Five Takeaways: Rams at Dolphins

Posted Aug 29, 2014

The emergence of E.J. Gaines and Austin Davis both stood out to Myles Simmons in the Rams final preseason game of 2014.

The final whistle in Miami Thursday night signaled the end of the preseason. Here are five items to take away from the 14-13 loss to the Dolphins.

1) The starters are healthy

Head coach Jeff Fisher said after the game that given what happened last week in Cleveland, holding out players from the fourth preseason game was the best thing for the Rams. The decision was atypical for Fisher, as the head coach has used the fourth preseason game to build up reps in the past. But Fisher called the training room being empty after Thursday’s game “good news,” which is certainly true.

2) E.J. Gaines has a ton of potential

The cornerback had a terrific preseason, and finished it off well against the Dolphins. The rookie out of Mizzou intercepted a tipped Seth Lobato pass, which set up the St. Louis offense for a touchdown. Last week, Fisher named Gaines as one of the candidates to fill in for Trumaine Johnson while the corner recovers from his MCL sprain. While the head coach has not announced anything in terms of that position just yet, Gaines has shown that he can make an impact in the NFL.

3) Austin Davis can be a backup quarterback

The young quarterback spent the most time under center for the Rams in the preseason, and ended up with a good amount of success. Davis capitalized on opportunities and limited mistakes in his game action, turning the ball over only once -- an interception last week against the Browns. Through all four games, Davis completed 39 of his 63 passes for 534 yards and four touchdowns, good for a rating of 103.5. Fisher said last week that with Hill taking over as the starter, Davis should slide into the No. 2 spot. With his solid preseason, it looks like he has solidified that backup position.

4) Sam and Westbrooks can both make plays

The perceived competition between defensive linemen Michael Sam and Ethan Westbrooks came to a head on Thursday night when both players had strong games. Sam was active defending the run, as he led the Rams with six total tackles. Westbrooks did well in that area, as well as rushing the passer -- tallying a tackle for loss, a sack, and two quarterback hits. Sam said after the game that he’s “very confident” that he will make an NFL roster -- whether in St. Louis or elsewhere. If these two are indeed competing for the same spot on the Rams’ 53, they’ve given the front office and coaching staff a tough decision to make.

5) Next time, it counts

Obviously, losing quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury has made this a trying preseason. But the Rams have completed the four-week process, and now all attention can be focused on next Sunday, September 7 when the team takes on the Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome.

It’s going to be a great season, Rams fans.