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  1. #1
    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Bear necessities

    I was browsing through the team reports on Fox sports website and stumbled across this as I was looking through the NFC North report on Green Bay. It got me thinking.

    In the five drafts that Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has conducted, he has used two first-round picks on defensive linemen, one second-round pick, one third-rounder, two fourth-rounders and three No. 5s. The Bears also traded Pro Bowl wide receiver Marty Booker in 2004, plus a third-round choice in 2005 to acquire defensive end Wale Ogunleye from the Dolphins.

    All that investment in their front four is starting to pay off big time for the new team-to-beat in the NFC. The Bears have allowed fewer points per game than any team in the NFL --- a total of just 29 in four games. That's their lowest total for the first four games of a season since 1937; and it's the line that has more to do with the Bears' stinginess than anything.
    In their last eight regular-season home games, the Bears have allowed just 2 touchdowns.

    Their most recent victim, the Seahawks, were the highest-scoring team in the league last season, but they managed just a pair of field goals Sunday night in a 37-6 loss.


    The foundation of the Bears rise to divisional and conferential promise has been their defence. A club that has traditionally been famed for their defence, not least of which being the 'Monsters of the Midway' of '85 vintage, the Bears are experiencing a resurgence of frightening proportions. 29 points allowed through 4 games is the kind of pace that will beat their clubmates of '85 by some margin in terms of the points allowed in a season.

    Ron Rivera has rightly been touted as the reason for the Bears current success. Throw in Lovie, a man well schooled in the Tampa 2 and the brains behind the Rams defensive resurgence as a first year co-ordinator and you can be sure that the scheme in Chicago is a good one.

    Schemes alone, as we all know, don't get it done on their own however and it's clear that the Bears have the talent to go with the scheme. What's more, it's all up front, and of course that's where it all starts.

    At this point some mods might be forgiven for thinking that this could be an offering best placed in 'NFL talk' rather than 'Rams talk', but look closely at the article quoted above and tell me whether you can spot the ultimately disappointing common theme.

    It struck me that in investing high draft picks in their defensive line, the Bears were following a plan that had been similarly tried with the Rams during Lovie's tenure here. Lewis, Pickett and Kennedy were all 1st round picks that were to be instrumental in solving the Rams defensive woes. Furthermore, like the Bears, the Rams invested heavily in players at other spots. Shepherd, Thomas, Allen,Polley, Crouch,Groce, Fisher, Butler are all names that feature heavily in any conversation regarding the relative merits of the Rams recent drafts.

    And therein lies the rub, the commonality if you will, that leads us to a singularly disappointing conclusion given the lack of perfomance that has resulted. The Bears drafted a hell of a lot better than we did when embarking upon the same stratagem. I know it's fairly obvious, but to me it demonstrates just how close the margin between success and failure can be. It also raises the question about the line coaching that the Rams 'enjoyed' during Kollars time here. Read Pickett's recent comments about Kollar by way of confirmation.

    We're still feeling it now.

    Whilst Haslett has been lauded for the Rams return to respectability on the defensive side of the ball, (albeit after four games) with a defence that has shown the ability to get the ball back, he has admitted that to do that he has had to gamble more than perhaps he would like. The front four is the basis of that gambling strategy in the sense that it's lack of penetration up front dictates that we blitz early and often. It's the big play that has often marred a good defensive performance. Bryant, Gore and Jones have all broken plays of 30+ yards to either win the game or make it more interesting than it had to be.

    Going into Green Bay against Favre, you know we can't rely on the Blitz alone, we need consistent pressure without it too or he will pick us apart.

    So, despite Haslett's great start and the attempt of the F.O to right the defensive ship through free agency, it's clear to me at least that we're still paying for the poor drafts of the post SB years as well as poor positional coaching.

    Until this gets rectified, we're going to have to wait for a while before we get our own 'Monsters of the Midwest'.


  2. #2
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: Bear necessities

    Good analysis. I touched on this after the season started.

    The defensive line is pretty much the same problem. Not enough consistent penetration or disruption of the passing game unless we blitz, which unfortunately puts pressure on DB's that are average at best. Also, our guys are undersized and get pushed around by bigger O-lines. All great teams have one thing in common, great lines. The big boys in the trenches are always the key to every game. Watch any game and see who owns the 2-3 yard zone at the line. They are the ones that win consistently. Until the Rams improve the O & D lines, expect some pretty mediocre years, no matter how great our "playmakers" are.
    Right now, a lot of people are jumping up and down about our defense. But IMHO, Haslett it getting it done with "smoke and mirrors". This defense isn't that good, yet. He's forced to blitz too much because the front four isn't strong enough throughout the game in putting pressure on the QB. We're not winning the line-of-scrimmage battles. Period. In the games that Haslett has stayed away from "mega-blitzing," we've given up tons of yardage. Too little pressure by the front four which is worsened by our soft, and poor pass-coverage of our CB's. Past drafts attempted to fix the mess, but didn't pan out. Hopefully, the new staff will be better at "picking a winner" and we'll put together a great line that will complement our positional guys while they're still young and in their prime.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  3. #3
    Roy G. Biv's Avatar
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    Re: Bear necessities

    Haslett it getting it done with "smoke and mirrors".
    Would someone be so kind as to explain this phrase to me? And in that explanation, please educate me in the differences between "getting it done w/ smoke & mirrors" AND just "getting it done".
    "I'm not going to hide my opinions. They're coming to you between 7000-4000 Angstroms for all the world to see. Oh yes, you will be enlightened."

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    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Re: Bear necessities

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy G. Biv View Post
    Would someone be so kind as to explain this phrase to me? And in that explanation, please educate me in the differences between "getting it done w/ smoke & mirrors" AND just "getting it done".
    Well to me there's a fairly big difference. If you look back to the Rich Brooks era which RamDez has pointed to as a year where we started off 5-0 and then collpased to 7-9, experts back then identified that we achieved that start with "smoke and mirrors". Keith Lyle's fake punt sticks in the memory for some reason

    Our lack of talent over the season cost us however.

    Thing is, teams get smart to schemes, what they can't get smart to is being outweighed in the talent department, not consistently or over the length of a season anyhow.

    I guess the point is, and others have pointed to it in saying we can't rely on turnovers alone, is that if we want to be the Bears or anything like them then we have to be able to generate pressure without the blitz, without the "smoke and mirrors".

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    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: Bear necessities

    Yeah, that pretty much covers it Fat P...
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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