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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Déjà Vu All Over Again

    By Howard Balzer
    Sunday, August 10, 2008



    NASHVILLE – 340. No, that’s not a misprint. 340. That’s the total rushing yards the Titans put on the Rams in a 34-13 victory at LP Field Saturday. 340. And that’s with minus-three yards on the Titans’ final three plays of the game, when Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher mercifully had quarterback Ingle Martin kneel down with the ball on the Rams’ 6-yard line.


    On their final drive, the Titans drove from their own 3-yard line to the Rams’ 6-yard in 12 plays, 11 of them runs, and gobbled up 9:46 of the clock. And most of the yards were by someone named Omar Cuff.


    The Titans could have seemingly put just about anyone in the backfield and they would have found gaping holes in the Rams’ run defense. The Titans had 10 running plays of 10 yards or more, including a 66-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson and a 45-yard jaunt by Quinton Ganther. Ganther totaled 115 yards on eight attempts and also had 17- and 30-yard runs.


    Amazingly, the 10-yard plus runs totaled 255 yards, meaning their other 33 totaled 85. Four runs added up to 176 yards.


    “We need to be able to finish,” coach Scott Linehan said afterward, alluding to the 20-13 halftime deficit that turned into the 34-13 loss. But they also need to be able to start.


    The first-team offense, which has yet to score a touchdown in nine preseason games under Linehan had zero yards on three plays in their first possession and minus-three on the second drive. That one ended with a tipped pass for an interception and touchdown that gave Tennessee a 7-0 lead.


    Marc Bulger and Co. rebounded on the next possession, but a drive stalled at the Titans’ 26-yard line, and Josh Brown followed with a 44-yard field goal.


    Still, the Titans had 157 yards rushing at halftime and 243 total yards. For the game, they totaled 495 compared to the Rams’ 241.


    The brightest spot for the Rams was quarterback Brock Berlin, who looked poised and in rhythm, completing 11 of 14 passes for 139 yards with a passer rating of 108.0.


    He is staking claim to the No. 3 job, and it looks like it will take a major upset for Bruce Gradkowski to win the job. Berlin hit wide receiver Dane Looker on a picture-perfect 47-yard pass play in the second quarter that led to the team’s only touchdown of the night.


    “I’m just thankful for this opportunity to get out there and play,” Berlin said. “It felt great to get out there and put some drives together. I felt comfortable out there.


    “I feel like I’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning this offense, and with two veteran guys like Marc and Trent that you can learn from, they’ve really been great. I’ve been like a sponge, asking question and I’m starting to pick it up. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m getting there.”


    Saturday’s game continued a trend that began last season when the Rams were consistently dominated in the second half. They did play without middle linebacker Will Witherspoon (shoulder), cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder) and free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring).


    Tim McGarigle started in the middle, Ron Bartell at cornerback and Todd Johnson at free safety. Rookie Justin King was the nickel back and he left in the second quarter with a toe injury. Safety Jerome Carter suffered a groin injury and tackle Brandon Gorin injured his shoulder. Even international practice squad safety Sebastian Sejean was in the game in the fourth quarter and made a tackle on Ganther’s 17-yard run.


    Said Linehan, “We have got to have the will to fight through, even if don’t have the depth that we feel that we need. Guys have got to stay in there even when they’re tired. We have got to find a way to get off the field.”


    The Titans converted 11 of 17 third downs, including seven of nine in the second half. The Rams were four of 13 for the game, and it didn’t help
    that four were third-and-10, one was third-and-14 and two were third-and-23. Seven of Tennessee’s third-down plays needed five yards or less.


    “I refuse to allow us to have any excuses or reasons for why we don’t get it done,” Linehan concluded. “I don’t care who is in there. I don’t care if they’re third teamers or rookies. The Rams are going to find a way to get things going in the second half.”


    He’d better hope so.


    SIMPLY NOTING

    *King, Gorin and Carter were scheduled for MRIs Sunday after the team gets back to Wisconsin. Sunday is an off day, and practice will resume with one workout Monday.


    *The Rams rushed for just 76 yards on 20 attempts, with 10 by quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, six by wide receiver Dante Hall and two by Berlin. The running backs had just 17 carries for 58 yards, “led” by Antonio Pittman (6-21) and Travis Minor (5-20). Brian Leonard gained 12 yards on five carries, but 11 of his 12 yards came on one run.


