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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Rams need to run more
    By Scouts, Inc.

    Why To Watch

    After embarrassing opening-day losses for both organizations, the Titans and Rams were able to right-the-ship with much-needed wins in Week 2. Improving to 2-1 won't come easy for either team in this game, though. The Titans suffered several injuries last week, including to key personnel such as RB Chris Brown (concussion), LB Peter Sirmon (knee) and DT Albert Haynesworth (knee). In order to overcome those injuries, as well as playing on the road, the Titans must stay dedicated to their ground game even if it gets off to a slow start against a swarming Rams' run defense.
    The Rams are better equipped to move the ball on the ground versus the Titans, but we all know that coach Mike Martz only has so much patience. If the Rams are to make it two in a row, QB Marc Bulger will need protection against a Titans pass rush that got to the Ravens' quarterback six times last week.

    When the Titans have the ball
    Rushing: RBs Brown and Travis Henry combined for 95 yards on 26 carries in last week's win over the Ravens. Brown suffered a mild concussion in that performance, but is expected to return versus the Rams on Sunday. Regardless of the split, the Titans need to get another 25-plus carries out of their running back tandem again this week. The problem is they will need to do so against a stout Rams' run defense that is surrendering just 58 yards per outing thus far. The trio of DTs Ryan Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy and Damione Lewis is finally playing up to expectations. The interior has proven to be disruptive and all the attention it demands leads to many free pursuit lanes for LBs Pisa Tinoisamoa, Chris Claiborne and Dexter Coakley.

    The Rams use a mixture of Cover 2 and Cover 3 looks on defense and like to play more Cover 3 on first and second downs because it allows SS Adam Archuleta to cheat up into the box. Archuleta has been outstanding in run support this season and is tied for the team lead with 12 total sacks. A big problem for the Titans will be matching up along the interior of their offensive line. OC Justin Hartwig will need help from ROG Benji Olson in his matchup versus NT Pickett, and LOG Zach Piller will have all he can handle working against RDT Kennedy. Due to those interior matchup problems, the Titans will not be able to get blockers out on the second level with any type of consistency, and Brown and Henry will also be forced to bounce a lot of inside runs to the outside. Because of the speed of their linebackers and Archuleta, the Rams should be able to bottle up those perimeter runs and effectively limit the Titans' overall running attack on Sunday.

    Passing: If Tennessee is unable to run with the type of consistency it likes, it would put added pressure on QB Steve McNair and the passing game. Offensive coordinator Norm Chow strives for balance but the most important aspect of his offensive scheme involves recognizing and attacking the key mismatches as much as possible. When the Rams are in a Cover 3 look with Archuleta cheated up and FS Michael Hawthorne playing the deep-middle, look for Chow and McNair to attack with a lot of crossing routes and deep-in routes from WRs Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico, as well as seam routes from TEs Erron Kinney and Ben Troupe. Bennett has emerged as McNair's favorite target and he's a sharp enough route runner to consistently get open versus zone coverage. Kinney and Troupe, who have combined for 12 catches in two games, are also fast enough to put a lot of pressure on Hawthorne down the middle.

    One glaring problem that sticks out in this matchup is the Rams' pass rush. The biggest individual mismatch comes on the perimeter, where rookie ROT Michael Roos will be in over his head against LDE Leonard Little, who has been a man-possessed with 12 tackles and three sacks already this season. The Titans will need to give Roos double-team help in his matchup versus Little but that will limit what the unit can do in terms of its blocking scheme, as well as how many receivers it can send out on routes. If Kinney and Troupe's roles in the passing attack become limited it will severely affect McNair in this game.

    When the Rams have the ball
    Rushing: Safety Vincent Fuller (ankle), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (knee) and linebacker Peter Sirmon were all injured against the Ravens. Fuller and Sirmon will not play versus the Titans and Haynesworth's status is still undecided as of Tuesday afternoon. The Titans can overcome the loss of Fuller, who was playing mostly in sub-packages and on special teams. However, losing Sirmon is a big blow and losing Haynesworth would be an even bigger one. After surrendering 206 rushing yards in the opener, Tennessee's run defense looked much-improved early in last week's game versus the Ravens, but it was bailed out by the early lead that forced the Ravens to abort their running attack. As such, its ability to defend the run is still very much up in the air.

