throwback week



Results 1 to 7 of 7
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By laram0

Thread: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
    MauiRam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Maui, Hi.
    Age
    70
    Posts
    4,960
    Rep Power
    79

    Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ

    Earlier this week in one of my “Breakfast with Bernie” videos on STLtoday.com, I suggested that Rams coach Jeff Fisher needs to join the 21st century of modern NFL offense.

    Fisher’s background is full of bull runs. His Houston and Tennessee teams were bruisers, averaging 30 rushing attempts a game over 16 seasons, more than all but two NFL teams. Fisher’s teams reluctantly put the ball in the air; his offenses ranked 31st in passing attempts per game, averaging 31.

    Not exactly the Greatest Show on Turf. The Fisher offenses more closely resembled the Canton Bulldogs or Duluth Eskimoes from the early NFL pioneer days. I’m exaggerating, but in the past Fisher was a Bronko Nagurski kind of coach.

    And then there’s Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The New York Jets led the league in rushing attempts over his six seasons of coordinating the team’s offense.

    So, yes, I wonder if Fisher and Schottenheimer are capable of flying high in this era of passing-obsessed NFL football. Are they willing to join the revolution?

    At least through two games, I think I’ve been unfair to Fisher and his offensive coaches.

    It’s early, but the Rams are flinging the football with considerable enthusiasm, averaging 46.5 passing attempts in their first two Sundays. Only one team (Baltimore) has thrown the ball more frequently.

    To put that in perspective, no Rams team in franchise history has averaged more than 39.7 passing attempts a game in a season. That happened in 2002.

    And what about the “Greatest Show” Rams? Well, they averaged just under 35 passing attempts a game between 1999 and 2001.

    Yes, Sam Bradford is firing more passes than the peak-level Kurt Warner.

    For the love of Mike Martz, what’s going on out at Rams Park?

    It’s a simple matter of adapting. NFL teams are running the ball less than at any point in modern league history. Through two weeks NFL teams have combined to run the ball an average of 51 times a game.

    In the 1970s, that average was nearly 70 rushing attempts a game. That has steadily decreased through the years: 62 rushes a game in the 1980s, down to 56 rushes a game in the 1990s and again during the aughts, and a decrease to 54 rushes a game between 2010 and 2012. The Rams are going with the sea change in style.

    I asked Fisher why there’s been such a dramatic change in league-wide offensive philosophy.

    “Well, I think you’re putting all the emphasis on the quarterback, number one,” he said. “Secondly, there’s not enough time. I think our offseason programs are limited. Training camp is limited. So, early in the season the offense is going to have an advantage.

    “It’s hard to find safeties. It’s hard to find linebackers. Teams are loading up the skill players on offense, and as a result, scoring is up.”

    Fisher’s right. Teams combined to average 38.3 points a game in the 1970s, and by last season that average had jumped to 45 points a contest.

    And quarterbacks are going wild. In the 1980s, 300-yard passing games totaled 586; during the aughts the number of 300-yard games escalated to 747.

    In recent seasons the Rams have been anemic offensively, averaging a league-low 14.4 points a game between 2007 and 2011. In Fisher’s first season here (2012) that average perked a bit, to 18.7 points a game. Through the first two games the 2013 Rams have put up an average of 25.5 points against the good defenses from Arizona and Atlanta.

    Fisher made his intentions clear when the Rams brought in a new group of skill-position players including wide receiver Tavon Austin and flex tight end Jared Cook. The Rams have more speed, more threats.

    The Rams have passed the ball on 69 percent of their offensive snaps this season; by contrast the 1999 Super Bowl champion Rams passed it 57 percent of the time.

    When we see a coach like Fisher — who has loved the run — converting to an air-raid mentality, it’s time to ask the question: Is the running game as important as it used to be?

    For four consecutive seasons, we’ve seen a new single-season NFL record established for the most gross passing yards a game, topped by 492 yards a game in 2012.

    Early in 2013 the league’s teams are combining for an astounding average of 544 yards a game passing So they’re on course for yet another passing record.

    Is the run dying off?

    Not exactly. Last season the three teams that had the highest percentage of running plays — Seattle, Washington and San Francisco — each made the playoffs.

    And in Fisher’s view, teams that build leads still prefer putting opponents away with a strong, clock-draining, morale-crushing rushing attack.

    “Everything tends to level out over a course of time,” Fisher said. “You look around the league and look at a team that had leads that tried to protect leads and play keep-away and keep the ball away from an opponent in the (passing) 4-minute offense – it didn’t happen. Defense got the stops. Teams are throwing the football, stopping the clock. I think at some point, obviously, you’ve got to have a run game to finish games off.”

    In my online-only columns, I’ve expressed dissatisfaction with a couple of aspects of the Fisher-Schottenheimer passing game.

