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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    Let the games begin!
    by Rick Venturi
    Updated 1 Day ago

    The opening Sunday in the National Football League, from a coaching standpoint, is the most exciting and nerve racking day of the year. With the constant turnover on rosters, the first Sunday brings together the great unknowns. The unpredictable nature of this game has lead to quirky days, chuck full of upsets, unexplained blow outs, and unexpected great performances.

    All of these possibilities loom on the horizon when the Rams and the Cardinals clash Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome. This will be a classic battle of two teams trying to come to grips with who they are. In my opinion, this is a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Cards, with the losses of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, and Antrel Rolle, suffered not only a depletion of talent, but also a staggering loss of key leadership. Even though Coach Ken Whisenhunt has handed the keys over to quarterback Derek Anderson, there is real concern in Cardinal Nation. By all indications, the Birds are racing back to the pack.

    The Rams, with the emergence of the super talented quarterback Sam Bradford, the incomparable Steven Jackson, and the expected improvement of the defense, look to make real progress. If General Manager Billy Devaney’s three drafts measure up, and if coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff grow as expected, the club will move in an upward trajectory. There will be no lack of excitement in the dome, with the spirit of hope generated by the debut of the big shooter from Oklahoma, as well as the excellent overall pre -season performance.

    For the Rams to gain success, they must be successful in the following areas:

    On offense:

    1. They must have a plan to control the Cards 3 game changers. They can’t allow the disruptive Darnell Dockett ruin the game up front. They also must stifle the impact blitzes of safety Adrian Wilson. Finally, they must be careful with ball hawking corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

    2. As a total offense, they must be ready for Cards defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ intricate 3rd down packages, both blitzes and unconventional coverages.

    3. The coaching staff must turn Bradford loose. Treat him as a veteran; allow him to go get it. The coaches can manage the game, while the players must perform and win it.
    On defense:

    1. They must load up on early downs to stop the runs of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells.

    2. Take away the deep ball to Larry Fitzgerald on early downs, and take him away on 3rd downs with various forms of double coverage. When blitzing, the Rams need to lean the coverage to him.

    3. When you accomplish the first two objectives, the pressure is now on Anderson, who has lacked consistency in the past. He is fairly stationary and the blitz will be effective. The defense must out duel him on third down and the red zone.
    In the end, the Rams must play with great passion and still maintain the steadiness of coach Spagnuolo. The whole organization has to play to win and throw caution to the wind. The pressure lies on Arizona, and the stage is set for the upset. Just writing about opening day is nerve racking! So tape your ankles, and as my favorite rock group screams “Start me up.”

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    We need to blitz Anderson unmercifully...make him move his feet and everything will fall apart for the Cards offense.

    Do you hear me Spags? BLITZ>>BLITZ>>>BLITZ!!!!!

  3. #3
    sosa39rams's Avatar
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    I just want to win. Please Rams... do us fans some good. BLEED BLUE AND GOLD!

    GOOOO RAMSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    Derek Anderson is a tall guy. And that means is that he doesn't have the best mobility, and his footwork is sluggish.

    We need to pressure him consistently. Make him have to rely on his feet, which is not one of his strong points.

  5. #5
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    I just watched both AZ games from last season.I think The Rams will be able to pressure DA. They had some success against them last year in that regard but the secondary couldn't hold up & Kurt was ...well...Kurt. Guys like Gorrer ( one of the 25 UDFAs on the team that day, I believe) got torched repeatedly by all the AZ WRs & they have a new guy to worry about in Stephen Williams. I have faith in Bartell and Fletcher but it's a big ask to expect feisty little Dockery to cover their seemingly endless supply of Fitzlings. Eat your wheaties on Sunday, Justin King & OJ,et al ; we need you. Ditto for Diggs & Grant. Our outside LBs need to be able to neutralize the screens & outside runs by Hightower,etc, which they didn't do last year. Looks Like Beanie Wells may not play which can't hurt,either.

    The second half of the first game was as close an approximation of this upcoming game as you can get & The Rams had a real chance to win if it weren't for some big breakdowns in run D. Time to find out if that #3 preseason ranking vs the run was a mirage or not.

    Offensively, we ran the ball quite well at times in both games; even Darby had some success behind a line that only had Barron & Brown from the original projected starting five.

    I watched the AZ vs CHI preseason game-the 3rd dress rehearsal game- & they looked a little less coordinated between the LBs and DL than before. Paris Lenon is starting for them at ILB & we know HE can be I think the best way to neutralize Dockett is to run straight at him. Time for Jason Smith to start earning his paycheck. That battle may be the defining one of the game.

    I don't know what to expect out of Sam but it was reassuring to see how much Amendola and Gibson helped out Bulger and Null in both those games. That's a reason to be glad Clayton is on the team & may be ready to contribute by at least stretching the D opposite Robinson since we won't ,hopefully, have to use them as much outside but let them do what they do best which,imo, is zip into the soft spots around the LBs and pick up those 4-10 yarders that move the sticks , slow the pass rush, and give The Beast a crack to rumble through.And there's nothing like a TE catching a few balls for keeping a safety like Wilson out of Fiddy's rookie grille.

    This is a winnable game,imo. The Cards took a couple of months to get their run game going last year & Fitz hasn't played at all with Anderson who ,imo, got the job pretty much because Leinart was such a whiny douche. If The Rams can minimize the damage from blitzes, they stand as good a chance as they have in years of beating this team in its current state.

  6. #6
    Aussie Dave's Avatar
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    Certainly a winnable game and a great way to build the confidence of the young team and really get us fans buzzing.

    I pray that we don't have a demoralizing loss, I think a lot of us will be crushed after the build up we've had.

  7. #7
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    Re: 101ESPN: Let the games begin!

    This guy is mistakenly under the impression we have a pass rush. Someone needs to let him know otherwise

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