    It will be interesting, however, to see if coach Mike Martz elects to tweak his philosophy and scheme in order to attack what clearly is his opponent's bigger weakness. If history is any indication, the answer is no. RB Steven Jackson is averaging 18.5 carries per game so far and backup Marshall Faulk is averaging just three. The Rams have the size and strength along their offensive line to exploit the Titans' hobbled and overall inexperienced defensive front-seven should they choose, but don't expect more than 25 combined carries for the Jackson-Faulk tandem.

    Passing: One reason Martz would be wise to run the football more in this game is that it would help to slow down the Titans' potentially havocking pass rush. LDE Kyle Vanden Bosch led the team with three sacks against the Ravens last week and the unit, as a whole, notched an impressive six sacks on the afternoon. The Titans are young across their defensive line but they also have a lot of good athletes. DTs Haynesworth and Randy Starks play in a four-man "wave" with Rien Long and Jared Clauss, as do DEs Vanden Bosch and Antwan Odom with backups Bo Schobel and Travis LaBoy. By rotating eight defensive lineman in and out of the game, the unit stays fresh and can give great effort in shorter spurts. LOT Orlando Pace will handle his business against RDEs Odom and LaBoy, but the other side could be a problem with second-year pro Blaine Saipaia working against Vanden Bosch. If the Rams are forced to give Saipaia double-team help, it will free up some blitzing lanes for LBs Keith Bulluck and Brad Kassell.

    The tough part will be protecting QB Marc Bulger. But if the Rams can figure out ways to do so without being forced into too many max-protection schemes, Bulger has the weapons he needs to pick apart the Titans secondary. WR Torry Holt has a huge mismatch against RDC Tony Beckham, as Holt has more size and explosiveness to consistently separate. Isaac Bruce does not pose a physical threat to LDC Andre Woolfolk, but his experience is an advantage and should help him to get open underneath. Furthermore, look for the Rams to spread their attack out as much as possible with three-and-four receiver sets, as emerging threats Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis should provide mismatches against sub-package DBs Michael Waddell and rookie Pacman Jones.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    A big problem for the Titans will be matching up along the interior of their offensive line. OC Justin Hartwig will need help from ROG Benji Olson in his matchup versus NT Pickett, and LOG Zach Piller will have all he can handle working against RDT Kennedy.
    As I said in another thread, this is the reason that Little could have the game of his life, this week. These interior three will not be able to handle the "Greasy Bear" 1-on-1. That leaves Little in 1-on-1 with rookie Michael Roos all day. If they want a double on Little, it means taking either Kinney or Troupe out of the passing game, which could be a lethal situation IMHO.

    Look for Little to have 3 sacks Sunday.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    the brent is offline Registered User
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    very interesting, I agree that our D-line is really emerging as is run defense in general. Now if work on that secondary. Great year to have Little on the 'ol fantasy squad.
    SUFFERING IN SEATTLE

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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    You know I am really starting to believe that our front four are going to have a amazing year!!!


    steve

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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Steven Jackson 25 plus carries...

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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    It sounds like our defensive front 7 have made believers out of Scout's, Inc. I really do think that unit has improved this year. That will help us tremendously!

  7. #7
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    MM needs to utilize Marshall more. What's wrong with having Marshall and SJ out there together ??

    :clanram:

  8. #8
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Cant wait! GO RAMS!!!

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    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Yes, the DTs have looked good. But, it was against the Scarlet Miners and the Zonies. Bah. I am not impressed. I'm a hard sell. 2 games against doormat teams (one we lost), shrug.

    But I hope ya'll are right. I truely do. Imagine if our DTs actually perform like #1 picks, our D would be a force to be considered.

