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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Gordon: After folding, how will Rams respond?

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Week 15 was an unmitigated disaster for the Rams.

    Everybody failed, from the fans -- allowing the visitors to negate the home-field edge -- to coaches and players. Offense, defense, special teams . . . problems arose everywhere against the Chiefs.

    There is no way to sugarcoat this performance. In the most important game of the young Steve Spagnuolo Regime, the Rams folded.

    So how do they respond now?

    The sorry state of the NFC West allows the Rams to play another big game Sunday. If they win that, then they will get to play still another big game Jan. 2.

    (One scenario allows the Rams to lose Sunday and still make the playoff by winning their finale in Seattle, but the team can’t even think about that. They need to play desperate football against the *****.)

    Circumstances have given the Rams still another opportunity to answer the challenge.

    Will they squander this one as well?

    The regime has reached a watershed moment. At 6-8, the Rams are one of the NFL’s most-improved teams.

    But after messy back-to-back losses to playoff-bound opponents, this team has raised a lot of questions:

    * What was with all those pre-snap penalties on the home field this deep into a season?

    * Why can’t the high-priced offensive line run or pass block with any consistency?

    * Are these wide receivers, including fan favorite Danario Alexander, incapable of getting separation against man coverage?

    * Will Steven Jackson ever emulate predecessor Marshall Faulk and become a reliable blitz blocker?

    * Has the bubble burst for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford? Or can offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Public Enemy No. 1, devise a plan to get him back in sync?

    * Can the team overcome the loss of run-stuffing linebacker Na’il Diggs and become sturdier against opposing ground games?

    * Can this defense figure out how to punish opposing offenses in third-and-long scenarios?

    * Can the Rams build on their progress and finish strong? Or will they suffer a relapse to their dismal ‘09 form?

    A lot rides on how this team answers those questions.

    This team can still rally from last year’s 1-15 season and host a playoff game at 8-8. The Rams can still move well ahead of schedule in their rebuilding.

    Or they could fall back and raise more concerns about the direction of this program.

    Week 16 will be fascinating. The Rams must wash away Sunday’s sloppiness and play crisply against San Francisco.

    There is no magic wand solution, no easy answer. The Rams need to do everything better. Everything!

    Fans seem to believe the answer to every offensive issue is to throw more deep passes. They believe that the answer to every defensive problem is to blitz more often.

    It is never that simple. The Rams coordinators must find the right mix for each unit – adapting their schemes to talent limitations and adjusting their plans on the fly.

    Then the team must actually execute what is called. Quite often this did not happen Sunday, when a blown assignment ended the Rams’ comeback bid.

    “When you get an 80-yard run with an eight-man front, obviously somebody didn’t fit up right,” cornerback Ron Bartell told reporters after the game.

    Bradford said poor execution stifled the Rams offense, not strategic wizardry by the Chiefs.

    “They didn’t really show us anything new,” he said. “For the most part, we knew that they were going to do. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to line up and execute the way we needed to.”

    If that happens again and again during the final two weeks of the season, then how much progress has this team really made?

    It’s up to everybody, from Spagnuolo on down, to make sure this question doesn’t arise again.


  2. #2
    PARamfan's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Five more wins isn't progress???

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Quote Originally Posted by PARamfan View Post
    Five more wins isn't progress???
    Yeah, implying that failure to win the last two games means there has been little or no progress is silly. It's easy to see the Rams have taken many steps toward building a winner. Come on Jeff.

  4. #4
    swatter555's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Yes, but a late season collapse is an extremely poor indicator for next season.

  5. #5
    macrammer's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Yeah, implying that failure to win the last two games means there has been little or no progress is silly. It's easy to see the Rams have taken many steps toward building a winner. Come on Jeff.
    Shows that a supposed unbiased journalist can just get plain frustrated with a truly lame performance. But, many positive things this year with right direction.

    6-10 to 7-9 to 8-8. Quite a swing there in the last two weeks. Time to put that debacle of a game yesterday behind us and concentrate on a Whiner team that thinks the division is theirs.

  6. #6
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Quote Originally Posted by PARamfan View Post
    Five more wins isn't progress???
    But is that "progress" based on roster moves or a combination of roster moves and the coaches actually doing something with the roster upgrades?

    Rather than evaluate this team compared to last season, it should be evaluated based on where they are compared to where they have shown they can be. Based on that evaluation, the wheels are spinning (or sliding into reverse).

  7. #7
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Gordon: After Folding, How Will Rams Respond?

    Of all the problems Gordon mentions, the only one that looks to lower the grade on this season,imo, is the offensive line, especially the interior.Just about everything else has to do with depth, youth, and injuries.

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