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    Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Bernie Bytes: What causes second-half stall?

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    READING TIME 5 MINUTES:

    Monday at Rams Park, head coach Steve Spagnuolo said he didn't want to "over-analyze" the team's second-half problems at Tampa Bay. With all due respect, coach, we're thinking that this would be a good time to analyze your team's habit of deteriorating in the second half of games. Because this isn't a new thing. It isn't random. It's a trend.

    Consider:

    -- The Rams are tied for 10th among 32 teams with points scored in the first half, 81. But they are 30th in second-half scoring, with 39.

    -- In total yards, the Rams are 7th in the NFL in the first half (1,246 yards) and 26th in the second half (929).

    -- Steven Jackson has the most first-half rushing yards in the NFL this season, carrying 77 times for 376 yards and a 4.9 average per attempt.

    -- In the second half Jackson ranks 11th in the NFL with 241 yards on 72 carries -- a mediocre average of 3.3 yards per run. In the second half, 11 percent of Jackson's runs have ended in a "stuff" -- no gain or lost yardage. In the first half of games, the "stuffed" percentage for Jax is only 6.5 percent.

    -- Sam Bradford's first-half passer rating is 86.5. He has 7 TDs and 3 INTs. He's completing 59.6 percent and averages 6.44 yards per attempt.

    -- Bradford's second-half passer rating is more than 30 points lower, at 54.7. (That's basically the poorest second-half passer rating by an NFL starting quarterback.) His second-half completion rate is 52.4. He's thrown 2 TDs and has 5 INTs and his YPA in the second-half is 4.9 yards.

    -- Here is the Rams progression (or should we call it regression) in points scored per quarter, complete with NFL ranking: 34 points in the first quarter, ranking 8th; 47 points in the second quarter (14th); 17 in the third quarter (24th), 22 points in the fourth quarter (28th).

    -- The disparity isn't as extreme for the Rams defense. But it does exist. In part because the Rams offense sputters more frequently in the second half, which means extra time on the field for the Rams defense. But actually the defense has been fairly consistent; they've allowed 62 points in the first half and 69 in the second half. That's not a significant difference, obviously. There is more of a gap in yards allowed; the Rams defense ranks about 14th in first-half yards allowed. That figure drops to 26th in second-half yards given up.

    Another note about the Rams defense: The boys have allowed only 6 points in the first quarter in seven games. Two field goals. That's all. In the NFL only the NY Jets have put up more of a first-quarter gauntlet this season; the Jets have not given up a point.

    But the Rams defense has given up 56 points in the second quarter, which ranks near the bottom. That's been the unit's worst quarter by far. They've allowed 33 points in the third quarter and 36th in the fourth.

    The pattern is obvious: for whatever reason the Rams start off fast, keep it going for a while, but become increasingly vulnerable in the second half. That's especially true of the offense.

    Is it inexperience? Sure, that has to be a factor given that there's a rookie QB at the helm. And young receivers. Bradford lost his go-to guy, Mark Clayton, to a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game. There are also two young offensive tackles up front. But inexperience should not be a blanket excuse. After all, these same young players are coming out of the gate and making things happen. As they go through the process of becoming acclimated to the NFL game, is it more difficult for young players to maintain their confidence and poise over 60 minutes? Perhaps. But how does that explain the big difference between SJ39's production in the first half compared to the second? He's an experienced runner, and it's not as if everyone doing the blocking is inexperienced. The Rams have some veterans up front.

    Does a team have to develop mental toughness? Does that take time? I believe it does. Especially for a group of players that hasn't won much. And a group that hasn't been together for long. There are only so many positive experiences they can draw on. Navigating through adversity and turmoil is a real challenge. When we think of great teams, a bunch of things come to mind -- including the inherent ability to be mentally strong at the end of games, when many contests are decided.

    Does the second-half fade reflect the shortfall in talent? I'd have to think that's a factor, too. Players get hurt during games. Backups move in. The Rams don't have solid depth. And even if the players stay healthy for four quarters, it doesn't mean that they will hold form. If a player has a weakness and can be exploited, the opposing side will find it and get after it.

