The second week of the preseason continues with games on Saturday, including one featuring the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland Raiders. Teams will be looking to see which players improve on their Week 1 performances and which players really grab hold of important roles. The PFF analysis team has all of the important battles and players to watch in this game:
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Position Battle: Tanzel Smart/Morgan Fox, DI
- Both rookie Tanzel Smart and second-year interior defender Morgan Fox made cases for a starting role along the Rams’ defensive line with their games against the Cowboys. Smart finished with an overall PFF grade of 84.4 which was 10th among interior defenders, and Fox finished with an overall grade of 81.2. Smart was responsible for one stop on six run snaps and Fox was able to generate two stops on eight run plays.
- Smart generated four quarterback pressures on 27 pass rush snaps and earn a pass-rush grade of 85.7, whereas, Fox generated one quarterback pressure on 17 pass-rush snaps for a pass rush grade of 78.3.
Players to Watch:
- Michael Jordan, CB- Jordan’s overall PFF grade of 91.2 earned him the highest grade among all cornerbacks in week two of the preseason and a spot on PFF’s Team of the Week for Week 1. He saw five targets and allowed only one reception with two passes defended for a passer rating of 39.6 when throwing into his coverage.
- Jake Eldrenkamp, LG- Though he went undrafted, rookie Jake Eldrenkamp started his preseason perfect by not allowing a single pressure on 22 pass blocking snaps and a perfect pass blocking efficiency of 100.0. Eldrenkamp allowed nine total pressures in his final season at Washington and finished 2016 with a pass blocking efficiency of 98.2 which ranked 33th out of 155 guards.
- De’Mard Llorens, RB- Though his playing time was limited, Llorens showed some wiggle to earn some extra reps in the Rams’ second preseason game by way of forcing two missed tackles on his lone reception against the Cowboys. His overall grade of 78.1 ranked 10th among all running backs in the first full week of preseason games. Much of his game is an unknown with Llorens, as he only saw 115 total snaps in his three-year college career.
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Position Battle: EJ Manuel/Connor Cook, backup QB
- Manuel was signed this offseason in part because new offensive coordinator Todd Downing worked with him in Buffalo. He started against Arizona last week and was accurate with a 91.7 percent adjusted completion percentage, which was third best among quarterbacks with 10 or more attempts. He completed 2-of-2 attempts with one sack when pressured.
- Cook’s only NFL start was in the playoffs last year, when he earned a PFF grade of 65.8, which was 19th of the 22 quarterback game grades in the postseason. Cook struggled last week and was 43rd of 46 quarterbacks with 10 or more attempts in adjusted completion percentage at 52.4 percent. When pressured, he completed only one of five passes for seven yards and a passer rating under pressure of 39.6, 37th out of 52 quarterbacks last week.
Players to Watch:
- Treyvon Hester, DT – Oakland lacked a strong interior pass rush last season, and used draft picks this year on Eddie Vanderdoes in the third round and Hester in the seventh to improve there. Hester provided some push last week, getting a sack and two total pressures in 15 pass rush snaps. He was 10th out of 62 defensive tackles with 10+ pass rush attempts in PFF’s pass rush productivity (pressure created per snap with weighting toward sacks).
- LaTroy Lewis, LB – Lewis, an undrafted free agent from Tennessee, played 23 snaps last week at Arizona with 13 of them coming at right outside linebacker. He recorded two sacks in only nine pass rush attempts, and was seventh in PFF’s pass rush productivity out of 84 outside linebackers.
- Sean Smith, CB – Smith has been relegated to the second team in some training camp practices, and also has seen time playing linebacker in some nickel packages. He was picked on last week as he saw five targets on only 19 snaps in coverage against the Cardinals. He allowed a passer rating of 91.3 on throws into his coverage, 41st out of 63 cornerbacks last week.