    There are too many checkdowns and short passes.

    Of Bradford’s 93 passing attempts, 78 have traveled 10 yards or fewer through the air. That includes 28 passes thrown to targets behind the line of scrimmage. I’d like to see the Rams be more aggressive and stretch the field.

    I also believe the Rams need to use more no-huddle offense.

    They don’t have to go with the no-huddle from start to finish, but it can be an effective and potent change of pace. Bradford and the receivers enjoy it, and they’re good at it.

    The spread formation suits Bradford. Through two games Bradford has the NFL’s third-highest passer rating (109.2) when the Rams use three or more wide receivers and set up in the shotgun formation. Only Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have done better in that setup.

    That said, I was wrong to suggest that Fisher and Schottenheimer are stuck in the past. They remain stubborn about some things, but they have opened up the offense.

    I don’t know if the Rams will continue to air it out. But for now, let’s put that order for the leather helmets on hold.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    57
    Posts
    9,312
    Rep Power
    109

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    (Of Bradford’s 93 passing attempts, 78 have traveled 10 yards or fewer through the air. That includes 28 passes thrown to targets behind the line of scrimmage. I’d like to see the Rams be more aggressive and stretch the field.)

    This is the new running game in the NFL.
    thoey likes this.

  3. #3
    FestusRam's Avatar
    FestusRam is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Festus, Missouri
    Posts
    1,293
    Rep Power
    24

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    There's a pretty obvious reason as to why we had to throw the ball so much in both games, we were down double digit points.

    We were down 21 at the half against Atlanta, of course we HAD to air it out.

    How does he not account for that.

  4. #4
    Rambos's Avatar
    Rambos is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Cali
    Age
    50
    Posts
    9,574
    Rep Power
    75

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    There's a pretty obvious reason as to why we had to throw the ball so much in both games, we were down double digit points.

    We were down 21 at the half against Atlanta, of course we HAD to air it out.

    How does he not account for that.
    No we came out passing first. We did not start to pass once we where behind.

    St. Louis Rams at 08:34
    5-M.Bosher kicks 74 yards from ATL 35 to STL -9. 36-B.Cunningham to STL 16 for 25 yards (19-D.Davis). STL-37-M.Daniels was injured during the play. He is Out. ATL-98-C.Matthews was injured during the play. His return is Questionable. PENALTY on STL-61-T.Barnes, Offensive Holding, 8 yards, enforced at STL 16.
    1-10-STL 8 (8:29) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short left to 26-D.Richardson to STL 5 for -3 yards (59-J.Bartu).
    2-13-STL 5 (7:53) 26-D.Richardson left tackle to STL 7 for 2 yards (91-C.Peters).
    3-11-STL 7 (7:13) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 26-D.Richardson to STL 15 for 8 yards (22-A.Samuel).
    4-3-STL 15 (6:37) 6-J.Hekker punts 63 yards to ATL 22, Center-44-J.McQuaide, downed by STL-97-E.Sims.

    St. Louis Rams at 04:11
    1-10-STL 9 (4:11) 8-S.Bradford pass incomplete short right to 88-L.Kendricks.
    2-10-STL 9 (4:07) 8-S.Bradford pass short left to 26-D.Richardson ran ob at STL 26 for 17 yards (21-D.Trufant) [50-O.Umenyiora].
    1-10-STL 26 (3:37) (Shotgun) 11-T.Austin left end to STL 27 for 1 yard (27-R.McClain).
    2-9-STL 27 (2:56) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 18-A.Pettis to STL 27 for no gain (27-R.McClain).
    3-9-STL 27 (2:13) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass incomplete short right.
    4-9-STL 27 (2:06) 6-J.Hekker punts 47 yards to ATL 26, Center-44-J.McQuaide, out of bounds. PENALTY on ATL-55-P.Worrilow, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at ATL 26.

    St. Louis Rams at 01:19
    5-M.Bosher kicks 65 yards from ATL 35 to end zone, Touchback.
    1-10-STL 20 (1:19) 26-D.Richardson right end to STL 26 for 6 yards (52-A.Dent).
    2-4-STL 26 (:44) 26-D.Richardson right end to STL 27 for 1 yard (94-P.Jerry).
    3-3-STL 27 (:11) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short middle to 13-C.Givens pushed ob at STL 40 for 13 yards (23-R.Alford).
    St. Louis Rams continues ...
    1-10-STL 40 (15:00) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 18-A.Pettis to STL 49 for 9 yards (27-R.McClain).
    2-1-STL 49 (14:29) 26-D.Richardson left guard to ATL 43 for 8 yards (71-K.Biermann).
    1-10-ATL 43 (13:53) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 26-D.Richardson to ATL 39 for 4 yards (91-C.Peters).
    2-6-ATL 39 (13:11) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 11-T.Austin to ATL 34 for 5 yards (56-S.Weatherspoon).
    3-1-ATL 34 (12:46) 36-B.Cunningham right tackle to ATL 34 for no gain (59-J.Bartu).
    4-1-ATL 34 (12:24) 26-D.Richardson left guard to ATL 32 for 2 yards (28-T.DeCoud).
    1-10-ATL 32 (11:41) 8-S.Bradford pass short left intended for 26-D.Richardson INTERCEPTED by 50-O.Umenyiora at ATL 32. 50-O.Umenyiora for 68 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

