INGLEWOOD (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Rams and the Las Vegas Raiders had already squared off a couple of times this week before they played a preseason game at SoFi Stadium. By the time the two teams hit the field in Inglewood in front of over 68,000 people (68, 834 is the number of tickets distributed for the game), familiarity had already set in.
As a result, both offenses, led by backups, shined at times and looked unpolished at others. For the Rams, getting a full view of what Bryce Perkins can do at the quarterback position in real-time speed, turned into a positive for the second-year player from the University of Virginia.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Perkins, who signed a free-agent contract with the Rams was not afforded a real training camp last season. He spent a lot of time on the team’s practice squad in 2020, learning the ropes of the trade. In year No. 2, Perkins is still learning how to play quarterback in the NFL.
Thanks to actual real-speed practice in training camp this summer, Perkins has improved his game. Even though he is far from being the polished gunslinger that Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is, Perkins has his own dimensions that make him dangerous in the pocket.
For one, at 6-foot-3, Perkins is big on the stature side. He has a strong arm. And he definitely has the legs that move the needle about his dual-threat capabilities. For the past two weeks, Rams fans have been presented with a good introduction to Perkins against the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Raiders.
In limited action, Perkins completed 70 percent of his passes against the Chargers, including tossing a short touchdown pass. Against the Raiders, Rams coach Sean McVay gave Perkins the entire ship to direct. From the start of the game until the clock ticked down to zero, Perkins ran the Rams offense in the team’s 17-16 defeat to Las Vegas.
Playing Perkins the entire game was not the way McVay had scripted.
“It wasn’t really,” McVay remarked. “I think just based on the flow of the game, there was just some different opportunities. You want him to be able to respond back from the interception. He kind of got some good momentum. You wanted him to start the second half. So that wasn’t necessarily the plan. We just kind of had a feel for it during the course of the game, wanted to give him that opportunity. And we’ll see what that looks like for next week.”
With a full game under his belt, Perkins was impressive. He was poised in the pocket. He used his legs when he needed to keep the chains moving. He also looked like he had command of the Rams offense. For the game, Perkins completed 26 of 39 passes (66 percent) and passed for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought (QB) Bryce Perkins, unbelievable job, really able to battle throughout,” McVay said. “The fourth down, being able to move the sticks with his legs and giving us the chance at the end. Was really pleased with a lot of guys. I thought our guys showed toughness tonight. I thought they continued to fight. There was a lot of adversity, probably too many flags for our liking, but all things that we can learn from.”
Because of his mobility, Perkins was able to get himself out of harm’s way on several occasions, using his strenth to stiff -arm defenders. When he wasn’t sitting in the pocket looking downfield for an open receiver, Perkins would tuck it and make a dash for positive yardage on the ground (9 carries, 41 yards).
He did have one mistake, a ball that got away from him that floated into a Las Vegas defender’s hands for an interception. Other than that, Perkins thought he did okay.
“It was pretty solid. Love to clean up some of the mistakes I had early on and throughout the game, but (head) coach (Sean McVay) did a great job of… coaches and the players really kind of put it on ourselves to kind of look past the mistakes,” Perkins said in a postgame press conference.
“Mistakes happen and we did a great job of next play mentality and just came up short,” Peerkins added. “But a lot of those early mistakes can prevent that situation from happening. But lots to learn from. A lot of good, lot to learn, lot of bad…not a lot of bad but some things to fix up here and we’ll be in good shape.”
Perkins’ two touchdowns came in the second and fourth quarters. On a drive in the second period, Perkins used a flick of the wrist to toss a nine-yard scoring toss to tight end Kendall Blanton. With his team down a score late in the final quarter, Perkins connected with Jacob Harris for a two-yard touchdown.
After a pretty good day at the office, Perkins, who sits third on the team’s depth chart behind Stafford and No. 2 John Wolford, said there are some things he can get better at.
“Sometimes I get hung up on that first read and also kind of just leaving early,” Perkins said. “Got to clean up the trying to escape too quick without… The line did a great job tonight and a couple of those plays where I escaped I could have stayed in and kind of read through the progression. So things like that. And just clean up protection. Being faster, faster, faster, so we’re not too down on the play clock like we were on some of the plays.”
Featured Image Caption: Aug. 21, 2021. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins (16) makes a dash on the ground to move the chains. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline