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Breaking Down Rams-panthers==hadley
Sunday, November 19, 2006
YOU WANT, YOU GET… JUST ONCE
Many readers have asked that I post my game notes on this website. The
fact is, all too often this material would be utilized by other media
without proper credit. Dating back to last season, I’ve learned that
the big boys (The Bernie, Jim Thomas, Derrick Goold, Howard Balzer,
Steve Savard, FSN Midwest, co-workers at KTRS will credit moi). A few other
columnists, as well as numerous radio and TV personalities have no
problem pilfering my material or breaking news for their own.
The requests heightened during the baseball season… with dozens of
requests weekly including some three dozen following the KTRS football
preview show this week… this once I’ll post my notes.
Please remember these are written for quick access while on the air
previewing the current game while looking ahead one week.
I haven’t altered for posting hence this is the material I’d print
as an on-air cheat sheet in additions to various other items.
For those that have wondered about what my game day stats sheets…
here you go.
WEEK 11 (GAME 10)
PRE-GAME, NFL, GLANCE AHEAD LINERS
A. The Rams rank fifth in the NFL averaging 32.3 yards per offensive
drive… second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL. The Rams defense is
allowing 32.4 yards per opposing defensive drive… second worst in the NFC
and third worst in the NFL.
A1. Offensive Tag Note: The 2004 Rams (Martz last full season) averaged
32.5 yards per drive.
A2. Defensive Tag Note: The Rams are allowing the opposition 13 percent
more yardage per drive than the 2004-2005 editions (combined average).
B. Field Position: Both teams have worked just two touchdowns drives
this season when starting drives inside their respective 20 yard line.
C. The Panthers offense, more so than any opponent the Rams will face
this season, is predicated on first-down success. The Panthers have
managed to gain four or more yards at a 50 percent clip. On the flip side,
the Panthers ranked last (32nd) in third-down conversion (27 percent).
D. Play Selection… the majority continue to call for more running…
however the Rams would be best served attacking the Panthers through
the air to set up the run. The Panthers “back seven” can be had with
short to medium range passes and in particular over the middle.
D1. Historical Tag Note: The Rams are throwing the ball at a rate of 61
percent. The previous three seasons, the Rams opted to pass on 62
percent of plays. From 1999-2001, the Rams selected the pass on 59 percent
of plays. Ultimately, the play selection this season is similar to the
D2. The Rams have scored just one touchdown outside the RED ZONE this
season. In total 17 of 18 offensive touchdowns this season were scored
in the RED ZONE. At some point, the offense must once again extend the
defense… the Rams scored 23 touchdowns outside the RED ZONE over the
previous two seasons (combined, avg. 11.5 per season). Torry Holt caught
a 67-yard TD pass from Marc Bulger against Seattle in Game Six for lone
TD outside the RED ZONE for Rams this season.
D3. On the other end of the spectrum… the Rams defense has allowed
(tied) the second most touchdowns outside the RED ZONE this season.
E. Pick It… Carolina QB Jake Delhomme has thrown an interception in
four straight games. This is the perfect time to for the Rams to end
their own streak. For the first time since the NFL merger (1970), the Rams
have gone five straight games without an interception.
*The Rams lead the NFL pre-snap penalties with 34 (3.78 per game). In
comparison: Dating back to last season, Carolina has a combined 22
false-start penalties (25 games)… the Rams have 24 false-start penalties
through nine games this season. The Rams have recorded 40 percent more
pre-snap penalties than the eight current divisional leaders (combined)
average to date.
*The Rams have been flagged 74 times (10 declined) this season… fifth
most in the NFL.
*The Rams must limit offensive faus pax considering the Panthers are
second in the NFC forcing 31 “three and out” series.
*The Rams defense must respond in kind: Offensively, the Panthers have
had one hiccup over the last seven games… against the Dallas Cowboys.
Carolina lacks offensive explosion however remains disciplined
presenting opposing defense limited opportunities. The Rams will have to stop
the Panthers the old fashion way… earning “three and out.”
*Marc Bulger ranks second (behind Peyton Manning) in Passer Rating
under pressure dating back to last season. On the flip side, Jake Delhomme
has the worst passer rating in the NFL under pressure since ‘05.
*Jake Delhomme ranks among the best in the NFL throwing the deep ball.
Carson Palmer is the only quarterback in the NFL to throw more
touchdowns on pass attempts over 30 yards (since 2005).
*Delhomme is starting his 57th straight game (fifth best in the NFL).
*Isaac Bruce ranks third in the NFC with 14 catches on third or fourth
down resulting in a first down or touchdown this season
*Will Witherspoon is second to Brian Urlacher in the NFC with 24
premium tackles (stops for two yards or less). Witherspoon is on pace for 43
premium tackles this season. The last three seasons, the NFC leader in
premium tackles averaged 46, the NFC leader among linebackers averaged
44 during the same timeframe.
