Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Age
    31
    Posts
    19,533
    Rep Power
    154

    Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson

    Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson
    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ | Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 10:30 am

    This quote from Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo caught our attention. Spags was defending the limited use (11 carries) of Steven Jackson during Sunday's 16-6 loss at Seattle:

    "It's amazing," Spagnuolo said. "Had we run the ball too much, we'd be asking, how come we didn't throw it? Here's the bottom line: You're doing what you can on offense to score points, to move the football. Sometimes you're in a situation where you think you need to throw it, loosen a team up. Run it, they take away the run and you've got to throw."

    * First of all, I don't think anyone would have complained had the Rams used Jackson more frequently in Seattle based on how the game was playing out. And not when Seattle came into the game with one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Jackson was averaging more than 4 yards per carry so why would we grouse over that? As I've written two times already since Sunday's game, the only time I've griped about running the ball too much is when the Rams have forced the run when their passing game is clicking. Or when they use the run in a way that represents a retreat from attacking.

    * A busy Jackson keeps the defense honest and helps your passing game and a young QB. The win over the ***** was a good example. The Rams ran Jackson 24 times, and even though he managed only 48 yards, the ***** were concerned about him and had to account for him and that made it easier for Sam Bradford and the receivers. Bradford connected on 28 of 37 passing attempts against San Francisco on Dec. 26. It was one of his best games of the season. And the Rams' heavy use of Jackson helped make it possible.

    * But when you reduce Jackson to a non-factor as a runner, then you are doing the defense a big favor. And you've made it more difficult on Bradford and the receivers. When the Rams gave Jackson 23 or more rushing attempts in a game this season, their record was 5-1. Usually I don't like that stat because it can be misleading. A team with big leads in a game will obviously work the clock by running the football extensively. But that wasn't the case with Jackson's 23-carry (or higher) games. The games were tight -- or at least uncertain -- in the 4th quarter of each of those five wins.

    * Spags explained that Seattle loaded eight men in the box to stop Jackson and that prompted the Rams to try a different strategy for moving the ball. In other words: the Rams opted to give up on running the football. Jackson's last carry came on the first play of a series that began with 10:53 remaining in the game. By often lining up with eight men in the box, the Seahawks essentially scared the Rams coaches into removing Jackson as a weapon in the Rams' biggest game of the season.

    * And it's not as if the Rams were being bludgeoned when Jackson ran it. Sure, Seattle shut him down on some carries, most notably a 3rd and 1. But Jackson gained 5 or more yards on four of his 11 carries. Is there anything wrong with that percentage? And on the Rams' only good series of the game -- 11 plays, 83 yards for a field goal -- Jackson ran it four times for 26 yards. That's an average of 6.5 yards per carry. And he also caught two passes for 15 yards. But after that drive (early in the 2nd quarter), Jackson had only had six carries the rest of the way. And none at all in the final 10 minutes of the game. It's puzzling.

    * And I'm susprised that Spagnuolo is defending this. I like Spags a lot, and he's done such a good job in a number of areas. He deserves a lot of credit for taking the Rams from one win to seven wins. But he still doesn't seem to understand what went wrong Sunday night and the coaching staff's role in a 184-yard, six-point output.

    * Jackson has been seeing eight-man fronts all season. He's been seeing these loaded fronts for a few seasons. This is nothing new. And it's nothing new around the NFL, either. How many good or productive RBs see eight-man fronts? It's routine strategy. But you don't see teams pull the plug on the running game. You don't see them quit running the ball as soon as a defense shows an eight-man front.

    * And the Rams could have done some things in the running game to combat Seattle's tactics. Speaking on my 101 ESPN radio show, Jim Hanifan, perhaps the best offensive line coach in NFL history, said the Rams' limited use of Jackson in Seattle was "totally ridiculous." Hanifan said the Rams lack diversity in their approach to running the ball, because their plays and blocking schemes are so predictable. Hanifan doesn't understand why the Rams don't use counter treys or power leads with Jackson. He doesn't understand why they don't use some gap blocking in front of him. He doesn't understand why they don't try to attack the edges with Jackson, instead of running him inside so often.

