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Thread: Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

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    Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

    Burwell: Rams can't lose to Jags

    7 hours ago • By BRYAN BURWELL bburwell@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8185

    In the Rams Park locker room on Wednesday afternoon, Sam Bradford agreed with an inquisitor who wondered if it was fair to call Sunday’s game against the sorry, no-account Jacksonville Jaguars a “must-win” game.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve got to get things back on track. We’ve got to get rolling and this is the week that starts all of that.”

    Don’t sell this game short, Sam. It’s so much more than that.

    You see, “must win” signals a sense of urgency.

    Considering the multiple circumstances of the Rams’ particularly dicey position, I would suggest that urgency was last week’s deal. This week, we’re into deep desperation, perhaps even flirting with some unconditional panic and a sizable helping of hair-pulling resignation just for kicks.

    This game, my good people, has been elevated to “can’t lose” status, quite frankly.

    You are about to play the worst team in the National Football League, a historically bad team that averages less than eight points a game, allows teams to run over it like a rug, could be a 30-point underdog on the road in Denver next week and is roundly considered the NFL’s ultimate get-well-soon gift.

    Lose to these guys and the Edward Jones Dome will rattle like a giant tomb for the rest of the season. With the Cardinals being toasted by a baseball-obsessed community just down the other end of Broadway in the National League playoffs and the NHL Blues starting their season (and being picked by some prognosticators as Stanley Cup favorites), the struggling Rams can’t afford to fall even further down the list of priorities for the St. Louis sports fanatic.


    And don’t let Mizzou actually get interesting in SEC football.

    So yeah, this is so much more than a “must-win” game.

    I doubt it’s their primary motivation, but I’m sure most of the men in that Rams locker room are fully aware of this. The buzz from the off-season and the excitement from the preseason has fizzled out into the shadows of this nightmarish two-week stretch of unsightly football. And while I’m not even sure a victory over Jacksonville will clear up the mess that those losses to Dallas and San Francisco created with this fickle football fan base, this Sunday must be the first step in a reversal of the Rams’ recent sorry fortunes.

    On Wednesday, the Rams were back at work trying to fix things, and Jeff Fisher was back in front of the minicams and microphones trying to convince us that his backfield trio of Run IBZ (Isiah, Bennie and Zac) will eventually provide this stagnant offense with the running game balance the coach swears by, but so far we’ve only sworn at.

    “Our intention,” said Fisher, “is to run the football. You’ve got to do that to stay in ballgames.”

    But what if you can’t?

    What if the one rather obvious design flaw in the Rams offensive attack is that despite a head coach and offensive coordinator who believe the running game is air and water, the personnel can’t accomplish that mission?

    What do you do then, boys?

    We’re about to find out some rather telling truths about this Rams offense on Sunday, because if the Rams can’t generate a running game against Jacksonville, this is going to be a long and miserable fall and winter. The Jaguars defense is giving up 164.3 yards a game, and allows opposing running backs a rather generous 5.6 yards per carry. Every team that has played the Jags this season has gashed them for huge chunks of wide-open real estate on the ground.

    But from what I’ve seen the last two weeks, it’s not just the running backs who are contributing to the lack of a ground attack. Look at the offensive line and what you’ll see is little significant push against the opposing defenses. What you’ll see are walls of defenders across the line of scrimmage. What you’ll see are tight ends missing blocks. What you’ll see are offensive linemen missing assignments. What you’ll see are running backs failing to see cutback lanes.

    It will probably help when a healthy Rodger Saffold returns to starting right tackle (perhaps as early as next week?).

    But what if it doesn’t?

    What if it just keeps getting worse?

    I know Jeff Fisher is a smart football man and I still believe he’s going to get this thing turned around, because he’s the master of the big turnaround. But for the life of me, I can’t see where this is going. It just keeps coming back to the same uneasy point, doesn’t it? You seemingly spent the entire off-season shopping for weapons to arm Bradford so he can run a modern, up-tempo NFL offense. Yet mostly all we’ve seen is old-style mug ball. Yes, mug ball.

    Even if offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s idea with his unproductive play calling was to use a West Coast philosophy that uses short passes as a run-game substitute, then we’re in trouble there, too. Don’t be fooled by Bradford’s league-leading pass attempts (183). What we’re seeing isn’t remotely a wide-open, guns-blazing passing game. It’s a methodical, timid attack that ranks 28th in average yards per pass attempt (6.0) and over the last two weeks that average has dipped to a dreadful 3.7 yards per attempt.

    So that means, even if they are using the pass as a pseudo run, it’s still a lousy running game this way, too.

    The Jaguars are coming to town.

    Can’t lose.


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    Re: Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

    In the Rams Park locker room on Wednesday afternoon, Sam Bradford agreed with an inquisitor who wondered if it was fair to call Sunday’s game against the sorry, no-account Jacksonville Jaguars a “must-win” game.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve got to get things back on track. We’ve got to get rolling and this is the week that starts all of that.”

    Don’t sell this game short, Sam. It’s so much more than that.

    You see, “must win” signals a sense of urgency.

    Considering the multiple circumstances of the Rams’ particularly dicey position, I would suggest that urgency was last week’s deal. This week, we’re into deep desperation, perhaps even flirting with some unconditional panic and a sizable helping of hair-pulling resignation just for kicks.

    This game, my good people, has been elevated to “can’t lose” status, quite frankly.
    So Sam agrees that Sunday is a "must win game", to which Burwell replies that Sam is selling things short, and that it's a "can't lose game". Quite frankly, I don't see the difference. You gotta love reporters.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

    Thank you...
    citr92 likes this.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

    3.7 yards per attempt the past two week? Yikes. Coupled with our anemic rushing prowess and the Jags might be saying this is a must win game.....time for the boys to wake up and kick some jag bleep

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Can't Lose To Jags

    Forget the stats for the Jaguars, the Rams run defense and pass defense have been pathetic and those averages are out the window. The Jaguars are looking at this game as their chance to finally win a ball game. They will come to play as if it's their Superbowl. This is their best chance to get a W.

    To me, nothing short of a convincing Rams victory of better than 10 points is not good enough. I have been a supporter of Sam Bradford and Jeff Fisher since day 1. But my faith and trust in both is wavering. ...and it's not because they're 1-3. I expected them to be 1-3 right now. I expect them to be 2-4 after the Texans game too.

    But it's the way they're losing that gets me.

    The complete lack of fundamentals and the totally unimaginative offensive play-calling on offense, not to mention the soft zone defense they've used and the lack of a pass rush. Bad tackling, missed assignments, poor blitz pickup, dropped balls, and an unbelievable inability to perform a special teams play without a penalty for a stupid block in the back. That's coaching and discipline. ...and they lack both right now.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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