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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    You snooze, you lose; watching the Rams, it's easy to do both

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/07/2009

    CHICAGO I don't know about you, but I can't watch this anymore. This isn't football; it's anesthesia.

    The Rams are supposed to be running a West Coast offense, but I think someone forgot the "offense" part. I don't see anything "West Coast" about it, either. The West Coast passing game was developed by the late genius, Bill Walsh. The Rams are more of a Bill Murray offense. Something has gotten lost in translation.

    Despite having possession of the football in the Bears' backyard for much of Sunday afternoon, the Rams crawled their way to a tortuous demise, managing only three field goals in a 17-9 loss to the unimpressive home team.

    At Soldier Field, the Rams were tin soldiers, slowly marching in formation and getting wiped out before they could make it to the end zone. The visitors were staked to exceptional field position and managed to have the ball on the Bears' side of the field nine times in 13 possessions. The Rams ran 34 of their 65 plays inside Chicago territory.

    This game had a claim ticket, but the Rams passed. Or actually, they didn't pass the ball, that is. The Bears stacked the line all day, and frequently played one safety high. That's an open invitation to throw a forward pass down the field. But the Rams wouldn't dare think of doing anything radical like that.

    This would require creativity.

    And imagination.

    And nerve.

    Have you seen much evidence of that at Rams Park?

    Actually, I should apologize to Rams special teams coach Tom McMahon. He designed the most inspired offensive play of the Rams' season, that wonderful fake field goal that went for the winning touchdown pass in Detroit. And that's still the only victory in this dreadful 1-11 season.

    Maybe they should put the special teams coach in charge of the red-zone offense. It couldn't get any worse.

    The Rams have completed only 14 of 42 passes in the red zone this season.

    In this day and age of marvelous passing attacks the leather helmets went out a long time ago how is that even possible?

    Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur won't be confused with "The Most Interesting Man in the World" from those Dos Equis beer commercials, that's for sure.

    Shurmur is running the murmur offense.

    Sunday he called for 28 Steven Jackson runs and a bunch of dink and dunk passes that wouldn't faze a high school defense.

    The Rams dressed five wide receivers for the first time all season.

    Why, was this a costume party?

    I have no idea why they put five wideouts in uniform. The Rams didn't spread the field, they didn't try to make the Bears pay for assigning everyone except the Chicago Police Department to stop Jackson. The Rams attempted only 16 throws to the wideouts, and the longest completion went for 21 yards. The Rams finished with 98 net yards passing.

    And the Rams are averaging 11.5 points a game, the lowest over 43 seasons of NFL football in St. Louis.

    I know the Rams are limited in talent. Still, there's no reason to be so futile in the passing game. And head coach Steve Spagnuolo doesn't disagree.

    "I wouldn't say limited," Spagnuolo said. "We have NFL players out there who know how to catch the football. Kyle (Boller) knows how to throw it. Our offensive linemen can block. We need to make those particular plays."

    Here's what I don't understand: Why don't these coaches try to take advantage of the defense smothering Jackson? I give Shurmur and Spagnuolo credit for establishing Jackson as a force; SJ39 had 112 yards rushing Sunday and is up to 1,232 yards for the season. But the Rams should be able to exploit the defense's obsession with Jackson.

    For instance: Where are the play-action passes? How many times have we seen the Rams fake a handoff to Jackson to get the defense moving the wrong way, then burning 'em with a pass?

    It isn't a part of their plan. And that's incomprehensible. We're talking Football 101 here. But when I asked Spagnuolo about the play-action fakes, he suggested that the Rams can do more damage against the anti-Jackson defense by continuing to run Jackson. Interesting. Worse, Spagnuolo also suggested there are no plans to change their ways.

    "We'll go back and re-evaluate it," Spagnuolo said. "But the one thing about the eight-man fronts and them packing it in, is when you get most of it blocked and you make one guy miss, there's not much left there. The other side of the coin is, when you do spring it you spring it big. I'm not going to go too far off of what we are and what we're trying to develop here. But I understand what you're saying. I do."

