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Bernie Bytes: Rams vs. Seattle Scouting Report
Bernie Bytes: Rams vs. Seattle Scouting Report
BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
Friday, December 31, 2010 7:32 am
How is everyone on this Friday? Happy New Year. (Well, almost.) What are the hot plans for watching Sunday's game? I'm assuming there will be mini-conventions of Rams fans all over the area on Sunday night, gathering in homes and sports bars for viewing parties. Have fun.
Here's a little Rams @ Seattle scouting report ...
* The Rams will have to find a way to control Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons. The Seahawks have gotten splattered defensively in recent weeks but don't blame Clemons. He has 10.5 sacks and a combined 33 quarterback knockdowns and hurries. Clemons will line up on Jason Smith's side. Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has allowed only two sacks in 14 games.
* And if you can get Seattle safeties Lawyer Milloy and Earl Thomas isolated on a receiver, go for it. They've been targeted for a combined 14 TD passes this season. The aggressive Thomas, a rookie, likes to gamble. He has five INTs. But a savvy coordinator and QB can exploit that.
* The Seattle linebackers struggle in coverage. This should give some opportunities to the tight ends. (And getting TE Michael Hoomanawanui back would be a plus for the Rams.) According to STATS, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu has given up a 70 completion rate and 4 TDs when targeted. It's just as bad for OLB Aaron Curry; a 74 percent completion rate and two TDs allowed. With Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells, the Rams could do some damage in the passing game when throwing out of two TE sets.
* How about some hardcore football-strategy talk? OK, then. Here are 10 keys for a Rams' win by my friend Rick Venturi, the retired longtime NFL coach and now an analyst at 101 ESPN radio: (1) prevent Leon Washington from hurting you in the return game; (2) have a smart plan for communicating and dealing with the crowd noise to avoid noise-related errors; (3) go with two tight ends and pound Tatupo, the middle LB, in the run game; (4) must keep Steven Jackson as a force, and get him to the second level because the Seattle secondary is not tackling well and big plays are there; (5) use play-action passes and crossing patterns to make the Seattle secondary work hard, because the group is wearing down; (6) avoid third and longs, because that's when Seattle's blitzes are most frequent and effective; (7) slants and fades to Danario Alexander; (8) on defense, attack Seattle from start to finish because the offensive line can be beaten with stunts and blitzes and the QBs are a bit haggard and harried and will give it up; (9) Seattle is a zone-blocking team so shoot the gaps and penetrate on runs by Marshawn Lynch, who isn't as good if you get him going east-west; (10) to disrupt Seattle's timing-rhythm passing game, crowd and delay the Seahawks' receivers, who struggle to escape press coverage.
* Both Seattle QBs have had problems against the blitz. I'll refrain from offering the numbers. But they can be rattled.
* I haven't included much about the Seattle offense in today's offering only because I wrote about the run-game problems and QB turnovers earlier in the week. But as a quick recap: Marshawn Lynch is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry since coming over in a trade with Buffalo in Octover. Seattle is on pace to finish with the worst rushing production (for a season) in franchise history. And Seattle QBs Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst have combined for 13 TDs, 20 INTs and 5 lost fumbles. (Most of that belongs to Hasselbeck.)
* Seattle's preferred receiving option on third-down passes is the big (if somewhat slow) wideout Mike Williams. He's been targeted 30 times on third down, making 23 catches and picking up 17 first downs.
* Steven Jackson has never had a 100-yard rushing game against Seattle in 12 starts vs. the Seahawks. But it's not as if he's failed to produce. Jackson has 880 yards in the 12 games and has averaged 4.0 yards per carry. At Qwest Field he's had 79 carries for 360 yards. That's 4.6 yards per carry. And according to STATS LLC, 24 percent of Jackson's runs at Qwest have produced a first down. But is past performance really relevant? It's not as if Seattle is lining up the same players against Jackson as it did a few years ago.
* In the NFL's only Denver's defense has given up more plays of 20+ yards than Seattle's 75. But Seattle's defense has also surrendered 29 scoring drives that last 10 plays or more. (Either way, pretty bad.)
* Through the first 15 games, Seattle's defense is ranked 29th among 32 teams in most points allowed, 30th in yards allowed, 26th in stopping 3rd downs, 26th in passer rating against, 30th in allowing the most TD passes, and 16th in average yards per rush against. The numbers jump out at you; Seattle can be taken down with the passing game. But will the Rams want to attack through the air? Moreover, the SEA run defense has deteriorated as of late. So the Rams will likely, and understandably, strive for balance.
* Rams kicker Josh Brown has made 70 of 82 field-goal attempts at Qwest Field in his career; that's 85.4 percent (Brown was Seattle's kicker from 2003-2007 before signing with the Rams as a free agent in 2008.) Seattle isn't an easy place for kickers. So while Brown's 85.4 percent may not look great, it's the fourth-best among kickers who have tried at least 10 field goals at Qwest. Retired Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins made 93 percent of his FGAs there. Joe Nedney has made 90 percent. And current Seattle kicker Olindo Mare has made 88 percent. That's your Qwest leaderboard. But here's my concern with Brown: he's missed too many FGA attempts inside 50 yards, making 43 of 51 at Qwest, for a percentage of 84.3. That's a little low.
* Brown has had only five kickoffs go for touchbacks this season. Mare, his Seattle counterpart, has had 20.
It's late Thursday night and I'm sleepy. Bedtime for Bernie. That's all I have for now. If I forgot anything, I'll add it Friday morning or afternoon... thanks for reading.
Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams vs. Seattle Scouting Report
Jason Smith has only given up 2 sacks? If my count on Saffold is correct (which it probably isn't), he's given up 3 sacks in 15 games. That means our two tackles, who have a combined 2 years experience (I'm not counting Smith's rookie year) have given up a combined 5 sacks. That's pretty dern awesome.
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