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  1. #1
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    OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/28/2006

    After observing and covering Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Dick Vermeil on a daily basis in my sportswriting career, I've tried to hold back when evaluating a team's preseason performance.

    It's easy to get fooled; when viewing football rehearsals, the binoculars can get awfully blurry. Does winning matter? If a team looks sorry in the practice games, is that a precursor of lost Sundays to follow? Or is this all meaningless?

    Gibbs, Landry, Johnson and Vermeil won eight Super Bowls. If memory serves me correctly, they shared the same basic philosophy on preseason football: Winning isn't of vital concern, but it is important to set the right trend. Sharpen up the offense. Develop some bite on defense. Install the disciplined mindset on special teams. Start building something.

    Saturday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs apparently caused considerable distress among many Rams fans. Internet boards were filled with unflattering comparisons ("Scott Linehan is Rich Brooks''). And wild predictions ("Gus Frerotte will be this team's starting quarterback"). And temporary insanity ("prepare for 0-16").

    Are the Rams doomed based on the early returns of a lethargic first-team offense and a defense that has better athletes but few run-stopping enforcers? No, of course not.

    An accounting of personnel is always wise in these situations. Wideouts Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce didn't dress in Kansas City; their absence reduces the playmaking capability of any offense. The Rams are trying to domesticate the physical-but-apparently-rabid rookie left guard, Richie Incognito. Coach Scott Linehan's play-call sheet is intentionally bland. And special packages for extra pass protection, for example are left on the shelf.

    That said, I'm disappointed there's been such little zip to Linehan's offense, which is crawling along with no touchdowns on 11 first-unit possessions. Linehan's reputation was made on offense, and if this is his specialty, it's not unreasonable to wonder why the first team is stalling.

    At least Jim Haslett's defense is playing with a spark and a purpose, buzzing around and causing the occasional disruption. I don't know how well this defense will play when the real stuff goes down, but at least we see the fire on Haslett's side. Haslett's defense is setting the right tempo and trend.

    Linehan's offense is turtling. The offensive line is getting slapped around, running backs are tip-toeing, and quarterback Marc Bulger is uncomfortable in the pocket. Memo to the Rams offense: It's a new era. "The Greatest Show on Turf" is over. You can't rest on past accomplishments. You've got to establish a new identity. And it is never too soon to get something positive rolling.

    I was bugged by Bulger's postgame comments in KC. "It's preseason," he told reporters. "Who cares?"

    Well, Marc, you should care. I'm sorry, but a team leader should set a higher standard. I've defended you countless times against the hateful, Kurt Warner-loving kooks who don't give you a fair shake. But the truth is, you don't have many skins on the wall, and you're no longer a kid QB. And I hope Linehan isn't going to be haunted by his draft-day decision to pass on quarterback Jay Cutler.

    Saturday night's game in Kansas City may have showed us the difference between a veteran head coach and a rookie. The Chiefs' Herm Edwards was bothered that his team played so poorly in the first two exhibitions and figured it was time to crank it up. Edwards had a good read on KC's preseason lurching and calibrated his squad accordingly.

    Meanwhile, Linehan's offense was flat, perhaps stuck in the "It's preseason, who cares?" mode.

    With one exhibition to go, a tough docket of early regular-season games soon to follow, and many seats still available for Rams home games, it's time to start caring.


  2. #2
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    of all the bad that happened sat night,bulgers comments were a lttle troublesome,he is a laid back guy, but i cant help but think he would like that statement back,we all know its preseason and doesnt count,but as QB and a team leader you dont say it.your statement about haslett is right on,they may not be the most talented group on defense but he does have them playing hard.as for linehan i really hope hes got something up his sleeve for this offense because they have looked horrible and if are to be ready for the broncos this offense needs to do a total 360.

  3. #3
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    I have not seen much of the Rams so far but from reading Bulger's comments I have a big concern about this season.

    I am concerned about the lack production from the first team. I am concerned about his attitude about it . Lets face it this is a new coaching era and the offense does not seem to focused right now on the end result. (touchdowns). Bulger said they did score there was just a penalty on the play. To me and the rest of the world that equals 0 pts. By the way Richie, if "chop blocks" are a big part of your game you will have a whole s*** load of penalties called against you and will hurt this team more than you help it.

    I understand you may not be showing the entire playbook which I agree with. However, what I did see so far it looks like the timimg is off and he should be very concerned if he is not connecting with Bruce\Holt and Curtis.

    Special teams should not be Special ED!!! Somebody make a tackle on the coverage units. How about a 6yd average on punt returns. McDonald is not a PR.


    In short I hope they paly better in game 4

    Denverram

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    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Two comments stuck out to me:

    <<<Linehan's offense is turtling. The offensive line is getting slapped around, running backs are tip-toeing, and quarterback Marc Bulger is uncomfortable in the pocket.>>>

    I was surprized to see him use "turtling." This is a video gamers term, (and other's as well), and I'm tempted to think that Bernie plays warcraft. I looked up the term at the urban dictionary and learned that there are other uses for this word, and I'm not sure which Bernie had in mind. But I commend him for using it here. Whatever we think of his Ram's knowledge, he writes well.


