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    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Jim Thomas Live

    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Rams Fan: Why does Greg Olson keep throwing to Holt behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and long when Holt is not known for his running with the ball. Why did we wait a whole year for the SAME OLD SORRY AZZ RAMS

    Jim Thomas: Despite all the great things Holt _ and Bruce _ have done as Rams receivers, they've never really excelled at the type of pass plays you're talking about it. So I don't know why the Rams kept trying them. Maybe because CBs Gamble and Lucas had relatively poor tackling seasons a year ago. But they sure tackled well on Sunday.
    bill hanrahan: Will the Rams move out of the 'edge' any time soon?

    Jim Thomas: Don't know what you mean by the "edge."
    Murat: Hello;

    I was wondering why the play calling was so conservative against the Panthers. With so many weapons at their disposal, Linehan-Olson duo should have been more aggressive. A little bit of Martz flavor was needed. What do you think?

    Jim Thomas: Agreed. It's one thing to constantly drop back seven steps and throw deep with empty backfields or four-receiver threats. But the Rams in my mind were ultra conservative Sunday, almost as if they were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. There's got to be some middle ground. You've got to take advantage of your playmakers _ Holt, Bruce, Jackson. And you've got to make a concerted effort to get them the ball. I don't think the Rams really did. Contrast that to how the Panthers went to Smith over and over and over again, until he finally produced a big play.
    Mike: Jim,
    Does Bulger have the ability to audible at the LOS when he sees a defensive set he doesn't like or does Olsen and Linehan have complete control? It seems to me that Marc would be better off, especially in the Red Zone, if he could call better plays in critical situations. Thanks for your time.

    Jim Thomas: Bulger has much more freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage than he did under Martz.
    Adam Coleman: So there goes Pace for the season along any hopes you guys had for a division title. Can't wait for my Hawks to come into the "ED" and knock Bulger silly just like they did to Garcia and Cadillac. Oh, and wasn't Jackson supposed to be everyone's MVP pick? 58 yds, 2 fumbles, 0 TD's sounds like a MVP performance to me.

    Adam in Seattle.

    Jim Thomas: Don't write the Rams off just yet. But I've said all along that if Hasselbeck and Alexander returned to form, the Seahawks would be the team to beat in the West and an NFC title contender. We'll see.
    steve: He's too small...he's too old...he can't defend the pass. I've listened to this crap way too often when so called "football experts" describe London Fletcher.

    All 'Fletch' does is make everyone around him play inspired football. He's listed at 5' 10...he's more like 5'8 maybe 5'9...but he plays BIG.

    London Fletcher was the answer to stopping the run...he was in '99 and he was this year. He was and is an achiever.


    Jim Thomas: Rams management will tell you, the worst free agency mistake they've made during their time in St. Louis was letting London Fletcher go. But don't blame that on Martz; don't blame it on Zygmunt. Lovie Smith didn't click with Fletcher. And he told Martz that Jamie Duncan would be a better overall player than Fletcher, particularly in coverage. So the Rams signed Duncan, and let Fletcher go to Buffalo.
    Tater: Jim,
    I'm concerned about future TV black-outs for home games.

    I attended the game on Sunday. Reading earlier that the Rams and Edward Jones organizations purchased the "remaining 1,000 or so tickets" was a smoke screen. I would guess that there were well over 5,000 or more empty seats in the stadium before the start of the 2nd half. And, with the inept coaching adjustments, offensive stalls and continued defensive woes I would state that not many will be rushing to purchase the remaining tickets for upcoming home contest.

    What are your thoughts on this and are the Execs at Rams Park concerned about this?

    Jim Thomas: If management isn't concerned about the softening fan base, they should be. And once you lose fans it's hard to get them back unless you start winning and winning big. Just ask the Blues.
    The Rams did nothing in the preseason to sell tickets _ by their lackluster performance on the field. And they did nothing against Carolina that would lead to a stampede to the ticket office.
    As for a possible blackout against SF, there is something in the works to guarantee those tickets, but at this time I can't tell you more.
    Rich Miriani: Is coach Linehan any good or was he just the cheapest guy we could have gotten for the job. It seems to me that this team has not improved much since he has been here. The play calling on both offense and defense is terrible. Same goes for Haslett.

    Jim Thomas: Shaw wanted to go with a younger, "up-and-coming" type coach this time around. All of the three job finalists (Linehan, Rivera, and Cameron) were of the same ilk. Shaw also was very interested in Ken Whisenhunt _ now with Arizona _ at the time, but Pittsburgh was on its March to the Super Bowl and Shaw didn't want to wait.
    As for progress, or lack thereof, it looked like Linehan was starting to settle in over the last six games of '06 _ going 4-2. But Carolina sure didn't look like progress _ so I agree there.
    Ron Romer Sr.: The Rams released two Offensive tackles at the last cut, you cannot tell me that ONE of them wouldn't have been a better choice than the replacement they sent out for Orlando Pace yesterday...

