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Thread: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

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    Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    By Anthony Stalter on May 20th, 2014

    Now that the 2014 NFL draft is in the books, are the Rams any closer to catching the Seahawks?

    Thatís all this offseason boils down to. Head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead beefed up the interior of their lines with the selections of Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald, added to their secondary depth with the choices of Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines, and hopefully added more playmaking ability to their offense with the surprise pick of Tre Mason in the third round. But while their draft was praised both nationally and locally, questions still remain.

    Bradford must improve his yards per pass average for the Rams to compete in the division.
    Itís encouraging that the Rams are focused on playing the same hard-nosed football that has branded the Seahawks and ***** for the past two-plus seasons. But while everyone is focused on the Ramsí ability to run the ball with authority and get after the quarterback (which are important, no doubt), theyíre not focusing on two other components that helped Seattle and San Francisco get to the NFC title game a year ago. Listeners of ďThe TurnĒ know of my infatuation with team turnovers and the yards per attempt (YPA) statistic for quarterbacks. I focus so much attention on those two stats because they translate to wins and losses in the NFL.

    Take last year, for example. I went week-by-week during the 2013 regular season and counted 125 teams that won both the turnover battle and saw their quarterback finish with a higher YPA than their opponent. Of those 125 teams, 113 of them won the game. Thatís a winning percentage of 90 percent. Thereís more.

    The margin of defeat for the 12 teams that somehow lost the game despite winning the turnover and YPA battles was 5.17. Seven of those teams lost by a field goal or less, with only three teams losing by double digits: the Jaguars in Week 2, the Jaguars again in Week 16 and the Bills in Week 17.

    Robinson is important in helping the Rams establish the run.

    How does all of this correlate to the Rams? While adding a run mauler like Robinson to the offensive line is important for a team that wants to establish the run, Sam Bradford must improve his career 6.29 yards per pass average if this team is serious about contending for a playoff spot. The Seahawksí defense and running game rightfully drew most of the attention last year, but when the team needed to put the ball in the air, Russell Wilson completed passes at an 8.25 clip. I have my criticisms of Colin Kaepernick, but he, too, posted a solid YPA of 7.69. This isnít all on Bradford, by the way. Whether it was a nagging ankle injury, added responsibility or a limited route tree, Chris Givens wasnít the same player last year as he was as a rookie. Jared Cook also disappeared after his heroics in Week 1, Brian Quick gave the team little to nothing from a production standpoint and Brian Schottenheimer didnít consistently find ways to exploit Tavon Austinís playmaking ability.

    It really didnít matter if it was Bradford, Kellen Clemens or Brett Favre under center Ė the Rams simply didnít receive enough production from their receiving corps last year. And outside of adding Kenny Britt, the front office didnít do much to shake things up this offseason, either. Even knowing that Bailey would be suspended the first four games of the season, Fisher and Snead decided during the draft that they would stay pat at receiver. Like it or not, the Rams have doubled down on Givens, Austin, Bailey, Quick, Cook and now Britt.

    Zac Stacy and the running game should remain the focal point of the Ramsí offense. Everyone saw what happened last year when Fisher decided to ditch spread-heavy concepts for ground-and-pound football. But whether the Rams run the football 10 times a game or 40, it doesnít lessen the importance of Bradford, Schottenheimer and the receiving corpsí ability to stretch a defense when necessary. Thereís not enough space in this column to discuss the pending health of the offensive line, but that will be a major factor for the offense as well.

    The Rams also need to improve their turnover ratio to close the gap between them and the Seahawks, who ranked first in that category a season ago. The defense did its part in 2013 by forcing a league-best 24 fumbles, but it finished tied for 20th in interceptions with a plus/minus differential of even for the year.

    The biggest questions facing the Ramsí defense is the secondary. Janoris Jenkins has the skill set of a Pro Bowl corner, but he proved last year that he needed to add strength this offseason after being manhandled by more physical receivers like Anquan Boldin. According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins was flagged 10 times last season, which ranked him second behind only Green Bayís Tramon Williams (who finished with 11). Trumaine Johnson wasnít much better, as he was flagged a total of eight times, ranking him ninth among NFL corners. If those two were beat a year ago, they would result to grabbing and holding receivers instead of playing fundamentally sound.

    How the current group of safeties fit into Gregg Williamsí defense will also be a question heading into training camp. T.J. McDonald is a heavy hitter who could excel in the role once held by former Saint Roman Harper when both he and Williams were in New Orleans. But who will man the free safety position next to McDonald? Rodney McLeod is a versatile piece, but he was seemingly exposed over the course of a 16-game season. Joyner is also an intriguing prospect, but is it asking too much for him to start as a rookie?

    I loved what the Rams did in the draft. They selected prospects with talent, versatility and upside, and who also represented value at their respective draft slots. In fact, I like the makeup of this roster better than most in the league.

    But the NFC West is a different animal. Itís the best division in football, and the Seahawks and ***** werenít only successful last year because of their defenses and rushing attack. Time will tell if the Rams can turn a successful offseason off the field into execution and production on it.


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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins was flagged 10 times last season, which ranked him second behind only Green Bay’s Tramon Williams (who finished with 11). Trumaine Johnson wasn’t much better, as he was flagged a total of eight times, ranking him ninth among NFL corners. If those two were beat a year ago, they would result to grabbing and holding receivers instead of playing fundamentally sound.
    We won't catch the Seahawks until they let our defenders get away with pass interference as much as theirs do!
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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    Weird article. YPA is definitely impacted by your ability to play action pass - which is predicated on your ability to run the ball. He mentions the health of our offensive line- yet doesn't comment that we drafted the most physically gifted OT in the draft.

