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Thread: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

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    Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    * Those of you who reject the Rams-are-still-rebuilding excuse certainly can build a strong case. Detroit was 0-16 in 2008, and 2-14 in 2009. Their rebuilding was damaged by injuries to QB Matthew Stafford in '09 and again in '10. But going back to late last season, the Lions have won seven in a row, and they're clearly turning a corner and doing so in a tough division. The Tampa Bay Bucs were 3-13 in 2009 and have gone 12-7 since the start of the 2010 season, and have beaten some good teams.

    This is Billy Devaney's third year as the GM, and his fourth year as the top talent scout in the organization. This is Steve Spagnuolo's third season as the head coach, and he has considerable authority in making personnel decisions in conjunction with Devaney. With the Rams having now gone 1-6 in their last seven regular-season games, there are only three possible conclusions for this wrong-way direction: (1) they're failing in the important assignment of choosing players; (2) they're failing to do a good job of coaching, and deploying, these players; (3) a combination of both.

    * We can't continue to blame Jay Zygmunt, John Shaw, Scott Linehan, Mike Martz. The Rams have had three drafts under Devaney, and before that he played a major role in in the 2008 draft. The Rams at present have only five players who were on the roster in 2007, the final season before Devaney was brought in: RB Steven Jackson, DE James Hall, backup OL Adam Goldberg, punter Donnie Jones, and CB Ron Bartell, who is on injured reserve. The current football operation at Rams Park is responsible for the product, period.

    * The Rams offensive line, in my opinion, represents the most significant waste of money on athletic talent in the history of St. Louis sports. That's not hyperbole. That's not me trying to be controversial. There have been some bad contracts, but we're talking about isolated deals for an individual player. And the kind of money given to Kyle Lohse, Mark Mulder, Drew Bennett, Jay McKee, etc. doesn't really approach what we're talking about when we examine this Rams' offensive line. Devaney and Co. have invested tens of millions of dollars in this group, and they have used two premium draft picks on this group, and it is simply incapable of protecting quarterback Sam Bradford. It is simply incapable of standing up and competing in a manner that earns respect. Not to mix politics into this (sorry) but this is like some massive-spending boondoggle that we see in Washington D.C.

    * If it continues, Bradford will not be able to hold up to the punishment and abuse he's faced during the first three games. It's just a matter of time before he officially becomes a victim of what could be the most overpaid, underachieving NFL offensive line that I've seen in more than 30 years of covering the league.

    * This is what's so sad about Bradford: the Rams have a precious asset here, but the people who run the team have done little to provide elite support. The pass protection is awful. Except for the occasional impact delivered by Danario Alexander, no Rams WR is capable of changing a game. It's really a shame.

    * The O-line isn't 100 percent to blame. There are clearly some problems in the structure and coaching. For example: how stupid is it to allow Ravens' pass-rush demon Terrell Suggs to run in free, unblocked, on multiple snaps in Sunday's game? If we're talking about coaches on the hot seat, start with Rams offensive line coach Steve Loney. Bradford could figure into this, only in that he's being asked to make protection calls at the line, which is new for him this season. It could be that he's missing some things during this period of adjustment. This can't be easy after no offseason OTAs, meetings and a hurried camp. But Bradford was given this assignment by new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

    * Perhaps McDaniels shouldn't have been so ambitious. The Rams have scored three TDs from scrimmage. And that's been matched by the opposing defense, which has scored three TDs on Rams' fumbles. The Rams also rank 31st in the NFL in third-down conversions, 25.6 percent. It's early, but McDaniels has been a disappointment so far.

    * Here's one of the more disturbing questions about the 2011 Rams: where is the fight? Where is the mental toughness? You look around this league and see teams refusing to succumb to early-game adversity, early-game cave-ins. You see the Buffalo Bills getting torched by New England QB Tom Brady in the first quarter, falling behind 21-0 before they knew what zapped them. But the Bills wouldn't buckle; they came back to intercept Brady four times, win the game and stun the Patriots. You see the Detroit Lions go on the road to Minnesota, trail 20-0 at the half, and battle back to win the game. The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a horrible 0-3 start, but Sunday in San Diego they fought like mad in a desperate attempt to pull out a win against a very good team. The Chiefs lost by 3, but gave everything they had. A week after having their hearts broken by a late comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco ***** went on the road to grind it out and win an ugly game at Cincinnati. Seattle managed to scrape out a win over Arizona in another unattractive game. The Indianapolis Colts, without the injured Peyton Manning or hope, battled Pittsburgh fiercely before losing late. The Carolina Panthers are 1-2 with and have fought to the wire in all three games. Pat Shurmur's team in Cleveland has gutted out a couple of close wins to go 2-1.

