What we learned from the Rams’ 19-15 preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders:
Sean Mannion can bounce back
Mannion, the Rams’ backup quarterback, might have become a major concern had he struggled the way he did in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
But Mannion completed 10 of 16 passes for 84 yards, including a 47-yard pass to receiver KhaDarel Hodge.
The fourth-year pro from Oregon State did not start out great. He misfired high on his first pass, and receiver Fred Brown did not help matters by dropping and mishandling several passes.
But Mannion got into a rhythm after connecting with receiver Mike Thomas for a 17-yard gain and a first down.
The pass to Hodge later in the game drew the biggest cheers. The most telling, though, might have been a third-down pass to tight end Johnny Mundt a few plays after the completion to Thomas.
Instead of rushing the throw and trying to jam it into tight coverage, Mannion waited a beat, just enough time for Mundt to get separation, then delivered a catchable ball for a first down.
Offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom is versatile
The third-round pick from TCU started at left tackle and also played right tackle and right guard against the Raiders.
Noteboom has not delivered any highlight-reel pancake blocks, but he could develop into a dependable backup this season while learning from veterans Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein.
It will be interesting to see if coach Sean McVay and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer give Noteboom snaps with the starters against the Houston Texans.
Greg Zuerlein appears ready for the regular season
There were probably some arched eyebrows after Zuerlein missed wide right from 48 yards on his first field-goal attempt in a game since December back surgery.
But Zuerlein came back and kicked field goals from 42 and 28 yards. He also kicked the ball into the end zone for touchbacks.
Zuerlein, the NFL’s leading scorer last season, showed during training camp that he was at full strength. He kicked a 63-yard field goal and made several from more than 50 yards.
Sam Ficken, re-signed as an insurance policy in case Zuerlein was slow to recover or ineffective, kicked two field goals against the Raiders.
Defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks does not need stars around him to produce
With Michael Brockers and Ndamukong Suh sitting out – and Aaron Donald still a holdout -- Westbrooks once again provided a veteran playmaking presence for a young defensive line.
Westbrooks had two sacks in the preseason opener against the Ravens. He followed that with a sack, forced fumble and quarterback hurry against the Raiders.
Westbrooks, a fifth-year pro, started nine games last season and recorded a career-best four sacks.
Linebackers Bryce Hager and Ramik Wilson can be solid backups
Veteran Mark Barron probably won’t play a preseason snap. Cory Littleton, a new starter and defensive signal caller, might play this week against the Houston Texans.
Fourth-year pros Hager and Wilson started against the Raiders and showed again they can provide depth at inside linebacker.
Hager made a team-best four tackles, including one for a loss, and recovered a fumble to set up a field goal.
Wilson, signed as a free agent after three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, recovered a fumble and returned it 16 yards to set up a touchdown.