    * Hanifan and Rick Venturi also pointed out that when the Rams put the tight end in motion to attack Seattle's smaller defensive end (Chris Clemons), Jackson had two runs that picked up nearly 20 yards. Seattle likes to flip Clemons to the open side, away from the tight end. So the answer to that is to motion your tight end over to Clemons side and ram him. Makes sense to me. Look, you can dismiss my questioning of this as the worthless whining of an idyit sportswriter. But I believe Coach Hanifan has established credibility. His evaluations of an NFL running game should be taken seriously.

    * Jackson averaged only 3.8 yards per carry this season, the lowest of his career. And if you want to blame that on Jackson, go ahead. But that will ignore a more enlightened truth. Which is: the Rams don't seem to know how to put a smart running game together. and they've made it a lot easier for the defense to defend against him.

    I don't know that I've ever agreed with a Bernie article more than I do this one. I feel like I should be calling a hotline so someone can talk me back to sanity, but I think he really nailed this one. Love the Hanifan comments.


  2. #2
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    2,274
    Rep Power
    71

    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson

    Nick, I have to concur with your sentiments as well as Bernie's line of thinking here. I, too, like Spags. But the more I see quotes like this, the more I worry about future game plans and approaches. Far be it from me to compare my knowledge with that of the head coach, but it baffles me that Spags would not acknowledge that maybe Jackson should have been used more.

    And when a guy like Jim Hanifan, widely respected within the industry calls the approach 'totally ridiculous", it is alarming.

  3. #3
    Bralidore(RAMMODE)'s Avatar
    Bralidore(RAMMODE) is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,149
    Rep Power
    22

    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson

    "Hanifan said the Rams lack diversity in their approach to running the ball, because their plays and blocking schemes are so predictable. Hanifan doesn't understand why the Rams don't use counter treys or power leads with Jackson. He doesn't understand why they don't use some gap blocking in front of him. He doesn't understand why they don't try to attack the edges with Jackson, instead of running him inside so often."

    Ding Ding Ding!! We have a winner. I had a 45 minute conversation with my step dad over the Rams ridiculous misuse of JAckson and his talents. There are more plays than HB Dive Spags. For the first time in a long while i saw the Rams use Jackson on a toss play. Surpirse surprise, the play picked up around 6 or more yards (though it was called back for holding..).

    Why is this, because the Rams have been so ridiculously predictable in just about all facets of the running game that teams virtually stack the middle and get in the way of all the running lanes making it an impossible task for a guy that is being asked to run right into that...

    He spoke exactly what I've been trying to say for the longest..

    Im with most here in that I like Spags and I want to see him succeed, but he needs to really learn from this and become more creative next year and less stubborn. Our offensive playcalling has been very inconsistent and cost us a few games, none more obvious and important than Sundays'.
    Last edited by Bralidore(RAMMODE); -01-04-2011 at 08:41 PM.

  4. #4
    BrokenWing's Avatar
    BrokenWing is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    1,705
    Rep Power
    35

    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson

    What worries me about Spags is I don't think he's shown a consistent ability to learn from his mistakes. Largely because I don't think he always recognizes that something *is* a mistake.

  5. #5
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    57
    Posts
    9,241
    Rep Power
    108

    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams not smart with Jackson

    I have to say that even though the loss was only 16-6 it might as well have been 100-6. How our team could come out so flat is beyond me. That in itself is on the coaching staff!

    That's strike one Spags!

Similar Threads

  1. Jim Thomas Live March 26 - Draft Chat
    By r8rh8rmike in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -03-27-2010, 01:02 PM
  2. Jim Thomas Live: 12/11/07
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -12-11-2007, 07:59 PM
  3. Jim Thomas Live, Nov 20th--Lots of good stuff
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: -11-21-2007, 03:18 PM
  4. Postgame With Gordo
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -10-14-2007, 08:47 PM
  5. Have Fun,enjoy
    By OldRamsfan in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: -06-21-2006, 12:54 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •