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Thread: Linehan ups the tempo
Linehan ups the tempo
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Oct. 12 2007
Last week at this time, coach Scott Linehan talked about the need for renewed
urgency and improved tempo by the Rams' struggling offense.
For one Sunday at least, the Rams found a solution against Arizona. With
Linehan calling the plays for the first time in 11 months, and Gus Frerotte
making his first start at quarterback for St. Louis, the Rams came out in the
no-huddle offense, and operated out of the no-huddle for most of the afternoon.
Even in defeat, the results were encouraging. The offense, which had been last
in the NFL in scoring at 9.8 points per game, scored 31 against the Cardinals.
The Rams' 375 yards in total offense was their second-highest total of the
season. They did it without quarterback Marc Bulger, wide receiver Isaac Bruce,
running back Steven Jackson, and offensive line starters Orlando Pace and Mark
Setterstrom — all out with injuries.
Frerotte, who starts again Sunday against Baltimore, is a big fan of the
"It's intense, it's fast-paced, it's up-tempo," Frerotte said. "I like to play
fast. It kind of goes along with my game, and the way I like to play."
When Linehan was hired by the Rams before the 2006 season, the no-huddle was
considered part of his offensive bag of tricks. He had used it throughout his
coaching career, in college particularly at Louisville, and also in the NFL at
Minnesota (with Daunte Culpepper) and Miami (with Frerotte).
But with the exception of the two-minute drill at the end of halves, the Rams
rarely have used the no-huddle under Linehan. Why not?
Linehan didn't think the Rams' core offensive players — most of whom were
rooted for years in the Mike Martz system — were ready for it.
"We never really got there, just because it was probably a little too new, too
early," Linehan said. "Marc's learning it."
Certainly, parts of the no-huddle system are applicable to the two-minute drill.
"But managing all that stuff — you go from dummy cadences, to calling a play,
and then 'audibling' out of a play — You're talking about three different
mechanics that you've got to go through," Linehan said. "There's got to be a
background in that. Sometimes, I haven't felt we're ready for that. And I don't
want to affect the effectiveness of our quarterback. It's something (Bulger)
hasn't done a whole lot."
That's not the case with Frerotte. He started 15 games for Miami in 2005, with
Linehan calling the plays as Dolphins offensive coordinator. Rams tight end
Randy McMichael, who also was with Miami in '05, said the Dolphins ran the
no-huddle about one-third of the time that season.
"More than half the time probably the last six games," Linehan said. "We had a
stretch in the middle of that year where we really didn't have a lot of things
going. We were losing rhythm. I just decided to go that direction, and it
really helped us."
Which sounds a lot like the Rams' offense in the first four games of this
season. The benefits of the no-huddle are obvious. It makes it much more
difficult for defenses to change personnel between plays. And it makes it more
difficult to move personnel around along the line of scrimmage before the snap.
"Sometimes it quiets a defense down that likes to do a lot of blitzing, a lot
of moving around," Frerotte said. "It doesn't always work, but for us it worked
really well last week, and it gave us an improvement on offense."
Frerotte looked like a poor man's Peyton Manning for much of the afternoon
against the Big Red, pointing, waving, and directing traffic at the line of
All of which relates to what Linehan called the "three different mechanics" of
running the no-huddle:
— The fake call, or as Linehan called it, the dummy cadence, to throw off the
— The actual play call.
— And, depending on what Frerotte sees across the line of scrimmage, there
could be an audible.
Even in the no-huddle, the sequence is started by Linehan with a play-call from
the sideline. Frerotte can hear the coach via the sideline-to-helmet audio
system until there are only 15 seconds remaining on the play clock. In the
no-huddle, the call will sometimes include a run-pass option, or a small
cluster of plays to consider, depending on the "look" from the opposing defense.
But in terms of actual plays, Frerotte isn't overloaded with tons of options at
the line of scrimmage.
"One or two; not one or 10," Linehan said. "And that's when I think
quarterbacks are really in their element, when they can do that as an extension
of what you're trying to do out there."
Re: Linehan ups the tempo
Now that Marc's is injured for at least another week, theres no excuse not for him to know the no-huddle when he gets back.
Re: Linehan ups the tempo
I say no huddle the Ravens to death!!!! The gamble of the no huddle is worth it at this point. 1-5 is right around the corner.
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