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Thread: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

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    Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Since many are tired of Nick W. and J.Thomas, how about some good ole Bernie??

    Bernie Miklasz

    After a week off, the Rams are heading back to work, trying to finish strong and improve on their 4-6 record. Theyíll kick off their final six games of the season with Sundayís home game against Chicago.

    What did you make of the first 10 games?

    Iíd categorize their body of work as a disappointment.

    Yes, I know this is the leagueís youngest team. The inexperience leads to mistakes, fluctuations, frustration. Yes, I realize the Rams lost quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 20; to that point he was having his best NFL campaign.

    Yes, we can make all kind of excuses for the Rams. Thatís the way itís been around here since the franchise last posted a winning record. Since the start of the 2004 season the Rams are 60-109-1 for a winning percentage of .356 that ranks 29th among the 32 NFL teams over that time. (Somehow Cleveland, Detroit and Oakland have been worse.)

    And yes, we can maintain reasonable hope and optimism and declare that coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead have the organization on the right track, headed toward better days.

    Iím a realist. I thought their collection of restless youth would lead to inconsistency, so I picked the Rams to go 7-9 this season. I agree with the organizationís internal view that 2014 was a more likely break-out season for the rebuilding phase.

    So why am I disappointed by the 4-6?

    The record should be better.

    Things would be pretty interesting around here right now if the Rams had pulled off victories in three winnable games.

    In retrospect, the Rams should have toppled an overrated Atlanta team thatís been exposed. But they lost by seven points at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 15. The Rams thoroughly dominated Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome on Oct. 28 and lost by five. And a home loss to Tennessee (Nov. 3) was inexcusable.

    Weíve got to get over our collective apologist tendency of giving the Rams a convenient ďoutĒ for their failures. Itís been happening for way too long. When a Rams team with upgraded talent has a chance to win a game and blows the chance, then they should be held accountable. There should be a lot less tolerance for losing around here.

    No, I donít think Snead and Fisher should be blamed for the sins of previous regimes at Rams Park. But they should be evaluated for their own work. And a few things bug me:

    This team has received little return from two premium picks in the 2012 draft: wide receiver Brian Quick at No. 33 overall, and running back Isiah Pead at No. 50 overall. Thereís still time for Quick and Pead to evolve into good players, but they should be providing more impact by now. The Rams were desperate for offense at the time they chose Quick and Pead and couldnít afford to whiff on those picks. The Rams have made it clear that their strategy for building a winner is based on success in the draft
    .
    The Rams traded up to select wide receiver Tavon Austin at No. 8 overall in this yearís draft but failed to cultivate him as an offensive weapon until the 10th game of the season, when he starred in the upset victory at Indianapolis.

    Second-year cornerback Janoris Jenkins ó another premium pick ó hasnít covered as effectively this season. If you go with the numbers, Jenkins was much better as a rookie. When quarterbacks targeted Jenkins last year, they had an 81.3 passer rating. He gave up five touchdowns but intercepted four passes. This year, Jenkins has given up five touchdown passes and a 118.5 passer rating with only one interception. (Numbers courtesy of Pro Football Focus.) Why isnít Jenkins improving? The same could be said about second-year wide receiver Chris Givens.

    The Snead-Fisher expensive free-agent signings represent a mixed bag. In his two seasons here, cornerback Cortland Finnegan has been targeted 139 times and given up 103 completions (74.1 percent.) And according to the performance analysis at Pro Football Focus, Jared Cook ranks 33rd among 37 NFL tight ends who have played at least 50 percent of the snaps this season.

    Pro Football Focus graded defensive tackle Kendall Langford 41st among 44 defensive tackles and nose tackles who played 50 percent of the snaps last season. Langford is better this season but still ranks 31st among 41 defensive/nose tackles.

