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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Balzer: Is This All There Is?

    Is This All There Is?
    By Howard Balzer
    Monday, September 15, 2008

    This is how bad it's gotten for the Rams: We're supposed to take solace in the fact that at least the game was close in the fourth quarter. How times have changed.

    Coach Scott Linehan stands in front of the media for just a few minutes, quivering and shaking and trying to sound tough. But the message apparently isn't getting through. For all we know, he might have had marbles in his hand. Laughing

    OK, let's acknowledge that when the Rams received their 2008 schedule in April, it was obvious little favored them at the start of the season. There were two games right off the bat against NFC East teams Philadelphia and the Super Bowl champion N.Y. Giants.

    Then, the next two at Seattle and home against Buffalo, followed by their bye and then games at Washington, home against Dallas and at New England. All four NFC East teams in the first seven games, five playoff teams from 2007, and the two Super Bowl participants.

    Now, after being outscored 79-16 and outgained 963-367 in losses to the Eagles and Giants, it's fair to wonder when this team will win a game. If they will win a game. Miami? Atlanta? Who else?

    “The bottom line is that we can’t expect to win games playing the way we are playing," Linehan said after Sunday's 41-13 loss to the Giants." Last week was different than this week. I think you guys would agree that for three and a half quarters we were right there. There is no question in my mind that we didn’t finish and they did. You can’t win games in the National Football League playing three quarters here and two quarters there."

    Still, it was downright lucky the score was only 20-6 after three quarters. The Rams had totaled an astonishing 101 yards (58 at halftime), while the Giants had 333. The Rams opened the game missing on their first four third-down plays to make it 15 straight to start the season, and they made the first only because running back Steven Jackson gained 22 yards on a checkdown by quarterback Marc Bulger on 3rd-and-17. A missed tackle by the Giants enabled Jackson to get the first down. For the season, they are now a woeful 3-for-24. Sunday, they had eight third downs with at least 10 yards to go (10, 12, 16 (twice), 17 (twice), 19 and 28. Their 14 third-down plays (one resulted in a first down by penalty) averaged 11.6 yards to go.

    Big plays are also a rarity for the Rams, and once again too many by the opposition. In two games, the Rams have allowed 655 passing yards and the passer rating against them is 129.2. A week after allowing four pass plays to total 220 yards, the defense once again was victimized by big plays. There were four plays of 30 yards or more for a total of 126 yards, while 308 of the Giants' 441 yards came on 16 of their 62 plays.

    Yet, after wide receiver Torry Holt wrestled the ball away from a Giants safety Kenny Phillips in the end zone, the score was 20-13 with 10:46 remaining in the game. On the kickoff, linebacker Chris Draft leveled returner Ahmad Bradshaw at the 18-yard line. Suddenly, the Dome was alive, and surely the defense would step up. Right? Absolutely wrong.

    Cornerback Ron Bartell mugged wide receiver Amani Toomer on first down for a 10-yard penalty and then yelled at the official. He was lucky a 15-yard penalty didn't follow. In three plays, the Giants were at midfield. Two plays later, they were in the end zone on a 32-yard pass from Eli Manning to Dominik Hixon and an easy 18-yard touchdown by Bradshaw.

    "That defined the game," Draft said. As Manning said, “It seemed as though everything we wanted to do we were able to do."

    No, Eli, it didn't seem that way, it was that way. Yes, cornerback Tye Hill tells reporters "the secondary is fine."

    In the second half, prior to three kneeldowns, the Giants totaled 249 yards on just 24 plays and scored touchdowns on three of four possessions. The only time they were stopped came when a holding call on guard Rich Seubert helped stop a drive.

    When Linehan was asked what happened to his team after the Holt touchdown, he stated the obvious by saying, “They drove down and scored. You guys were at the same game I was at. That is how you lose. That is not how you win. That's what happened. We let them score."

    Said cornerback Ron Bartell, "Somehow, some way, we have to fix what's going wrong."

    Really? That doesn't seem possible with all that needs fixing. Consider: In two games, the Rams have averaged 3.7 yards a play and their opponents 7.2. At least we can't complain about the team's red-zone offense. Why? They haven't even run a play from the red zone.

    In Seattle Sunday, former Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce gained 153 yards on four receptions from journeyman quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan. Against the Giants, quarterback Marc Bulger passed for 177 yards, and 45 came on the Holt catch.

    Yet, the Rams' brass didn't think Bruce was worth $4 million to bring back for another season. But Drew Bennett was supposedly worth $10 million guaranteed. They won't ever be hanging Bennett's jersey from the rafters, but his arrival essentially pushed Bruce out of town.

    Wide receiver Donnie Avery was active Sunday, but hardly saw the field. Neither did Keenan Burton. But Dane Looker did. The Rams wanted to get younger at receiver, but the young guys have to play. Looker, along with inactive defensive end Leonard Little raged in the locker room after the game. But Little can't help on the sideline, and Looker, well, we all love his grit and determination, but he's not an NFL starting-caliber wide receiver.

    At the end of his brief time in front of the media, Linehan was asked what it will take for this team to win. He said, “It is going to take a great effort and a win on the road like the one we have coming up this week to prove to ourselves and to the people that support us that we have what it takes. It starts with me, and then to our coaches and our players, period. That is it; the buck stops here.”

