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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Linehan’s Strange “Prevent” Offense
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Monday, Sep. 24 2007




    The saddest thing about the Rams’ demise is that they’ve ceased to be entertaining, or even interesting. They’ve lost their nerve. This is a bland group, almost unwatchable, unless of course you enjoy getting angry, cursing up a storm, and throwing objects at the TV.

    Losing is never acceptable … but losing can have some entertainment value. In the Mad Mike Martz years, this team was many things, but never dull. Sure, Martz drove the fans and media and his bosses bonkers with his odd uses of timeouts, the clock, and replay challenges. But the buzz never left the building. Win or lose, Rams games were events. They were must-see TV.

    You’d never know what would happen next, or what kind of stunt Martz would pull. Martz was fearless, and crazily so at times. But Martz never believed anyone could stop his offense, and his players carried that attitude onto the field. The Rams had presence. They set high standards. And they attacked. If they were to go down, no bullet would be left in the chamber, no weapon would remain unused. Those Rams were Pacino at the end of “Scarface.”

    This Rams team plays scared on offense. Their approach seems to be this: we must prevent things from happening. We can’t risk a turnover. We can’t risk a sack. We can’t throw downfield, because something could go wrong. We can’t do this, we can’t do that. Let’s prevent mistakes, let’s prevent negative plays.

    The Rams meekly go into a shell, and play their little “Prevent” offense, and it is maddeningly meek and boring.

    Linehan has slowly drained the personality, the verve, the once-unshakable confidence from a stable of offensive playmakers.

    How can a team stocked with Holt, Bruce, Jackson, Bulger, Leonard, Bennett and McMichael play such fearful, nervous football?

    Why does this Linehan offense remind me of my youngest house cat — who desperately runs for cover and goes into hiding as soon as someone knocks on the front door?

    The Rams have two touchdowns in three games, and none in the second half. Marc Bulger seems to have taken on the Linehan personality traits; he’s backing off at a time when big plays and moments are needed. In the fourth quarter this season, Bulger has completed only 39.5 percent of his passes, for 4.29 yards per pass attempt, and a passer rating of 41.9. And keep in mind, all three games were there to be won in the fourth. When the Rams have been within 7 points of the lead of the 4th quarter, Bulger has completed six of 17 passes.

    People have referred to Linehan as “vanilla” — but come on, at least vanilla has a rich flavor.

    Linehan is more like cardboard … and that fits, because his offense has become a cardboard cut-out of what used to be a bold and daring offense.

    I charted the pass plays in Sunday’s yawn-inspiring 24-3 loss at Tampa Bay.

    The scaredy-cat approach was sickening.

    Marc Bulger attempted 18 passes that traveled no farther than 3 yards past the line of scrimmage. And of those, 10 were caught behind the line, or at the line.

    In other words, the Rams are moving sideways.

    They are to the passing game what Shaun McDonald used to be as a punt-return man: stay out of danger and head to the sideline.

    The Rams keep throwing these little hitch passes, these smoke screens, these quick-outs, whatever you want to call them. They are easy to complete but just as easy to stop; defensive players swarm to the ball and limit the Rams to short gains. These plays achieve very little, and have become predictable and tiresome, but Linehan and play-caller Greg Olson are addicted to them.

    Here’s what those little dump-offs and harmless hitches netted in Sunday’s loss: 12 completions in 18 attempts, for only 49 yards, a couple of first downs, and two interceptions. Even dumb sportswriters like me know that the worst tactic to use against Tampa Bay’s Cover 2 is to go side to side, and allow those fast Buc defenders to swoop in for tackles. But Linehan and Olson kept going to these plays, as if they’d just discovered gold. And when the Rams actually tried to attack the middle of the field — which is what you’re supposed to do against Tampa Bay’s Cover 2 — they had real success in moderate downfield throws to Torry Holt.

    That’s what Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt do best, run those “dig” patterns at the hash marks. But Linehan doesn’t seem to know his own personnel and what these players do best. Or he chooses to ignore their strengths while playing to their weaknesses. Even at their career peaks, Bruce and Holt were never much good at those hitch-and-run plays, and they don’t make tacklers miss, so why are the Rams coaches so enamored with this strategy?

    And why has this organization invested so much money on offensive talent that’s so miscast and suppressed by the coaches? If you’re going to play this kind of stall ball, then put all of your money into defense, and try to get it done like the Baltimore Ravens did in 2000.

    What we’re seeing now is incomprehensible.

    My colleague Jeff Gordon said it best in his post-game chat Sunday on STLtoday.com:

    The Greatest Show on Turf: R.I.P.


  2. #2
    Tampa_Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Sad to say this is true, we dont utilize our greatest strengths. We don't take chances anymore, we don't air it out. The dump-offs are getting out of hand. Big plays used to happen all the time, you didnt know when they'd happen but you know they would. Now a big play is a 20 yard pass up the middle to Holt, or a 15 yard sideline pass to Bruce(which worked well against the whiners), and both of those don't happen much at all. Those used to be common plays, now there our biggest, and rareist of plays. I know our O-line has been destroyed by injuries, but that doesnt mean we still can't make some plays that matter.

