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  1. #1
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    Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    Some broad thoughts from tonight's third preseason game:

    -Neither the Rams' first string offense nor their defense impressed me that much tonight against our opposition's starting units. They played flat. How much of that is them trying to either stay healthy or stay vanilla/secretive, I don't know.

    -The defense did next to nothing to stop the Chiefs' methodical first drive, and looked inconsistent in defending the run against Larry Johnson. Flashbacks of the Colts' first drive against the Rams in preseason Week One.

    -Fahkir Brown had a shaky night, IMO. Hot and cold, perhaps is the better description. The KLOU announce team was more complimentary of him than I would have been. He got burned badly by rookie Jeff Webb on one pass.

    -Wow, play action on fourth down from the Rams. That's a Martz kind of move. Wonder if Linehan would have been blasted as hard as Martz would have had it failed.

    -For the second game in a row, our offensive line underperformed to a concerning level. Absolutely no push to consistently open up holes, missed blocks on key defenders, questionable pass protection.

    -Neither of our 'backs finished with more than a three yard-per-carry average, which isn't surprising since they had virtually no where to go. Don't blame this one on the runners, guys. Don't count on a strong offensive performance this season if this kind of blocking is the norm rather than the exception.

    -Hill made a rookie mistake on a key third down, faceguarding Sammie Parker to allow the Chiefs to continue their drive. It ended up being a 35-yard penalty. Ouch. Just shows you he still has a ways to go, but at least he's around the ball and active.

    -Not only does Bulger throw too tall for Kevin Curtis, who in an attempt to catch the pass ends up tipping the ball right to a defender for an INT, but Curtis goes down on the play. When it rains, it pours. At least Kevin returned to the game, but get the man some R&R for a couple of days.

    -In general, Bulger looks like he's either having trouble adjusting to the new offense or just still has some rust to shake off. I don't recall him ever being lights out in the preseason, but he looks a bit more questionable than usual this time of year. Then again, he was missing Torry and Isaac. But he needs to step up.

    -I've not been overly impressed by Marques Hagans as a punt returner, but I've seen enough of McDonald trying to fill that role. He just doesn't know what he's doing, and given that we heard this was a competition between Pyatt and Hagans, I'm not even sure why he was out there.

    -Our depth at tackle continues to concern me after Todd Steussie completely whiffed on Tamba Hali, causing a Marc Bulger fumble as the half winded down. Blaine Saipaia moved inside to guard this game but still had a noteworthy penalty. IMO, he's on the bubble to make this final roster.

    -OJ Atogwe looked better this game, making a key save after the Chiefs beat us on a failed blitz as well as a strip while on punt coverage. He's coming along, but I'm not going to put the expectations too high just yet. We have to remember he's a second year pro that still has some growing to do.

    -Witherspoon and Tinoisamoa just seem like they're all over the field. I seem to notice Pisa's presence during the game a bit more than Will's, but you can't argue with 11 tackles between them in one half of action. I do wonder, however, if we're just too small to do well against teams that pound the rock with an LJ-type runner.

    -Two personal fouls by Richie Incognito tonight, one that negated a great touchdown connection from Bulger to Curtis. Maybe this will help quiet down some of the premature fan excitement about Richie. In general, our interior line all around still has a lot of work ahead of them.

    -In my Thursday article I asked Jerome Collins to show me something if he wanted to make this team. Tonight, he responded when he pulled in a 54-yard catch and run for a touchdown. In comparison, Dominique Byrd was silent tonight. I believe I heard his name once.
    Now, with all that said, here is why you shouldn't worry:

    November 5th

    What's important about November 5th, you say? Well, it's the date during the regular season when the Rams and Chiefs play for real. Obviously with a contest down the road, neither team is going to show very much of their hand. You couldn't expect the Rams to really dig deep into their playbook to try and help themselves into some more success on the field. So in that respect, a disappointing showing tonight is perhaps not quite so disappointing.

    But that being said, that doesn't excuse a lack of execution on what we did decide to show. While I certainly am no where near panicking between now and the regular season, I do feel the Rams need to show improvement in certain areas of their play if they want to at least be a competitive team this season.