    Obviously, there are success stories, too. Multiple draft picks from 2012 and 2013 have impressed, particularly defensive tackle Michael Brockers, running back Zac Stacy, kicker Greg Zuerlein and cornerback Trumaine Johnson. And linebacker Alex Ogletree has the talent to become a special player.

    As for free agents, the Ramsí gamble on offensive tackle Jake Long is paying off. The big man has been outstanding so far; Pro Football Focus ranks Long fourth overall among NFL offensive tackles this season. That includes the No. 2 ranking for run blocking.

    Why did it take so long for the Rams coaching staff to adjust, balance out the offense and prioritize the running game? And I know he was banged up some, but Stacy should have been utilized sooner this season. Since Stacy became the lead back six games ago, heís fourth in the NFL in rushing. And the Rams are sixth in the NFL with an average of 134 yards rushing per game over that time. The Zac attack should have been rolled out earlier.

    Positive: Led by defensive ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long and William Hayes, the Rams have a disruptive, heat-seeking pass rush. Through last week they were tied for third in sacks, tied for seventh in quarterback knockdowns and were 18th in hurries.

    Negative: Considering the benefit provided by a roiling pass rush, why is the Ramsí pass defense so mediocre? The Rams have allowed an opponent passer rating of 93.0, which ranks 25th. They have been torched for seven touchdown passes of 20 yards or longer; only Baltimore and Buffalo have allowed more.

    Positive: The offense is scoring more points. (Iím not talking about points produced by the special teams or defense. Only the points scored on offense.) The Rams are averaging 18.7 points of offense per game; that rate is their highest since a 22-point average in 2006.

    Negative: Way too many penalties and breakdowns of discipline.
    Positive: Compared to last year, the Ramsí offense is generating more big plays (defined by STATS LLC as 20 yards or more.) The trend is encouraging. But their big-play total (31) is still below league average.

    Negative: The Ramsí defense has surrendered 42 plays that have gained 20 yards or more; that ranks 24th among the 32 defenses. The defense has been pounded for 10 runs of 20-plus yards; only Jacksonville has been trampled for more. The big-play total (run and pass) includes nine touchdowns of 20-plus yards; only Detroit has given up more.

    Positive: The Ramsí defense, ranks second in the NFL with 71 negative plays (plays that result in a loss of yards by the offense). That boom-or-bust defense leads the NFL with 42 running plays for a loss.

    Negative: On passing attempts where the ball travels at least 21 yards through the air, the Rams have allowed five touchdowns, the leagueís highest completion percentage (50 percent) and second-highest passer rating (116.5.)

    As we can see, progress is being made in some areas. The emergence of Stacy and a bullish running game have been fun to watch, and the STL defense has created considerable havoc.

    Over the final six games, Iíd like to see more big plays from the offense and fewer big plays allowed by the defense. Iíd like to see the young players improve and begin to peak in a way that carries over to 2014. This is a compelling team. I just want to see a more consistent team.


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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    "Accountable" to whom?

    The Rams players are accountable to the coaching staff. If they don't perform, they get benched and, in the long run, cut.

    The coaching staff is accountable to the front office and ownership. If they don't peform, they will lose their jobs.

    The front office is accountable to ownership. If they don't do a good job of buiding the team, they will lose their jobs.

    Ownership is accountable to the consumer. If ownership does not make efforts to build a winner, attendance will suffer.

    So who is it that is not accountable?

    Bernie's basic premise is that the Rams should be better than 4-6 right now. I agree. They should be at least 5-5, and probably should be 6-4.

    But its not for lack of effort.

    Pointing the finger at guys like Quick and Pead, who have not lived up to expectations, as the source of the problem, is silly. For every Quick, there is a Givens. For every Pead, there is a Stacy.

    Same goes for the criticism of the veterans. First of all, allow me to once again state that I don't give a rat's posterior how PFF ranks anyone.