*Witherspoon is tied with or ranks second (depending on stat service)
another member of the Bears defense, Lance Briggs, for the NFC lead in
*Witherspoon has always struggled in pass coverage playing inside. This
season he‘s been beat four times for touchdowns with his targeted
player catching the pass for positive yardage 80 percent of attempts this
season (nearly 20 percent higher than previous two seasons). Oddly,
when flanked outside he is fabulous in pass coverage. The Rams linebacking
unit ranks among the weakest in pass coverage… thankfully Carolina
lacks the components to expose the weakness. Conversation notes: Best
Pass-Coverage LBing Corps: NFC---Philadelphia/AFC---Baltimore; Most
Underrated---Green Bay. Best ILBs in Pass-Coverage---1. Ray Lewis, Baltimore;
2. Bradie James, Dallas; 3. Andra Davis, Cleveland; 4. Bart Scott,
Baltimore; 5. Tedy Bruschi, New England; Best Rookie ILBs in Pass Coverage:
AFC---DeMeco Ryans, Houston/NFC---A.J. Hawk, Green Bay.
*The Rams rank eighth (fifth in the NFC) pressuring opposing
quarterbacks on 27 percent of pass plays ranking ahead of Carolina (24.5) this
*The Rams rank fourth in the NFL (first in the NFC) blitzing on 46.5
percent of pass plays. While the Rams are blitzing (on pass plays) at a
rate 64 percent higher compared to 2005... the results are
disappointing. This season, the Rams sack percentage on blitzes (on pass plays) is
minimally higher (and less compared to the 2004 edition), however the
2006 edition is permitting pass plays of 20 or more yards on 12.5 of
blitzes an increase over both 2005 Rams (six percent) and 2004 Rams (7.8
*The topic of Julius Peppers and Leonard Little will arise… As a
reminder here are DE ratings for 2006 to date: NFC---1. Peppers; 2. Little;
3. Aaron Kampman, G.B.; 4. Alex Brown, Chi.; 5. Charles Grant, N.O.; 6.
Mike Strahan, NYG; 7. Bryant Young, S.F.; 8. Darren Howard, Philly; 9.
Will Smith, N.O.; 10. Trent Cole, Philly. Most Underrated: Dewayne
White, T.B.; Best Newcomer: Mark Anderson, Chi. (NFC). Most Disappointing:
Simeon Rice, T.B.
1. Jared Allen, K.C.; 2. Jason Taylor, Mia.; 3. Justin Smith,
Cincinnati; 4. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore; 5. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tenn,; 6. Derrick
Burgess, Oakland; 7. Robert Mathis, Indy; 8. Dwight Freeney, Indy; 9.
Bobby McCray, Jax; 10. Aaron Smith, Pitt; Most Underrated: Chris
Kelsay, Buffalo; Best Newcomer: Tamba Hali, K.C. (AFC); Most Disappointing:
*The Panthers defensive discipline has seemingly waned annually since
the 2003 season (played in The Super Bowl). This might be the
worst-tackling Carolina edition during the John Fox era.
*The ***** defense has registered two sweet performances with Brandon
Moore and Bryant Young playing at elevated levels… check performances
against Seattle this week.
*The ***** defense has the biggest decrease in yards allowed per game.
‘Frisco is allowing 51 yards less per game this season.
*San Francisco has yielded 70.5 percent of points allowed to be scored
in the first half… that‘s right 177 of 251 points permitted were
allowed in the first half this season… update for Monday Night show.
*Stress the fact that Frank Gore is the most underrated power-runner in
the game. He has the speed for the big play however leads all NFC
running backs (with 100 or more carries) in yards per carry after contact.
His status vs. Seattle is in doubt because of concussion suffered last
week vs. Detroit.
*Arnaz Battle has developed into Alex Smith’s go-to receiver in
*Smith is showing patience under pressure and beginning to take
advantage of matchups.
*Will the return of TE Vernon Davis command enough coverage to open the
field for Antonio Bryant big plays? Will he play this weekend? Expected
to play vs. Rams.
*Rams and ***** both have four players with 25 or more catches this
season (second only to Miami with five).
*The Rams have totaled an NFL-low (best) five dropped passes this
season. Is it a coincidence that the Detroit Lions are tied in the NFL with
the third fewest dropped passes this season? Obviously, former Rams
Coach Mike Martz works wonders with receivers as well considering that the
Lions tied for the second “most“ dropped passes averaging 2.5 drops
per game in 2005.
*Side Bar: Torry and Ike have combined for 1,137 yards receiving this
season. In Detroit, Roy Williams and Mike Furrey have combined for 1,316
yards receiving this season.
*Why is New Orleans succeeding? Aside from Peyton Manning, Drew Brees
receives the best pass protection in the NFL. Brees has been sacked an
NFL-low nine times and has been knocked down just 20 times this season.
