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After further review, Vitt still is livid
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Dec. 19 2005
Nearly 24 hours after the fact, interim head coach Joe Vitt still hadn't
recovered from the Rams' bitter 17-16 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
"Usually by this time of the day after a tough loss, you kind of reflect and
you calm down," Vitt said at his Monday afternoon news conference.
Not this time. Jersey Joe still was livid, perhaps even angrier than he was
immediately after the game.
"Well, I tell you. I'm still (upset)," Vitt said. "I'm (upset). It's not right
what took place (Sunday) on that football field."
The No. 1 target of his ire was the offensive line.
"I'm not happy with the way our offensive line is practicing," Vitt said. "I'm
not happy with the way they're playing. I think we're high, we're soft, we're
not coming off the ball. And that's going to change this week in practice."
Those are strong words. In fact, about the worst thing you can say about
offensive linemen is that they are soft. But Vitt was that upset about the play
of that unit against the Eagles.
At face value, the numbers look good for the offensive line. The Rams averaged
4.9 yards a carry on the ground, rushing for 178 yards against Philly. In
addition, quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jamie Martin were not sacked in 35
passing attempts against an Eagles defense known for its blitzing tactics.
But Vitt was furious over the eight false-start penalties called against the
Rams, six of which were called against offensive linemen. Rookie left guard
Claude Terrell was flagged three times for false starts; left tackle Orlando
Pace was penalized twice; and right guard Adam Timmerman was penalized once.
"It's the same quarterback in practice with the same snap count all week long,"
Vitt said. "They're not hearing the snap count. Either they don't know what the
snap count is, or they're guessing."
Then, Vitt added sarcastically; "If it's on 'two,' you go on 'two.' If it's on
'one,' you go on 'one.' If it's a quick count, be ready to go. If it's a hard
count, hold your water. It's high school football."
When asked if Fitzpatrick was loud enough in calling the cadence, Vitt replied:
"I don't think he's whispering. If anybody needs a hearing aid out there, then
we'll get them fitted for a hearing aid. I didn't hear a lot of crowd noise out
there. No excuses!"
Vitt was almost screaming when he said "no excuses."
So it should be interesting Wednesday when the players return to the practice
field to begin preparation for the Rams' game against San Francisco on
Christmas Eve. What changes will Vitt make in the practice approach?
"We're going to work harder," he said. "We're going to get in the huddle, we're
going to run to the ball, and get down in the three-point stance, and we're
going to finish blocks.
"When the ball's in the air and it's thrown, we're going to cover. When it's a
run, we're going to finish. And we're going to run back to the huddle, put your
hands on your knees, get the call, and get back up there again. No more
walking. No more walking.
"And I'll tell you what, it's the holiday season. It's the holiday week. All
that stuff. And I know where we are right now. But let me tell you something.
We're still going to practice hard."
All told, 11 of the Rams' season-high 15 penalties Sunday were assessed against
the offense. And eight of the 11 were penalties committed by the offensive
line. Besides the false start penalties:
Right tackle Alex Barron was called for an illegal chop block late
in the second quarter, nullifying a 10-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Kevin
Curtis. Had the completion stood, the Rams probably would have been in position
to kick a field goal at the end of the first half.
Center Andy McCollum was called for holding late in the fourth
quarter, nullifying a first-down run by Arlen Harris into Philadelphia
territory. Instead, the Rams faced a second-and-11 situation from their 40 with
1 minute 6 seconds to play, and never crossed midfield again.
Vitt also was upset with the blocking on a fourth-and-1 run with 3:17 to play
from the Philly 37. Had the Rams gotten the first down, they would have been on
the edge of Jeff Wilkins' field goal range.
But on the play, Eagles linebackers Dhani Jones and Jeremiah Trotter got quick
penetration, dropping Marshall Faulk for a 2-yard loss.
"It was a play they had run a couple of times during the course of the game,"
Trotter said afterwards. "In the huddle, we pretty much knew what was coming."
On the play, Pace pulled to his left, but seemed unsure whether to block
Trotter on the inside or Jones to his outside. He got neither. So while Jones
crashed in on Faulk from the outside, Trotter got by tight end Brandon
Manumaleuna on the inside.
"We did not execute the play properly," Vitt said.
Re: After further review, Vitt still is livid
He see's it like most of us here!.............Hope he can get these guys to play with pride and heart the last 2 games
Re: After further review, Vitt still is livid
If they need him to tell them what next week means then we're in more trouble than I thought.