Bernie Bytes: Rams must play kids ..
BY BERNIE MIKLASZ | Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 9:32 am
At 0-2 already, it's time for the Rams to see what they've got in their younger players, like rookie WR Mardy Gilyard.
* At 0-2, and with a severe shortage of playmakers, the Rams can't afford to be cautious in using their youngest players. It's great that the Rams are starting rookie QB Sam Bradford, and rookie offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, their top two choices in the 2010 draft. But now the Rams have to expand opportunities for other rookies and young players. They have to go with the best and most promising talent. And inexperience just isn't a reason to keep someone on the bench.
* I've said it before and I'll mention it again: I'm not sure why GM Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo seem to think they're on a 5-year, 7-year, rebuilding plan. It doesn't work like that in the modern NFL. So why is rookie WR Mardy Gilyard a spectator in the passing game? Gilyard isn't a burner; he won't win track meets. But Gilyard has the ability to elude defenders and make them miss. He has the potential to take a short pass and juke it for a longer gain. He could be a playmaker if given an opportunity. So why is the kid being given a redshirt season, at least so far? Same with the rookie tight end, Fendi Onobun. He may have to play some now, simply because the Rams are so banged up at the position. And sure, Onobun is raw. But he's also a 6-6, 250-pound target with real athletic ability and above-average speed and agility for a big man. So if nothing else, why can't Onobun be deployed on passing downs in an attempt to create a mismatch? The Rams cannot surpress talent. They have to turn it loose, even if it means living with rookie errors.
* I look around the NFL, and I see good teams -- much better teams than the Rams -- using rookie players in key spots. Tampa Bay, which was awful team last season, is giving lots of playing time and opportunities to WR Mike Williams. And Williams was drafted in the fourth round, two spots after the Rams chose Gilyard. In the first two games the Bucs have targeted Williams 16 times. He's caught seven balls, two for touchdowns. His 35-yard TD reception broke a 7-7 tie and was the biggest play in Tampa Bay's 20-7 win at Carolina. Second-year Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris isn't reluctant to go with kids.Cincinnati already has Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco at WR, but the Bengals are making extensive use of rookie wideout Jordan Shipley, a 3rd-round pick who already has caught 10 passes. And Gilyard can't get on the field (much) as a receiver for the Rams?
* And on Monday night, the San Francisco ***** -- shocking! -- used a rookie RB, Anthony Dixon, to spell Frank Gore in a crucial goal-line situation. And they even entrusted the kid to carry the ball; he scored on a 2-yard run. The Rams don't have a clear No. 2 RB. And that's already a factor; Steven Jackson has operated on a sore knee, and he also got shaken up in Sunday's loss at Oakland. But the Rams' coaches haven't given a look to the rookie back, Keith Toston, who displayed so much potential in the preseason. Instead: more Kenneth Darby, who has 3 yards on two carries.
* This Rams coaching staff is 1-17. Do they think it'll get worse by giving more chances to rookies. I'm sorry, but this makes no sense. The faster you can get the kids going, the sooner they will develop. It's as simple as that.
* I don't know what's more disturbing: that the Rams' coaches fail to make smart adjustments during games, or that they actually seem to believe that they are making smart adjustments during games. Steve Spagnuolo is an outstanding man, the kind of person that I hope the best for. But when Spags says the Rams are making adjustments, as he did Monday, we're seeing the first stages of denial.
* Yo, to the media apologists who say it's all about the Rams' players executing and not the coaching: this isn't an either/or choice, OK? The Rams need to coach better. They players need to execute better. You don't have to pick just one category. Coaching/execution are not mutually exclusive. The Rams have lost 27 of their last 28 games, and 17 out of the last 18. Call me a nutjob for saying this, but I kinda think that there's plenty of responsibility and accountability to spread around out there in ol' Earth City.
* Steven Jackson put it out there straight: after the Rams had early success running the ball, the Raiders put an 8th man in the box, and the Rams got shut down on the ground. SJ39 was right about that. The Raiders adjusted. And what was "Plan B" by the Rams' coaches? Well, there was no Plan B. And play-caller Pat Shurmur abandoned the run. Here's the accounting of the Rams' rushing attempts by each quarter Sunday in Oakland: 9 in the first Q, 7 in the second, 5 in the third, none in the fourth. There are ways to run the football against eight-man fronts. But such a task requires creativity and determination.
* Funny, but Monday night I watched the ***** have success on the ground against New Orleans' stacked fronts. RB Frank Gore had 120 yards on 12 carries (5.6 yd average). And the ***** are starting two rookies, RT Anthony Davis and LG Mike Iupati, on the O-line. And RG Chilo Rachal is in his second full season as a starter.
Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams must play kids ..
He's right about, well, everything.
Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams must play kids ..
Exactly what Ive been thinking for a while now too.
How come other teams can do these things and we cant?
We get injured so much and the coaching is horrific.
And we cant even win through the horrific events, thats the sad part.
You wouldnt mind some wins along the way of lumps...