    They need to do a better job in the trenches on both offense and defense, getting a more consistent push to control the line of scrimmage. Running the ball, our line looked anemic and could not give our backs any room to work on a regular basis. I don't care if you strapped a jetpack to Steven Jackson or Tony Fisher; they weren't going anywhere tonight.

    Also on the offensive side of the ball, Marc Bulger needs to work on getting into a better passing rhythm, some of which might be brought about by more consistent pass protection as well as a more expanded playbook. But for three games now we've watched Bulger throw high on his passes and generally look unsettled in this system. He spent five years in the complicated Martz attack offense, so I'm willing to give Marc some time to decompress and come back down to earth. Who knows how long that will take, but I personally hope it's sooner rather than later.

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams need to do a better job executing their blitzes. Travis Fisher really failed to finish his assignment on one tonight and it nearly resulted in a touchdown. It doesn't seem like our front four could get pressure on the Chiefs without the help of a blitz, so if we're going to take the chance and send extra men, we have to make sure it works. It won't always, but we have to try and minimize the times it doesn't. Because when you take a risk by blitzing, from time to time it's going to backfiire. I'd like to minimize those occasions.

    Feel free to add your own thoughts, or agree/disagree with mine.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    I don't care about the score, what I do care about is effort. From what I have read it doesn't seem like this was a total team effort.

    You couldn't expect the Rams to really dig deep into their playbook to try and help themselves into some more success on the field. So in that respect, a disappointing showing tonight is perhaps not quite so disappointing.
    True, but they need to finish the job. I can't believe that this first team offense has failed to score a TD in three games. Vanilla or not, you need to show something. It just looks like they need more time to get in sync, and time is running out.
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    You couldn't expect the Rams to really dig deep into their playbook to try and help themselves into some more success on the field. So in that respect, a disappointing showing tonight is perhaps not quite so disappointing.

    Well, except you can say the same thing about the Chiefs. They aren't going to show THEIR playbook, either.

    I AM worried about the inability to punch it in the endzone. To me, Special Teams and settling for field goals instead of touchdowns is the biggest factor in the decline of the GSOT.

  4. #4
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    i totally 100% disagree with that being vanilla crap,you need to go out and get ready for the other 15 teams you are about to play,by not using these plays during the preseason,which by the way is what preseason is for,how do you plan on being successful in the regular season when you do use them,,you change so much week to week,for each game that by the time we get to the KC game plays ,formations and blocking schemes will look totally different.we are not a very good team yet,we need to do what ever we have to do to get better,pre season is VERY important to a team that is trying to work its way back to elite status.we need to put some fear back into teams that play us,right now teams dont look at us as a team they would rather not play and we need to get that back.

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    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    Guys, no holt, no bruce and limited play for pace. It was steussie that got beat for the sack which resulted in the fumble. I would not be thrilled if we truly had the first team offense out there, but this was not the first team. If we play without holt and bruce, we arent going very far.

    This is why i continue to harp on the most important thing being our ability to stay healthy. We have some minor scrapes at this point, but personally, i am 100% supportive of linehan being as cautious as possible with the dinged guys during the preseason.

    This doesnt count, end of story. If we look like crap and cant run vs. denver, people can be a lot more concerned. I agree its a new offense, i dont expect us to be at peak form in week one.

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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    -Byrd was quiet, but they didn't throw at him a lot. The one time they did, he made an attempt at the ball that shows why he got drafted so high -- that was a pretty athletic play for a TE (even if he didn't get there, but that was the QBs fault). I can't believe they'll cut a third rounder at the third TE spot for a guy like Collins. Maybe I'm wrong, but Byrd probably has more upside...

    -I'm not as pessimistic about the line play on D in one respect: I don't recall them getting a lot of traction up the middle in the running game. That would be a huge step forward from last year. Our ends still don't generate any pass rush and its going to kill us, especially if guys like Fischer can't sack a lead-footed Trent Green. Imagine what happens when do that against a mobile quarterback.

    -You didn't like Hagans? He caught the ball, followed his blockers, showed good pace, and didn't shy away from contact. That already makes him better than the last fifteen guys we've tried back there. I thought Pyatt was less impressive and the fumble out of bounds probably keeps him off the roster.

