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  1. #1
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    Rams can't run from it -- they must adjust on offense

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Wednesday, Oct. 19 2005

    The Rams are 2-4 and fading from the NFC playoff race. Interim coach Joe Vitt
    remains in charge while Mike Martz recovers from a serious illness and
    offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild is calling the plays, with just one game
    under his belt.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger is sidelined by a shoulder sprain. Two rookies, Alex
    Barron and Claude Terrell, start along the offensive line. One of the veterans,
    Adam Timmerman, has struggled enough in pass protection to earn a benching.

    That is the current equation. The solution: Vitt and Fairchild should spend the
    next few weeks establishing the Rams as a consistently good running team.

    Orlando Pace is locked up at left tackle for the rest of his career. Barron and
    Terrell are establishing themselves as forceful run blockers. Richie Incognito
    is preparing to move into an interior line job next season. Steven Jackson is
    growing into the feature back role.

    Clearly this team has the building blocks to construct a good running game for
    years to come. Because of all the circumstances mentioned above, now is the
    time to do it.


    Against the Colts on Monday night, the Rams were ready to feature the run
    against Tony Dungy’s “Tampa 2” defense. Fairchild knew that establishing the
    run would be the best way to create throwing opportunities against that defense.

    Sure enough, the Rams came out running the ball effectively. On their first
    drive, Jackson broke a 14-yard run and later scored on a 21-yard burst.

    Overall, he rushed for 64 yards on 11 first-half carries, solid numbers in the
    NFL for a predominantly north-south runner.

    Unfortunately, the game got away from the Rams after they seized a quick 17-0
    lead. Turnovers, Bulger’s injury and massive defensive breakdowns allowed the
    Colts to bury the Rams with a 35-point surge.

    Back-up Jamie Martin did his best to throw the ball around. He failed to
    consistently find downfield targets, however, and his two interceptions helped
    feed the team’s overall collapse.

    During the ugly second half. Jackson carried the ball just six more times,
    gaining 24 yards. But his overall yards-per-carry average for the game, 5.2,
    would qualify as one of the few positives for the Rams in that contest.

    Between them, Jackson and Marshall Faulk got 30 touches. They rushed for 105
    yards and caught nine passes for another 60 yards. That is very solid
    production against a very good Colts defense.

    It is something to build on -– something the Rams MUST build on.

    Going forward, the Rams should feed Jackson and Faulk the ball 30 to 35 times
    per game. This should be one of the NFL’s top 10 running back tandems.

    To speed the development of the offensive line, Vitt and Fairchild should allow
    these guys to spend more time on their toes, run blocking, than on their heels,
    pass blocking.

    Rather than test their ability to master the various pass protection schemes
    for Martz’s 1.5 million passing plays -– the dude’s office must look like the
    Library of Congress by now -– the coaches should develop their ability to knock
    down defensive linemen and linebackers.


    This is not a call to make the Rams boring again. This is not a knock on Martin’
    s ability to run the offense or Fairchild’s ability to call it.

    This is a call for a measured shift in emphasis. Establish the run -– really
    establish it -– to set up the pass. Keep the offense on the field longer and
    keep the defense on the sidelines longer.

    Develop the offensive line. Fully exploit Jackson and Faulk while easing the
    load on Torry Holt and Co. just a bit.

    Let those receivers run some routes in favorable down-and-distance situations
    instead of obvious passing situations. Let them run more downhill routes, if
    you will, against more favorable defensive schemes and personnel.

    I’m not sure the defense can be fixed this season. The journeymen the Rams
    plugged into the secondary didn’t get the job done, so now Vitt is forced to
    play the kids. Opponents will continue attacking the weak points in the “D.”

    But the Rams' offense can still run well this season, even with Bulger likely
    to miss a few games. And, yes, there are still plenty of winnable games on the
    schedule -– starting Sunday at home against the forlorn Saints.

    Merely calling more run plays won’t get it done. The Rams must emphasize that
    half of their offense in practice and execute those plays in the games.

    The opportunity is there, but the Rams coaches and players must seize it.


  2. #2
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Rams can't run from it -- they must adjust on offense

    We are number 4 in scoring in the NFL, less then four points from number one. I don't think our record has anything to do with running more passing less, passing less, running more. We are scoring, it's all about turnovers and defense. It not ST giving up big plays anymore it's about turn overs and defense. Our defense needs to create more and our offense needs to turn it over less, it's that simple.

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    MOM
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    Re: Rams can't run from it -- they must adjust on offense

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos
    We are number 4 in scoring in the NFL, less then four points from number one. I don't think our record has anything to do with running more passing less, passing less, running more. We are scoring, it's all about turnovers and defense. It not ST giving up big plays anymore it's about turn overs and defense. Our defense needs to create more and our offense needs to turn it over less, it's that simple.
    Yes, very true, we ARE putting up the points, but you also have to look at something else that comes with it. Ball control/Time of Possession. If we keep on the passing attack, we score TOO QUICKLY. If we were to run the ball more, this keeps our Swiss Cheese defense off the field longer, giving them fewer chances to screw things up for us.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.stickershoppe.com/mm5/graphics/00000001/MLRPANCmini.jpg[/SIGPIC]This is for Randy! GO BRM!

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    thoey's Avatar
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    Re: Rams can't run from it -- they must adjust on offense

    Umm... That was all before we became a "must run team". Martin can not run this offense like MB did or he would have been the starter when? When the team was in LA? Okay, maybe not but he has been around a while.

    Any team we play until MB comes back is going to think run first, dink second, real pass rarely. To try to make this team, that isn't a running team, change to be a running team, you might as well just tell the Texans that we want the first pick.
    This space for rent...

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