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Thread: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

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    Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    Week Four: Post-Game Observations
    By Nick
    10/2/11

    Well, look. How many different ways can you say it?

    The Rams are not a good football team.

    Iíll name a variety of reasons why thatís the case, but if you watched the game on Sunday, you saw them plain as day for yourself. You canít just blame it on injuries anymore, because Steven Jackson returned to the line-up this week. That should have provided a big spark for the offense, and while offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels fed Jackson the ball four straight times to start the game, #39ís overall impact was minimal. Jackson finished the day with 45 yards on 17 carries, a pitiful 2.6 yards per carry average. He tied for the lead in catches with four, including the Ramsí lone touchdown of the day. But his reintroduction into the offense did not right a ship that is clearly heading the wrong direction.

    Rams fans who watched all four quarters of Sundayís contest had to feel sorry for quarterback Sam Bradford. The Fox commentating crew made it a point to illustrate how Bradford is the most pressured quarterback in the league through three games, factoring in quarterback pressures, hits, and sacks. Today would be no different. Jim Haslettís 3-4 defense finished the game with six sacks, including a forced fumble that the Redskins would recover. Brian Orakpo had the kind of game that wins a weekly award, racking up two-and-a-half of those sacks by himself.

    While the Redskins have shown the ability to get after the passer this year, thereís no reason that, in one game, they should nearly match the number of sacks theyíve accumulated in the previous three. But such is the state of the Ramsí offensive line, which was downright offensive today. Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith were regularly struggling with their men, too slow to contain the edge on the line. Saffold had a particularly rough day, as he was called for a false start and two holding penalties. Fans worried that a new offensive system might cause Bradford to slump in his sophomore year, but Saffold seems to be the one who has declined in 2011. The protection up the middle was not much better, as linemen were in Samís face for most of the game. It would have helped had the Rams had some semblance of a running game to balance things out, but there were few holes today aside from some open lanes early on for runs out of the shotgun.

    If there was a problem area that eclipsed protection though, it was the viral case of the drops. Mike Sims-Walker dropped two if not three catchable balls today, Lance Kendricks had his share of struggles, Danario Alexander let a pass go through his hands on the sidelines, and Michael Hoomanawanui had a bad drop up the seam. Brandon Gibson brought in a quick pass but almost bobbled it as well; it would be his only reception of the day. The only receiver who really stood out as displaying relatively sure hands wasÖ drumrollÖ Austin Pettis! Donít ask him to make a fair catch on a punt return, though. Apparently the Ramsí new special teams strategy on returns is to allow your return man to get creamed so you can gain 15 yards on the personal foul. Sadly, those gains would be among the Ramsí longest of the day.

    I donít know what it is about this receiving group that causes them to not catch passes. I mean, itís kind of their job, right? But they perform so miserably at it. Letís be clear Ė these guys are professionals, and they shouldnít have to be taught these kinds of fundamental issues at this point in their careers. Even rookies should know how to catch the ball, an area that prior to today was eluding them a little bit (mostly in Greg Salasí case). But when these issues exist on a regular basis, when they show up week in and week out, shouldnít the coaching staff be held accountable for not correcting them during the practice week?

    Letís move on from the offense for a moment and focus on the defense. To the Ramsí credit, they came into todayís game allowing 32 points per game, which put them second to last in the entire league, but allowed only 17 points, fewer than Washington has averaged through three games. The Ramsí defense also deserves credit for hanging in there in the second half, intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter, forcing a three-and-out, intercepting another Grossman pass, and then forcing another three-and-out deep in Washington territory. With the game on the line, these guys stepped up and gave the offense another chance.

    Unfortunately, for the majority of the game prior to this small window, the Ramsí defense looked rather pedestrian. Washington had little trouble running against the Rams, gaining 194 yards with their top three running backs at an average of 5.5 yards per carry. For as pressured as their quarterback was on the day, the Rams did not come away with a single sack and often required extra rushers in order for Sexy Rexy to even feel the heat of a pass rush. The Redskins did a good job rolling Grossman outside of the pocket, where he found more than his fair share of holes in zone coverage that he could pick on. His pass to Santana Moss on the endzone out route was perfectly placed so that Justin King had no choice but to watch it happen like the rest of us.

    And while Grossman did throw the two interceptions, the Rams continued to shoot themselves on the foot by failing to capitalize on them. Whether it was penalties, sacks, dropped passes, or overthrown balls, the Ramsí offensive unit could not take advantage of the few opportunities they were given in the final minutes to come away with a win.

    The Rams now enter their bye week with a lot of questions. After a disastrous 0-3 start, this was really a must-win game for St. Louis. This game against Washington appeared to be the most winnable of their first seven games. Because the team weíve seen for a month now is not going to go on the road and take down Dallas, Green Bay, or New Orleans at home in a dome. Theyíll need some major soul searching and improvement in order to get that done. Do they have it in them?