    Something needs to change

  3. #3
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    I hate to say it, but the man hit the nail right on the head. This Ram offense plays scared.

    I especially liked his reference; "If they were to go down, no bullet would be left in the chamber, no weapon would remain unused. Those Rams were Pacino at the end of “Scarface.” Hell yes, if we're going to go down the rest of the way, let's go out with our guns blazin'.

    Good article.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    supachump is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    As much as I often don't like Bernie...

    HE IS SPOT ON


    This offense sucks right now and it because of the coaching and play calls not the personnel.

  5. #5
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    boy oh boy , a lot of times when a sports writer writes these things , you say , well that might be right but he is crazy too think ....., i have never seen a more true to the facts statement by a writer in a long while . this writer picked up the pen and told everyone , and it seems everyone knows it to be true , except the coach and off. coordinator . when a young rag tag defense is holding back the flood , the coachs seem to be bailing water with spoons . these playsbeing called , wouldn't scare a high school team let alone any team in the nfl . teams can't wait for the rams to play them . I KNOW FOR A FACT , DALLAS IS VERY HAPPY GOING INTO NEXT WEEK .

  6. #6
    YodaRam Guest

    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    That, pretty much, sums it up. After this loss, Linehan says " we're right there... I know this sounds tired......" PLEASE!!! Under Linehan @ Co. the Rams offensive heart has been ripped out. I understand caution on offense with front line injuries but this is RETREAT! Get ready for a long season or seasons if we don't change our offensive approach.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Holy crap...after 8 tiring years of reading Bernie's garbage...an article that's well thought out, right on the money, and, dare I say, relatively humorous and entertaining.

    Excuse me while I step outside and look for the flying pigs that are surely buzzing around my back yard.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  8. #8
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    And why has this organization invested so much money on offensive talent that’s so miscast and suppressed by the coaches?
    This is what is really spot on.

    Millions of dollars are spent on a team to SCORE POINTS. How else do you win football games?

    Another question; How many 'professional' players pay to play?

    I will pay the RAMS to run the offense.

    If I am not able to do better than what they are doing now......then I will resign.

    (My favorites plays are reverses. My first strategy: I will run double, triple and quadruple reverses until the opposing teams knock themselves out in confusion). :x

    Then I'll run the ball. 100 times for 100 yards if need be.

    Come on, this is football already! This team needs a RAMMING attitude. :l
    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

  9. #9
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    When I read a Bernie article and can't find anything to disagree with, you know we're in trouble.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Thank God. I thought it was just me. I wait 6 months for pre-season games and this year, I'm thinking, this is really boring.

    I popped in a old tape of the Martz days and I found myself turning up the Volume and getting up out of the recliner, hell, I even think that girl that delivered the Pizza was flirting with me (camo turns 'em on you know).

    So, I go back to this year's tapes and suddenly I'm thinking about cutting grass and pulling ear-hairs out. I can only liken this transition (from Martz to Linehan) to getting thrown out of the Playboy mansion and sent to an Amish family as a transfer student.

  11. #11
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Like i said before, Martz we need him back. This is just a mess now. He at least had gusto and a some nads to intimate the opposition. This team like Bernie states just looks plain scared in the red zone and just coming unto the field.
    Coach Linehan better start treating this so called stars with respect for their contributions. Otherwise he is in for a long podium blitz.
    I waited and was giving him the benefit of the doubt. But when Jeff Wilkins misses after the ***** field goal miss. He just killed Jeff's spirit. Jeff was Money, now he is pennies.
    Totally sad to see our Holt, Bruce and Jackson relegated to unproductive state.
    Hey Olson, we are talking to you and Coach Linehan. The door at the dome is pretty wide and the streets are mighty cold in the winter.
    THE FIELD GOAL

  12. #12
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    I miss those "Pacino at the end of 'Scarface'" days. There was a time where we'd be down by 7 late in the fourth quarter. We'd get the ball, and you could just see it on the opponents' faces--they knew we were going to win somehow.

    This team has no swagger, no confidence, and no moxie.

  13. #13
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    It will never work having Mike back.

    There are to many "fans" who dont understand that if you put your balls on the line, sometimes they get kicked.


  14. #14
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    I don't think bringing Mike back would work anyway. When he left, it was getting to the point where he and the front office simply couldn't co-exist. What's done is done, but it sure would be nice if we had a little bit of that Martz flavor in the offense.

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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie shreds Linehan--FUNNY STUFF

    Excellent article I'm surprised to say, it just says it all for our offense. Funny? I guess so, in a tragic sort of way. I got more depressed reading it, thinking how many years will it be before our offense will once again play like they did under Martz, will this decade be one like the dreaded 90's?

    Linehan tries to transform this team into something it's not - if you want a ball control offense that takes no chances, you need to replace most of our players (both offense and defense!) and do like Baltimore in '00 as Bernie says. I have to ask the question which is easier to replace: 90% of our roster or just Linehan? The same question could be asked about Martz and the FO, which is replaced more easily a bunch of accountants and lawyers in the FO or a brilliant offensive coach (if they really could not co-exist)? Sadly decisions aren't always made for the best of the team, but just by those in charge.

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