    Bernie's other comment is in phase with my observation from the Indy game:
    <<<Saturday night's game in Kansas City may have showed us the difference between a veteran head coach and a rookie.>>>

    I think this also stood out in the Indy game. Linehan is a new HC, and it shows. That's ok, we shouldn't expect him to come to the game like Bill Walsh. :-) But it says that he too is on a learning curve. At this point I have every reason to believe that over time, he'll do quite well, but I'm not expecting a SB ring this season.

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Quote Originally Posted by BM
    Internet boards were filled with unflattering comparisons ("Scott Linehan is Rich Brooks''). And wild predictions ("Gus Frerotte will be this team's starting quarterback"). And temporary insanity ("prepare for 0-16").
    Is this from the same guy who often tells his "pressbox" minions that he doesn't look at other internet boards?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    of all the bad that happened sat night,bulgers comments were a lttle troublesome,he is a laid back guy, but i cant help but think he would like that statement back,we all know its preseason and doesnt count,but as QB and a team leader you dont say it.your statement about haslett is right on,they may not be the most talented group on defense but he does have them playing hard.as for linehan i really hope hes got something up his sleeve for this offense because they have looked horrible and if are to be ready for the broncos this offense needs to do a total 360.
    I agree jk, that is what is bothering me. If he came out and stated that they still need some work to get in sync then it wouldn't bother me as much. But to hear it from SJ as well, and then Linehan stated that he isn't worried kind of has me worried.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Of all the bad that happened sat night, Bulger's comments were a little troublesome. He is a laid back guy, but I can't help but think he would like that statement back. -- JKramsfan
    You're right, JK. I agree, it seems that that "Who cares?" statement didn't come out the way Bulger intended. As long as we win Vs. Denver or, at least that the offense performs strong and solid, those two little words may come back to haunt him.

    Coy, I hope Avenger doesn't see your "...Whatever we think of his Ram's knowledge, he writes well" statement on Bernie.
    Last edited by RealRam; -08-28-2006 at 02:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Saturday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs apparently caused considerable distress among many Rams fans. Internet boards were filled with unflattering comparisons ("Scott Linehan is Rich Brooks''). And wild predictions ("Gus Frerotte will be this team's starting quarterback"). And temporary insanity ("prepare for 0-16").
    And I hope Linehan isn't going to be haunted by his draft-day decision to pass on quarterback Jay Cutler.
    I guess this puts Bernie in that "wild prediction" contingent among the distressed.

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    And I hope Linehan isn't going to be haunted by his draft-day decision to pass on quarterback Jay Cutler.
    That's the dumbest thing I've heard; why would he waste a pick on a position we didn't need. Is Bernesto predicting doom for Bulger?
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  10. #10
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    "Bernesto"! Haaaa-ha-haaaaa! LOL

  11. #11
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    I agree that Bernie writes well - if you measure "good writing" in terms of the ability to write a lot of words while conveying no information whatsoever.

    Mind you, that's not what I consider "good writing," but to each their own.

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I agree that Bernie writes well - if you measure "good writing" in terms of the ability to write a lot of words while conveying no information whatsoever.

    Mind you, that's not what I consider "good writing," but to each their own.
    The dawn of another AV-Bernie love fest season is fast approaching.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


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  13. #13
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    The dawn of another AV-Bernie love fest season is fast approaching. -- RAMMAN68
    [Off topic] ...Yes, almost an automatic.

    AV, do you really think there was "no information whatsoever" in BM's article above?

    :O

    :x

    :O

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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    I don't really see much in this article besides speculation.

    I wonder what Bernie thought of Gibb's game this week. 41 to zippee. It is preseason, but that is a blowout and down right embarrassing for a defensively minded team.

    I am not worried about Bulger or his comments or even the team's performance. It is still preseason. These games don't count.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
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    Re: OK, Rams, you can start waking up now

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    of all the bad that happened sat night,bulgers comments were a lttle troublesome,he is a laid back guy, but i cant help but think he would like that statement back,we all know its preseason and doesnt count,but as QB and a team leader you dont say it.
    Bulger's perspective seems to be that preseason is essentially more practice for the regular season. You keep seeing this "But it's the preseason. Who cares?" quote pop up, but that's definitely not all that Marc said. For instance...

    "I don't mind the holding penalties all that much," quarterback Marc Bulger said, forcing a smile as he began cataloging all the miscues during the three-hour disaster of this 16-12 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. "But the mental mistakes -- the offsides, the missed assignments -- man, there were just too many of those tonight."
    "The good news is, it's only the preseason," Bulger said. "Now if we're still talking about this after the Denver game..."
    Whether you agree or disagree, I think the point being illustrated by Bulger is that these games don't count come January and they're essentially just larger practices, so whether or not the offense has put the ball into the endzone in exhibition contests is a non-story.

    I really don't think Bulger is naive enough to think no one cares at all the preseason as a whole. I just get the sense that he doesn't necessarily believe preseason is a sign of things to come, and it should be noted there's a clear sense of concern if this carries over into the Denver game.

    But the guy's never been a rah-rah vocal leader, so I'm not entirely surprised that his post-game quotes lacked the kind of emotion you see from other more vocal players around the league. Bulger does his leading in the huddle, not in the Monday morning local articles.
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