Dr. Freud's pregame analysis-which rams team will show up?
Since the season started, the rams have been afflicted with repeated bouts of schizophrenia. We have shown the capacity to play as well as anyone in the nfl (see the fourth quarter of the seattle game) and we have shown the capacity to play like an expansion team at times (see the stupid turnovers in the new orleans game, the collapse by the defense at the end of the saints game, the failure to make plays on defense, the capacity to give up endless big plays on defense and the worst kickoff coverage in the nfl).
We are showing every sign of an above average but certainly not championship caliber team, specifically, that we are playing not to our ability, but to the level of our opponent. When you play like that, you put yourself in a position where a big play or two at a critical time can easily cost you a game against an inferior opponent. The great teams win when they are not at their best, the above average teams seem to find ways to have either the breaks or big plays go against them with games on the line (ie the non-int by butler in the atlanta game).
Make no mistake about it, this team has a pulse, but it is marginal at this point. We were incredibly lucky to beat seattle. Notwithstanding the great comeback, better clock management and a couple of catches by receivers that got hit directly in the hands would have ended that game. Think about how different it would look at 3-4 right now without the tiebreaker advantage vs. seattle and the tough teams coming up.
This is the time to step up following the bye and play with consistency if we want a chance to contend. We need to play to our potential and we need to make more big plays than we give up. The defense is never going to be the 1985 bears, but when it has chances to take advantage of mistakes, it HAS to capitalize. Dropped INT's are killing us and note that when we dont create turnovers we lose. A dropped INT is really the same as an offensive turnover in the sense that we lose the chance to have possession of the ball.
The team at this point is too reminiscent of 2000, with the exception of the fact that the offense, while good, is no where near as dominant and we cant outscore people.
Here is what i think we need over the second half.
1) We have to give grant williams more help. He is playing as well as can be expected, but its not good enough.
2) We have to capitalize on defense, catch the balls when they hit us in the hands, even aeneas.
3) We have to stop giving up so many big plays on defense
4) leonard little needs to play better to cause more disruption (ie at a pro bowl level)
5) obviously, we need to stay as healthy as possible (we need travis fisher up to speed).
6) We have to be able to cover kickoffs better, we are giving up way, way too much field position for a defense that is already shaky
7) Consistency is crucial. We cant continue to turn it on and off, no one, least of all this team, is good enough to get away with that in the nfl.
8) we have to win the next two games
I am sure that there are plenty more considerations, but i am trying to think big picture here. We can still make this a very, very special season, but it starts this week with a very winnable game at home against an injured patriots team, leading us into the key game of the year, seattle at home. If we can win these two we can have real momentum, which we also had after the first seattle game, but this time, if Dr. Freud helps cure our schitzophrenia, maybe we can sustain it.
ramming speed to all