    * Many of these NFL games are streetfights, a test of your survival skills. And the Rams have been outscored 96-36 in three games, which says something about them. So I repeat: do the Rams have heart? If so, it's been pretty faint up to this point. Baltimore came out, dropped 21 quick points on the home team, punched the Rams in the mouth. And the Rams had no response. Nothing. It was as sad, sorry surrender.

    * I said it on my radio show last week, and it is worth repeating today: do the Rams have leaders? Too many fans think that the responsibility of leadership is all on the coach, but anyone who closely follows the league realizes that players have tremendous influence in this area. Players as leaders is a significant part of the NFL culture. You just knew that after a flat, oddly lethargic loss at Tennessee, the Ravens would come into St. Louis primed for a search-and-destroy mission. You just knew that Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs would spend the week challenging themselves and their teammates and demanding more from each other. There would be firm, unforgiving accountability in the Baltimore locker room. Question: do the Rams have that element? Do the Rams have guys who will stand up and hold each other accountable?

    * The Rams defense, which did so many things well in 2010, is in a terrible slide to start the season. In three games they've given up nine TDs from scrimmage, tied for 25th in the NFL. The Rams rank last (32nd) in rushing yards allowed, 174.3 per game. They are 31st in yielding 5.4 yards per carry. The Rams have given up more runs of 10+ yards (16) than any NFL defense. They are 25th in stopping third downs, with opponents converting 44 percent. (Last season the Rams ranked No. 2 in this category, with opponents converting only 33 pct.) Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 95.2 against the Rams; that ranks 23rd among defenses. The Rams have allowed seven TD passes; only KC, Miami and Philadelphia have given up more. This defense has intercepted one pass and forced only three turnovers. Except for a good pass rush, the Rams are pretty much an across-the-board failure on defense. And this, despite supposed upgrades at outside linebacker, defensive tackle, safety. And this, despite using the first-round draft choice on a defensive end. This is not good for Spags, given his defensive background and rep that put him in the Rams' HC job.

    * I was surprised that Spagnuolo said that he was surprised by the Ravens' approach of coming out and firing the deep ball early. Why would the Rams be surprised? The Ravens obviously saw the Rams DBs get into all sorts of trouble on Monday night when the NY Giants went deep. The Ravens obviously can look at the STL roster and see only one cornerback, Bradley Fletcher, who is capable of starting in the NFL. The Ravens obviously could see how the Rams safeties struggle in coverage. The Ravens saw a soft, inviting target. And the Rams knew that the Ravens would start rookie WR Torrey Smith, who has 4.3 speed. You don't have to be Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan or Rob Ryan to come up with the thought that the Ravens would attack an extremely vulnerable area. And you know what's even worse? After the Ravens made it clear that they were going to let Smith fly, the Rams remained in tight press coverage, and they continued to keep CB Justin King on Smith. So the Rams' coaches were not only caught flat-footed by the Ravens' strategy, they also failed to make quick adjustments. That's just a poor job.

    * This is a team that knowingly and willingly went into the season with only four CBs, and only two (Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher) capable of starting and playing reasonably well in the NFL. The Rams had a chance to sign a decent corner, Joselio Hanson, after his late-camp release by Philadelphia. But they passed, and Hanson was re-signed by Philly. When Bartell went down in the opener with a season-ending neck injury, the Rams were in serious trouble.

    * Speaking of Torrey Smith, I'm not one of the people who are whining that the Rams should have taken him over TE Lance Kendricks in the second round. Kendricks has real talent. And while Smith put on a great show on Sunday, he had his breakout game against an awful Rams CB who can't cover, and against a Rams coaching staff that couldn't adapt. It won't be as easy for him every time out. That said, there is a general point to make here: why do the Rams continue to cling to the bizarre belief that they don't need a truly fast wideout to provide a vertical threat. Yes, you can get great production out of slower receivers. The wideouts come in all shapes and sizes. But given the number of WRs on the Rams' roster, isn't it reasonable to conclude that it would help the cause to have a WR that presents a vertical threat?

    * For everyone who wanted the Rams to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick and who are still whining about it in a nice piece of revisionist history: you are aware that Fitzy would be playing behind the Rams offensive line, throwing to the Rams receivers, and working for an organization that makes too many mistakes in evaluating talent, right? You do realize that Fitzy wouldn't have the Buffalo players, coaches and GM here in St. Louis, right? Also, you do realize that Fitzy wasn't cut by the current Devaney-Spags regime, right? If Fitzgerald had been the QB for the Rams since 2007, he would have gotten beaten up so violently, we wouldn't be talking about him. He wouldn't have lasted.