    You want to know why Jenkins has "not improved?" Maybe its because he has had to jump to the No. 1 CB spot due to Finnegan's diminishing performance. Maybe its because he isn't allowed to play press coverage as much as he'd like. Maybe he's just had some bad luck (i.e. the TD vs. Seattle). He's a keeper, though. Anyone who can't see that is blind.

    Same goes for Cook. Sure, he has failings, but he is also a weapon we desparately need to continue to develop.

    So go ahead and make your list of wishes and demands, Bernie. I'm sure that the team is saying "gee, we never would have thought of that without you."

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Let's take a look at the last two drafts. I will characterize each player with one of the following: S - starter, C - Contribuer, D - Depth, N - not on team.

    2012
    Brockers - S
    Quick - D
    Pead - D
    Johnson - C
    Givens - S
    Watkins - N
    Zuerlein - S
    Brown - N
    Richardson - C

    2013

    Austin - C
    Ogletree - S
    McDonald - S*
    Bailey - D
    Jones - D
    McGee - D
    Stacy - S

    * Starter before injury

    So, when McDonald comes back that will be:

    16 selections:

    6 starters (7 if you count undrafted player Johnny Hekker)
    3 contributers
    5 depth players
    2 no longer on the team

    While I don't have the time to run this type of analysis for every team, I'd guess that this draft performance is above average for the league.

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    fearsome foursome is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    It seems like we slow out of the gate for some reason this year. Most indicators are pointing up now. We will need to start faster next year and win more of those early close games.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by fearsome foursome View Post
    next year
    Yeah... next year.
    Let the hype begin.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    I’m a realist.
    I always cringe whenever I hear this. Newsflash: EVERYONE sees themself as a realist. It's completely pointless to claim "I'm a realist". If you're seen as an "unrealist", then nobody is going to see you differently though you claim to BE a realist. I mean what would you know about being a "realist" if you're seen as an "unrealist". But if you ARE seen as a realist, then you have no need to claim your position as a realist.

    No, usually when one claims to be a realist, one is using coded language to show their opinion is higher than other opinions; at least in their own mind. When I see "I'm a realist", I read "I'm an arrogant prig."

    That's just my opinion, though. But you should listen to me because....(wait for it)....I'm a realist.
    Last edited by HUbison; -11-19-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    I must say, in this short stretch of time that there have been no Bernie articles posted, I have not missed him even a little bit. Huh...go figure.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I always cringe whenever I hear this. Newsflash: EVERYONE sees themself as a realist. It's completely pointless to claim "I'm a realist". If you're seen as an "unrealist", then nobody is going to see you differently though you claim to BE a realist. I mean what would you know about being a "realist" if you're seen as an "unrealist". But if you ARE seen as a realist, then you have no need to claim your position as a realist.

    No, usually when one claims to be a realist, one is using coded language to show their opinion is higher than other opinions; at least in their own mind. When I see "I'm a realist", I read "I'm an arrogant prig."

    That's just my opinion, though. But you should listen to be because....(wait for it)....I'm a realist.
    Actually, I have a different take, Hub. I think there are basically three types of people with opinions. The first are optimists, who always believe good things will happen despite conventional wisdom sometimes dictating otherwise. These people- although good hearted and positive- often think the team is better than it is and do things like predict an 11-5 season in 2013 for the Rams. They often don't acknowledge failings or shortcomings.

    Then you have pessimists, who always see the glass half empty. They always have a reason for why the Rams will fail and comment only sparingly on any individual or team success. They'll find a way to somehow cheapen great wins or accomplishments.

    I think the realist, while still having the same passion as the above, tries to compromise the two. He understands the strengths and weaknesses of the club and comments accordingly. I don't think the realist thinks of himself as above the other two, but as maybe having more sound judgment- free of the emotion shown by the optimist or pessimist.