    I find it a little unsettling that the Rams' coaches are so inflexible. You have to make adjustments in football. You have to adapt. You can't be so stubborn especially when a thin talent base prevents you from lining up and having your way with opponents.

    And when a play clearly isn't working like that stupid and predictable roll out to the right, where the Bears were waiting for Kyle Boller every time you have to dump it.

    The Rams aren't talented enough to impose their will. You have to keep foes guessing, and pop some surprises. Didn't the coaches learn that from the fake field goal in Detroit?

    The Rams coaches seem to think this is 1909. Maybe they'll go with the single-wing formation. Maybe they will, in fact, play in leather helmets next week in Tennessee. In less then a decade, this franchise has gone from Kurt Warner football to Pop Warner football. Boring.


  2. #2
    tomahawk247's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    Actually, I should apologize to Rams special teams coach Tom McMahon. He designed the most inspired offensive play of the Rams' season, that wonderful fake field goal that went for the winning touchdown pass in Detroit. And that's still the only victory in this dreadful 1-11 season.
    winning touchdown pass? if it was the winning pass, how comes the game was tied at 10-10 before Jackson scored on a run late in the fourth quarter? Bernie could at least do some research, but i thought every Rams fan would be able to remember the circumstances of our only win this year, let alone the guy who follows them for a living

  3. #3
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    This is a very disturbing article. I actually agree with what Bernie is saying...



    And the part where Spag's gives his insight...it is very troubling.

  4. #4
    TheRammer Guest

    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    This is a very disturbing article. I actually agree with what Bernie is saying...



    And the part where Spag's gives his insight...it is very troubling.
    Good article I'd have to agree with it and about the only thing I can come close to disagreeing with Spags is just about this offensive play calling...

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    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    The truth hurts.....


    That's an article the entire RAMS coaching staff should read. If anything it would get them mad and hopefully they would respond.


    We need to get creative especially on the offensive side of the ball!

  6. #6
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    so much for the GSOT days... I heard one of the commentators saying we're the " Saddest mass on grass" ....

  7. #7
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    Ugh...as much as I hate to admit it, he does bring up some good points. We need more play action for sure. We're not fooling anyone anymore. And I also agree that it's enough with that little rollout to the right play that got Avery the touchdown a couple of weeks ago, but has stalled out since.

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    This article reads more like Bernie's attempt at a stand-up routine more than anything else, but that's not to say he doesn't make some solid points in the process. The thing that I find perhaps most disturbing is...

    For instance: Where are the play-action passes? How many times have we seen the Rams fake a handoff to Jackson to get the defense moving the wrong way, then burning 'em with a pass?

    It isn't a part of their plan. And that's incomprehensible. We're talking Football 101 here. But when I asked Spagnuolo about the play-action fakes, he suggested that the Rams can do more damage against the anti-Jackson defense by continuing to run Jackson. Interesting. Worse, Spagnuolo also suggested there are no plans to change their ways.

    "We'll go back and re-evaluate it," Spagnuolo said. "But the one thing about the eight-man fronts and them packing it in, is when you get most of it blocked and you make one guy miss, there's not much left there. The other side of the coin is, when you do spring it you spring it big. I'm not going to go too far off of what we are and what we're trying to develop here. But I understand what you're saying. I do."

    I find it a little unsettling that the Rams' coaches are so inflexible. You have to make adjustments in football. You have to adapt. You can't be so stubborn — especially when a thin talent base prevents you from lining up and having your way with opponents.
    Spagnuolo's response to that question doesn't sit right with me. I mean, he may have a point in that, if everyone is crowding the line and you get everyone blocked and SJ breaks through, there isn't much else for him to beat. But that being said, I really don't understand why you wouldn't make teams pay for crowding the front by going to something else in your arsenal and stretching the field a bit more. Then you wouldn't have to worry about blocking 8-9 man fronts perfectly because, if successful, you might not see them as much.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bernie: You Snooze, You Lose; Watching The Rams, It's Easy To Do Both

    We need to get creative especially on the offensive side of the ball!
    This is especially true when you have players coming and going all season. Being creative doesn't necessarily mean complicated, either. Just mix the plays up once in a while. Sheesh...Can't we just mutiny and take the team over ourselves?
    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

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