    * Game ball to Carnell "Cadillac" Williams: 18 carries, 75 yards, and he took a beating every time he carried the ball.

    * When Jason Smith is getting benched in his third NFL season, we are clearly moving into "bust" territory.

    * Where is the No Huddle offense?

    * Baltimore challenged a call and asked for an officiating review with 3:20 left in the game, while leading the Rams 37-7? The Ravens threw a deep pass -- with starting QB Joe Flacco inexplicably still in the game -- with 2:00 left? Gee, with friends like John Harbaugh, Spags doesn't need enemies.

    Thanks for reading ...

    -Bernie
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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Pretty spot on I would say...
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    Pretty spot on I would say...
    Unfortunatly yea


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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    I can't disagree with any of it.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    WHAM! Reality just slapped us all in the face.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Bernie, seriously, We were one game away from being the NFC WEST DIVISION CHAMPIONS. I mean second is first loosers and all, but we faired far better than most here at Clan Ram expected. Well except me.

    Philidelphia broke our players to beat us, Giants cheeted to get us stopped in the red zone and well sad to say, the ravens were a better team that did this to the Steelers. You remember the Steelers don't you? Super Bowl contender Steelers?

    Well the truth of the matter is this, we have faced some great teams comming out the shoot and we still have some more to play. So why don't you go cover some play 60 or what ever is going on in the play ground by your house and shut the (I won't say it here) up. It is so sad we get saddled with your crap. Makes me glad I'm in Seattle enjoying the rain.

    GO RAMS BEAT the skins, like last year.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    I hate to say it, but Bernie nailed this one.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    I hate to say it, but Bernie nailed this one.
    Yes, he did, and anyone who feels otherwise better take off the blinders. This team still has many, many issues and if not resolved in a hurry will lead to another lost season.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    I still don't understand all that hype on Jason Smith, three drafts ago!? I never liked that pick. I remember that Michael Oher was my favorite choice, back than, but that's all over, just like this season for us. In fact, we still got one chance, since our next game is vs. redskins. Just remember how we played last 4-5 seasons and we always could play them, doesn't matter how bad we were. Just check our last results against them. 2010/30-16 (W);2009/7-9 (L);2008/19-17 (W);2006/37-31 (W). Yes, this is another example that hope refuse to die, repeatedly.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Just to dump another log on the fire, where in the world were the screen passes when it was obvious that we werent controlling their pass rush. Another lack of coaching adjustments.

    Meanwhile, i am sure it has been said elsewhere (i have been away), but i think justin king had the worst quarter of football in the history of an nfl db. By my count, he gave up three tds and could have easily given up two more if flacco had been on target.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Quote Originally Posted by BM
    Bradford could figure into this, only in that he's being asked to make protection calls at the line, which is new for him this season. It could be that he's missing some things during this period of adjustment.
    Whooooooooooooa, Nellie! Slow down a bit. Are we going to just blow right past this one?

    Am I missing something here? Don't most QBs make these calls? How is this "new for him" this season? And that being the case, that's a pretty big matzo ball to toss out there! Did McD throw too much on the kid at once?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    The point I think everyone is missing is the Jay Zygmunt did a way better job, than these current folks. They are dropping the ball big time, If i'm not mistaken the head controls the body correct? That's our problem is the head front office.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    The point I think everyone is missing is the Jay Zygmunt did a way better job, than these current folks.
    You are being sarcastic, right?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramone View Post
    I still don't understand all that hype on Jason Smith, three drafts ago!? I never liked that pick. I remember that Michael Oher was my favorite choice, back than, but that's all over, just like this season for us. In fact, we still got one chance, since our next game is vs. redskins. Just remember how we played last 4-5 seasons and we always could play them, doesn't matter how bad we were. Just check our last results against them. 2010/30-16 (W);2009/7-9 (L);2008/19-17 (W);2006/37-31 (W). Yes, this is another example that hope refuse to die, repeatedly.
    He was picked primarily on potential, the Rams assumed because he had such a good character, they could go no wrong picking Smith.? I never liked the pick also, I liked Monroe over Smith. I wanted another bust from that draft.? The next big impact player at LB, the great Aaron Curry.?
    This is turning into a major draft mistake by the Rams! He was drafted to play LT, and paid like a superstar in waiting.! Three years later the Rams have a player that bad, he isnt deemed good enough for the starting right tackle slot. Their is no excuse for Devaney on this pick, he had the pick of the litter, yet still managed to come home with the runt.?
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -09-27-2011 at 01:42 PM.

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    Re: Bernie: Monday Morning Quarterback ..

    Was last year not a good year? And is this year over?

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