    It starts at the top with the head coach. Fans are beginning to lose patience with Steve Spagnuolo, and itís hard to completely discount his role in this. These are the players he selected. Rather than make a move to try and get a top young receiver in the draft or a veteran in free agency, rather than make a play for a big time outside linebacker, the Rams settled for mid-to-low tier options and are seeing the results. Simply spending your way to success isnít the answer, or else this team would be fielding one of the best offensive lines in the league. But itís clear that, in Year Three of the Spagnuolo era, this team still lacks a certain amount of talent and quite a bit of depth. The margin for error with this Rams team remains thin, and so far, theyíve been making too many mistakes to even worry about it.

    So now, in the face of a bye week, the Rams have to take a deep look at themselves and see what the issue is. They need to fix their drops. They need to fix their protection. They need to fix their run defense and their coverage breakdowns. They need to work on special teams returns. This is all just from an execution standpoint. The coaches have work to do as well, in terms of putting these players in the best position to succeed. Looking at the Rams through four weeks, not only are they not succeeding, but theyíre regressing from last seasonís near-playoff organization.

    Theyíre going to be busy this week.
    jkramsfan, viper, rNemesis and 2 others like this.


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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    This is a game I thought for sure we would win. Our offense is offensive for sure!

    Nick, You mentioned that Grossman was rolling out and finding open receivers. Hmmmmm isn't that what Bradford was very good at last season? Hello Mr. McDaniels.......????

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    We need to focus on catching, OL pass protection, and red zone efficiency on offense, that's for sure. Can you imagine how much better we would be if we could somehow, just somehow do those things? That being said, I am so sick of hearing this stuff! DX dropped a sure TD, MSW dropped 3 passes including a sure TD, SJax got stuffed, Kendricks dropped a sureTD, the OL cant pass or run block so the former has Sam scrambling, and getting sacked, hit, and hurried. ITS JUST PATHETIC and quite frankly,GETTING OLD! Oh, and by the way laram0, why did you think this was a game we would win for sure? Has our play recently factored into your thought? Explain...

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    Also, with regard to the defense, I think were OK.. But King, Dahl, Leber, Poppinga, and Stewart scare me. Especially Dahl and Stewart. They just simply cannot cover good enough, horrible ball skills, and average speed

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    Steve Loney needs to go ....this line looks back and is under-achieving. There are lines that dominate the ball with less talents, see NYGiants.

    It pretty safe to say that the 2nd half of the season will be an audition for you stays and who goes for good, coaches included.

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    Quote Originally Posted by richtree View Post
    Steve Loney needs to go ....this line looks back and is under-achieving. There are lines that dominate the ball with less talents, see NYGiants.

    It pretty safe to say that the 2nd half of the season will be an audition for you stays and who goes for good, coaches included.
    Look what the Raiders have managed to do with their O-Line.! The Raiders lost their best lineman also, yet have still managed to play very well. DeSpags made it a priority three seasons ago to build the teams from the lines out. I think its very clear now just how poor their talent evaluation has been, all over the roster.?

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    I would like to give the gameball today to Austin Pettis. I question his choice of not taking fair catches, but he took some big hits and got up and was the only guy with relatively sure hands on the offense. I can't remember a drop of his, and he had some key catches to move the chains

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    You manage to put a fine point on everything, Nick. At the end of the next 3 game stretch, the Rams are most likely look exacty like, or worse, than the Rams of 08. Green Bay, unless they take pity on us, is going to beat us by at least 30 points. Dallas will easily beat us by 14 points. New Orleans could also beat us by 3 touchdowns, at least. At the end of this stretch, the Rams are likely to be beaten down and utterly demoralized. Even Seattle is looking like they could whip the Rams at this point.

    Heads need to roll, because once again a season is over after just a few weeks. A team cannot regress in such a disasterous manner and have the HC survive the implosion. I think it is becoming increasingly clear that the job of HC is beyond Spag's ability. I have never, before this week, said anything negative about Spags. Yet, I cannot think of how a team can regress in such a manner if Spags is coaching even moderately effective. Spags is part, if not a big part of the problem.

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    "I think it is becoming increasingly clear that the job of HC is beyond Spag's ability. I have never, before this week, said anything negative about Spags. Yet, I cannot think of how a team can regress in such a manner if Spags is coaching even moderately effective. Spags is part, if not a big part of the problem. "

    The same thing was said about Linehan over and over. Last year we played an easy schedule that made the Rams look better than they really were. Expectations were clearly way too high coming into the season. Spags went from decent to horrible over the course of the off season? It's the players. They're not that good overall.

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    Re: Week Four: Post-Game Observations

    Quote Originally Posted by mh-i View Post
    It's the players. They're not that good overall.
    I am really starting to believe this. You can only coach; if the guys cant make the plays, THEY suck!!!

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