Despite falling to the Oakland Raiders, 14-3, in Saturday’s preseason opener at RingCentral Coliseum, there were plenty of positive takeaways for the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams.
While the majority of the team’s projected starters were inactive, the Rams were able to get a look at a handful of newcomers who joined the team this offseason.
Among the players that made their Rams debut was free-agent signing Blake Bortles, who started for the team under center and completed three of his eight passes for 50 yards. Three of those incompletions were due to drops, and though he was unable to throw a touchdown with the limited snaps he received, Bortles nevertheless impressed third-year head coach Sean McVay.
In addition to Bortles, who headlined the veterans making their first appearance with the Rams, the team also saw the debuts of many first-year players.
The list extends to third-round draft pick Darrell Henderson, who led the Rams with a modest six carries. The rookie rushed for 13 yards and also caught a pass for minus-five yards.
Despite not lighting up the stat sheet, McVay expects Henderson to receive more touches as the preseason progresses, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
– McVay said he expects rookie RB Darrell Henderson to get more touches as the preseason progresses. Said Henderson did some good things and also had some things he can learn from.
— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 12, 2019
With three-time Pro Bowler Todd Gurley slated for a lighter workload this season, Henderson has an opportunity to become one of his primary backups alongside Malcolm Brown.
While Henderson struggled in his NFL debut against the Raiders, McVay will presumably find more opportunities for him throughout the month of August, leading into the Rams’ regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Other running backs to get some work in against the Raiders included Matt Colburn and John Kelly, who accumulated a combined 21 yards on eight carries.
Justin Davis, a third-year running back out of USC, was unable to suit up after sustaining a concussion in a joint practice against the Raiders earlier in the week.
The Rams next take the field on Saturday at Halawa Stadium in Honolulu, Hi. for a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys — their second of four preseason games.