    St. Louis Rams at 11:25
    5-M.Bosher kicks 65 yards from ATL 35 to end zone, Touchback.
    1-10-STL 20 (11:25) 36-B.Cunningham right guard to STL 20 for no gain (52-A.Dent).
    2-10-STL 20 (10:51) 8-S.Bradford pass incomplete deep right to 11-T.Austin (27-R.McClain).
    3-10-STL 20 (10:43) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass deep left to 13-C.Givens to ATL 33 for 47 yards (27-R.McClain).
    1-10-ATL 33 (9:56) (Shotgun) 24-I.Pead left guard to ATL 32 for 1 yard (56-S.Weatherspoon).
    2-9-ATL 32 (9:18) (Shotgun) 11-T.Austin left guard to ATL 25 for 7 yards (71-K.Biermann).
    3-2-ATL 25 (8:37) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 18-A.Pettis to ATL 16 for 9 yards (59-J.Bartu).
    1-10-ATL 16 (7:57) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass incomplete short left to 89-J.Cook [94-P.Jerry].
    2-10-ATL 16 (7:50) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 26-D.Richardson pushed ob at ATL 5 for 11 yards (23-R.Alford). STL-76-R.Saffold was injured during the play. His return is Doubtful. PENALTY on STL-18-A.Pettis, Illegal Motion, 5 yards, enforced at ATL 16 - No Play.
    2-15-ATL 21 (7:22) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 89-J.Cook to ATL 11 for 10 yards (56-S.Weatherspoon).
    3-5-ATL 11 (6:37) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass incomplete short left to 13-C.Givens (21-D.Trufant).
    4-5-ATL 11 (6:33) 4-G.Zuerlein 29 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-44-J.McQuaide, Holder-6-J.Hekker.

    I see a lot of passes early.
    Last edited by Rambos; -09-19-2013 at 03:36 PM.

  5. #5
    MACD is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    589
    Rep Power
    11

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    I know it's a nit-picky point, but to say a pass has gone 10 yards means from the line of scrimmage. It' s more like 15+ yards from the arm to the receiver. And then if it's at an angle the old Pythagorean principle kicks in for extra yardage. It's not like the next thing to a handoff is all I'm sayin'. That said, I WOULD like to see a few bombs thrown in there.

  6. #6
    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Age
    32
    Posts
    19,868
    Rep Power
    154

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    No we came out passing first. We did not start to pass once we where behind.
    Bradford's Week One pass attempt total (38 attempts) isn't that far off from his 2012 average (34.4).

    It's the second week where the average gets boosted, and that also happens to be the week where the Rams trailed 24-3 at halftime and Bradford threw 34 times in the second half alone.

    So yeah, the fact that the Rams trailed and had to go pass happy in the second half of Atlanta plays a big part in the numbers.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  7. #7
    TekeRam's Avatar
    TekeRam is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, United States
    Age
    31
    Posts
    3,879
    Rep Power
    71

    Re: Miklasz: Rams not stuck in past after all

    The problem, as Bernie mentioned, is the depth of the passes. You don't accomplish anything by passing as short as the run game all the time. You don't stretch a defense by passing behind or at the line of scrimmage. We have the speed to burn people deep, and we need to make safeties worry about that. No, we don't need Sam to go gunslinger and start hefting the ball deep on every down, but Givens made history last season stretching the field, and Cook did it in week 1.

    Right now, we're seeing the checkdown game, which is allowing defenses to stay short and while they might allow a catch(if they already can't defense it) then, they can button up the receiver quickly and keep the gains short. I love how much we're throwing, but the pace and the average distance needs to be higher on both accounts.
    I believe!

Similar Threads

  1. Rams offense stuck in neutral in 23-6 loss
    By Nick in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: -09-24-2012, 07:10 PM
  2. Ramfan stuck in KC
    By KansasRamFan in forum Welcome to the ClanRam
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: -10-11-2009, 11:57 AM
  3. Miklasz is heading from KSLG to WXOS
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: -03-21-2009, 10:12 PM
  4. [Bernie Miklasz]: Reading the Rams
    By evil disco man in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: -08-26-2007, 12:20 PM
  5. Stuck in the middle
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -11-05-2004, 08:21 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •