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Thread: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long



    Bernie: Plenty of issues surround Long

    7 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

    Take 5 on Jake Long:

    The Rams obviously believe that Long can return to elite form and re-establish his standing among the NFL’s best left offensive tackles. And he certainly has a chance to do that.

    But the Rams also hedged their bet by limiting their Long deal to four seasons.

    There’s some work to do:

    1. Health and durability: Here are Long’s snap counts in each of his five seasons beginning with his rookie year (2008) and continuing through last season:

    1,068 … 1,147 … 1,077 … 801 … 745

    Long passed the Rams’ rather extensive physical, so the team is confident in his physical viability.

    Playing for Jeff Fisher should help Long. Fisher is a players’ coach who doesn’t wear his guys down with needlessly long practices or gratuitous contact that can leave a veteran vulnerable to injury.

    As Rams GM Les Snead told Peter King of Sports Illustrated: “One of our players texted Jake and told him he’d retire if he had to play for any other coach besides Jeff. Jeff gets veterans to Sunday ready to play … gets them to December ready to play … So yes, he knows how to keep vets fresh physically, mentally and spiritually as good as anyone in the NFL.”

    I believe that’s true.

    But Fisher’s approach, while sound, didn’t prevent the Rams’ offensive line from getting clobbered by injuries in 2012. The O-line was one of the hardest-hit areas of the team.

    2. Performance: Courtesy of Pro Football Focus, here are Long’s pass-blocking ratings in each of his five seasons. Again, we’ll start with 2008, and go through 2012. Obviously, the higher the “plus” number the better the season.

    15.4 … 24.4 … 23.3 … 9.0 … 3.0

    Long’s yearly run-blocking scores follow the same pattern. In order:

    15.7 … 10.7 … 11.5 … 2.2 … minus 1.9

    Obviously there’s been a rather dramatic decline. PFF rated Long No. 2 in the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency among NFL offensive tackles in 2009, and No. 1 in 2010. But Long dropped off to No. 22 in the category in 2011. Last season’s pass-blocking efficiency was 21st among OTs that played at least 25 percent of the snaps. That isn’t bad. But it isn’t elite.

    The Rams need Jake Long to nullify the effective edge rushers that can make life painful for quarterbacks in the NFC West. If Long plays at an average level, that’s OK. But they need him to be better than that.

    3. Paul Boudreau is a key figure in the Long rehabilitation project. Not to mix baseball and football, but remember how Dave Duncan used to fix up veteran pitchers for the Cardinals and get the most of their ability? Boudreau, the Rams’ outstanding offensive line coach, has the same quality touch in getting improved performances from O-lineman. Long is an ideal candidate for Boudreau.

    In 2011, Rams left OT Rodger Saffold had his season impacted by injuries and was limited to 618 snaps. And when he played, Saffold struggled terribly, allowing 11 sacks, four hits and 17 hurries. He finished with one of the worst pass-blocking efficiency numbers (92.5) in the league. In 2012, Saffold again was knocked down by injuries and played only 621 snaps. But in working with Boudreau for the first time, Saffold allowed only 3 sacks. He allowed way too many hurries, however, which lowered his pass-blocking efficiency score. But Saffold still had the best pass-blocking efficiency rating (96.4) of his three-year career.

    4. As long as everyone can stay reasonably healthy, which is always a question, the Rams will finally have stability on the offensive line. That would help QB Sam Bradford. But how realistic is it to expect the line to avoid injuries in 2013?

    The 2012 line was torn by injuries to Saffold, center Scott Wells and right guard Harvey Dahl last season. Three players started at left offensive tackle: Saffold (10), Wayne Hunter (4), and Joe Barksdale (2).

    A similar mess occurred at LT in 2011. Long can firm up that spot. But there are always potential complications. How well can Saffold play at RT? Will he be happy? Will he remain healthy for the first time since his rookie season?

    The Wells injury created a void at left guard; Robert Turner had to move from LG to fill the hole at center. And the LG spot wasn’t settled until Wells came back late in the season, enabling Turner to move to LG.

    5. My bottom line on Long: I like his chances of staying healthy and raising his play. The presence of Fisher and Boudreau will increase those odds. But I can’t ASSUME that Long will return to that elite level. It seems to me that he’ll turn into Willie Roaf or Tony Boselli.

    In his final couple of years in New Orleans, Roaf was viewed as a left OT in decline, already into the downside phase of his career. Roaf went to Kansas City and dominated, making the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons with the Chiefs. The return to form clinched Roaf’s Hall of Fame case.

    Boselli, the 2nd overall pick in the 1995 draft, went to Jacksonville and became a Pro Bowl left OT in five of his six seasons. And then he lost it … just went over the proverbial cliff with a stunning drop in performance. Boselli retired after his seventh season.

    Will Long be Roaf, or Boselli?

    I think he’ll be closer to Roaf, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    Thanks for reading.

    — Bernie


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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    The writing style is the same, but something about Bernie looks different.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    The writing style is the same, but something about Bernie looks different.
    He got a haircut?

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    He got a haircut?
    I think he started using the shake weight.
    KoaKoi and Rammed like this.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    I think he started using the shake weight.
    rofl awesome!

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post


    Bernie: Plenty of issues surround Long

    7 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

    Take 5 on Jake Long:

    The Rams obviously believe that Long can return to elite form and re-establish his standing among the NFL’s best left offensive tackles. And he certainly has a chance to do that.

    But the Rams also hedged their bet by limiting their Long deal to four seasons.

    There’s some work to do:

    1. Health and durability: Here are Long’s snap counts in each of his five seasons beginning with his rookie year (2008) and continuing through last season:

    1,068 … 1,147 … 1,077 … 801 … 745

    Long passed the Rams’ rather extensive physical, so the team is confident in his physical viability.

    Playing for Jeff Fisher should help Long. Fisher is a players’ coach who doesn’t wear his guys down with needlessly long practices or gratuitous contact that can leave a veteran vulnerable to injury.

    As Rams GM Les Snead told Peter King of Sports Illustrated: “One of our players texted Jake and told him he’d retire if he had to play for any other coach besides Jeff. Jeff gets veterans to Sunday ready to play … gets them to December ready to play … So yes, he knows how to keep vets fresh physically, mentally and spiritually as good as anyone in the NFL.”

    I believe that’s true.

    But Fisher’s approach, while sound, didn’t prevent the Rams’ offensive line from getting clobbered by injuries in 2012. The O-line was one of the hardest-hit areas of the team.

    2. Performance: Courtesy of Pro Football Focus, here are Long’s pass-blocking ratings in each of his five seasons. Again, we’ll start with 2008, and go through 2012. Obviously, the higher the “plus” number the better the season.

    15.4 … 24.4 … 23.3 … 9.0 … 3.0

    Long’s yearly run-blocking scores follow the same pattern. In order:

    15.7 … 10.7 … 11.5 … 2.2 … minus 1.9

    Obviously there’s been a rather dramatic decline. PFF rated Long No. 2 in the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency among NFL offensive tackles in 2009, and No. 1 in 2010. But Long dropped off to No. 22 in the category in 2011. Last season’s pass-blocking efficiency was 21st among OTs that played at least 25 percent of the snaps. That isn’t bad. But it isn’t elite.

    The Rams need Jake Long to nullify the effective edge rushers that can make life painful for quarterbacks in the NFC West. If Long plays at an average level, that’s OK. But they need him to be better than that.

    3. Paul Boudreau is a key figure in the Long rehabilitation project. Not to mix baseball and football, but remember how Dave Duncan used to fix up veteran pitchers for the Cardinals and get the most of their ability? Boudreau, the Rams’ outstanding offensive line coach, has the same quality touch in getting improved performances from O-lineman. Long is an ideal candidate for Boudreau.

    In 2011, Rams left OT Rodger Saffold had his season impacted by injuries and was limited to 618 snaps. And when he played, Saffold struggled terribly, allowing 11 sacks, four hits and 17 hurries. He finished with one of the worst pass-blocking efficiency numbers (92.5) in the league. In 2012, Saffold again was knocked down by injuries and played only 621 snaps. But in working with Boudreau for the first time, Saffold allowed only 3 sacks. He allowed way too many hurries, however, which lowered his pass-blocking efficiency score. But Saffold still had the best pass-blocking efficiency rating (96.4) of his three-year career.

    4. As long as everyone can stay reasonably healthy, which is always a question, the Rams will finally have stability on the offensive line. That would help QB Sam Bradford. But how realistic is it to expect the line to avoid injuries in 2013?

    The 2012 line was torn by injuries to Saffold, center Scott Wells and right guard Harvey Dahl last season. Three players started at left offensive tackle: Saffold (10), Wayne Hunter (4), and Joe Barksdale (2).

