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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Bernie Bytes: Can Rams Run At San Francisco?

    Bernie Bytes: Can Rams run at San Francisco?


    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    READING TIME, 5 MINUTES:

    * One of the keys to Sunday's Rams @ ***** game will be the visiting team's ability to run the ball. The Rams have had their moments of dominance on the ground, but when you face as many eight-man fronts as the Rams do, it can be difficult to wedge openings for Steven Jackson. The Rams' average of 3.6 yards per rushing attempt ranks 27th among the 32 NFL teams. If the Rams can punch it out effectively against the *****, it'll set up play-action opportunities for Sam Bradford.

    * The ***** are usually tough to run against. There have been exceptions to that -- and we'll get to that in a minute -- but opponents are averaging only 3.6 yards per carry against San Francisco. That's the sixth-lowest yield in the NFL. The ***** have allowed only 14 runs of 10+ yards; only Pittbsurgh has given up fewer breakout runs this season. Only 34.5 percent of the rushing attempts against the ***** have gained 4 or more yards; that's the fourth-best rate in the league.

    * The Rams, who have an inconsistent running attack, will have to gear it up. Because you know that ***** HC Mike Singletary, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker, will put a special emphasis on stopping Jackson. Singletary will be challenging his guys all week. Given Singletary's tendencies for hyperbole, he'll try to turn this into a test of their manhood.

    * Jackson has had three games against the Singletary-coached *****. SJ39 did have a 108-yard rushing afternoon against the ***** near the end of the 2008 season, but it required 32 carries to get there. In the three games vs. Singletary, SJ39 averaged 3.3 yards on his 75 rushes. He was stuffed six times. Only 5 runs netted 10+ yards.

    * Two teams have been able to mash the *****' 3-4 defense: Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Chiefs ran it 39 times for 207 yards in a 31-10 rout of S.F. on Sept. 26 at Arrowhead Stadium. Jamaal Charles had 97 yards on 12 carries (8.1 yds per rush) and Thomas Jones jumped in for 95 yards on 19 carries (5.0 per). But there is a difference: KC has an effective system of shuttling their RBs. They use two guys. Each runner has different qualities. The change of pace can frustrate the defense. The Rams put the load on Jackson. They do not believe in the two-are-better-than-one system. As much as I respect Jackson, the Rams -- and even SJ -- would benefit greatly from a change of pace back to complement his power running. But can one primary back get after the *****? Well, yes. It happened once this season with Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, who went 18 carries for 92 yards (5.1 per) during the Eagles' 27-24 win at S.F. on Oct. 10. But McCoy is not a classic power runner. He does run with authority, but he's more elusive than Jackson. In that game, the Eagles used their bigger back, Mike Bell, in spots. But he had only 8 yards on four carries.

    * Going back to what Jamaal Charles did for KC in the win over the Niners: Charles has a higher percentage of breakout runs than any NFL back this season, with 22 percent of his carries producing 10+ yards. Again, that's something that's been missing, or at least reduced, in the Rams offense this season. Only 9.9 percent of Jackson's runs have gained 10+ yards; he ranks 26th among NFL backs in that category. We can continue to holler about the obvious need for the Rams to add a speed back to the mix, but apparently the theory doesn't resonate at Rams Park.

    * Given McCoy's success against the *****, perhaps this is a good time for Rams HC Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to make a couple quick calls to Andy Reid and their coaching pals and former colleagues in Philadelphia to tap into some knowledge. Perhaps the Eagles' coaches saw something that they can pass onto the Rams. And yes, that happens in the NFL ... though I guess technically speaking the Eagles and the Rams are competing for a wild-card playoff spot, so.... but if nothing else, the Rams' offensive coaches will be taking a look at that Philadelphia-SanFran video.

    * If there's a comparable to Jackson, it's probably Atlanta's Michael Turner; the ***** limited him to 50 yards on 16 carries (3.1 per) when the teams met earlier this season.

    * Jackson, by the way, is 6th in the NFL in gaining yards after contact -- with 339 according to STATS LLC. But he's picking up slightly fewer yards after contact this season compared to 2009. Last season Jackson had 755 yards after contact, 4th in the NFL, and averaged 2.3 yards after contact per attempt. This season he's averaging 2.0 yards after contact.

    Now that I'm finished rambling about running backs, let's move on ...

    * Just about everyone is assuming that Troy Smith will start at QB against the Rams this week, but no decision has been announced. The ***** are waiting to see if Alex Smith is sufficiently recovered from injury to be cleared for action. However: Singletary has voiced his displeasure with Alex Smith's leadership, which may tell us which way this is headed. With Singletary, you never know. He constantly changes his mind. Alex Smith is an example. If he's lacking in leadership, then why did Singletary name him as one of the team's captains for 2010? Alex Smith, by the way, is looking to knock down some of Singletary's criticisms. I don't know how that will play with Singletary.

    * Yes, you can throw it against the *****. I'll break that down for you with some specifics later in the week.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Can Rams Run At San Francisco?

    Sure doesn't read like this is a good matchup for us. We'll have to shock the NFL and win this one!

    C'mon RAMS give it your all and we'll have a chance!

  3. #3
    Guam rammer's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Can Rams Run At San Francisco?

    This could shape up to be like the lions game if we don't practice ball control in the 1st qtr. Both teams wil be rested well and i think the Sharper team to begin the game will dictate the winner.

  4. #4
    lordwhttgr's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Can Rams Run At San Francisco?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guam rammer View Post
    This could shape up to be like the lions game if we don't practice ball control in the 1st qtr. Both teams wil be rested well and i think the Sharper team to begin the game will dictate the winner.
    The Lions game really looked like we were looking passed them to the chargers. I am not impressed with anything the ninnies have done so far. Spags whole season depends on how he handles the ninnies, so we should be in for a treat. There are two things I am sure that Spags is looking at when he sees the schedule, when do we play the ninners and when do we play the ninners again.
    Last edited by lordwhttgr; -11-10-2010 at 12:04 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Can Rams Run At San Francisco?

    I don't like how Bernie seems to imply that we simply do not want a second running back. I'm sure we would have picked one up, had we found one we thought would be in line with our plans for rebuilding. There were/are a lot of holes to fill on this squad, and you can't fill them all at once.

    Maybe we should have gone after "fast" willie, or larry johnson...

    Perhaps through the draft, yes, but I could certainly share the viewpoint of "bigger needs to address" that the front office undoubtedly had.

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