6 takeaways from Rams’ 17-12 loss to Broncos

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The Rams are two weeks away from their season opener against the Bears, but there’s still work to be done before that game. Specifically, they have to cut their roster down before Tuesday afternoon and after Saturday’s preseason loss to the Broncos, there are sure to be some really difficult decisions.

The offense didn’t do much against Denver, but the Rams’ defense was excellent against two starting-caliber quarterbacks. It’s a credit to the pass rush and secondary, which worked well together in the preseason finale.

Here’s what we learned from the 17-12 loss at Mile High.

Corey Bojorquez is likely to be the Rams’ punter

Johnny Hekker is still on the COVID-19 reserve list, which gave Bojorquez the chance to handle all of the Rams’ punts against the Broncos. And he didn’t let the opportunity slip by, kicking the ball extremely well in the preseason finale. His 70-yarder that bounced out at the 1-yard line was one of the best punts you’ll see. He also had a 67-yard punt and another 48-yarder that was downed by the Rams at the 1-yard line, too. The Rams have a tough call to make at punter because Bojorquez is younger and cheaper, and at the point, he might even be better.

Jake Funk may have jumped Xavier Jones as No. 3 RB

Funk didn’t play a single snap against the Broncos, leaving most of the work on Jones’ shoulders. Jones played 53 snaps and had 13 carries for 44 yards, struggling to make a strong impression in the last preseason game. Funk’s lack of playing time is likely a good sign for the rookie. The Rams probably wanted to protect him from injury before the regular season begins, knowing Darrell Henderson Jr. is banged up and Sony Michel is still getting up to speed. McVay said after the second preseason game how impressed he’s been with Funk and it seems likely that he’ll be RB3 behind Henderson and Michel.

Bryce Perkins continues to impress

Perkins didn’t make any big plays through the air against Denver, but he also didn’t make any real mistakes and looked comfortable once again behind the Rams’ backup offensive line. He threw for 250 yards on 23-for-42 passing, adding 50 yards rushing on nine carries. It’s hard to fully evaluate him because he hasn’t played with any of the Rams’ starters, but there’s no reason to think he can’t make it in the NFL, even as a backup. It’s likely that either the Rams will keep him on the 53-man roster or he’ll land with another team on the waiver wire, because he deserves to get a shot with someone. He escaped a few sacks on Saturday night that not many quarterbacks would get out of, turning them into positive plays, too. His athleticism is a real asset at quarterback.

Micah Kiser’s stock is on the decline

Kiser only wound up playing 14 snaps on Saturday but he was playing deep into the game, which is never a good sign for a player who doesn’t yet have a roster spot secured. He played well when he was on the field, but there might be a reason Kiser played the last two preseason games while Kenny Young and Troy Reeder didn’t play a single snap in any of the three games. The linebacker group could come down to either Kiser or Travin Howard being the fourth guy on the depth chart because keeping five inside linebackers isn’t a great use of assets for a team that doesn’t put much value in the position.

Michael Hoecht could be next Morgan Fox

Hoecht had a decent chance to make the 53-man roster already but he improved his odds with a great performance against the Broncos. He blew up a running play with a tackle right at the line of scrimmage, and a little bit later, he had a strip-sack on Drew Lock and recovered the fumble himself. As a defensive end, Hoecht has a shot to replace Morgan Fox as the situational pass rusher up front. Fox would replace Michael Brockers on third downs pretty often as the better pass rusher, and Hoecht could play a similar role behind A’Shawn Robinson – or potentially even be the starter if Robinson is sidelined for a while.

The secondary is loaded

This sounds obvious but it’s worth mentioning again. The Rams’ secondary is very good and will force the coaching staff and front office to make some really difficult decisions. The Broncos threw for 146 yards on Saturday night and scored just 17 points, which is impressive considering Denver scored 30-plus points in its first two preseason games. J.R. Reed, JuJu Hughes, Donte Deayon and Kareem Orr all deserve to make the team but there are only so many spots to go around. Don’t be surprised if multiple Rams defensive backs get claimed off waivers when final cuts are made, especially if Los Angeles can’t find a way to keep Reed, Hughes, Deayon or Orr.

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