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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams borrow Steelers' blueprint to beat Broncos

    September 12, 2006

    Nothing takes a bat to the piņata of optimism like losing a season
    opener. And the Broncos certainly shattered the local love into
    confetti Sunday with a loss to a Rams team that most - guilty as
    charged - believed they would not lose to.
    It didn't help that the Broncos offense looked out of sorts for most
    of the afternoon despite running for a win-worthy 161 yards or that
    they turned over the ball a loss-worthy five times.

    Given all that, all roads in much of the public discourse are leading
    to Jake Plummer.

    Jake fumbled and threw three interceptions. The Broncos lost. For
    some, that's all there is in the Broncos' math.

    Plummer having thrown five interceptions in his past two games - two
    in the AFC Championship Game to go with his three Sunday - is cause
    for at least some concern. But connect the dots, and there are some
    similarities in the two games that go beyond the call for rookie Jay
    Cutler to play quarterback.

    The question the Broncos need to answer at the moment is not whether
    Plummer can be the starter. The question is, can Plummer, and the
    Broncos, find a way to deal with this kind of defensive pressure
    before everybody left on the schedule tries to imitate it?

    Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense consistently put defenders in Plummer's face
    in January, especially when the Steelers got the lead. They varied the
    blitzes, played stout through the middle of the field and never really
    let the Broncos settle in because they did not surrender the lead.

    It's no accident the Rams followed suit. St. Louis defensive
    coordinator Jim Haslett spent three years working for Pittsburgh coach
    Bill Cowher as the Steelers' defensive coordinator, and Haslett
    certainly turned back the clock Sunday.

    He varied the Rams' defensive look, even showing a three-man line at
    times - much as he played in Pittsburgh - that he had not shown in his
    4-3 defense during the preseason.

    The Rams often lined up the defensive end wide, putting a linebacker
    between the defensive tackle and the end. And they blitzed, blitzed
    and blitzed some more, with almost any player, from any angle.

    In short, Haslett played it much like the Steelers did 7 1/2 months
    ago - and got much the same result. Haslett got it done despite
    leaving some cutback lanes for the Broncos' running backs because he
    believed the pressure on Plummer, and keeping Plummer in the pocket,
    would outweigh the damage done by Denver's runners.

    Not everybody on the Broncos' schedule can play it that way, but
    plenty are going to try until the Broncos make them stop.

    BREAK IT DOWN

    Mismatches lead to Plummer's fumble

    St. Louis forced Jake Plummer's fumble in the first quarter by winning
    a couple of one-on-one situations.

    On the play, left defensive end Leonard Little was lined up on the far
    hash mark with the ball on the opposite hash mark. He was out wide
    enough that he was 2 yards off the outside shoulder of Broncos tight
    end Stephen Alexander, and the Rams stuck a linebacker in the gap
    between Little and defensive tackle La'Roi Glover.

    At the snap, Alexander went downfield into his pass route and right
    tackle George Foster blocked on Glover. Right guard Cooper Carlisle
    moved over and joined center Tom Nalen for a double team on left
    defensive tackle Jason Fisk to take the play to the left.

    That left Little an unimpeded route into the backfield. Little
    hesitated briefly - Rams ends did that most of the day to try to
    contain the Broncos' rollout game - and once he saw Plummer was going
    to stay in the pocket, Little charged into running back Mike Bell.

    Little tossed Bell out of the way - Bell hit Little high instead of
    going low at the lineman's legs - and hit Plummer just before Glover
    hit the quarterback.

    In essence, the Rams ended up with their two best pass rushers -
    Little has had four career seasons with at least 9 1/2 sacks; Glover
    is a six-time Pro Bowl selection - against one Broncos lineman
    (Foster) and Bell.

    Plummer also drifted a bit to the right when the action of the play
    seemed to be directing him left, taking him into the danger zone.

    "Sometimes that happens to a quarterback; you still have to hang on to
    the football . . . ," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's a team
    situation where everybody's got a responsibility, but ultimately you
    have to protect the football."

    GET IT DONE

    Change for a nickel

    With running backs such as the Chiefs' Larry Johnson, the Patriots'
    Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney and, after the bye, the Ravens'
    Jamal Lewis looming, the Broncos might find more teams trying to run
    against their nickel (five defensive backs) look.

    The Rams did on five plays in the first half, gaining 20 yards. Steven
    Jackson had runs of 6, 1, 1, 9 and 3 yards against the Broncos'
    nickel. Three of the runs came on first down, two on second down.

    Most offenses like the idea of running against a defensive formation
    that features only two linebackers. The Broncos usually can deter
    teams from running against the nickel because safety John Lynch, left,
    is lurking around the line of scrimmage, and they often will play
    their "big nickel" with safety Sam Brandon as the fifth defensive
    back.


  2. #2
    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Re: Rams borrow Steelers' blueprint to beat Broncos

    I think this is one of the more interesting articles to come out of the game regarding Haslett's shenanigans. Creative, attacking defence with a strategy and real idea's regarding how and when to move personnel around.

  3. #3
    jjigga3000's Avatar
    jjigga3000 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams borrow Steelers' blueprint to beat Broncos

    I'm telling you guys right now. As I've said before our defense will be a Top 5 defense this year.

  4. #4
    RAM-BO's Avatar
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    Re: Rams borrow Steelers' blueprint to beat Broncos

    Poor jjigga.

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