    Just my take.
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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Then there are the surrealists, who believe that the Rams will win the cosmic morphing of topographic triumph in a hail of radiant lumosity.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Well, seems like the last few days have been slow around here for us, huh? Nothing like a good ol' Bernie article to help stoke the fires! And once again, I see interesting facts laid out. Will be interesting to see how the next 6 games play out with our youngsters seemingly starting to get it.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Actually, I have a different take, Hub. I think there are basically three types of people with opinions. The first are optimists, who always believe good things will happen despite conventional wisdom sometimes dictating otherwise. These people- although good hearted and positive- often think the team is better than it is and do things like predict an 11-5 season in 2013 for the Rams. They often don't acknowledge failings or shortcomings.

    Then you have pessimists, who always see the glass half empty. They always have a reason for why the Rams will fail and comment only sparingly on any individual or team success. They'll find a way to somehow cheapen great wins or accomplishments.

    I think the realist, while still having the same passion as the above, tries to compromise the two. He understands the strengths and weaknesses of the club and comments accordingly. I don't think the realist thinks of himself as above the other two, but as maybe having more sound judgment- free of the emotion shown by the optimist or pessimist.

    Just my take.
    But that's a whole different discussion; or at least perspective. You're talking in terms of birds-eye view observation. I'm talking about 1st person perspective.

    Yes, there are all 3 (and then some) of those categories in the world. But Optimists see themselves as Realists. Pessimists see themselves as Realists. Nobody sees themselves as anything other than Realists.
    "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: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Let's take a look at the last two drafts. I will characterize each player with one of the following: S - starter, C - Contribuer, D - Depth, N - not on team.

    2012
    Brockers - S
    Quick - D
    Pead - D
    Johnson - C
    Givens - S
    Watkins - N
    Zuerlein - S
    Brown - N
    Richardson - C

    2013

    Austin - C
    Ogletree - S
    McDonald - S*
    Bailey - D
    Jones - D
    McGee - D
    Stacy - S

    * Starter before injury

    So, when McDonald comes back that will be:

    16 selections:

    6 starters (7 if you count undrafted player Johnny Hekker)
    3 contributers
    5 depth players
    2 no longer on the team

    While I don't have the time to run this type of analysis for every team, I'd guess that this draft performance is above average for the league.
    AV, should Johnson not be moved up to "S"? With 6 starts this season, he's started more games than Finnegan, and at this point I'd say it's safe to say he has more of a future in St.L than Finnegan does. Not to mention, in today's NFL, one could argue a 5th DB is as much a starter as a 3rd LB.
    "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: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    AV, should Johnson not be moved up to "S"? With 6 starts this season, he's started more games than Finnegan, and at this point I'd say it's safe to say he has more of a future in St.L than Finnegan does. Not to mention, in today's NFL, one could argue a 5th DB is as much a starter as a 3rd LB.
    I agree with Tru for sure and would add Austin to that. The "S" starter to me is not really what it used to be. If a team comes out in a two TE set on the first play then most likely your slot WR did not start, but that really is semantics.

    Quick is playing and contributing so I would give him the "C" status.

    I would count Johnny Hekker for sure, he is as good as it gets for a punter.

    Av I was looking at this list and It looked thin... what about Jenkins "S"?

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    AV, should Johnson not be moved up to "S"? With 6 starts this season, he's started more games than Finnegan, and at this point I'd say it's safe to say he has more of a future in St.L than Finnegan does. Not to mention, in today's NFL, one could argue a 5th DB is as much a starter as a 3rd LB.
    Good point. Austin is also closing in on "S" status.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams should be held more accountable

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I always cringe whenever I hear this. Newsflash: EVERYONE sees themself as a realist. It's completely pointless to claim "I'm a realist". If you're seen as an "unrealist", then nobody is going to see you differently though you claim to BE a realist. I mean what would you know about being a "realist" if you're seen as an "unrealist". But if you ARE seen as a realist, then you have no need to claim your position as a realist.
    Hey, I'm just one of those that tells it the way it is.
    It's not my fault they can't handle the truth.

    (I have a friend that says this, can't comprehend that his opinion does not turn every thought into a fact)
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