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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Linehan defends his offense

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Sep. 19 2006

    With his sputtering offense under fire just two games into his NFL
    head-coaching tenure, Scott Linehan was forced to play defense with the media
    Monday.

    As in defending the offense, and the philosophy, he is trying to install with
    the Rams.

    "There are some changes," Linehan said. "And sometimes that takes time. But the
    last I checked, there's a whole new coaching staff here. So there's some
    newness and change. Not to harp on it, but I wouldn't be here if everything was
    perfect last year."

    Linehan bristled slightly when delivering that last line. He has studiously
    avoided comparisons with the Rams of Mike Martz, and in general has avoided
    talking about what preceded him in St. Louis.

    But the Rams were 6-10 last season and have had only one winning season since
    the 2001 Super Bowl team.

    "You can't have it all at one time," Linehan said. "It's a hard thing, I guess,
    to convince people. We're changing an entire culture. Not just an offense.
    We're changing a culture of how our team is going to play football. We put a
    lot of emphasis on retooling our defense and our special teams."

    Linehan wants a more physical team. A team that will run the football and
    defend the run. A team that will play disciplined football. A team that will
    create turnovers on defense while avoiding them on offense.

    "The biggest emphasis (on offense) is protecting the football, and we've done a
    good job of that so far," Linehan said.

    The Rams have committed only one turnover in two games -- tied for the
    second-lowest total in the NFL. They are plus-5 in takeaway-giveaway
    differential, the second-best figure in the league.

    But as Linehan pointed out, "It hasn't paid the dividend that we want."

    That's because the St. Louis offense, particularly the once-heralded passing
    game, has produced only one touchdown in two games. And no matter what the
    system, or offensive philosophy, that's hard to fathom when:

    Your quarterback (Marc Bulger) is one of the most accurate passers in the
    game.

    Your starting wide receivers (Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) have nine Pro Bowls
    between them.

    You have a 1,000-yard rusher in the backfield (Steven Jackson).

    You have a talented pair of complementary receivers (Kevin Curtis and Shaun
    McDonald).

    It's great to take care of the football, but you've got to make plays and score
    points.

    "So it's the next step that we've got to take," Linehan said. "We've got to
    continue to protect the ball. Not be careless with it."

    But start making more plays.

    "We've got to be able to have our cake and eat it too, so to speak," Linehan
    said. "That's where we've got to get as an offense."

    As Linehan sees it, the long-term benefit of ingraining this philosophy
    outweighs any short-term struggles.

    "I think that's a great way of looking at it," Linehan said. "When you change a
    culture, it's almost like going to the ground (floor), and then you build it
    back up. This culture wasn't destroyed. There were some great things that
    happened around this franchise in the last seven years.

    "You might appear to take a step back. But if you take a step back, you want to
    take three giant steps forward once you get it down. I think the fact that
    we're protecting the ball is a big positive. That we're running the ball
    efficiently is a big positive. And that we can improve every week from here out
    in the passing game is a projected big positive. That's how you've got to look
    at it."

    At the moment, however, it's clear that Bulger is struggling with what appears
    to be a "safety first" approach to offense.

    Following Sunday's 20-13 loss to San Francisco, Bulger was asked if he was
    taking fewer chances in the Linehan offense. "I'm not taking chances, believe
    me," Bulger said.

    To date, that approach has caused Bulger to look indecisive in the pocket. He
    has missed some throws and been late on some reads. It doesn't help when there
    are pass protection problems, as was the case against the ***** when Bulger was
    sacked six times. It all has the Rams sitting an uncharacteristic 24th in
    passing offense two games into the season.

    Did Linehan foresee such a struggle in installing his offense?

    "No, I'd have quit a long time ago, if I'd have known that," Linehan joked.

    But as Kristen Linehan recently told her husband, there's only one way to go.

    "It's like my wife told me the other day: 'You're only going to improve from
    where you are right now,' " Linehan said. "She didn't say that to be a smart
    aleck. I just figured it's a pretty keen statement, because I really believe
    that's where we're at. We're sitting here 1-1, and we act like we're in a state
    of dysfunction on offense. I don't feel that."


  2. #2
    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    Is the fact that we have one turnover due to Linehan's system or dumb luck? A bag o sacks but no INTs, good or bad?

    Linehan is a new HC and as such we fans MUST give him time to learn how to be a HC.

    Linehan is a new HC and as such brought in a new system, and we fans, MUST give him time for it to be implemented fully.

    Fickle fans forget fellows who faithfully fought ferociously and finally found fantanstic fictories.

    Give this coach time and support. This is a learning season and a winning record and playoff visit is not required.

  3. #3
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    RAMFANRAIDERHATER is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    At the moment, however, it's clear that Bulger is struggling with what appears to be a "safety first" approach to offense.

    Following Sunday's 20-13 loss to San Francisco, Bulger was asked if he was
    taking fewer chances in the Linehan offense. "I'm not taking chances, believe
    me,"
    Bulger said.

    To date, that approach has caused Bulger to look indecisive in the pocket. He
    has missed some throws and been late on some reads. It doesn't help when there are pass protection problems, as was the case against the ***** when Bulger was sacked six times. It all has the Rams sitting an uncharacteristic 24th in passing offense two games into the season.
    I think these paragraphs pretty much sum it all up. Martz always displayed a cavalier attitude about Marc turning the ball over, and perhaps that's what made Marc so successful. He could free wheel it without hearing it from the Head Coach, so he played relaxed and took chances. Now, he's obviously been drilled by Linehan NOT to turn the ball over and it has caused him to freeze up. The arm is ready to go, but the brain won't let him pull the trigger. Hence, the hesitation, the late throw, or the off target throw.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  4. #4
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    Quote Originally Posted by coy bacon View Post
    Is the fact that we have one turnover due to Linehan's system or dumb luck? A bag o sacks but no INTs, good or bad?

    Linehan is a new HC and as such we fans MUST give him time to learn how to be a HC.

    Linehan is a new HC and as such brought in a new system, and we fans, MUST give him time for it to be implemented fully.

    Fickle fans forget fellows who faithfully fought ferociously and finally found fantanstic fictories.

    Give this coach time and support. This is a learning season and a winning record and playoff visit is not required.
    THANK YOU, I thought I was the only one preaching this stuff, so many people are very negative towards the loss to the *****! Give the whole team a chance!!


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  5. #5
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    jkramsfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    first of all we all have the right to be pissed about the niners game, thats a game you need to win.i agree that it will take time but there is one statement that linehan said that kind of bugs me "The biggest emphasis (on offense) is protecting the football,and we have done a good job so far",if someone runs across Mr.Linehan this week please tell him that his emphasis should be on putting the ball in the end zone,turnovers are bad but you still have to score more points then the other team to win the game.

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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    I like the no turnovers, I really do.
    My gripe and this might be a league wide thing is that an NFL team should be ready to play its season, when the season starts, not 3 or 4 or 5 weeks into the season.
    Maybe its something to do with the preseason being easier than it used to be. Smaller squad sizes meen you have to be carefull with your squad. I dont know, I am just throwing it out there. After all, its not just the Rams that are having problems getting 7 points.


  7. #7
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    Re: Linehan defends his offense

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez View Post
    After all, its not just the Rams that are having problems getting 7 points.
    Absolutely correct. Here's an update of those having a bit of a struggle after two weeks:

    Choak 0 TD's
    TB 0 TD's
    Detroit 1 TD
    Carolina 1 TD
    Denver 1 TD
    KC 1 TD
    Rams 1 TD
    Minn 2 TD's
    Wash 2 TD's
    Pitt 2 TD's

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