    And of course, coaching is a factor, too. It can be the general attitude and lapsing into an overly cautious approach with a lead. It can be a weakness in managing the game. It can be an inability to adjust to the other side's tactics. I believe we've seen all of these traits on display from the Rams coaches in some of these games in 2010.

    Sunday, when Tampa Bay went to a more stacked defense (to control Jackson) and began playing the Rams wideouts 1-on-1 on the outside, the Rams didn't counter the move. They pretty much lined up their wideouts and had them standing still before the snap. No bunch formations, not much motion, not much use of what Jim Hanifan and Rick Venturi call "runaway" routes -- in which the receiver runs across the field in an effort to shake the defender (or get him lost in traffic) instead of running in a straight line. The Rams receivers aren't good enough to beat press coverage. They have to do different things to get free. And the one guy who may be able to beat press coverage, Danario Alexander, was reduced to a non-factor by the Rams coaches.

    So yes, while there are many factors for the Rams' second-half stall, coaching is most certainly one of them.

    That's all for now...

    -Bernie


  2. #2
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    And of course, coaching is a factor, too. It can be the general attitude and lapsing into an overly cautious approach with a lead. It can be a weakness in managing the game. It can be an inability to adjust to the other side's tactics. I believe we've seen all of these traits on display from the Rams coaches in some of these games in 2010.

    Sunday, when Tampa Bay went to a more stacked defense (to control Jackson) and began playing the Rams wideouts 1-on-1 on the outside, the Rams didn't counter the move. They pretty much lined up their wideouts and had them standing still before the snap. No bunch formations, not much motion, not much use of what Jim Hanifan and Rick Venturi call "runaway" routes -- in which the receiver runs across the field in an effort to shake the defender (or get him lost in traffic) instead of running in a straight line. The Rams receivers aren't good enough to beat press coverage. They have to do different things to get free. And the one guy who may be able to beat press coverage, Danario Alexander, was reduced to a non-factor by the Rams coaches.
    I have never agreed with Bernie that much. EVER.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    I totally agree on the one on one's and receiving pasterns called. I believe that the Rams have to go for the win rather than, trying not to lose. Be Aggressive like how we run plays in the first quarter.

    Our play calling just happens to fizzle over and over in the second half. Everyone keeps backing Shurmur, and i don't know why. When Bradford comes over to the sideline, I don't see shurmur talking to him at all, after he misses some pass plays or goes 3 and out. He just looks around looks at his play sheet, and makes as if nothings wrong. TELL BRADFORD WHAT HE NEEDS TO LOOK OUT FOR! CORRECT THE MISTAKE! Bad coaching IMHO on shumurs part.

    Spags is a defensive mind, but I think Spags should start looking at plays and fixing them as he sees fit. When mike martz was our offensive coordinator Dick Vermiel used to fix the plays cause sometimes they were too outrageous. Spags should also do that vice versa keeping Shumur Honest from being to conservative and take shots down the field.
    Last edited by hawaiianpunch; -10-27-2010 at 02:27 AM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiianpunch View Post
    I totally agree on the one on one's and receiving pasterns called. I believe that the Rams have to go for the win rather than, trying not to lose. Be Aggressive like how we run plays in the first quarter.

    Our play calling just happens to fizzle over and over in the second half. Everyone keeps backing Shurmur, and i don't know why. When Bradford comes over to the sideline, I don't see shurmur talking to him at all, after he misses some pass plays or goes 3 and out. He just looks around looks at his play sheet, and makes as if nothings wrong. TELL BRADFORD WHAT HE NEEDS TO LOOK OUT FOR! CORRECT THE MISTAKE! Bad coaching IMHO on shumurs part.

    Spags is a defensive mind, but I think Spags should start looking at plays and fixing them as he sees fit. When mike martz was our offensive coordinator Dick Vermiel used to fix the plays cause sometimes they were too outrageous. Spags should also do that vice versa keeping Shumur Honest from being to conservative and take shots down the field.
    I'll say it again, they WERE running some of these routes in the second half. Bradford is not letting these plays develop. You don't see it because he's throwing everything underneath ....