    -There is no doubt we were *very* vanilla tonight. The Chiefs were begging us to pass the ball, but we stuck with fairly straight forward running plays. And for all the talk about the role of the TE in this offense, we haven't seen many pass plays that way. So, I don't think we've seen much of the playbook. And Linehan *really* seems intent on figuring out if these guys can run block. I suspect the next round of FAs and draftees will include a lot of OL-types.

    -Speaking of what our weaknesses are, I'd like to see us spend a draft pick on another running back. I'm not convinced that SJ will get it done consistently. He's good, but he lacks vision. ON at least one play, he could've busted out a huge run if he had cut back -- the Chiefs had totally read our blocking and got sucked in overpursuing.

    Just some thoughts.

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68 View Post
    True, but they need to finish the job. I can't believe that this first team offense has failed to score a TD in three games. Vanilla or not, you need to show something. It just looks like they need more time to get in sync, and time is running out.
    Agreed, which is why I followed the quote you posted by saying, "But that being said, that doesn't excuse a lack of execution on what we did decide to show. While I certainly am no where near panicking between now and the regular season, I do feel the Rams need to show improvement in certain areas of their play if they want to at least be a competitive team this season."


    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyhater View Post
    Well, except you can say the same thing about the Chiefs. They aren't going to show THEIR playbook, either.
    True, which is why I think we have some work to do and can't just shrug this off as nothing.


    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    by not using these plays during the preseason,which by the way is what preseason is for,how do you plan on being successful in the regular season when you do use them
    How do you plan on being successful during the season when teams scouting you week to week see the majority of what you're doing and have more time to prepare for it and scheme against it?

    Yes, teams make small adjustments week to week depending on opponents, but I would counter that they don't change as much as you suggest. Otherwise there'd be no point of multiple practices and a long training camp to learn the system if things are "totally different" halfway into the season.

    You say we need to put some fear back into our opponents. I'm not convinced that keeping our opponents as mystified as possible as to what exactly they're going to see isn't going to be as if not more effective.


    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    This doesnt count, end of story. If we look like crap and cant run vs. denver, people can be a lot more concerned. I agree its a new offense, i dont expect us to be at peak form in week one.
    I agree to an extent. If I take a practice SAT and suck it up, my reaction isn't to shrug it off because it doesn't count and I shouldn't be concerned until I take the real test. We shouldn't look up and watch for the falling sky after this game, but IMO we should expect to see some improvement on basic fundamentals such as blocking and pass protection, tackling, etc etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    I can't believe they'll cut a third rounder at the third TE spot for a guy like Collins. Maybe I'm wrong, but Byrd probably has more upside...
    I don't think Byrd will be cut, either. Rather I think Collins is making a strong case for the Rams to carry four tight ends. I doubt they do, however.


    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    You didn't like Hagans? He caught the ball, followed his blockers, showed good pace, and didn't shy away from contact. That already makes him better than the last fifteen guys we've tried back there. I thought Pyatt was less impressive and the fumble out of bounds probably keeps him off the roster.
    I didn't say I didn't like him. I simply said I haven't been overly impressed with him through the entire preseason. That said, he looks like a much better option at PR than McDonald.


    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    I'm not convinced that SJ will get it done consistently. He's good, but he lacks vision. ON at least one play, he could've busted out a huge run if he had cut back -- the Chiefs had totally read our blocking and got sucked in overpursuing.
    I just really don't think you can criticize Jackson or Fisher with the way the blocking was going tonight. Yes, perhaps Jackson could have cut back, but maybe he was trying to follow his blocks as well. Later in the night, Fisher decided to forgo his blocking and do something on his own and got stuffed. I just really think it's hard to grade the running backs when the blocking is so disappointing.
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  8. #8
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    nick, great rebuttal comments as always, i agree with you on hagens, altough not great so far is better than mcdonald,and i dont think we have jumped into panic mode yet,but we would have all liked to have seen some improvement last night and i didnt see anything that i can feel good about.

    let me correct myself-jeff(money)wilkins looked ready for the season.
    Last edited by jkramsfan; -08-27-2006 at 12:50 PM.

