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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Here's a newsflash.

    Those of us who think Linehan should go are well aware of the injuries. We are well aware that the team's fortunes have been impacted greatly by injuries. To put it bluntly, we are not morons. We know that injuries have hurt the team.

    But that's not the point.

    As I've shouted from the rooftops, figuratively speaking, the problems go beyond injuries. Scott Linehan has demonstrated time and again that he does not adjust in game situations. The numbers bear this out, and you can't gloss over it with "we're not deep, so the team gets tired" or "we've had key injuries during games." Its just too much of a trend now to overcome with those suggestions.

    You know what the problem is here? There is simply no system.

    People use the term "system QB" or "sytem player" as a negative. Its a way of saying that a player is not really that good, but can succeed in a particular system.

    We used to have a "system" like that under Mike Martz. Its what made a former Arena League QB in to an MVP, and a sixth round draft choice into a Pro Bowl QB (or did you really think that was just our luck to find two gems in the rockpile?). Its what is making guys like Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald into fantasy-geek favorites in Detroit. Sure, the league probably caught up with the Martz method to an extent (and its hardly perfect), but for a while, we had Camelot.

    And its not just on offense. Remember when the Patriots defense continued to succeed even when the team was down to a WR (Troy Brown) starting at CB? That's a system.

    Its an approach that allows a team to have success even when it lacks all its best players.

    Its what we're missing today.

    What is Linehan's system. Forget defense for the moment. Just focus on the offense. Is Linehan a running coach? West Coast offense? Modified Pro-Set with an Al Davis twist? What are we?

    When we hired Linehan, he was described as the man with a plan.

    What's the plan?

    The injuries are the harsh reality of this year. I can deal with the fact that the injuries are doing us in.

    What I can't deal with is the thought that we'll be healthy some day and Linehan still won't have a plan. Still won't have a system. Still won't have the ability to keep us ahead of the competition.

    That I can't deal with.


  2. #2
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    I agree. Take the Seattle Game. We can not punch it in when we need to. And we kill the deciding chance. We needed a trick throw or a corner shot. It's not right. We had them for the kill at home of all places?
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  3. #3
    renrawtruk is offline Registered User
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    wait, you mean an end-around is not a system?

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Interesting and well-written article. But let me ask you, did the system suddenly just disappear into thin air?

    Because last season, Marc Bulger threw for a career high 4,301 yards and 24 TDs with a QB rating of 92.9. Steven Jackson broke out into a star by leading the league and ranking fifth all time in all-purpose yards. Both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark.

    I simply have a hard time believing they did all this without a capable system or in spite of a poor one. It would seem to me that we were able to achieve quite a bit of offensive efficiency in Linehan's system last year when we weren't ravaged by all of these injuries. Now we're practically fielding a new offensive line every week with skill position players in and out of the line-up, and the system is failing. Is that really all that surprising?

    I would agree that, should Linehan come back next year and he can't make his plan work with a healthier team, then that's going to be a big, big problem. But the results of last season lead me to believe that there is something here that can work when we have the players to execute it.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Interesting and well-written article. But let me ask you, did the system suddenly just disappear into thin air?

    Because last season, Marc Bulger threw for a career high 4,301 yards and 24 TDs with a QB rating of 92.9. Steven Jackson broke out into a star by leading the league and ranking fifth all time in all-purpose yards. Both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark.

    I simply have a hard time believing they did all this without a capable system or in spite of a poor one. It would seem to me that we were able to achieve quite a bit of offensive efficiency in Linehan's system last year when we weren't ravaged by all of these injuries. Now we're practically fielding a new offensive line every week with skill position players in and out of the line-up, and the system is failing. Is that really all that surprising?

    I would agree that, should Linehan come back next year and he can't make his plan work with a healthier team, then that's going to be a big, big problem. But the results of last season lead me to believe that there is something here that can work when we have the players to execute it.
    This would represent my position on the issues at hand. Well written article AV, but I can't identify with its premise.

    The weight of statisitical evidence, more than anything else, would point to a system that toward the end of last season was really starting to click. As Nick attests, Bulger enjoyed his best season and Jackson profited to such an extent that he took his place in the pro-bowl by right and had started to talk of topping 2500 all -purpose yardage. Turnovers were low, red-zone efficiency was high (8th in the league), Torry topped a 1000 yards, Klopf had shown progress, and our young linemen had looked like they were gelling into a fiery young unit.

    If we place that season in the context of Linehan's previous offensive units which were famed for their productivity, then I feel that there is a track record of achievment which points to a system.

