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  1. #1
    LA Rammer's Avatar
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    A much better show on turf?

    Rams’ burning question: A much better show on turf?

    By Vinnie Iyer - SportingNews 12 hours, 6 minutes ago


    Vinnie Iyer
    SportingNews.com

    It was hard to figure out the 2007 St. Louis Rams. They had the promise of returning to contention in the weak NFC West after finishing 8-8 in ‘06, but they came out flat and lost their first eight games.

    Although the Rams managed to win only three games all season, coach Scott Linehan’s job was spared. It was clear, however, that changes were needed going forward to help restore the team to what it had been under Mike Martz—a consistent contender with a dangerous offense.

    Despite all their firepower—Marc Bulger, Torry Holt and Steven Jackson—the Rams struggled as the NFL’s No. 24 offense, and ranked 28th in points scored. Along with a defense that showed little improvement from ‘06, they had little chance of finishing close to .500.

    Looking to 2008, the Rams certainly weren’t about to coax Dick Vermeil out of retirement to re-inspire them, and although the Detroit Lions parted ways with Martz, he just wasn’t an option. But the Rams got the next best man for the job of reviving their offense: Al Saunders.

    Saunders is similar to Martz in that he had prolific success under Vermeil. The difference with Saunders is, the massive yardage and point totals derive more from the running game than a wide-open passing game.

    That’s OK, because there’s been a shift on the Rams’ roster that has made their backfield an area of much greater certainty than their wide receiver corps. Holt is 32, and he no longer has Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald as teammates. In addition, durability remains a concern with Bulger, and the offensive line is trying to get its pass-protection groove back.

    The best bet for moving the ball, then, is to rely on feature back Steven Jackson. You can bet Saunders will have the offense revolve around Jackson’s talents as a runner and a receiver on short routes. Jackson has a similar combination of power and quickness to a few of Saunders’ former running backs: Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis. That should get Jackson 30-plus touches per game.

    The Rams upgraded their run blocking for Jackson, bringing in former Tennessee Titan Jacob Bell to play left guard, lining up next to Orlando Pace. For Jackson to power through this season, though, he must stay healthy enough to handle a load like he did in ‘06. It’s no coincidence the Rams lost all four games Jackson missed last season, and scored a touchdown or less in three of them.

    If Jackson is successful running the ball, it will be a big help in setting up the passing game. While the team figures out its receiver mix behind starters Holt and Drew Bennett, expect Jackson and tight end Randy McMichael to play considerable roles as pass catchers. Bennett (6-5, 206) and McMichael (6-3, 255) will be put in position to use their size often on intermediate routes.

    The Rams have talented skill players on offense; the key is operating the right system to best take advantage of those skills. After a two-year post-Martz hiccup, it looks like they’ve got it right again.

    It won’t exactly be the sequel to the “Greatest Show on Turf”, but the Rams will put on enough of a show to challenge for the playoffs. That means it will be up to the defense to step up and provide the rest of the postseason push.

    Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

    LA RAMMER

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  2. #2
    LA Rammer's Avatar
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    Re: A much better show on turf?

    So Vinnie is talking playoffs! Not only will our "d" be a deciding factor of how deep we can go in the playoffs, but what about our rookies. Avery with lightning speed! And Burton. This is certainly an encouraging article since some have us finishing in last again. Hope we can work them in ASAP.
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

  3. #3
    DistantRam Guest

    Re: A much better show on turf?

    It's a reasonable article, but there's no mention of our offensive line injuries from last year. It's all very well for the writer to say that Saunders is going to maximise SJax's potential but if the OL is depleted again, we won't be getting anywhere fast.

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    Re: A much better show on turf?

    Quote Originally Posted by DistantRam View Post
    It's a reasonable article, but there's no mention of our offensive line injuries from last year. It's all very well for the writer to say that Saunders is going to maximise SJax's potential but if the OL is depleted again, we won't be getting anywhere fast.
    There's no mention of any of our 2007 injuries. There were so many I can't understand how anyone could overlook them. Is this an article by Rumplestiltskin? Wipe the sleep out of your eyes BUB!

  5. #5
    DistantRam Guest

    Re: A much better show on turf?

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    There's no mention of any of our 2007 injuries.
    To be fair, the author does mention a couple:

    Quote Originally Posted by LA Rammer View Post
    ... durability remains a concern with Bulger

    It’s no coincidence the Rams lost all four games Jackson missed last season...

  6. #6
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    Re: A much better show on turf?

    Quote Originally Posted by DistantRam View Post
    It's a reasonable article, but there's no mention of our offensive line injuries from last year. It's all very well for the writer to say that Saunders is going to maximise SJax's potential but if the OL is depleted again, we won't be getting anywhere fast.

    That goes without saying Distant. The article however, was written with the assumption that we won't be decimated by injuries again.
    Last edited by Fortuninerhater; -07-10-2008 at 02:17 AM.

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