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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Failure To Stop Run Has Rams Looking To Basics

    Failure to stop run has the Rams looking to basics

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/24/2009

    The last open practice for fans had just ended Sunday afternoon at Rams Park. As the Rams broke the huddle, 80 voices shouted en masse: Get low and stick 'em!

    It was the players' tribute to one of those fans, Jerry Harrison aka Coach, aka Superfan. "Get low and stick 'em!" has been Harrison's trademark chant during training camp practices for more than a decade. (Except for the three years he was muzzled by Scott Linehan, that is.)

    But take it from coach Steve Spagnuolo: "It's the basis to all football, right? Stay low and stick 'em."

    Spagnuolo was kidding. But safety Oshiomogho Atogwe says there's some truth to the concept.

    "If you listen to what (Harrison's) saying, that's football at its heart," Atogwe said. "Get down low, low man wins. And hitting somebody. So he's got a point."

    After a rough night of tackling and run defense against Atlanta, the Rams may have to get back to basics. Who knows how many yards running back Michael Turner would've piled up had he stayed in the game beyond the first series Friday?

    You simply won't win many games in the NFL without respectable run defense. And after an encouraging outing in the preseason opener against the New York Jets, what happened against the Falcons was a reality check for the Rams.

    "Yeah, in some regards," Spagnuolo said. "You go against a good running team, it's a good challenge. ... I think the players will respond this week and we'll get back to things that we do really well.

    "Atlanta, they had some nice little twists in there in some of their run game. When they hit that second play of the game there for that long run, it tends to get you on your heels. And we can't do that. You've just got to get back to basics and play football."

    The play in question was a 43-yard run by Turner through a gaping hole off right tackle. Just like that, the Falcons went from a second-and-10 on their 23 to a first down on the St. Louis 34.

    After reviewing game tape Sunday, veteran defensive end Leonard Little took the blame for Turner's breakout run.

    "I just didn't go to my keys and my reads," Little said. "He busted out in my gap, so I can put that whole thing on me. Hopefully, I don't make that mistake again."

    That was the biggest gain of the night for Atlanta, but it wasn't the only blunder on run defense. The Falcons averaged 5.6 yards a carry and finished with 162 yards rushing. Over a 16-game schedule, that equates to 2,592 yards or 117 more than the Rams' franchise-history worst of 2,475 rushing yards allowed last season.

    "It wasn't all the fault of a player," Spagnuolo said. "Sometimes it was scheme. Sometimes it was a credit to the Atlanta Falcons."

    And in truth, the Rams didn't load the box with extra defenders or dial up a lot of run blitzes to stop Turner and the running game, as they might do with the type of game-planning that takes place in the regular season.

    "That's definitely a fair statement," Atogwe said. "You treat a preseason game like you do practice. You go out there and you want to compete, but you're not game-planning like you would in the regular season, really gearing in on their talent and their special guys.

    "You really want to just use the game to assess where you're at, just from a basic standpoint of football as far as the calls you're making, and how you're lining up, and the adjustments."

    If so, the Rams had a subpar outing when it comes to one of the most basic elements of the game: tackling. There were way too many missed tackles Friday, again a stark contrast to what took place a week earlier against the Jets.

    Spagnuolo eased up considerably on the amount of live tackling in the week leading up to the Falcons game. Was there a correlation between the lighter tone in practice and the missed tackles?

    "Oh, I'm not going to do that to myself," Spagnuolo replied, with a sigh. "I don't think so. At some point, we all know in this league you stop doing live tackling in practice because you've got to have guys healthy. I think we'll bounce back on that. It wasn't real good (Friday), but we'll get better at it."

    Even if the Atlanta game represented a step back for the defense, particularly against the run, Atogwe is confident this will be an improved Rams defense on opening day in Seattle.

    "Very confident," he said. "I believe at this point now we're a better defense than we were. A lot of that is attributed to the players really absorbing what the coaches are teaching, and really buying into what's going on around here. ... We care, and I feel like that will translate (into success) in the season."


  2. #2
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Failure To Stop Run Has Rams Looking To Basics

    Even if the Atlanta game represented a step back for the defense, particularly against the run, Atogwe is confident this will be an improved Rams defense on opening day in Seattle.

    "Very confident," he said. "I believe at this point now we're a better defense than we were. A lot of that is attributed to the players really absorbing what the coaches are teaching, and really buying into what's going on around here. ... We care, and I feel like that will translate (into success) in the season."

    That's what I like to hear. Maybe Spags didn't "plan" for the Atlanta game because he's preoccupied worrying about Seattle?

    Can anyone of you even imagine the sheer boost of confidence this football team would get if we beat Seattle? How many years has it been since we beat them? It sickens me. Seattle is the one team I really just can't stand and winning against them would be a HUGE improvement for our team. It gets us off to a great start in the Regular Season, and in the NFC West.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Failure To Stop Run Has Rams Looking To Basics

    After reviewing game tape Sunday, veteran defensive end Leonard Little took the blame for Turner's breakout run.

    "I just didn't go to my keys and my reads," Little said. "He busted out in my gap, so I can put that whole thing on me. Hopefully, I don't make that mistake again."
    Little may take on this fault, but I think Spoon's reading to the flats didn't help any. Had he stayed home, he has a 1-on-1 with Turner. Maybe he stops, maybe he doesn't; but at least there's contact at the LOS if he stays home.
    "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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    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Failure To Stop Run Has Rams Looking To Basics

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Failure to stop run has the Rams looking to basics

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/24/2009








    And in truth, the Rams didn't load the box with extra defenders or dial up a lot of run blitzes to stop Turner and the running game, as they might do with the type of game-planning that takes place in the regular season.

    "That's definitely a fair statement," Atogwe said. "You treat a preseason game like you do practice. You go out there and you want to compete, but you're not game-planning like you would in the regular season, really gearing in on their talent and their special guys.

    "You really want to just use the game to assess where you're at, just from a basic standpoint of football as far as the calls you're making, and how you're lining up, and the adjustments."
    That help keep things in perspective.
    :ramlogo:

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    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Failure To Stop Run Has Rams Looking To Basics

    After a rough night of tackling and run defense against Atlanta, the Rams may have to get back to basics.
    I know it was just one preseason game, but the absolutely horrible takling by virtually the entire team was troubling to me. It's been the bane of the Rams defense for years and I really though we would see noticable improvement this year. Hopefully, it was just one of those games and things will get back on track. I am reassured by Spags though, NOTHING seems to faze this guy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    Can anyone of you even imagine the sheer boost of confidence this football team would get if we beat Seattle? How many years has it been since we beat them? It sickens me. Seattle is the one team I really just can't stand and winning against them would be a HUGE improvement for our team. It gets us off to a great start in the Regular Season, and in the NFC West.
    I completely agree, a win on opening day against Seattle would be HUGE in so many ways. It's hard to believe, but the last time we beat them was in the opening round of the 2004 season playoffs under Mike Martz. We beat them 3 times that year but have since lost 8 in a row. Ugh...

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