    On that basis, a rash of injuries and Linehans current struggles cannot be entirely unrelated.

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Interesting and well-written article. But let me ask you, did the system suddenly just disappear into thin air?

    Because last season, Marc Bulger threw for a career high 4,301 yards and 24 TDs with a QB rating of 92.9. Steven Jackson broke out into a star by leading the league and ranking fifth all time in all-purpose yards. Both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark.
    While those aggregate numbers do look good, if you look at the games individually, you'll see very uneven performances from the Rams offense. They had some very big games (particularly at the end of the year) and some games in which the offensive production was very poor.

    In particular, I note that the Rams' scoring average was fairly low given the yardage output and, more importantly, the turnover ratio.

    All that said, I would attribute the offense's success more to the fact that it was anchored by extremely talented skill position players, rather than a particular system.

  7. #7
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    ...Did the system suddenly just disappear into thin air?

    Because last season, Marc Bulger threw for a career high 4,301 yards and 24 TDs with a QB rating of 92.9. Steven Jackson broke out into a star by leading the league and ranking fifth all time in all-purpose yards. Both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark.

    I simply have a hard time believing they did all this without a capable system or in spite of a poor one. It would seem to me that we were able to achieve quite a bit of offensive efficiency in Linehan's system last year when we weren't ravaged by all of these injuries. Now we're practically fielding a new offensive line every week with skill position players in and out of the line-up, and the system is failing. Is that really all that surprising?

    ...The results of last season lead me to believe that there is something here that can work when we have the players to execute it.

    A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y! I concur 100% with this factual observation. No doubt the Rams offense players struggled at first to get 'the feel' before becoming productive but as Nick pointed out -- well justified I might add -- the accomplishments of our main players are directly related to the system.

    ...And not only as a result of their individual talent. Which simply makes me reject the idea that their achievements were mostly based on their skills and merits:

    I would attribute the offense's success more to the fact that it was anchored by extremely talented skill position players, rather than a particular system. -- AvengerRam
    No, no, no -- I don't think so.
    Last edited by RealRam; -11-29-2007 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Typing, typos!

  8. #8
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Sorry, but the notion that Linehan had a substantial positive impact on the offense in 2006 is a myth.

    All you need to do is look at the Rams' offensive output from 2005 - a year in which the team was in a state of flux between the Mike Martz regime and the temporary elevation of Joe Vitt - and 2006.

    Start with total yards. In 2005, the Rams' offense had 348.2 yards per game. In 2006, that increased to 360.4 yards per game. That's an increase of 12.2 yards per game, which notable, but not earth shattering.

    The next stat to look at is turnover ratio. In 2005, the Rams had an abysmal ratio of -14. In 2006, that improved to +12.

    Now, it would be fair to say that Linehan should get credit for significantly lowering the "giveaway" number from 2005 to 2006 (though, in 2007, its on pace to equal the 2005 total). But, given the increase in yardage coupled with the vast improvement of the turnover ratio, you'd expect a marked improvement in the most important offensive category: points.

    Well, you'd be wrong. In 2005, the offense scored 22.3 points per game (note that I deducted from the total points scored 6 points scored on a defensive TD). In 2006, the offense scored 22.2 points per game (deducting 12 points for 2 defensive TDs).

    I find it incredible that a team could improve its yards/game by 12.2 yards, improve its turnover ratio by a total of +26, and yet score fewer points!

    So maybe that's the "system"... Move the ball and don't score.

    Not a very good system if you ask me.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -11-28-2007 at 07:23 PM.

  9. #9
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    While those aggregate numbers do look good, if you look at the games individually, you'll see very uneven performances from the Rams offense. They had some very big games (particularly at the end of the year) and some games in which the offensive production was very poor.
    Fair points. It's true in that it took our offense a few weeks to get off the ground and there was some mid-season inefficiency. Obviously you can't precisely measure this, but I'd be curious to know how much actually learning and getting used to the new offensive system played in that slow start.

    Additionally, I suspect a lot of teams simply have some games where they for whatever reason don't perform at a level they're capable of or always as efficiently as they'd like. One needs to look back no further than two weeks ago when Indianapolis needed a last second field goal to beat Kansas City 13-10 at home.

    And to be fair, one can't be objective about this without pointing out that the offense seemed to get even more potent when Olson was promoted to game-day playcaller. What that means for the future of the team, I'm not sure. Olson didn't really wow me this year, nor did he seem to wow anyone at Rams Park since those responsibilities were revoked.

