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Linehan Speaks: Offense's progress is moving forward
Compiled By Jeff Gordon
Rams coach Scott Linehan saw more progress by his offense during the 16-14 victory at Arizona Sunday.
"We’re starting to come," he said. "I think you could see there is a better feel offensively, this game, than the first couple. Much more decisive.
"There is enough new to what we’re doing it takes a while to understand when the play-caller calls the play, why are we calling the play and where does the ball need to go. We just spent extra meeting time, extra time together that is required to improve.
"We’re certainly not there yet, but we’re getting there. I think we made a lot of improvement certainly from the first two games. If we continue to improve that way, we’ll see the payoff in scoring more points."
In the red zone, Linehan said, "instead of feet, we’re inches (away). We had a really good play on Torry (Holt)’s back end line play that arguably could have been a push out, or should have been. We executed and just didn’t get our feet in and they pushed him out. That ends up being a good play for them. But it was a good design there and it could have gone either way.
"We had a naked (bootleg) that was set up. Torry was open again and we missed that by a few inches. Then we had a couple mistakes that cost us. That penalty we negated that would have put us first and goal. That would have helped us. We put the ball on the ground moving in, that would have been our fifth straight scoring drive. We had a (high) shotgun staff.
"We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot and expect to get better at the red zone or scoring. We certainly feel great about being 2-1 right now, there are going to be days where 16 points or 18 points or whatever it is is going to be enough to win."
Here was the coach’s take on some other matters:
On the fortuitous nature of the victory: "We dodged a bullet, but, in a lot of ways, we shouldn’t have been in that situation. But we kept playing. We played every play.
"It is important to stay calm. You have to play every play and don’t take anything for granted. You have to be on your game in those critical situations."
On earning their good fortune: "We had some critical plays that don’t necessarily show up in the box score in that game. Travis Fisher misses a tackle, then gets up and runs down Bryant Johnson, who looks like he is going to score. A couple plays later we intercept the ball. That was a critical play that looked like a disastrous play. We stopped the touchdown, then step up and get the turnover.
"Some key plays where maybe it looked like those guys were going to maybe score and blow the game open and make it different. It just shows your those hustle-type plays makes you a little bit luckier. The more you hustle, the old saying, the luckier you get. That held true in this game."
On giving wayward defensive end Anthony Hargrove a second chance: "He knows the difference between right and wrong. He’s a great kid. We’re totally concerned about his well-being. That is really where we start. But when (his personal problem) starts to affect his job and job performance in a very concerning way, when it comes to being reliable, then we have a business problem. He has to learn to manage that.
"We’ll keep a close eye on him and hold him accountable to it. Hopefully we’ll get that situation corrected."
On whether he considered releasing Hargrove: "In all fairness, that wouldn’t be appropriate, based on getting the facts of the situation. At this point, the guy have been working very hard at establishing himself as far has his position on this team. This is the first time he really ever did anything that’s affected the team in negative way, in my opinion. But this was pretty substantial, middle of a game week, getting read for a road game in our division. You don’t do that. He recognizes that and takes full accountability."
On the play of defensive end Victor Adeyanju, filling for Hargrove: "He did excellent. He was even considered as one of the defensive players of the game. He played with great effort and great energy. He played the run extremely well. He made a great second-effort in the open field on a receiver. Didn’t play like a rookie. No hesitation at all."
On the play of defensive end Brandon Green, who was active for the first time this season: Brandon played very well. When Brandon plays in the role he played in, he has played well. One of the reasons he plays well is he is a real sharp kid who plays with a great motor, disrupts things. He graded out very well."
On containing the blitzing Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson: "He is really a linebacker playing safety, but he can play safety because he is that talented. When he was down in there close, we were throwing the ball a little bit more. You just don’t let him getting into a rhythm, in your pass protections. You don’t him to be free or be in a mismatch with whose blocking. You want to keep a big match-up on him most of the time. I give our coaches credit for being aware of where he is and not letting him be a difference."