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Thread: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

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    Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist STLtoday.com | Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 12:07 pm

    There's been mixed reaction to head coach Jeff Fisher's presumptive choice of Brian Schottenheimer as the new offensive coordinator (although Fisher told the Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas on Sunday night that nothing is official yet). Schottenheimer was run off by the NY Jets at the end of the season, conveniently scapegoated for the team's disappointing 8-8 finish.

    It's an interesting case, for sure. Schottenheimer obviously took the hit for the failure of Mark Sanchez to develop into an elite QB. But that point of view assumes that Sanchez has what it takes to be great. And at the end of the season, the Sanchez rep was soiled by (anonymous) claims that he's lazy, isn't smart, can't lead, can't command respect.

    Believing that Sanchez was ready for an expanded role, the Jets made a choice to open up the passing game this season. And if you buy what the NY papers are selling, the shift in philosophy was an unmitigated disaster.

    Well now ... the Jets averaged 23 points per game this season, ranking 13th among 32 teams. In 2010 they averaged 23 points per game, which ranked 13th. And the Sanchez passer rating actually improved this season. He had a a rating of 63.6 as a rookie, 75.3 in 2010, and 78.2 this season. Sanchez also passed for a career-high 26 TDs. (His INT rate also went up.)

    And the Jets were fantastic in the red zone, ranking first in the NFL in converting chances into touchdowns, scoring 36 TDs in 55 opportunities for a success rate of 65.5. The Rams have been horrific in the RZ, so this is encouraging. Sanchez did well in the red zone this season, throwing 21 TDs with 3 INTs. Of course, Sanchez also had a more impressive collection of receiving options, which helped him.

    And if we are to blame Schottenheimer for the stalled development of a young QB, then it's fair to give the OC just a nod of praise for what Sanchez did in the 2008-2009 postseasons. In six games, with the Jets winning four, Sanchez completed 60.5 percent with 9 TDs and 3 INTs. He played very well in road wins at San Diego, Indianapolis and New England. He also played a good game in last season's AFC championship, completing 61 percent for 2 TDs and no picks in the loss at Pittsburgh.

    My point is, I just don't think it makes a lot of sense to dump on Schottenheimer simply because the Jets decided that someone had to pay for the 8-8 and the NYC shame of getting taken down by the NY Giants late in the season. Schottenheimer had been the Jets' OC since 2006, and he'd done some good work. Schottenheimer was invited to interview for multiple head-coaching gigs, but declined. He was a rising star. But the Jets backed up in 2011, and HC Rex Ryan wasn't going to fire himself. So the OC was asked to leave. That's football. That's life. On top one day, kicked to the curb the next.

    Another likely factor in Schottenheimer's ouster was his decision to stand up to WR Santonio Holmes, who has been tagged as a problem in a locker room that turned sour this season. When Holmes began jogging through pass routes in a brazen display of non-hustle in the final regular-season game at Miami, Schottenheimer pulled him. The Jets can't cut Holmes because of his prohibitive contract, and the OC and the temperamental WR probably couldn't co-exist. So guess who had to go?

    What Jets' leadership seem reluctant to acknowledge is the team's lurching rushing attack. Shonn Greene is good, but he hasn't become a game-changer at RB. LaDainian Tomlinson got old. The Jets averaged 4.5 yards per rush in 2009 and 2010 but slumped to a 3.8 average this season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Jets collectively had a minus 30 rating in run blocking this season. Not sure why that's the OC's fault. Besides, if the Jets became too pass-crazy, didn't Coach Ryan have the authority to order his OC to change the play-call approach?

    Perhaps Schottenheimer and the Jets are guilty of being overly ambitious with Sanchez. Perhaps they assumed the young QB was ready to take on more of a responsibility. For whatever reason, he wasn't. But a depressed running game, the mistake of overrating Sanchez and a toxic locker room didn't help the cause.

    No question, Schottenheimer will have a lot to prove in St. Louis. He'll be asked to lead the Sam Bradford Project, and much is at stake. If Schottenheimer turns out to be good for Bradford's development, the Rams will move forward and quickly. If it isn't a match, and Bradford stagnates, the franchise will suffer for obvious reasons.

    If Schottenheimer does in fact come to STL to lead the Bradford Project, this is a hugely important hire, the most important hire of Fisher's start-up.

