRADE: F
Quarterback Sean Mannion was sacked twice while Davis was in as a protecting running back. Davis whiffed on the potential blocks leading to the sacks of Mannion. Misread of pressure places Davis in a poor form of a blocking technique and was beat several times. Mannion needed to take off running for a good gain, and one other time had to scramble outside to avoid the third sack. GRADE: F
OVERALL GRADE: C/C-
Justin Davis was a no-brainer running ball very effectively. Unfortunately, his two early fumbles lead to him overthinking. First, run the start of the second half he carries the ball for his longest carry of 32 yards. Caught the ball the one time it was thrown to him, but needs to immediately correct his pass blocking and reads.