    Shurmur's in the booth upstairs. He cannot talk directly to Bradford during the flow of the game ....

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    I'll say it again, they WERE running some of these routes in the second half. Bradford is not letting these plays develop. You don't see it because he's throwing everything underneath ....

    Shurmur's in the booth upstairs. He cannot talk directly to Bradford during the flow of the game ....

    Either they were running these routes and Bradford didn't let them develop, or they ran these routes, and the receivers couldn't shake anyone off...

    Most likely both.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Is the 2nd half slide also related to a lack of conditioning?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    Either they were running these routes and Bradford didn't let them develop, or they ran these routes, and the receivers couldn't shake anyone off...

    Most likely both.
    I went back and thoroughly watched the second half and reported on it. There were receivers open on almost every play. He misfired on a few of these to Robinson ...

    Bradford is intent on getting the ball out quick, either because he's been told to do so, he doesn't have confidence in the line, or he's mental clock is just a tad fast ...

    Alot of these WCO plays, particularly the ones with drag routes, require time to develop. If you cannot find the drag, you are supposed to check down to RB or TE. The RB checks are often delays, Bradford is not using these, and they are there ...

    He's often checking down to the TE too soon ...

    Rookie type things. He'll get it sooner than later ...

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Is the 2nd half slide also related to a lack of conditioning?
    I think it's possible, especially in the Tampa heat. We do have some depth issues ...

    Could explain why Bradford might be perceiving the game as moving a little faster in the 2nd half, and he is quicker to get the ball out faster ...

    I also noticed breakdowns on the line in the second half, and it was almost always the LT and RT. These are young guys who don't get it yet ...

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    By watching on TV you are able to see the routes of each receiver down field and who was open on each play? That's pretty impressive considering the camera is focused on the QB and they follow the ball to the receivers. Sorry, but you can't see how CBs and safeties are defending by watching what is happening on TV. It's routinely been noted. Dick Vermeil used to make fun of people who thought they could do this.

    and this part:
    Shurmur's in the booth upstairs. He cannot talk directly to Bradford during the flow of the game ....

    The Rams are the only team in the league that don't have the capability to using the telephone system? QBs are routinely on the sidelines talking with their coordinators in the booth between drives.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    By watching on TV you are able to see the routes of each receiver down field and who was open on each play? That's pretty impressive considering the camera is focused on the QB and they follow the ball to the receivers. Sorry, but you can't see how CBs and safeties are defending by watching what is happening on TV. It's routinely been noted. Dick Vermeil used to make fun of people who thought they could do this.

    and this part:
    Shurmur's in the booth upstairs. He cannot talk directly to Bradford during the flow of the game ....

    The Rams are the only team in the league that don't have the capability to using the telephone system? QBs are routinely on the sidelines talking with their coordinators in the booth between drives.
    Nonsense. If you watch the plays, and pause right before the QB throws the ball and right after he throws the ball, you can usually see at least 10-15 yards downfieldon an HDTV. You cannot see this all watching it REAL TIME, but go back and use your technology and you'll see more than you think. I don't know what kind of TV you are watching, but mine does not zoom in on the QB or the ball. You cannot see EVERY route, but you can often see guys running open that the QB missed.

    You can easily see TE's and RB's open in the flat. You can easily see Brandon Gibson dragging across in one on one coverage with a LB on him. If you use your fingers and count players, and use your eyes to see what is in front of you, can you tell who is what, and what is possible. You can also use when semi-intelligent analysis games are telling you to dicpher information also. They also provide other replay angles where you can decipher more information.

    Have you taken the time and tried it? Didn't think so.

    BETWEEN DRIVES is not THE FLOW OF THE GAME. Bradford cannot talk to Shurmur immediately after plays when it matters most. In some cases, it might be 8, 10, or more plays before Bradford gets to talk to him.

    Why is everyone so quick to discount information that people have taken the time and effort to generate, when they aren't willing to do it themselves?

