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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Honeymoon is over; now Linehan's crew must produce

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Nov. 09 2006

    In the spirit of the election season, we submit a memorable quote from the 1980
    presidential debates. Ronald Reagan looked into the camera and asked voters,
    "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

    With that in mind, this one's for Rams fans: Is your favorite team better off
    than it was a year ago?

    In terms of stability the answer is, "Yes."

    Rookie head coach Scott Linehan is a calm guy who plays well with others.
    Linehan and his bosses appear to have a tranquil relationship; there have been
    no vaguely threatening "throat slasher" voice mails left by front-office
    executives who despise the head coach. The boys are getting along. And after
    the nasty Mike Martz-vs.-Jay Zygmunt turf battle at Rams Park, the harmony and
    relative peace and quiet is a plus.

    At times, though, it's unsettling how little has changed on the field.

    Opposing running backs still can count on becoming NFL Films stars when they go
    against the Rams defense. The kickoff-punt return game remains dull. This
    coach, like the former coach, can't seem to find anyone capable of breaking a
    long return. And too many premium draft picks are sitting (linebacker Jon
    Alston, tight end Dominique Byrd), or not doing much (defensive tackle Claude
    Wroten).

    What about the two offseason priorities: improving the defense and the running
    game?

    After an early blizzard of takeaways, the defense is an embarrassment. The run
    defense is worse than it was in 2005 and 2004 under former defensive
    coordinator Larry Marmie. The quiet Marmie was viewed as bumbling, ineffective,
    and unable to inspire.

    OK, so what does this make new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett? I was
    thrilled when Linehan hired Haslett, but Haslett doesn't get a free pass here.
    The Rams spent $73.5 million to hire free agents Will Witherspoon, LaRoi
    Glover, Corey Chavous and Fakhir Brown and upgrade the defense. But if it still
    barks like a Marmie defense, and misses tackles like a Marmie defense ...

    On the other side of the ball, feature back Steven Jackson has made real
    progress, but the Rams are averaging only 3.8 yards per rushing attempt. After
    Linehan got the job, he repeatedly espoused his plans to balance the offense by
    committing more to the run. Last season, the Rams ran the ball on 37 percent of
    their downs. This year, it's up only marginally, to 40 percent.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger has played well in Linehan's safety-first system, and
    the Rams have cut down on careless mistakes. But this offense is so methodical,
    it can take an awfully long time to score. That's a negative when the Rams fall
    behind.

    The 1999 Super Bowl champion Rams averaged an offensive touchdown for every
    17.7 plays; the 2006 Rams score an offensive touchdown every 31 plays. In
    stressing ball security, the Rams seem to have sacrificed much of their
    quick-strike ability.

    Personnel is a major issue, as it has been for several years. The defensive
    front seven is too slight and easily trampled. We have seen three defensive
    coordinators (Lovie Smith, Marmie, Haslett) embrace the philosophy that it's
    preferable to have smaller, quicker players. How many stompings must the Rams'
    front seven endure before the organization realizes you need bigger, stronger
    players to clog a running game?

    At 4-4, the Rams are in the hunt for a playoff spot in the mediocre NFC. But
    unless Linehan and Haslett can turn around some regrettably familiar problems,
    the 2006 Rams will continue to fade. Since taking a 21-7 lead in an eventual
    loss to Seattle on Oct. 15, the Rams have been outscored 92-48, and are 0-3.
    With the season threatening to slide away, Linehan's motivational skills will
    come under greater scrutiny.

    At Rams Park, even now it's fashionable to blame everything on Martz. But he
    doesn't work here anymore. It's time for the new regime to stand up, stand out,
    and make a real difference.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Honeymoon is over; now Linehan's crew must produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Nov. 09 2006

    Quarterback Marc Bulger has played well in Linehan's safety-first system, and
    the Rams have cut down on careless mistakes.
    Marc Bulger has played well ??? That's an understatement if I ever heard one.:x

    :r

  3. #3
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    Re: Honeymoon is over; now Linehan's crew must produce

    That's just Bernie being, well Bernie. He would complain if you hung him with a new rope...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    SJax, a developing quarterbacks best friend...

  4. #4
    BIG-BLUE's Avatar
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    Re: Honeymoon is over; now Linehan's crew must produce

    Wasn't back in July when most fans here were saying not to expect much this year with a new first year head coach, now it sounds to me like some think that if we don't get to the playoffs he & he's DC should be strung up. Its almost like when some make comparisons to marshall faulk & steven jackson.
    Were spoiled again by the high flying act of the GSOT & trying to compare it to the new linehan offense. Give it time!!!!

    But i will agree on the run defense this has to change. I really wish we would have nabbed a big old space eating DT in the offseason, Cuz the boys we have now just ain't cuttin it

  5. #5
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Honeymoon is over; now Linehan's crew must produce

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRamFan View Post
    That's just Bernie being, well Bernie. He would complain if you hung him with a new rope...
    I know he has more nerve than an absess tooth... :r

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