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    Cool by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season

    Rams will have to score a lot this season
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Sep. 11 2004

    The Rams plan to celebrate their 10th anniversary in St. Louis this season.
    Team owner Georgia Frontiere threw a formal party Friday night to kick off the
    festivities, and guests remembered the good times.

    The Rams arrived here in 1995, but didn't stop making fools of themselves until
    1999. The long wait was worth it. The four years of losing was followed by the
    most successful five-year run by a St. Louis NFL franchise.

    Two Super Bowls, one Super Bowl title and four playoff appearances in five
    seasons. The offense filled Sunday afternoons with flying footballs and nearly
    30 points per game. And even when the Rams lost, they were never dull. Coach
    Mike Martz, the designer of this offensive masterpiece, is our town's most
    eccentric and temperamental artist. Martz's avant-garde approach to
    forward-thinking football is frequently controversial, but never boring.

    It's been a thrilling ride. But is it over? Are the Rams about to revert back
    to the days of Same Old Rams behavior? Are we going to have flashbacks? Tony
    Banks throwing interceptions . . . Lawrence Phillips spending more time in jail
    than the end zone. . . . Dwayne "Road Grader" White belly-flopping as he misses
    blocks . . . Overwhelmed head coach Rich Brooks shivering on the sideline at
    Pittsburgh, dressed like a kid on a snow day.

    Let's not go back there, OK?

    As a new season reveals itself, I'm hoping the Rams can continue to entertain
    us with lively if imperfect football. And I believe that's what we're going to
    see in 2004. Lots of points, and too many disappointing losses.

    If there's a model for this season, it's 2000.

    The 2000 Rams scored 540 points, the most in franchise history.

    Problem is, those Rams also were plundered for 470 points, the most in
    franchise history.

    We saw that 10-6 team win games by scores of 41-36, 37-34, 45-29, 57-31, 40-29.
    We watched them lose games by scores of 54-34 and 38-35. It was the EA Sports'
    Madden football game come to life. It was insanity. The Rams went to stadiums
    across America and blew up circuit wiring on scoreboards. I got carpal-tunnel
    syndrome just trying to write down details of all the touchdowns. That Rams
    defense couldn't have won a pillow fight. No surprise that it all ended with a
    31-28 defeat at New Orleans in an NFC wild-card game.

    I fear that we are in for more of the same. I'm not worried about the offense.
    Now that Orlando Pace is stationed at left tackle, the O-line will solidify.
    Martz has never had so many talented receivers available to him. Because of
    rules changes, opposing defensive backs in theory can no longer cheat by
    applying the Bill Belichick stranglehold technique to slow Isaac Bruce and
    Torry Holt. This will also make it easier for quarterback Marc Bulger to
    connect downfield.

    The 2003 Rams were faulty in the red zone, settling for so many field goals
    that Jeff Wilkins tied an NFL record with 39. So Martz went out and drafted a
    train, the Steven R. Jackson. This 235-pound rookie load should give the Rams
    some head-banging power near the goal line.

    This team will move the ball, finish drives and score. The Greatest Show on
    Turf, like an old rock and roll band not ready to go home, is going to go out
    on tour and crank it up again. (In this instance, it's Prince and "1999.")

    This Rams offense had better acquaint itself with the end zone, because they
    will need to build quite a cushion to compensate for the defense. I'm not
    calling out the Rams' defense for being gutless or unwilling to play hard,
    tough football. But many of the guys they have in place are learning NFL job
    skills. The defense is in transition.

    The linebackers, for example, are fast and furious but inexperienced. Injuries
    have wiped out quality depth at defensive tackle and cornerback. Incredibly,
    this team plans to line up with only one NFL-tested corner, Jerametrius Butler.
    Defensive linemen Grant Wistrom and Brian Young departed through free agency.
    Rams fans are still waiting for defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Damione
    Lewis to make the kind of plays that alter games. The established playmakers -
    defensive end Leonard Little and safeties Aeneas Williams and Adam Archuleta -
    will labor valiantly to prevent cave-ins.

    We could see the trend develop last season. In the final seven games, including
    the playoff loss to Carolina, the Rams were trampled for an average of 5.4
    yards per rushing attempt. Ten times last season, opponents averaged more than
    4.5 yards per carry against St. Louis. Carolina exposed the fatal weakness,
    once and for all, with 216 yards rushing in the upset playoff win. And if
    anything, the 2004 Rams have less, not more, talent in the defensive front
    seven. And that's the concern, though Arizona seems incapable of exploiting the
    Rams defense on Sunday.

    As the Rams enter their 10th season in St. Louis, it's just about time to
    update the Edward Jones Dome. Receivers and backs will be wearing out the
    carpet this season; it will need to be replaced. For fans who love offense and
    35-31 games, the Rams should be your kind of team.

  2. #2
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    Re: by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season

    Nothing like optimizim! :bored:

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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