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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    By Bernie Miklasz

    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

    10/14/2007

    BALTIMORE — When the Rams hired Jim Haslett to coordinate their defense, I viewed the move as a huge upgrade over Larry Marmie.

    In 2004, Rams coach Mike Martz hired his longtime buddy, Marmie, to run the defense, even though Marmie had been fired from his two previous jobs.

    Martz gave his pal another shot, but in two seasons in St. Louis the Marmie defense was routinely trampled, allowing an average of 136 yards rushing and 25.6 points per game.

    So when new Rams coach Scott Linehan brought in Haslett to make the defense stronger, tougher and more disruptive, I was confident that the defense would rise from the floor and get physical. We would see the defensive personality evolve from Marmie's nice-guy demeanor and morph into Haslett's streetfighting-man character.

    Sad to say, it hasn't happened.

    Marmie is long gone, but the Marmie-marshmallow defense remains. If you compare the numbers from the Marmie years (2004-2005) to the Haslett years (2006-2007), the Rams are giving up more rushing yards per game, a higher average of yards per rushing attempt and roughly the same amount of points per game (25).

    And that's after making many changes on defense, with Haslett bringing in some players he

    coveted. Haslett's guys aren't disturbing the peace much this season, with only seven sacks and eight turnovers through five games.

    But Sunday in Baltimore, Haslett's defense has a chance to steal a victory and put the 0-5 Rams into the win column for the first time since New Year's Eve, 2006.

    The Baltimore Ravens have a pedestrian, cautious offense that wisely puts the game in protective custody of the team's Ray Lewis-led defense. Basically, the Ravens like to put together methodical, time-consuming, mistake-free drives that lead to a lot of field goals.

    If Haslett's defense is capable of smothering any offense, it should be this one. Especially because Haslett is getting people back in place: cornerback Fakhir Brown last week, and cornerback Tye Hill and defensive tackle Claude Wroten this week.

    And if the Rams are to escape with a victory, the defense will have to carry the afternoon. Since the Ravens moved into M&T Bank Stadium, they rank No. 1 in the NFL in rude hospitality. Compared to the other 31 NFL teams, the Ravens have allowed the fewest total yards, the fewest rushing yards, only 2.9 yards per rush, and the second-fewest points in home games from 1998-2007.

    So it's hard to envision the patched-up Rams offense moving the ball and cashing in for enough points to be the winning factor in this game.

    Linehan has been the top target for fan-media criticism this season, and Haslett mostly has been given a free pass.

    That's wrong.

    I've been stunned by the Rams' cushy defense, and the absence of a defensive identity. I don't know what Haslett's defense is supposed to stand for. Does it attack quarterbacks? No. Does it build a wall against the run? No. Do tacklers flow like crazy to the ball? No.

    Sunday in Baltimore, we'll see what a true defensive identity can do for a team. The Ravens' defense has become a Baltimore symbol, right there with steamed crab.

    "It's impressive, how they've done it for as long as they have," NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk said. "Rams fans haven't seen defensive football on the Rams side played to this kind of caliber. But they're about to get a really good chance to see how you tackle, how you rally to the ball, and what it's supposed to look like."

    If the Rams had done a better job on defense — as an organization, and as coaches — they could have offset the team's erosion on offense. The Ravens continue to prove that on a yearly basis, a stout defense can overcome a lot of troubles.

    The Rams rarely have made the defense an organizational priority, and they're paying for the neglect.

    The 0-5 start isn't all about an inept, sputtering offense.

    Haslett's defense is just as bad.

    And we don't have Larry Marmie to kick around anymore.


  2. #2
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Surprisingly, I think Hasslett's defense has done a pretty fair job and is improving with each game, despite the injuries, suspensions and offensive woes.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    I agree. I'm surprised Bernie would try to pin the blame on our defense. Does he watch the games or does he just look at the stat line afterwards? It's not exactly an elite unit yet, but the D is clearly improved over recent years. It has kept us in a number of games despite offensive turnovers giving the opponent good field position.

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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    I think the D play well today. Sure they are not going to take over a game and win it. although they did give the O the ball on the ten and they came away with zip. After a 6 turn over game how can anyone write this crap.

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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    I swear i dont think bernie is watching the games, i think he is just citing statistics, which tell only one part of the story. Its quite clear that the rams defense is very much improved this year. Halsett is NOT responsible in any way for the injuries to tye hill and little, the suspensions of wroten and brown. We are looking up on defense. Most importantly, haslett is not responsible for the fact that the offense cant make a first down and is continuously turning the ball over setting up the defense to be on the field too long and put in lousy field position. Haslett has been involved in drafting hill, carriker, ryan and others who will contribute to our defense in the future. I think the job he has done is fine.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  6. #6
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    I agree with what seems to be the concensus here. The defense, while not an awesome force, has performed above my expectations. They've actually kept us in games.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    When the offense can't do much, the defense can only get tired and get run over late. We haven't had a starting CB tandem all year until this week and truth be told, I was happy to see us giving up FG's as opposed to TD's... on the net, anyway. There's no way in hell I'll get to see the Rams on TV now, except against Pittsburgh!

  8. #8
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth View Post
    I agree with what seems to be the concensus here. The defense, while not an awesome force, has performed above my expectations. They've actually kept us in games.

    Add me to that conclusion as well.

    BTW, who would have thought that in 07 our D would be playing better than our offense?!? Relatively speaking, that is.

  9. #9
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Yeah Bernie, how many interceptions did the defense throw? What a moron!

  10. #10
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Hey, I'll have to defend Bernie. We're better, but were weak. We can stop the run, but give up the dink...dink...dink all the way to the red zone. Haslett's job this year was to stiffin up the run D; so he did. But it's still ugly. Fikir sucks. roids or no roids. We need a safety bad.
    Kiss my ass, football gods

  11. #11
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    More drivel from Bernie. ZzzzZZZzzzzzzzzZzz
    BRUUUUUUUUUUUCE


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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Bernie is so off base on this that he should be drug tested.

    The defense has spent a great deal of time on the field because of the offense not being able to sustain drives, or turning over the ball.

    In Dallas, I was wore out from the heat before the game started. Can you imagine playing D as much a s those guys did with the temp over 100 on the field?

    The Rams teams of Larry Marshmallow's time as D coordinator had offense that could stay on the field.

    The comparison is invalid.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    He's an IDIOT! The D practically keep them in the game today. The D is getting better each week, and maybe if the offense can ever show up for a game, we just might win one.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  14. #14
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    The defense cant do much more than it is.

    Frerotte accounted for 6 giveaways, and yet the Ravens only managed one TD with decent field position each time? Thats a good defensive showing in my mind.

  15. #15
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    Re: Haslett deserves much blame for Rams' 0-5 start

    Props to the defence! Great effort today considering how badly gus and the offence played.
    Agree with you live4ramin safety is a huge worry on this team just hope Linehan & co feel the same way

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