  10. #10
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    When the Rams are in a Cover 3 look with Archuleta cheated up and FS Michael Hawthorne playing the deep-middle, look for Chow and McNair to attack with a lot of crossing routes and deep-in routes from WRs Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico, as well as seam routes from TEs Erron Kinney and Ben Troupe. Bennett has emerged as McNair's favorite target and he's a sharp enough route runner to consistently get open versus zone coverage. Kinney and Troupe, who have combined for 12 catches in two games, are also fast enough to put a lot of pressure on Hawthorne down the middle.
    I think they have some decent receivers that can catch. I have had my eye on Tyrone Calico for a few years. I expect him to develop into a nice receiver. I think he got hurt last year so he didn't really get to play. I am concerned about the Titans passing game. Can our defense shut them down? The Ravens defense did not get it done, but Pittsburgh did. Where do the Rams fall in comparison to those two teams?

    It will be interesting, however, to see if coach Mike Martz elects to tweak his philosophy and scheme in order to attack what clearly is his opponent's bigger weakness. If history is any indication, the answer is no. RB Steven Jackson is averaging 18.5 carries per game so far and backup Marshall Faulk is averaging just three. The Rams have the size and strength along their offensive line to exploit the Titans' hobbled and overall inexperienced defensive front-seven should they choose, but don't expect more than 25 combined carries for the Jackson-Faulk tandem.
    Come on Martz, give us a running game. Let us see lots of Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk.

    Passing: One reason Martz would be wise to run the football more in this game is that it would help to slow down the Titans' potentially havocking pass rush. LDE Kyle Vanden Bosch led the team with three sacks against the Ravens last week and the unit, as a whole, notched an impressive six sacks on the afternoon.
    They are sack hungry and our line is giving up sacks. Run, run, run the ball. Protect Bulger.

    We need to run the ball a lot. It worked for fast Willie Parker and it can work for us too.

    For an added bonus we get to see Pacman Jones...chunka...chunka...chunka...eatin things and bling blinging. :bling:
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  11. #11
    STLRAMSFAN Guest

    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Ding a ling a ling wake up call for Mr. Hargrove. Mr. Hargrove seems to be the only one missing in action. The other 3 DL are looking good albeit against not so good OL's. They will still put on a good show this week although they may not look as good as last week because AZ also had OL woes.

  12. #12
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    I agree Hargrove, he is missing in action so far; I would like to see D Lewis, Pickett, Kennedy and Little as the front four from time to time against the Titan, who like to run the ball. That front four would hold their own against the run. Bring a LB or CB from time to time to get pressure.

  13. #13
    evil disco man's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    One reason Martz would be wise to run the football more in this game is that it would help to slow down the Titans' potentially havocking pass rush. LDE Kyle Vanden Bosch led the team with three sacks against the Ravens last week ... LOT Orlando Pace will handle his business against RDEs Odom and LaBoy, but the other side could be a problem with second-year pro Blaine Saipaia working against Vanden Bosch.
    Watch out for Vanden Bosch! I've seen him play while at Nebraska, and he was tearing it up on the Cardinals before getting severely injured his rookie year. He's very much in the Grant Wistrom mold. Looks like he's back in form and ready to make a comeback. While the Little-Roos matchup is laughable, Saipaia will have his hands full as well. I wouldn't mind seeing Manumaleuna helping him out.

  14. #14
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    Re: ESPN Insider-Rams vs Titans

    Quote Originally Posted by STLRAMSFAN
    Ding a ling a ling wake up call for Mr. Hargrove. Mr. Hargrove seems to be the only one missing in action. The other 3 DL are looking good albeit against not so good OL's. They will still put on a good show this week although they may not look as good as last week because AZ also had OL woes.
    I must disagree. I think they will look just as good if not better. I believe the Greasy Bear combo overmatches the Titan's interior O-line. That leaves Roos on Little all alone for most of the day. Either Little gets a huge day or we remove their TE from the playbook because they have to leave him in to block.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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