*Keep an eye on Pats-Packers, between Brett Favre (34) and Tom Brady
(21) these two QBs have led their teams to a combined 55 fourth quarter
*There are nine WRs in the NFL with 50 or more receptions this season
(including Torry Holt, 52). The Atlanta Falcons receiving corps, in
total, have just 59 receptions (combined) this season. Vick must develop a
connection with his wideouts.
*Battle of Bad Numbers---The Cardinals have committed a turnover in 32
straight games. The Cardinals offense last played an error-free game on
11/14/2004... Since 2001, Detroit is 5-39 (.114) on the road.
*Seattle has won 10 straight NFC West games.
*Kansas City is 11-1 vs. AFC West teams at home in their last 12 such
meetings… Oakland has lost 11 straight games against AFC West
*Yes, Indianapolis is 9-0... However the Colts aren’t dominating, in
fact, seven of their nine wins were registered by seven points or less
(four were decided by five points or less).
IN THE END…
A. Yes, the Rams have allowed an NFC-high 143.6 yards rushing this
season… however I would force the Panthers running game to win the game.
Unless DeAngelo Williams suddenly finds his stride… the Panthers
running game won’t break the Rams. On the flip side, Steve Smith can
single-handily win this game if given the chance. The Rams don’t have an
answer for Keyshawn Johnson. The Rams only hope is a combination of
blitz packages (linebackers) to pressure Jake Delhomme and force the
Panthers runners to break big runs. The Panthers have just five runs of 20
or more yards this season… on the flip side, the Panthers have five TD
passes of 20 or yards this season. STEVE SMITH IS THE PANTHER “O.”
Dating back to last season, Smith has accounted for 43 percent of the
Panthers receiving yards.
B. Rams must work Klop, and Shaun McDonald into the mix. Short, quick
passes and connections over the middle will keep the Panthers back-seven
balanced on defense. The Rams must establish the pass to setup the run
which in turn will create long-ball opportunities as the game
develops… pass, pass, pass.
C. Utilize Stephen Davis in close quarters and particularly for the
tough yards near pay dirt. Force defense to pick between Davis and
Jackson… forget Paul Smith. Davis can be a decoy, blocker or runner… he is
capable of getting the toughest final yard!
Prediction: Rams play with reckless abandon on defense forcing Jake
Delhomme into mistakes… Holt and Bruce deliver the knockout blows after
Panther defense is softened by Jackson/Davis on the ground and mixture
of short to medium passes. Rams win 27-17.
NOTE: If Rams win… amplify significance of S.F. matchup next week and
remind listeners that Rams have head-to-head advantage vs. Green Bay
If Rams lose… they’ve exhausted mulligan and must win-out to reach
postseason play. It would mandate snapping three-game losing streak to
S.F., beating Chicago and Minnesota on the road.
Projected Divisional Winners Entering Week 11 (Game 10): Philly/Dallas
in NFC East, Chicago in NFC North, New Orleans in NFC South, Seattle in
Key Games relating to Rams postseason path: Atlanta at Baltimore; Indy
at Dallas; NYG at Jax (Monday); New England at Green Bay; Minnesota at
Miami and Seattle at San Francisco.
It is possible that all six key Wild Card contenders could lose this
Win or lose… note the significant to WC race in relation to
Conference Record. The Rams are .500 in NFC play however so is every other WC
contender save NYG (5-2) and Minnesota (4-3)… (and Green Bay is 3-4).
Re: Breaking Down Rams-panthers==hadley*Marc Bulger ranks second (behind Peyton Manning) in Passer Rating under pressure dating back to last season. On the flip side, Jake Delhomme has the worst passer rating in the NFL under pressure since ‘05.
*Witherspoon has always struggled in pass coverage playing inside. This season he‘s been beat four times for touchdowns with his targeted player catching the pass for positive yardage 80 percent of attempts this season (nearly 20 percent higher than previous two seasons). Oddly, when flanked outside he is fabulous in pass coverage.
*The Rams rank fourth in the NFL (first in the NFC) blitzing on 46.5 percent of pass plays. While the Rams are blitzing (on pass plays) at a rate 64 percent higher compared to 2005... the results are disappointing. This season, the Rams sack percentage on blitzes (on pass plays) is minimally higher (and less compared to the 2004 edition), however the 2006 edition is permitting pass plays of 20 or more yards on 12.5 of blitzes an increase over both 2005 Rams (six percent) and 2004 Rams (7.8 percent).
*Why is New Orleans succeeding? Aside from Peyton Manning, Drew Brees receives the best pass protection in the NFL. Brees has been sacked an NFL-low nine times and has been knocked down just 20 times this season.
A. Yes, the Rams have allowed an NFC-high 143.6 yards rushing this season… however I would force the Panthers running game to win the game.
B. The Rams must establish the pass to setup the run which in turn will create long-ball opportunities as the game develops… pass, pass, pass.
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