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Thread: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

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    Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    By Bernie Miklasz

    Everything changed when head coach Jeff Fisher got back in touch with his inner football heritage, handed out the leather helmets and the smelling salts, shredded Brian Schottenheimer's playbook, and turned the Rams into a rumbling, rampaging, rush-heavy offense that's fixed to batter defenses.

    That was seven games ago.

    Over that time, the Rams have averaged 31 rushing attempts and 152 ground yards per game. They've generated 4.9 yards per carry. They've stomped off 30 runs that gained 10 or more yards. They've averaged 28 points per game and outscored the seven opponents by 63. The air game has benefited; the Rams' passer rating over the last seven games is a dandy 93.7, with 11 TD passes and three interceps.

    Oh, yeah … and the Rams' record is 4-3 since the dramatic shift in philosophy.

    Over the first four games the Rams averaged only 18 rushing attempts and 47 yards rushing per game. Their average per carry was a sickly 2.6 yards. It was a complete non-factor. And to make matters worse, Fisher and staff opted to make Daryl Richardson the No. 1 back. He clearly wasn't up to it.

    In trying to run some sort of imposter imitation of Air Coryell, the Rams lost three of their first four games and averaged 17.25 points per game. The passer rating was 81.6. It was an awful mess.

    At least Fisher adjusted. That's what good coaches do. Fisher powered up. He installed a more physical and assertive runner, Zac Stacy, as the lead back. And Stacy has a running mate in fellow rookie Benny Cunningham. The new movement peaked in Sunday's show of force in the win over Chicago. The Rams' 258 yards rushing was their third-highest total in a game since the team moved to St. Louis in 1995. The 258 was also the third-most by an NFL team this season.

    Over the past seven games _ since Fisher went back to a Fisher-style offense _ the Rams are second in the NFL in yards rushing per game, second in average yards per carry.

    This banging running game has helped the quarterbacks. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury, Sam Bradford was putting up great numbers in the run-based attack.

    From the time that the Rams altered their offensive style until the moment he went down, Bradford completed 65 percent of his passes, averaged 7.43 yards per attempt, threw seven TD passes with one interception, and had a passer rating of 111.1. The Rams were 2-1 under Bradford with the new offense until the injury terminated his season.

    And the groundhog offense has obviously helped backup Kellen Clemens play better than I thought he would; it takes the pressure off. He doesn't have to be a hero. Clemens has completed 52 percent, averaged 7.42 yards per attempt, has four TD passes and two interceptions, and a passer rating of 80.8.

    Predictably, I've seen some fools suggest that the Rams are a better team since Clemens took over. This is so detached from reality that you can only chuckle at the hopeless ignorance. (What does this mean, anyway? That Clemens does a better job of handing the ball off than Bradford? Is that it? This is loony-tunes stuff.)

    Bradford was thriving in this offense before he got wiped out with a cheap shot at Carolina. Clemens has done a very nice job, but again … a bullying rushing attack has propelled the offense in the right direction. That was true under Bradford, and the same applies to Clemens.

    Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator, has helped Clemens by coming up with plays (finally) to take advantage of Tavon Austin's all-purpose skills. That's been a big plus.

    And this offense fits Schottnheimer too. He's good at this scheme. Over Schotty's six seasons as the NY Jets' offensive coordinator, the Jets led the NFL in rushing.

    The Rams are playing to their strengths. They have a sturdy run-blocking line. Offensive tackle Jake Long has stood out in this area; Pro Football Focus rates him No. 3 in the NFL at his position in run blocking. And guards Harvey Dahl and Rodger Saffold have graded out well; Dahl is ranked 16th among NFL guards in run blocking.

    Ironically, the Rams took flight by staying on the ground. Fisher is partying like it's 1999, when his Tennessee team wore opponents down with the relentless running of lead back Eddie George.

    Instead of trying to replicate the 1999 Rams' offense, Fisher has rolled out the tanks for some classic 1999 Titans' football. It isn't the Greatest Show on Turf ... it's more like the Greatest Show of Force on Earth. But it's sure fun to watch.


