Bernie Bytes: Rams Strive For Balance
Bernie Bytes: Rams strive for balance
18 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
• The Rams are 3-1-1 this season when Steven Jackson has at least 15 rushing attempts in a game. That’s no coincidence. For this offense to work there needs to be balance. The Rams are more of a traditional offense; throwing the ball 45, 50 times a game makes no sense. Not with a developing quarterback, young receivers and the need to upgrade at right offensive tackle. When defenses know the Rams will stick with the running game, that forces the coaches to plan accordingly. It keeps the opposition honest. When the Rams go pass crazy, they do the defense a favor. QB Sam Bradford has had some of his best games of the season when Jackson carries 15-plus times.
• The balanced approach also sets up play-action passes for Bradford, and he’s good at it. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford has a passer rating of 102.2 on play-action throws; that ranks 12th among NFL starters. Bradford averages 9.0 yards per attempt on the play-action throws. That’s 2.5 yards higher than his YPA on other throws.
• This is a fair and reasonable analysis of Bradford written by Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus:
“I wrote last week how disappointed I was in the performance of Sam Bradford against the Jets. It was bad enough that I didn’t think it possible for him to play any worse. Well the good news is I was right. He wasn’t anywhere near as bad, and had a decent enough game (at Arizona).
“In review, that in itself is a problem. Bradford is a former first overall pick and we’re treating decent performances as encouraging when we should be demanding more. Much more. There are too many off-target throws and his work under pressure (where he went 0-for-5) leaves a lot to be desired.
“Now that may be overly harsh. There were moments that would excite even the most ardent of critics like his slot wheel route completion to Danny Amendola that showed perfect touch down the field, and his go route touchdown with 10:06 to go in the third quarter. However, plays like the interception with 4:46 to go in the second quarter show we’re still waiting on Bradford delivering on what made him a first overall pick.”
• It’s not too late to join Chris and Alyson Carpenter at Fleming’s Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Frontenac on Wednesday night for their 4th annual fundraiser to benefit the Judevine Center for Autism. The cocktail reception runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Carp will be joined by Matt Holliday, Jamie Langenbrunner, Keith Tkachuk and other St. Louis sports dignitaries. There’s a silent auction, raffle drawing and wish list.
Last year’s event raised $28,000. The Judevine Center for Autism provides parent training and direct services to individuals of all ages and works with schools, agencies and community organizations to enhance and expand autism services through consultation and training.
To make a donation visit firstname.lastname@example.org .
• Some notes on my 101 ESPN radio interview with Carpenter: he says he’s been training three or four times per week with rookie pitcher Trevor Rosenthal … Carpenter says he’s feeling great and plans to start his formal offseason throwing program earlier than usual. He wants to put in extra time to rebuild arm strength after last year’s surgery to correct a nerve abnormality near his right shoulder. Carpenter acknowledges “I gave it everything that I had, and did the best I could,” but lacked strength and sharpness in a late-season return that was well ahead of schedule. Carpenter believes building strength will put him back where he needs to be to reach his quality pitching standards …
Carpenter is very impressed by the team’s collection of young arms. “These guys are no joke,” Carpenter said. “Every one of them has a chance to be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter. You definitely have to be excited as a Cardinal or a Cardinal fan to see this kind of talent.” … Carpenter’s contract expires after the 2013 season and he doesn’t know exactly what will happen beyond that. He said he loves to compete, and hasn’t lost his drive, and wants to keep pitching as long as he’s healthy. He’ll have a better read on his future after the 2013 season … Carpenter said he was very impressed by the job done by first-year manager Mike Matheny. He praised Matheny’s leadership and communication skills and ability to relate to each player.
• On Gary Pinkel: glad to hear that he’s still hungry and enthusiastic and looking forward to fixing Mizzou’s problems. Pinkel obviously realized how bad he sounded after Saturday night’s humiliating loss at Texas A&M, when he stubbornly resisted the notion that the program needed to change some things. Every good coach is ALWAYS looking to change and improve, so Pinkel only reinforced the notion that he’s too set in his ways, rigid and complacent and incapable of breaking out of the comfort zone in Columbia to shake things up.
Pinkel’s post-game bluster only made things worse for him. That’s why he took a different approach in public comments Monday and Tuesday and told the fans a lot of what they wanted to hear. Great; good to see the coach make some halftime adjustments in the PR game. But words don’t matter, really. The spin is irrelevant. Pinkel’s actions will determine the future course of Missouri football. A coach that doesn’t evolve is a coach headed to an unfortunate ending. We’ll see how Pinkel proceeds from here.
• Fun with numbers: Pinkel touted Mizzou’s overall record since 2007 (53-26) as proof that he knows what he’s doing. I always like to go inside the numbers, so let’s do it:
— The 53-26 mark is a winning percentage of .671. That ranks 22nd among FBS programs over the last six seasons.
— In conference games over the last six seasons, Mizzou is 29-20 (.592) and that ranks 40th in the nation.
— In non-conference games over the last six seasons MU is 24-6 (.800) which ranks 17th.
It’s my opinion that Pinkel and Mizzou have to work harder at recruiting to achieve better results. That will fill in some of the talent gaps and alleviate depth issues.
I wondered about the possible shift in power in Columbia. We have our answer. Pinkel won’t be freshening up his staff. Translation: director of athletics Mike Alden is still working for Pinkel; not the other way around.
Thanks for reading …
Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams Strive For Balance
Gentlemen, I'll take this.
Bernie, you idiot baastud.
Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams Strive For Balance
Bernie + Pro Football Focus = nonsense