Week Six: Post-Game Observations
Week Six: Post-Game Observations
Remember Bill Murrayís Groundhog Day? When Phil the weather man is forced to relive the same day over and over again? Thatís how I feel when I sit down in front of my television or computer for another Rams game. Different week, same problems.
Now Iíll be the first to admit that I chose not to suffer through a full four quarters of football this week. Instead, I opted to turn the Rams off and begin preparing for the season one marathon of AMCís The Walking Dead, in preparation for the season two premiere Sunday night. But I feel confident in offering up some thoughts on the Ramsí Week Six loss to the Packers, as like the previous weeks before, it seems as if itís the same issues over and over again.
Thatís not to say the Rams arenít making any improvements. If you would have told me after the Ravens game that the Rams were going to hold the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to 24 points, Iím not sure I would have believed you. Having not watched the second half, Iím wondering how heavy the Packersí collective foot was on the gas pedal. But holding them to their lowest offensive final score of the year, when they averaged nearly 35 points coming into this game, is something to be proud of. If you believe in moral victories.
Unfortunately, if the Rams continue playing the way they have been, moral victories are the only kind that they are going to achieve. Sam Bradford was better protected than he was against Washington, but still absorbed too many hits. The news on Monday is that he suffered a high ankle sprain on the final offensive play of the game Ė nevermind why he was still on the field at that point Ė and is considered day to day. Bradford improved his play on Sunday, but still has some work to do. His interception on the fade pass to Danario Alexander was simply awful any way you slice it, and he still held onto the ball too long in some situations.
Sam did get a little more help in this contest, as Alexander was given a heavier workload, Greg Salas remerged from receiver purgatory with a nice effort, and Lance Kendricks showed some of the skills that made him a second round pick. Steven Jackson was also back at 100%, with a 22 touch 125-yard workload. The Ramsí problem really was not moving the ball across the field; it was getting it into the endzone. The Rams havenít even broken a combined 50-points for all of their games this season, and the three points on Sunday was their lowest outing yet. This for a team that made it an offseason priority to add size to their offense so they can improve inside the twenty yard line.
Of course, itís hard to improve offensively when your line has severely regressed. The play of the two young offensive tackles continues to be baffling, so much so that I wonder if Pat Shurmurís short passing game last year was as much to protect Roger Saffold and Jason Smith as it was Sam Bradford. These two just donít look like they have it together. Penalized a combined four times with three false starts, this combo had fans wondering if Alex Barron had taken a coaching position in St. Louis over the bye week. Simply put, what many fans may have considered a strength coming into this year now appears to be a major weakness. And itís not as if the Rams have been incredibly successful finding long-term answers at the tackle position.
Defensively, what else can you say? Aaron Rodgers boasted a near perfect QB rating in the first half and had little trouble carving up the Ramsí secondary. Jordy Nelsonís 93-yard touchdown reception was an embarrassing moment for once great corner Al Harris, as he simply bit too hard into the backfield and never had much of a chance to recover. Justin King kept up his streak of allowing a touchdown pass, this time to James Jones.
There probably arenít many teams who can lose three of their four top corners and come out smelling like daisies, but the Rams are certainly showing how thin they currently are at the position. Neither King nor Harris have any business seeing major time as starters, but thatís the role theyíve been thrust into. The fact that Rod Hood still hasnít made it on the field to even contribute is troubling, since the main advantage he brought was familiarity with Steve Spagnuoloís defensive scheme. Iím not sure I can even name the DBs the Rams have behind their starters at this point.
One way the Rams could help out a questionable-at-best secondary is by improving their pass rush, but they managed just one sack against Rodgers all day, and it was from situational player Gary Gibson. With a reserve offensive lineman protecting Rodgersís blind side, this would have been the perfect opportunity for the Ramsí defensive ends to make a statement to future opponents Ė despite the record, weíre still a unit to be feared. Rodgers showed no fear on Sunday, escaping what little pressure the Rams provided so he could make plays for his team.
Itís as simple as this Ė the players and coaching staff are accountable for the product on the field. When a team makes the same careless mistakes over and over again, then the scrutiny increases. Feeling the pressure, the Rams benched Ben Leber and Mike Sims-Walker coming into this game, then on Monday, made a move to bring Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd into the fold. The move certainly has some merit given Lloydís production in McDanielsís offense last year, but a player who has been largely mediocre for his entire career is not going to provide significant salvation for a team with so many holes to plug.
At this point, the Rams' front office and coaching staff have picked the ingredients. They've turned this roster over and these are the guys they've decided to go with. While the players have certainly been a disappointment, itís time for the coaching staff to do their best Iron Chef impression and make a workable dish out of them.
Re: Week Six: Post-Game Observations
Dinner? Umm, I don't think
that's going to work for me.
As they continue walking, Phil steps into what looks like a
shallow puddle and ends up ankle deep in wet slush. Ned laughs
like a donkey.
Hey, look out for that first
step! It's a doozy!
Phil looks at him with murderous contempt.