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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Random Thoughts from Week One

    -This was a winnable game, and the Rams almost won it. Cardinals were down a major player on offense (Wells) and played a quarterback still trying to get some chemistry with his receivers. The Rams put up a fight and didn’t roll over. Even though the result was a loss, that’s something good to take away from today.

    -Sam Bradford is a rookie. There were some rough moments, as you’d expect. But there were also some flashes to be excited about. You want to see better decisions on those first two interceptions as well as some more downfield passing when a first down is on the line, but I think he gets there with more experience. Many of his passes were well thrown, and the touchdown that ended the first half had everyone energized. He had a better day than his stat line would indicate, and hopefully he learns from today’s mistakes.

    -Steven Jackson looked like he was ready to play; unfortunately, he didn’t get much help from the line in front of him. I wasn’t very impressed at all by the offensive line today, and while I thought they did a better job in pass protection than they did opening up holes for Jackson, neither aspect of their game struck me as satisfactory. Bradford was sacked twice but hit quite a bit more often than that. Jackson often did not have much running room. Many Rams fans felt this unit would be a strength in 2010. So far, I think they’re letting the fans down.

    -Mark Clayton is what reasonable people expected whenever he was traded to this team – a guy who can make plays but has some consistency problems. Clayton had a number of very nice catches, but he also had at least two drops that were big missed opportunities for this team. Still, he stepped in immediately on the outside, and had a solid first game for this team considering when he joined.

    -Hopefully Clayton continues to improve, because the other receivers don’t offer that much. Amendola made some nice plays, specifically taking a crossing pattern for a big gain. But Robinson was inconsistent at best, Gibson must be in the doghouse to not even be activated, and Gilyard didn’t have a catch despite being on the field a decent amount due to Amendola and Robinson getting nicked up.

    -I think we need to be careful when evaluating this defense. For most of the game, the Rams did a nice job bottling up a Cardinals running game that was without their best (arguably) runner. But Arizona still managed 112 yards on 21 carries (5.3 yards per pop). Most of it came on a single second quarter drive where the Cardinals ran four times for 75 yards, but you’ve still got to be able to stop those plays from happening. Despite only two sacks, the pass rush looked somewhat improved and the Rams hit Anderson quite a few times. It remains to be seen if perceived defensive improvements were more from a downgraded Cardinals offense or an upgraded Rams defense. Only time will tell. There were a couple of missed opportunities on defense, especially capitalizing on turnover opportunities.

    -Finally, let’s talk about the coaching. First and foremost, the run/pass ratio. The Rams ran 24 total rushing plays to 57 passing plays (including the two sacks). I think the Rams’ decision to throw the ball as much as they did right out of the gate was due to a number of factors. Primarily, I think they wanted to come out and show they weren’t going to coddle their rookie passer. In part, it was a message to the league – if you leave it open, we will let Sam pass on you. But I also think they probably recognized the line wasn’t getting much going in the running game, and a short pass was essentially the same as a successful run. But let’s be honest – 55 pass attempts (57 total with sacks included) is just way too much, let alone for a rookie quarterback. Another concerning aspect of the offense that is a flashback from 2009 is the lack of downfield passing. One could argue that downfield passing requires receivers to get open, and maybe a closer look at the tape shows they weren’t. But a 4.6 yards-per-attempt average – lower than any 2009 Rams quarterback – is not going to get it done this season. Too many times on third down, the completion was to a target that was 3-4 yards short of the marker. Hopefully Shurmur opens things up as the season progresses, but I feel like fans held out that hope last season as well. Maybe this year, as Bradford gets more comfortable, we’ll actually see some change in that regard.

    -The biggest issue with the coaching, however, clearly came at the end of the game, where the Rams displayed some pretty awful clock management on their final drive. At their own 47-yard line, Bradford completed a first down pass to Daniel Fells, and the coaching staff inexplicably did not use one of their two remaining time outs and let the clock run as the offense set up for another play. This cost the offense anywhere from 10-15 seconds, a significant amount of time when you have less than 40 seconds left. The announcers crucified Spagnuolo and company for this, and I’d have to agree with them. The Rams were down by four, and didn’t need to save a time out for the field goal unit because a field goal does them no good. Use the time out there, regroup, and proceed on the drive. I don’t think we’ll ever know if any of the “What if?” playcalling scenarios would have been successful, but it’s hard to believe the Rams wouldn’t have been in a better position had they used their second timeout after the Fells reception.

    -Looking ahead, the game at Oakland should be winnable, if the Rams can improve upon some things they did this week. The Tennessee Titans defense sacked Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell four times, and held the Raiders to 106 offensive yards in the first half. Oakland has some weapons, but they’re also trying to find their way with some new/young personnel. The Titans rushed for 205 yards on the ground at 5.3 yards per carry. Could Steven Jackson and the Rams’ running game get back on track next week? We shall see, but there’s certainly no reason to think that the Rams stand no chance in their first road game of the season.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Random Thoughts from Week One

    The Raiders won't be a sure win in the Black Hole! The Raiders ran into Chris "Every Coaches Dream" Johnson today, who scored 3 TDs. Mike Bell didn't play and Darren McFadden will give the Rams defense fits, especially if they couldn't stop the Cardinals RBs. It'll be the Raiders home openner and its sure to get rowdy. Today could have done alot to instill confidence going into Oakland. BTW, SPAGS is 1-16, notice a trend?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Random Thoughts from Week One

    Nice post good thoughts when some people think the sky is falling

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts from Week One

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    The Raiders won't be a sure win in the Black Hole!
    I said the game was winnable, not that it was a sure win.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Random Thoughts from Week One

    Great analysis ... pretty spot on.
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  6. #6
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts from Week One

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I said the game was winnable, not that it was a sure win.
    Concur! On that note , it's fine time, Spags and the Rams start to develope that winning attitude. Expect to Win rather than settling for the lessor. Opportunity ~ "Grab it in the day , Grab it in the night, You've got to snatch and Grab it!"
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