    Jim Thomas: If that's the case, then why are neither of them on an active roster. In fact, neither player is even on a practice squad to my knowledge. Goldberg did OK, but remember, he's the No. 4 tackle on the team. Steussie's No. 3. I don't know if you read the "Ask the Scout" story in our special football section Aug. 26. But this veteran NFC scout said (and I paraphrase) "you better keep those two starting tackles healthy." Despite the overall better depth on the o-line, depth at tackle was the biggest concern, and now it's being tested.
    Jay: Olsen called a very poor game yesterday. On the drive following their last TD, the Rams are 3rd & 2 and he puts the ball in the air twice in a row? That happened to be one of many "suspect" third down calls on his part. He had a similar habit in '06 Additionally, he completely failed to utilize McMichael (or any of the other 3 TE's this team carries???). Olsen had no real OC track record coming in that I am aware of, he just kind of came along with Linehan. So when is it fair to ask for a change?

    Jim Thomas: It seemed like the Rams lost a little faith in Jackson after the second fumble. He had only two carries. But last season, Olson was much more committed to running the football than Linehan and the offense was very productive down the stretch, going 4-2. I think it's way too early to think about a change.
    Jay: Obviously Brown's return will give the secondary a boost, but what can we expect from that D-Line? I just thought it was strange that the Rams were so "locked in" on Hall that they didn't make a legit push for Rice as an alternative. In your opinion will this season end up being more of the same with the front four?

    Jim Thomas: Hey, we've only seen one chapter of a 16-page book. If the Rams can beat SF this week, they'll be 1-1 _ same as they were last year _ only they will be 1-0 in the division. (Better off than a year ago, when they beat Denver in the opener, but lost to SF the next week.) Saying that, the overall numbers looked the same. The Rams are near the bottom of the league in rushing yards and yards per attempt. Very disappointing, wouldn't you say? You have a whole offseason to make improvements, and the first game out of the game it looks the same. I don't know about Rice.

    But the Rams could've signed DeWayne White from Tampa in free agency instead of trading for Hall.(He had two forced fumbles for Detroit Sunday I believe). Haslett really liked White. Also, even if the Rams drafted Carriker, I would've loved to have seen the trade for Jenkins come off. I'm in no way giving up on Hall. Without looking at tape (I usually do that Tuesday and Wednesday nights), he looked OK, but had chances to make a couple of nice plays but couldn't finish them off.
    Gary Howard: Jim,

    Isaac Burce took a a really hard blow to the head near the end of Sunday's game, when the game was out of reach.
    Bruce seemed ok after the hit but why run a play like that when the game was already lost?


    Jim Thomas: I think no matter what the score, you're always trying to win the game. To me, it was more surprising that the Rams took a kneel-down on the final play. Bruce, by the way, told a close friend that he didn't think the hit was illegal. However, since a flag was thrown, I would expect to see the DB get fined by the NFL later in the week.
    John: Do you think the Rams will try to work Chris Draft into the starting linebacker mix? Like maybe putting him in the middle and sliding Witherspoon over to the strong side linebacker? Considering the strength at d-line, is a 3-4 alignment an option? Do they even have the personnel to try and implement a 3-4 defense?

    Jim Thomas: The Rams don't really have the personnel to play the 3-4. You need OLBs in the 3-4 that weight 250 and can rush the passer. You need a monster in the middle, one of those 350 pounders, and you need bigger ends. I'd like to see Draft in the lineup somewhere, and the logical guy he could replace would be Chillar. Chillar made some nice plays Sunday, including forcing and recovering a fumble. But it looked like he got pinned inside a lot on those running plays that got bounced outside.
    Kevin: Jim,

    Why weren't the tight ends involved in the game plan yesterday? Jim, I have great respect for your reporting.

    Jim Thomas: A good question. Having McMichael serve as a glorified tackle all day _ a move accentuated by Pace's injury _ was another indicator of the conservative game plan on offense.
    Curt: Hey Jim,
    Maybe, just maybe, its time to move Witherspoon, either to an outside position or to another team for a draft pick. Too, too many overruns on his fills, leaving cutback lanes for the RB's. I watched, intensely, the KC pre-season game while McGarigle played MLB. This kid knows how to fill; inside-out! No cutback lanes there. Maybe its time to try McGarigle and see where that leads. It can't be any worse, can it?

    Jim Thomas: It wasn't a stellar day for the LBs, but Witherspoon is a good player. He could play better, but he's not the problem on defense. As to what exactly is the problem, I'm not sure yet. And for all the talk about moving him to weakside, what then do you do with Pisa. McGarigle looked good against Kansas City. But he was playing primarily against backups. And yes. . .it can get worse.
    John Thrasher: Dear Jim, You've got a tough job this year trying to put the polish on a rust bucket. It is a good thing the schedulers put Atlanta and Cleveland on the docket this year, or the Rams could be looking at an o-fer season. The injured offensive line already forecasts one of the worst seasons in Ram history, and pre-season foretold that virtually no improvement had been made on the weakest defense in the League. When opening at home the Rams could not beat a weak Carolina team with only one real weapon to defense it means the Linehan experiment is at an end.