    I think even though he's made mistakes as well, Linehan has done a better job as playcaller since he took over, but I wonder if this team wouldn't be better off having someone else that role. Obviously Linehan would remain closely involved in the weekly preparation and shaping the gameplan itself, but not having those duties on game day may allow him to focus more on being an actual head coach. I recall many had a similar criticism of Mike Martz when he was here.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    In particular, I note that the Rams' scoring average was fairly low given the yardage output and, more importantly, the turnover ratio.
    I'm not sure I agree with "fairly low." Pittsburgh averaged three fewer yards per game than we did last year and had a similar points per game average. New Orleans averaged more than thirty yards per game more than we did, and only averaged three more points per game. Indianapolis averaged nearly twenty more yards per game with less than four more points per game on average.

    Compared to other teams, I would say our points per game output when compared to the yards we achieved was about on par.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    So maybe that's the "system"... Move the ball and don't score.
    I don't think that's a fair conclusion to draw. Offensive scoring may not have improved upon the previous year, but the Rams still scored more points than 22 other teams in the league. To describe that offense as one that moves the ball but doesn't score seems rather inaccurate to me, especially when you consider the team's efficiency in the red zone as referenced by Fat Pang.
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  10. #10
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    I'm not saying 22 points a game is horrible. Heck, I'd love it if this year's team was averaging 22 points a game. My point was, with the improvement from '05 to '06 in both yardage and turnovers, you'd expect an improvement in scoring. The fact that there was, in fact, a slight decrease, suggests to me that the offense was not performing as well as it should have been.

  11. #11
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Oh, for cryin' out loud.

    Stats can be used to tell whatever story YOU want to tell. Av, you're trying to take a handful of stats and make a comparison from one year to the next in a weak attempt to discredit anything Linehan has done.

    There are too many variables to make a clear cut analysis that indicates that Linehan's offense is a "move the ball but don't score" system. That's nonsense. For example, did we play the exact same schedule both years? Did we have exactly the same players both years? Was there ANY circumstances during any of those games that determined the outcome of any of those game? Then numbers produced from one year (actually, one game) are relevent to that year alone. You have to take into account opponent strength, injuries, and intangibles, and that's nearly impossible to sort out.

    Yeah, Mike Martz had a system. It was the "how can I screw up a potential dynasty?" system.

    He worked that to perfection.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -12-01-2007 at 01:24 AM. Reason: Didn't edit - just hit the wrong button.
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  12. #12
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    Oh, for cryin' out loud.

    Stats can be used to tell whatever story YOU want to tell. Av, you're trying to take a handful of stats and make a comparison from one year to the next in a weak attempt to discredit anything Linehan has done.
    Um... what exactly has Linehan done?

    There are too many variables to make a clear cut analysis that indicates that Linehan's offense is a "move the ball but don't score" system. That's nonsense. For example, did we play the exact same schedule both years? Did we have exactly the same players both years? Was there ANY circumstances during any of those games that determined the outcome of any of those game? Then numbers produced from one year (actually, one game) are relevent to that year alone. You have to take into account opponent strength, injuries, and intangibles, and that's nearly impossible to sort out.
    Not if you understand the purpose of statistics. Of course there are variables. You left out weather, the number of players infected with viruses, players distracted due to fights with their wives and girlfriends, and voo doo curses. Thankfully, statistical analysis is grounded upon the notion that if you have a statistically relevant sample, variables of this type tend to even out over time. I believe two full seasons provide a statistically relevant sample.

    Yeah, Mike Martz had a system. It was the "how can I screw up a potential dynasty?" system.

    He worked that to perfection.
    So you don't get that, without Martz's system, the GSOT, 500+ point seasons (three in a row), 2 NFC Championships, and Super Bowl win never would have happened?

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    Re: Injuries didn't doom our system. We have no system.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I'm not saying 22 points a game is horrible. Heck, I'd love it if this year's team was averaging 22 points a game. My point was, with the improvement from '05 to '06 in both yardage and turnovers, you'd expect an improvement in scoring. The fact that there was, in fact, a slight decrease, suggests to me that the offense was not performing as well as it should have been.
    I know I am a nOOb and prolly shouldn't be questioning u, but we did lose Pace. Left tackle is the second most important position on the field. I agree with you on Linehan, I know we have injuries, but that is no excuse for 3-10. Good teams find a way to deal with injuries, and Linehan clearly hasn't found one. But the decrease in production for Marc and Steven is because of the fact we lost an all pro left tackle and now we have good ol Alex Barron over there.

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