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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Nov. 20 2006

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. In one of the most disturbing afternoons of Rams football
    we've seen for many years, a sinking, stinking team took us back to 1998, and
    the days of hopeless and humiliating futility.

    In a disgraceful 15-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Rams officially
    brought down the curtain, padlocked the doors, dimmed the lights, and closed
    the show. For the longest time, even when they lost games, we always could
    count on the Rams to provide a few thrills on offense. From 1999 until coach
    Mike Martz got sick in 2005, the Rams lost some games they should have won, and
    Martz drove critics wacko with his play-calling, use of timeouts and replay
    challenges.

    But the Martz Rams were never dull. They never put us to sleep or otherwise
    numbed our senses. We always showed up at a stadium fairly confident that we'd
    see aggression and attitude on offense, and a collection of fearless talent
    that could flip a switch and make the lights blink. Even on the worst days,
    Martz's extreme, psycho Rams were entertaining and compelling. They could be
    maddening and frustrating but never gave us many reasons to look the other way
    or find something else on TV.

    That's over. The monotony of rookie coach Scott Linehan's first season reached
    a hideous and depressing low on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. On offense
    the Rams (4-6) slowed to a crawl, then tucked themselves into a ball to absorb
    a relentless beating. There was no personality, no heart, no fight, no pride
    and no comeback. They surrendered early, and submitted to the will of the
    Carolina defense, squeaking out a measly 111 yards on 49 plays.

    On defense, the Rams gave up 242 yards on the ground, as the Panthers set a
    franchise record for most rushing yards in a game. But even with the usual
    looseness against the run, the Rams defense made enough stops to keep the game
    within reach. The Panthers led only 10-0 deep into the third quarter, but
    Linehan's offense remained comatose.

    "We weren't ready to play as a team," Linehan said. "There was really no spark,
    there wasn't enough energy out there as a team. And again, it's getting the
    team ready to play, and I'm going to work very hard doing that."

    How can that be? At 4-5, the Rams were still in the NFC playoff hunt. Carolina
    was one of the teams they had to beat, and three home games were on the
    schedule after this stop in Carolina. So where was the emotion, the edge, the
    desire to compete?

    "I don't know," Linehan said. "If I had the answer we wouldn't be talking about
    it right now. I'm going to find the answer. I don't have a good enough answer
    to justify what happened."

    Wow.

    Only 10 games into his first season, stuck in a five-game losing streak, and
    Linehan already is out of answers?

    For his sake, I hope Linehan isn't losing his team. His players were uninspired
    and didn't play hard. And after the game a few miffed veterans privately rolled
    their eyes when informed of the coach's postgame analysis. And like many Rams
    fans watching at home, players had the same question: Where was running back
    Steven Jackson, and why did Linehan do the Panthers a favor by making No. 39
    disappear?

    Linehan appeared to be so overmatched that for the first time I wondered if
    owner Georgia Frontiere and team executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt made a
    mistake in hiring him. Shaw said he wanted an offensive-minded head coach to
    maintain the high-octane performance level. Sorry, but it isn't working. The
    offense is worse under Linehan.

    On a day when the Panthers had a jail-break spree through the Rams' offensive
    line, mugging Marc Bulger for seven sacks, Linehan ignored Jackson and reality
    by calling pass plays. Here's the excuse: Carolina brought a safety into the
    box to stop the run. So what? That's a staple of any defense; you just don't
    give up on the ground game.

    Linehan, who repeatedly pledged that his offense would run the ball, be
    balanced and take a sane approach, had a cataclysmic play-calling meltdown.

    Linehan ordered up 41 pass plays and eight runs, and this one-dimensional
    strategy left Bulger with no protection. Jackson was given only seven carries.
    Linehan failed to adjust by plugging in more runs, or by setting up Bulger on
    quick, three-step drops to elude the pass rush. It made no sense.

    At least when Martz went nuclear on the pass and got his quarterbacks kicked
    and tossed around like rag dolls, the Rams had something to show for the pain
    and suffering. The Rams would put up yards and points, and generate excitement.
    But when Linehan fed Bulger to the Panthers, the Rams got nothing out of it
    except the shame of their first shutout since 1998.

    What we saw Sunday in Charlotte was truly unsettling:

    Martz Madness without a point.


  2. #2
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    That was painful to read...


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  3. #3
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    That was painful to read...
    Seriously...I can't believe I agree nearly 100% with one of Pat's, I mean Bernie's, articles...the end must be near.

  4. #4
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    On a day when the Panthers had a jail-break spree through the Rams' offensive
    line, mugging Marc Bulger for seven sacks, Linehan ignored Jackson and reality
    by calling pass plays. Here's the excuse: Carolina brought a safety into the
    box to stop the run. So what? That's a staple of any defense; you just don't
    give up on the ground game.
    If that is true, and that was Linehan's reason for not running, that is extremely disturbing. :\
    BRUUUUUUUUCE


  5. #5
    contak's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    While watching the game I kept thinking, Ok we are in this this game time to run the ball to get the panthers off of Bulger but no. Play action only works if your running the ball. Its obvious after the last two games Linehan isn't sure of himself as a Head Coach and in turn the team reflects that. Its a shame too I thought the d played one of their best games even though they gave up 200+ yrds on the ground. Funny thing is we are only 2 games out, seattle only seams to play well when its aginst us, so there still is a chance if Linehan can decide with confidence which way this team is going to go.

  6. #6
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    to not give jackson the ball is very disturbing, the guys a monster and until yesterday he was having a pro bowl type season,linehan needs a good ass chewing from the front office, they didnt bring him hear for that crap he did yesterday.the more i read the pi**ed off i get.

  7. #7
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    We and every team in the NFL had days like this. The O is fine, Marc, Holt, Bruce had an off day. Not sure how many times the WR dropped sure catches it happens. Scott Linehan will be fine.

  8. #8
    ramsbruce's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan's monotony dulls Rams' senses

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    We and every team in the NFL had days like this. The O is fine, Marc, Holt, Bruce had an off day. Not sure how many times the WR dropped sure catches it happens. Scott Linehan will be fine.
    I agree that every team has off games, but Linehan running only 8 times and his reason being that they brought a safety up into the box isn't fine, it was terrible playcalling and that's a terrible reason not to run. I hope he can pull it together, but I can't sugarcoat Linehan's playcalling this year from what I've seen. He deserves some time to get it together (no need for a SLOP club yet), but he has a lot of work to do, I hope he can pull it together.
    BRUUUUUUUUCE


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