    *It’s back to Mequon today for the longest drive of this journey. The trusty Toyota will hit 2,000 miles about 100 miles into today’s trip.


  2. #2
    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Saturday’s game continued a trend that began last season when the Rams were consistently dominated in the second half.
    And this is my point- this isn't new territory for the Rams. Yesterday was a microchasm of last season and the last 5 or seasons for our defense.

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    And this is my point- this isn't new territory for the Rams. Yesterday was a microchasm of last season and the last 5 or seasons for our defense.

    Whats funny about this is he is comparing pre-season 2nd and 3rd string guys in the 2nd half to an injury riddled team last year. If they do it in week 1 I'll be worried, when the starters actually play 4qtrs and Steven Jackson is playing.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by rammiser View Post
    Whats funny about this is he is comparing pre-season 2nd and 3rd string guys in the 2nd half to an injury riddled team last year. If they do it in week 1 I'll be worried, when the starters actually play 4qtrs and Steven Jackson is playing.
    And the 2nd and 3rd stringers didn't step up last yr either- plus most of the injuries were on the offensive side of the ball. I expected for the offense to struggle last night- without Jackson and in the midst of learning a new system, but the way the defense was stepped on last night should be cause for concern. I think you're in for a rude awakening when the season starts- I don't think last night can be dismissed as easily as you'd like to do it. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but I think we're in for more of the same when the games start to count.

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    And the 2nd and 3rd stringers didn't step up last yr either- plus most of the injuries were on the offensive side of the ball. I expected for the offense to struggle last night- without Jackson and in the midst of learning a new system, but the way the defense was stepped on last night should be cause for concern. I think you're in for a rude awakening when the season starts- I don't think last night can be dismissed as easily as you'd like to do it. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but I think we're in for more of the same when the games start to count.
    I didnt say I wasnt concerned. As a matter of fact in my non-doom and gloom post I said they were dreadful. It is pre-season and I dont take a whole lot of how our 3rd stringers played vs their 2nd stringers and how our second strings played vs their 2nd stringers. I look at the starters vs the starters, and this game was tough to judge because without Jackson there is no reason to respect the run and without our best defensive player Spoon it's hard to say he wouldnt have been there to stop some of these big plays. Like I said if they do it in week one and Westbrook runs for 200 yds and we lose 55 to 10 that will pretty much tell you what the season will be like.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    I'm beginning to think that the problem is with Haslett's scheme. We have been getting gouged for huge ammounts of yards on the ground ever since he has been here.

    I hate Scott Linehan and Jim Haslett so much I can't put it into words. They are 2 of the worst coaches in the NFL and keeping them around for another year was a huge mistake by the Rams front office. They should have fired them both last year.

    We are probably in for another very long season

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottD413 View Post
    I'm beginning to think that the problem is with Haslett's scheme.
    There's a scheme?

    Seriously though- one of my biggest complaints about Haslett has been his inability to give this defense an identity. Sometimes we're aggressive and but most of the time we lay back in zones like sheep. It seems like we play rope-a-dope a lot and many times we catch a punch in the face that we just can't recoever from. When we should be going in for the knock out, we're dancing around the ring hoping that we can substain the beating until the bell sounds. Playing on your heals is no way to play defense and is no way to get a defense to play harder. We can't get to the QB with four down lineman, so Haslett's brilliant scheme is to send 3. I really think the guy needs to go.

    I was watching the repeat of the Eagles/Steelers game tonight and in the 4th quarter with ALL rookies in, Jim Johnson is sending the house on blitz schemes. I'm not sure why we can't do that when we have our vets in.- but for some reason, Johnson can get his rookies to do it. Amazing.

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    Re: Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottD413 View Post
    I'm beginning to think that the problem is with Haslett's scheme.
    Seems we have been down this long and winding road before.

    What is wrong with the scheme?

    Please be specific and use plenty of examples along with video evidence of how the Haslett scheme differs widely from the other teams using a base 4-3 alignment.

    This should give you an opportunity to delve deep into your hate for Linehan and Haslett and keep you busy until the season starts.

    Thank you in advance.



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