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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    It's funny how real Bernie's article is pretty much the opposite of fake Bernie's article

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Not surprising that the running game has been emphasized with a back-up QB and with the emergence of Stacy and Cunningham. I said a long time ago this is how Fisher cut his teeth and is his preferred kind of offense.

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    So... Do we get a fullback next year?
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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    It's funny how real Bernie's article is pretty much the opposite of fake Bernie's article
    Yes but how do you know which one is the fake and which one is the real one?
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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Best analysis of this year's offensive evolution I've read.

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by Fearsome Foursome View Post
    So... Do we get a fullback next year?
    For the Rams running game that would be the icing on the cake! Even if Corey Harkey's place in the roster is to play FB part time -- he seems to do well there in addition to his TE duties. Perhaps this way Coach Fisher will achieve progressive, or at least, continuous, productivity with his RBs.

    I love a good FB! Thanks FF.

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Not surprising that the running game has been emphasized with a back-up QB and with the emergence of Stacy and Cunningham. I said a long time ago this is how Fisher cut his teeth and is his preferred kind of offense.
    He isn't getting a lot of press, but the switch of Saffold from RT to guard surely hasn't hurt our running game. If we can run against the whiners, and stop them from running, we'll have a shot this Sunday. If, however, Gore is allowed to run loose, we'll be in for a long day given that Craptree is returning coupled with Manningham and VD apparently healthy - not to mention Boldin ..

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    He isn't getting a lot of press, but the switch of Saffold from RT to guard surely hasn't hurt our running game. If we can run against the whiners, and stop them from running, we'll have a shot this Sunday. If, however, Gore is allowed to run loose, we'll be in for a long day given that Craptree is returning coupled with Manningham and VD apparently healthy - not to mention Boldin ..
    I agree. Sunday is going to be a tough one. Although the first game was lopsided, I'm hoping the Rams can put forth the same kind of spirited effort they have since Bradford went down. I think Fisher will try to shorten the game and get down and dirty in an attempt to make SF slog it out and win ugly. Look for a trick play or something unconventional. Expectations are low from everyone other than Rams fans.
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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    I don't think we will sign a full time, normal fullback. I think we stick with the FB TE hybrids like Harkey and Kendricks because it gives you much more versatility. Remember it was Harkey opening holes all day for Stacy and Cunningham against the Bears, and that Kendricks was the lead blocker on Austin's TD run. Why change what's working?
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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by fearsome foursome View Post
    So... Do we get a fullback next year?
    It seems the fullback position is becoming somewhat of a dinosaur. Not that there isn't a need for lead blockers, rather there seems to be more emphasis on versatility, i.e. why settle for only one when one can have two (positions) for the price of one. (TE & FB combined)

    Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks provide more options for Schotty than a conventional fullback. It appears the rest of the league is leaning in the same direction. That said, take a guy like Daryl Johnston of the Cowboys, circa 1989 - 1999 who came out in the draft as a rb, and morphed into more of a fullback. Johnston was 6'-2" and around 240 when he played. Today a player coming out of the draft with comparable size and skills would probably be listed as an H-back or TE rather than a FB.

    The bottom line here is this: players that can both block or catch effectively and consistently at the pro level, can rest assured teams will find a position for them. Fullback, hybrid, h-back, TE are just semantics .. Maybe we'll see a new name created in the near future?

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    Re: Ram Bytes: Fisher partying like it's 1999

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    It seems the fullback position is becoming somewhat of a dinosaur. Not that there isn't a need for lead blockers, rather there seems to be more emphasis on versatility, i.e. why settle for only one when one can have two (positions) for the price of one. (TE & FB combined)

    Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks provide more options for Schotty than a conventional fullback. It appears the rest of the league is leaning in the same direction. That said, take a guy like Daryl Johnston of the Cowboys, circa 1989 - 1999 who came out in the draft as a rb, and morphed into more of a fullback. Johnston was 6'-2" and around 240 when he played. Today a player coming out of the draft with comparable size and skills would probably be listed as an H-back or TE rather than a FB.

    The bottom line here is this: players that can both block or catch effectively and consistently at the pro level, can rest assured teams will find a position for them. Fullback, hybrid, h-back, TE are just semantics .. Maybe we'll see a new name created in the near future?
    VB- versatile back






    eh lol
    MauiRam likes this.

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