    I guess because it's easy to blame the offensive coordinator for the offenses inability to execute ....

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    I went back and thoroughly watched the second half and reported on it. There were receivers open on almost every play. He misfired on a few of these to Robinson ...

    Bradford is intent on getting the ball out quick, either because he's been told to do so, he doesn't have confidence in the line, or he's mental clock is just a tad fast ...

    Alot of these WCO plays, particularly the ones with drag routes, require time to develop. If you cannot find the drag, you are supposed to check down to RB or TE. The RB checks are often delays, Bradford is not using these, and they are there ...

    He's often checking down to the TE too soon ...

    Rookie type things. He'll get it sooner than later ...
    I agree, he has been a little trigger happy. I think this is definitely something they address this week. I am sure there will be changes this sunday. I feel like we won't see any second half woes against panthers this Sunday, for the reason being I am sure they will address it all week. And I am also sure, knowing Bradford, he will improve vastly from the TB game.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Boooooo, Just though the ball already and be aggressive with some play calling in the 2nd half.

    Best way I can put it ----> Our offense reminds me of when a backup quarter back as to enter the game because of injury of the starter. You just can't win that way.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    Nonsense. If you watch the plays, and pause right before the QB throws the ball and right after he throws the ball, you can usually see at least 10-15 yards downfieldon an HDTV. You cannot see this all watching it REAL TIME, but go back and use your technology and you'll see more than you think. I don't know what kind of TV you are watching, but mine does not zoom in on the QB or the ball. You cannot see EVERY route, but you can often see guys running open that the QB missed.

    You can easily see TE's and RB's open in the flat. You can easily see Brandon Gibson dragging across in one on one coverage with a LB on him. If you use your fingers and count players, and use your eyes to see what is in front of you, can you tell who is what, and what is possible. You can also use when semi-intelligent analysis games are telling you to dicpher information also. They also provide other replay angles where you can decipher more information.

    Have you taken the time and tried it? Didn't think so.

    BETWEEN DRIVES is not THE FLOW OF THE GAME. Bradford cannot talk to Shurmur immediately after plays when it matters most. In some cases, it might be 8, 10, or more plays before Bradford gets to talk to him.

    Why is everyone so quick to discount information that people have taken the time and effort to generate, when they aren't willing to do it themselves?

    I guess because it's easy to blame the offensive coordinator for the offenses inability to execute ....
    Ah, the flow of the game is only limited to times players are actually on the field? What's the difference?

    In this video from youtube:
    YouTube - NFL Game Center New York Jets at New York Giants 2009 Preseason Week 3

    at the 1:15 mark he throws to the middle of the field, how do you know what routes were run and the coverage by people on the right side of the offense when it's never shown on the TV? You see, it's not what type of TV you have (I can't believe you literally wrote that) but it's what is shown by the network. They are zoomed in way to far to see how routes are run or defenders are working unless they go back and specifically show you in the replay.

    And where did I blame everything on the coaches?
    Last edited by RebelYell; -10-27-2010 at 04:52 PM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    Ah, the flow of the game is only limited to times players are actually on the field? What's the difference?

    In this video from youtube:
    YouTube - NFL Game Center New York Jets at New York Giants 2009 Preseason Week 3

    at the 1:15 mark he throws to the middle of the field, how do you know what routes were run and the coverage by people on the right side of the offense when it's never shown on the TV? You see, it's not what type of TV you have (I can't believe you literally wrote that) but it's what is shown by the network. They are zoomed in way to far to see how routes are run or defenders are working unless they go back and specifically show you in the replay.

    And where did I blame everything on the coaches?
    Why can't you believe I wrote it?

    Go watch a game in a 4:3 format, like your youtube video ....

    Then watch that game in HD on a 16:9 format ....

    And why are you showing me a clip from a Giants game? We are the Rams right?

    It's not worth arguing this with you, you will believe what you believe ...
    Last edited by RamsInfiniti; -10-27-2010 at 07:34 PM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: What Causes Second-Half Stall?

    RI, you seem to be in a really angry place lately.

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