    So what can we expect from Schottenheimer? His roots come from the Don Coryell and Ernie Zampese tree that also produced Mike Martz. I don't have the time or space to bore you with a detailed history of that offensive style, but some components would certainly fit Bradford's skill set. The offense would feature a lot of spread formations, with Bradford firing away from the shoutgun. But the Rams, as currently assembled, don't have the personnel to make that system work.

    Here's the deal ... we don't know if the Rams would run a version of the Coryell offense. Don't forget, the Jets were primarily a running team in 2009 and 2010, and rode that (and the defense) to a spot in the AFC title game. The Rams are going to install an offense that matches Fisher's core philosophies. And we know he likes to run the football.

    So rather than assume anything, let's see what Schottenheimer and Fisher plan on doing on offense before deciding if it makes sense for the Rams and Bradford.

    Thanks for reading ...

    -Bernie
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    Exactly my concern about this guy. To me, this is just version 2.0 of McD. If he comes in here and tries to run what HE is comfortable with, or what HE thinks is the ultimate offense, it will be doomed to failure, just as McD was. You have to mold your offense around the weapons you have, and hide the deficiencies as well. ...at least until you can get the correct pieces to the puzzle in place. You absolutely have to be somewhat pliable when designing a scheme. With Mcd, he was drawing up option passes when he was operating behind a makeshift O line against a defense that was practically camped out in the backfield all game long. Why? Because it looked cute on paper? Double reverses that took forever to develop behind the same porous line, using guys with no speed and no breakaway capability to carry the ball. Absolutely stupid.


    Whoever it is that comes in will have their work cut out for them unless the Rams hit the jackpot in the offseason. The Rams are not a running team, not with the current corp of running backs. Jackson can no longer carry that load. Williams and Norwood are not the answer either. They're not going to be a pass-happy team either. Not with the sorry bunch currently on the roster at WR. TE heavy? ...are you kidding me? Kendricks was nowhere to be found, and when they found him, he usually dropped it.

    I'm not saying I approve or disapprove of hiring this guy, I'll leave that up to Fisher, but I hope he makes the right choice whoever it is, and they build an offense and defense around the talent they have, not what they'd like to have.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    I agree. My thing is this: I'm pretty aware of what BS brings to the table, but there has never really been anything about him that has stood out to me. But why bring in a guy who has had trouble scoring, especially as of late? And why bring in a guy who cant stop anybody ( off topic with Gregg WIlliams, our DC 2 B.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    I'm gonna give McDaniels the benefit of the doubt since the Rams front office and head coach played a significant part in his downfall.

    First of all, cutting the only speed receiver (Avery) on the roster made no sense to many of us, particularly because he showed well in the pre-season.

    And then, Amendola went down for the year, in the first game.

    Around the 3rd or 4th game of the season, DX was in and out of the lineup with a hamstring.

    And just when he was starting to look like something, Greg Salas goes down for the year.

    The other rookie (Pettis) was just learning the playbook and apparently busy taking performance enhancing drugs at that time so he was a non-factor to that point. And I guess they were the generic ones because although he showed a few flashes, his performance was not that enhanced.

    Mike Sims Walker proved to be a bad move that produced next to nothing and was ultimately cut.

    Mark Clayton's injury was obviously worse than anybody thought.

    Brandon Gibson was his usual self, which is to say, a fifth or sixth receiver on most teams and practice squad on the others.

    So if you take all these things into consideration, you can see why McDaniels or any pass-first coordinator would fail.

    Most would say we didn't have a very good receiving corps to begin with, let alone after the injuries started to crop up.

    And I left out QB and O-line issues on purpose.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    I believe thwre were many things that happened this past season to put the Rams in the position they wound up in; lack of an off-season program, new offensive scheme without the aforementioned program, injuries, and poor in game decision making. However, I refuse to judge the new coaching staff on decisions that have not yet even been made. RELAX PEOPLE!
    BrokenWing likes this.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    I think it's funny that people who are blasting the Schottenheimer pick are defending Mcdaniel when Mcdaniels hasn't had an offense rank higher than 18th since leaving the Pats.
    39WillRunYaOva likes this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: On B. Schottenheimer and the Rams ..

    In Fish we trust is all im going to say.

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