    A similar mess occurred at LT in 2011. Long can firm up that spot. But there are always potential complications. How well can Saffold play at RT? Will he be happy? Will he remain healthy for the first time since his rookie season?

    The Wells injury created a void at left guard; Robert Turner had to move from LG to fill the hole at center. And the LG spot wasn’t settled until Wells came back late in the season, enabling Turner to move to LG.

    5. My bottom line on Long: I like his chances of staying healthy and raising his play. The presence of Fisher and Boudreau will increase those odds. But I can’t ASSUME that Long will return to that elite level. It seems to me that he’ll turn into Willie Roaf or Tony Boselli.

    In his final couple of years in New Orleans, Roaf was viewed as a left OT in decline, already into the downside phase of his career. Roaf went to Kansas City and dominated, making the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons with the Chiefs. The return to form clinched Roaf’s Hall of Fame case.

    Boselli, the 2nd overall pick in the 1995 draft, went to Jacksonville and became a Pro Bowl left OT in five of his six seasons. And then he lost it … just went over the proverbial cliff with a stunning drop in performance. Boselli retired after his seventh season.

    Will Long be Roaf, or Boselli?

    I think he’ll be closer to Roaf, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    Thanks for reading.

    — Bernie
    Thanks for posting this. I was impressed that you posted it as a comment and didn't, seemingly, comment on it other than to make it available to the board. I find Bernie M. to be pretty much down the middle and is often accused in STL of being a 'homer,' with which I don't agree and I'm glad he's not. However, since the replies focused on his hair-cut and his weight, which he has in fact gotten under control big time and should be congratulated for that, I didn't want you to think that you post wasn't taken seriously at least by me. He brings up some good points and in fact uses statistics to back up his comments, which in itself is refreshing. I don't know if Long, who has cost the Rams a lot of dough, will be Roaf or Boselli, but I hope he helps the Rams improve dramatically.
    live4ramin likes this.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by TorontoRam View Post
    Thanks for posting this. I was impressed that you posted it as a comment and didn't, seemingly, comment on it other than to make it available to the board. I find Bernie M. to be pretty much down the middle and is often accused in STL of being a 'homer,' with which I don't agree and I'm glad he's not. However, since the replies focused on his hair-cut and his weight, which he has in fact gotten under control big time and should be congratulated for that, I didn't want you to think that you post wasn't taken seriously at least by me.
    I post Bernie's articles because they always seem to get a response, and often spark debate. I must admit that I added his new picture because of the pretty dramatic change in his appearance, and commented on it in a tongue and cheek way. I like to poke fun at Bernie every once in a while, but I agree with you that he should be congratulated for getting his weight under control. He looks like a new man.
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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I post Bernie's articles because they always seem to get a response, and often spark debate. I must admit that I added his new picture because of the pretty dramatic change in his appearance, and commented on it in a tongue and cheek way. I like to poke fun at Bernie every once in a while, but I agree with you that he should be congratulated for getting his weight under control. He looks like a new man.
    He's a good guy in person. And, I thought his article was balanced and backed up with facts. Look forward to seeing more of your posts in 2013. I'm kinda into the NCAA so I'm about to watch one of the play in games. Have a great evening.
    live4ramin likes this.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Totally surprised AV, being a fan of BM, has not chimed in!

  10. #10
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    Apparently, Bernie's status as the biggest pound-for-pound tool in St. Louis is now less of an accomplishment. Good for him.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Totally surprised AV, being a fan of BM, has not chimed in!
    Ask...and you shall receive.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Bernie is to St. Louis sports reporting what TJ Simers is to L.A. sports reporting... when it comes to them, it seems you either hate them or love them.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinnie25 View Post
    Bernie is to St. Louis sports reporting what TJ Simers is to L.A. sports reporting... when it comes to them, it seems you either hate them or love them.
    Don't know TJ Simers but I sometimes agree with Bernie and sometimes disagree with him. In the article that was posted I thought he made some valid points and used some stats to back up his opinion. And, the article did spark some debate and discussion.

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    Re: Bernie: Plenty Of Issues Surround Long

    This was one of his better articles.

    Seems like Bernie is getting much better at aiming his spotlight at an issue, rather than belly flopping into it and squirting its juices in your eye.

    I think it's because he's getting laid.
    VegasRam likes this.

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