–Jolly building stamina, coming on strong: DE Johnny Jolly continued his bid for a roster spot, after a three-year absence from the game, with a high-impact performance.
Jolly was involved in two interceptions. On the first, he reached up and deflected the pass at the line of scrimmage, and CB Jarrett Bush snagged the pick. In Jolly’s last season, 2009, he set a team record for batting passes at the line and it appears the knack hasn’t left him.
“It’s basically getting as much push as you can on a play, because every time you aren’t going to be able to get a sack,” Jolly said. “Then you just watch the quarterback and get as much push as you can.”
The second interception was actually Jolly’s. Dropping off the line into zone coverage, he picked off a pass at the goal line that was deflected by CB Loyce Means, who had good coverage on a slant route.
Jolly also appeared to get some decent pressure up the middle on a couple of snaps, and he said his conditioning is starting to come around. Combine that with his instincts, and he seems to be returning to his prior form on the field, slowly but surely. The press box statistics credited Jolly with two tackles.
“My legs are getting back up under me a little bit,” he said. “I watched a lot of film on which way they were sliding, who was getting the one-on-one, who was getting the doubles.
“I’ve got a ways to go. I’ve just got to keep working hard. I’m just doing what the coaches put me out there to do.”
–Hyde bounces back: Rookie CB Micah Hyde has been a daily playmaker in training camp, but he showed another trait that isn’t always automatic with rookies – the ability to recover.
On the first play of the Rams’ second possession, Hyde was beaten deep by WR Chris Givens and gave up a 57-yard reception, setting up first-and-goal on the 4. But he shook off the early miscue and came back to put together a strong game that included a team-high five tackles, two of them behind the line (including one sack), plus two passes defensed and even a 13-yard punt return in his first crack at that duty.
“Corners have to have a short memory,” Hyde said. “My defense did a good job of keeping my head in the game. After that play, they said forget about it. Now you have to come back. We lost that play, keep going, and we got the stop, which was real good as a defense.”
Hyde played a big part in getting that goal-line stop, as he tackled WR Tavon Austin at the 2-yard line after just a 1-yard reception on second-and-goal. Hyde was the only one in position to stop Austin short of the goal line, and he stood up the small wideout and didn’t let him get away.
In the second half, Hyde – who started the game and may have played more snaps on defense than any other player – was turned loose on a couple of corner blitzes and made the Rams pay. He got one sack and had another big hit just as the ball was released.
“It’s awesome. We never blitzed that much in college,” he said. “This is fantasy.”
–Undrafted rookies, big moments: Like Hyde, OLB Andy Mulumba posted two tackles for loss, one on a running play late in the second quarter and another on a sack in the third quarter.
An undrafted rookie from Eastern Michigan, Mulumba not only is putting himself in position to make the final roster, he could end up the No. 3 outside linebacker – behind starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry – by the time the preseason is over.
Another undrafted rookie, TE Jake Stoneburner turned in a couple of memorable moments. He made a nifty grab for a 9-yard TD from QB B.J. Coleman in the fourth quarter, coming back to the ball as Coleman scrambled to get the catch. He also recovered the Rams’ onside kick in the final minute of the game after St. Louis had finally scored.
–Injury update: The only injury Head Coach Mike McCarthy mentioned from the game was an arm injury to TE Matthew Mulligan.
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