    We didn't have a large numbers of interceptions last year - when we played those ridiculous soft zones. We have a coordinator known for creating takeaways now, and have drafted two new corners. Interceptions are heavily impacted by pressure - and we drafted the best pass rusher in the class to add to an already imposing unit.

    So nice that he know about turnovers and YPA, but odd that analysis there doesn't indicate that he understands how those things are created.

    Honestly, I'd be shocked if the Rams turnovers aren't up this year under Williams.

    The receivers have talent - they just need to grow up. Having their QB there all year long would help that tremendously.
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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    bradfords name gets thrown around way too often. How bout we put laurinitis's name out there too. you want to talk about points or numbers? defense gives up points and numbers as well. both sides are guilty and everyone has to be held accountable. if we can't hold nfc west teams to 17 points a game then we don't have any business in the playoffs.

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    I think for the Rams to pass the Seahawks they will need to improve their GWPPD* total this year.



    *Games with positive point differential.
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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    I believe Jenkins and Johnson are terrific CBs who needed better coaching. They will get it this year.
    They will hopefully also get better support from the safety position.
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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    To close the gap Sam needs to improve his yards per pass average for the Rams to compete in the division.



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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    I agree with demiurge about this being a weird article. Start of the article is how well we did with our draft picks, but devolves into how we have deficiencies in comparison to the Seahawks and *****. Bottom line, we know we have to improve on some facets of our execution, but we have another year together as a team and that means a lot. It won't necessarily be how well our rookies play, but how we come together and grow talent-wise into a more competitive team. That is what Jeff and Les are aiming towards, if you ask me.

    Lastly, don't overlook the fact that the Seahawks and ***** had changes too, some for the better and some for the worse. It's easy to benchmark yourself against the teams ahead of you, but we need to focus on becoming the best we can be through growth and upgrades. Injuries will be there regardless. We'll do better this year because we'll hopefully have our QB around for 16 games.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    To close the gap Sam needs to improve his yards per pass average for the Rams to compete in the division.
    You divide total passing yards by the number of pass attempts to get the Yards per pass attempted.
    Not sure what's stumping you.

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    You divide total passing yards by the number of pass attempts to get the Yards per pass attempted.
    Not sure what's stumping you.
    LOL I get that, not sure why he would pull that one stat out as the "key" to us closing the gap. I would think if we become a more composed team and clean up the penalties, that would have a bigger impact in the win and lost column then Sam adding a yard to his pass attempt average.

    Week one

    In Sunday's 27-24 win against Arizona, the penalty issue didn't vanish, though, and the Rams nearly paid for it.
    Late in the year.

    Through Sunday's games, the Rams sit third in the NFL in total accepted penalties with 98, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Those penalties have cost the Rams 807 yards of field position, the sixth-highest number in the league.
    I'm to lazy to find the total for they year, this was at the end of the year we already gave up 807 yards... I can think of one that cost us 65 yards for tripping, took a Tavon deep ball from Sam to be called back. That sure would have helped Sam's average and also cost us 6 points.

    Last game of the year still a problem.

    The Rams (7-9) were penalized 12 times for 87 yards and lost their composure on defense late in the third quarter. St. Louis was flagged for four personal foul penalties in the span of two plays - two on Alec Ogletree and two on Kendall Langford. The penalty against Langford was for making contact with an official, which on replay appeared inadvertent. Langford was ejected and became incensed, slamming his helmet to the turf as he left the field.

    Two plays later, Lynch walked in from the 2 and Seattle led 20-3.

    St. Louis was called for two more personal fouls on the ensuing kickoff. The 12 penalties were a season high for the Rams.
    Last edited by Rambos; -05-21-2014 at 03:22 PM.

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    The Rams have the talent and coaching to compete within the division. Three things need to happen for that to occur.

    Bradford needs to stay healthy and continue where he left off last year. With the run game we developed and the level of play Bradford exhibited before going down that gives us an offense to win the division.

    The offensive line must stay healthy. We simply don't have the depth behind the starters to absorb injuries to Long, Saffold or Wells, our injury prone three.

    We're the youngest team in the NFL. Those second and third year players need to reach that next level this year. I'm looking at JJ and Tru, both whom the article cites. I'm looking at all the young WR, in particular Quick. Brockers has been very good but there's also some room for growth there.

    Health and growth is a lot to ask for. But if we get it we could overcome this brutal schedule we were dealt yet again. Can't wait for week one.

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    Rambos you raise an excellent point, we must reduce the penalties. If we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot with driving killing or drive extending (opposition) penalties then we'll win more games.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    Yards per attempt is a very good indicator of success. It's not brain surgery.
    Bradford's YAC is 6.28 for his career.
    Quality QBs are well over 7.

    Norm Van Brocklin had an 8.2 YAC.
    Kurt Warner had 7.9.

    If Bradford stays at <6.8, we'll be looking for a new QB in 2016.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    I would think if we become a more composed team and clean up the penalties, that would have a bigger impact in the win and lost column
    Maybe, maybe not. According to NFLPenalties.com, the two teams with the most penalties in 2013 were the two conference champions. Seattle and Denver were also two of only six teams in the league with a starting QB that boasted a YPA greater than 8.
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    Re: Rams Any Closer to Catching Seahawks?

    How is Sam Bradford supposed to improve his yards per pass average when we essentially have the same group of pedestrian wide receivers we had last year, minus Bailey, who genius that he is got himself suspended for the first 4 games of the season? The entire Rams' Brass and coaching staff obviously bets the guys currently on our roster will improve- otherwise we're kidding ourselves.


    In baseball, pitching indeed wins games, but you'd better hit a little bit or you'll have jack sh** to show for all that good pitching. And in football, defense can indeed win championships, but yo'd better be able to put the ball in the end zone with some frequency or you'll be sitting home in January.
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