    This was a bad team last year that finished the season by winning three straight over the worst in the league who all played the Rams without a quarterback. The same team seems to have shown up again this year donning Ram gear, and will be equally invisible on the national football stage as they were a year ago. The only team with a lower profile in the League this year will be the Falcons, who just want this year to be over. My guess is for a two win season this year. What is your guesstimate on how many games the Rams will win?

    Jim Thomas: Carolina is not a weak team. I don't think they're an NFC title contender. But they're certainly a playoff contender. I know it looks gloomy for the offensive line at the moment. But you know what? The Rams were 5-3 with Pace out of the lineup a year ago; and 3-5 with him in the lineup. It can be done. The Rams did it last year, moving the ball very well most of the final six games without Pace in '06.
    James Arnold: Hey Jim,
    I am totally frustrated with Lineham's coaching performance. first off what was this pre-season hype about practicing in the 100 degree heat to prepare for the hot weather in the early away games? then he blames the defense was winded in the second half? Can you explain to me the play-calling? Finally, do you believe lineham's job is on the line? if so, at what point (record) makes it imminent? What is Bill Cowher's availability? his he under contract still with pittsburg? could we go after him seriously this season or off-season?
    Thanks in advance for the insight

    Jim Thomas: The defense was winded because they were on the field for 20 of the 30 minutes in the second half. You can blame the offense, because they went more than 1 1/2 quarters in the second half without a first down. But here's what the defense can do: Get a three-and-out, plain and simple. In just the second year of his contract, Linehan's job isn't on the line. The only thing that might cause John Shaw to re-think that would be something along the lines of 1-15. Or Linehan accusing management of not wanting to win. (No, wait. That would be Mike Martz.)
    Jeff Rabenort: Did anyone watch the Cowboys/Giants game last night? They have tight ends, why can't we? And, training camp is over, you can really tackle now!!

    Jim Thomas: It seemed kind of silly to dress four TEs and only throw two completions their way (Both at garbage time to McMichael). What's particularly frustrating is that Linehan's M.O. in Miami and Minnesota as offensive coordinator was to throw a lot to the TEs. After Pace got hurt, the Rams had McMichael blocking next to Goldberg on almost every play. I'm not saying it wasn't a good idea to give Goldberg help. But why not have McMichael chip block and then leak out on a pattern from time to time? Doesn't seem that complicated to me?
    Frank BB,Ca: Hey Jim,
    Dont you think the Rams Players lacked the fire that is required to compete in the NFL? I think Coach Linehan made the wrong decision to not play them in pre season...... You have got to feel the game time hits.... The play callin was terrible, makes you miss Martz, We need to take chances....
    Frank BB. Ca

    Jim Thomas: Watching the SF-Arizona game Monday night, I couldn't help thinking how intense and how energetic the two defenses were. I don't think I saw that from the Rams. I think that goes beyond playing in the preseason. I've been told that to a large degree, players in the locker room during the work week don't spend much time talking about football. To me that's not a good sign. Now, this was before the final cuts, so it might have been because there were 22 guys in the room who wouldn't be there in a few days. And I'm not saying that players such as Bruce, Holt, Bulger, Glover, Little, etc., don't care. But I just wonder some times about the sense of urgency.
    Les Casden: When are they going to get a coach who does not make excuses and takes the total blame for a terrible effort? This team underachieves all the time and needs a disciplinarian coach similar to Dick Vermeil. I'm tired of waiting for this team to play to their potential. I
    believe they are favored to win the division and they look like they are the worst team in the division.
    What do you think they should do to improve this team,
    especially defensively? Les, Camarillo,Ca. Longtime Ram fan

    Jim Thomas: I think Linehan is fairly accountable, although I realize that after a performance like Sunday's Linehan's even-keeled style doesn't play well. There's next to nothing the Rams can do to improve the team right now _ personnel-wise anyway. I want to see more games before I start making sweeping judgments.

    I have to go now. I had a dentist appointment scheduled before these forum chat sessions were set up. So I apologize. I intend to get back on tonight and answer more questions, although it may not be until after 6 p.m. Regards. . . .

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    For our sake, for our coaches sake, for Jim Thomas' sake, I hope we win -- no, make that win convincingly -- Vs. Friskies this Sunday!

    :bash: Please!...

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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    "Look out scotty, here comes the lynch mob! You surely got your work cut out for you my boy. If you don't find a way to start winning NOW you and your friends will all be fired. Not that it will make me feel any better. Don't worry i'll hold em off for just a little while longer, I still have a little faith left in you."

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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    Yup.........A dominating win is the only thing I can think of to turn this attitude around.
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    I'll take a win anyway we can get it. :r:l

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