    In his Post-Dispatch blog, Bernie Miklasz mentioned several other Harry Truman quotes, with this my favorite: "Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

    Being a head coach is about being a leader, more than being a coach. During the summer, I asked Bears general manager Jerry Angelo what he saw in Lovie Smith when he hired him as head coach. Angelo said, "In my criteria for a head coach, there are three important attributes. No. 1 is leadership. No. 2 is leadership. No. 3 is leadership. Lovie Smith is a natural born leader."

    The question of the day for the Rams' hierarchy is: During the interview process that resulted in Linehan being hired, where was leadership on the priority list?

    SIMPLY NOTING

    *Offensive lineman Adam Goldberg started for the injured Jacob Bell (hamstring) at left guard and was guilty of two offensive holding penalties. Goldberg had played mostly tackle during training camp. Bell was inactive.

    *Wide receiver Donnie Avery made his debut after being inactive for the season opener because of a knee injury. Avery failed to catch a pass and wasn't on the field much on offense. He did return a kickoff for 21 yards.

    *Wide receiver Eddie Kennison, signed last Tuesday after being released by Kansas City in February, was inactive for the game.

    *Defensive end Chris Long played mostly on the left side with Leonard Little sidelined by a hamstring injury. Long, who had been playing on the right side before Little's injury, registered the first sack of his career in the second quarter.


  2. #2
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: Balzer: Is This All There Is?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Is This All There Is?

    “The bottom line is that we can’t expect to win games playing the way we are playing," Linehan said after Sunday's 41-13 loss to the Giants." Last week was different than this week. I think you guys would agree that for three and a half quarters we were right there. There is no question in my mind that we didn’t finish and they did. You can’t win games in the National Football League playing three quarters here and two quarters there."
    I'm sorry, but this is all too familar. Did he file his blowout loss transcripts from last season so as to use them again this year? At least he gets points for recycling.

    *Offensive lineman Adam Goldberg started for the injured Jacob Bell (hamstring) at left guard and was guilty of two offensive holding penalties. Goldberg had played mostly tackle during training camp. Bell was inactive.
    Bell back next week?

    *Defensive end Chris Long played mostly on the left side with Leonard Little sidelined by a hamstring injury. Long, who had been playing on the right side before Little's injury, registered the first sack of his career in the second quarter.
    Little back next week?

    RAMS WIN!

  3. #3
    renrawtruk is offline Registered User
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    Re: Balzer: Is This All There Is?

    OK, aside from using Dante Hall in the offense, I have one HUGE complaint about this season so far.

    Regarding the inability to complete a 3rd down....

    OMG, this is rediculous. So here's my gripe:

    OK, so this team had 4 weeks of pre-season to prepare for their first game. The offense had 4 weeks to prepare for their first pass of the season. The plan in both games has apparently been to run Jackson on first and second down, and then, if necessary, complete a 3rd and short or whatever.

    So, if you've known this for 4 weeks, how is it possible that in both games, the very first pass was not executed to perfection and was not even one of those strategic plays designed to get someone wide open???

    If you were a coach, wouldn't you tell your team, OK we are going to hand the ball off to Steven Jackson on 1st and 2nd down, so IT IS EXTREMELY VITAL that we practice over and over and over the play we are going to run on third down, so that we don't go 3-and-out on our first possession of 2008.

    Then, same thing again vs. Giants. It's as if Saunders decided on what play to call only at the time it became 3rd down, and hadn't thought about this play for the ENTIRE OFF SEASON. Isn't that what OC's do??????

    How is this possible? How.

    I really, really, Really miss Mike Martz and his terrible special teams and defense, but an offense that moved the ball down the field.

  4. #4
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    Re: Balzer: Is This All There Is?

    Quote Originally Posted by renrawtruk View Post
    I really, really, Really miss Mike Martz and his terrible special teams and defense, but an offense that moved the ball down the field.
    Why? We would still be losing. We would just be losing in a different way

  5. #5
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    Re: Balzer: Is This All There Is?

    "In Seattle Sunday, former Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce gained 153 yards on four receptions from journeyman quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan. Against the Giants, quarterback Marc Bulger passed for 177 yards, and 45 came on the Holt catch.

    Yet, the Rams' brass didn't think Bruce was worth $4 million to bring back for another season. But Drew Bennett was supposedly worth $10 million guaranteed. They won't ever be hanging Bennett's jersey from the rafters, but his arrival essentially pushed Bruce out of town."

    The Bennett deal will go down as one of the worse move in rams history.


    Still, it was downright lucky the score was only 20-6 after three quarters. The Rams had totaled an astonishing 101 yards (58 at halftime), while the Giants had 333. The Rams opened the game missing on their first four third-down plays to make it 15 straight to start the season, and they made the first only because running back Steven Jackson gained 22 yards on a checkdown by quarterback Marc Bulger on 3rd-and-17. A missed tackle by the Giants enabled Jackson to get the first down. For the season, they are now a woeful 3-for-24. Sunday, they had eight third downs with at least 10 yards to go (10, 12, 16 (twice), 17 (twice), 19 and 28. Their 14 third-down plays (one resulted in a first down by penalty) averaged 11.6 yards to go.

    It is hard to believe we are doing this it,s unreal
    :ramlogo:

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