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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    I just really don't think you can criticize Jackson or Fisher with the way the blocking was going tonight. Yes, perhaps Jackson could have cut back, but maybe he was trying to follow his blocks as well. Later in the night, Fisher decided to forgo his blocking and do something on his own and got stuffed. I just really think it's hard to grade the running backs when the blocking is so disappointing.
    To clarify, my criticism of SJ was based on more than this game. You could argue that our blocking hasn't been good since he's been on the roster -- which I sort of believe -- but so far this preseason, he doesn't look like he's learned from past mistakes either. He's big, strong, and fast, so I think he tries to run over guys more than he should. I'd like to see him do a better job of reading what the defense gives him.

    That said, the blocking was terrible in the game...no doubt about it. I've been more disappointed in the OLs problems this preseason than anything else. It doesn't depend as much on the play calling (thus, eliminating the "its only preseason" critique) and this staff clearly wants to run the ball (thus making it an emphasis). So far we don't have a lot to show for that and I hope they get it together quick.

    Side note -- Richie Incognito was quoted in today's Post as saying that his blocks were legal and that the refs were being "flag happy." Someone needs to tell him to shut up or he'll get called for that every game.

  10. #10
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    i saw where incognito said the refs were flag happy,and your right, he needs to keep quite about that and stop chop blocking,they will flag him every time and those are very costly penalties.

  11. #11
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    Pre-season, well, The first team plays what, 7 hole minutes in a pre-season game at best? They should work on what they need to to be ahead when they come off the field for the day! If they don't have enough plays to run and still hide some ,then we is in for a long season!!!! But pre-season is just a televised scrimmage anyway,so think what you want.The season starts soon so get ready. I don't think this team is capable of mediocracy. This team is either gonna kick ass or really **** the bed! I can't wait !

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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    This doesn't count, end of story. If we look like crap and cant run vs. Denver, people can be a lot more concerned. I agree its a new offense, i don't expect us to be at peak form in week one.
    That's my point GC, this is a glorified practice. If you don't practice well, most of the time you will not play well come game day. Watching the replay they looked very sloppy out there. This whole "It doesn't matter" attitude sounds a lot like "We can fix that" made famous by our former coach.

    They have two weeks to get ready for Denver; I hope they get in sync by then.
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    This whole "it's preseason and it doesn't matter" stuff is killing me. Enough already!

    To a large extent, IT DOES MATTER. As some of you have rightfully said, it's not the wins and loses that concern us, but the effort. Hey, KC and Houston also played "vanilla", and "they didn't care about winning and losing", and on and on and on. Their #1 teams all gave better efforts than our #1's. This is not something you turn on and off like a freakin' light bulb. Sorry Marc Bulger, you should care. You practice to get it right, and when game time comes, even preseason, you should give a good effort. Since Linehan and Haslett came on board, I've read that these are the "new Rams", with "new attitudes", and that the New Look Rams are no longer a soft team, and all the old problems were going to be things of the past, and blah, blah, blah... I was so disappointed at the way they performed in KC at every key position, and even more disappointed at Marc's comments after the game. Perhaps when someone says to me "trust me", I tend not to?

    No, I'm not cashing it in, and no, I'm not projecting a 0-16 season. But I've played many competitive sports in my life, and when I play a practice round now before a big tournament (I now play competitive golf) you can be sure that I'm concerned if I'm not hitting the shots I want to hit during that practice round. You can bet it doesn't help my state of mind that I didn't perform in practice (translated;preseason) I carry that emotion, or doubt with me when I tee it up for real. And if someone asks me if I'm worried and I say, "Nah, it's only practice", I'm lying my arz off and hoping they buy it, because I certainly don't. Hence, my response to Marc's comments.

    I hope for all our sanities that during the next two weeks the coaching staff and players look at the game film and realize that they ALL need to step it up. The Broncos will be a very tough test for us coming out of the blocks. The Rams (particularly the O and D lines) MUST play with more passion, and with much more intensity than what we witnessed last Saturday or the Broncos will steamroll us. I'm smart enough to realize that the Rams are not going to turn things around in one year. Let's not kid ourselves, this is NOT a Superbowl team. However, they can start the revitalization process now by showing up and giving what the fans pay for. Some real, honest effort.

  14. #14
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions

    Guys, no holt, no bruce and limited play for pace. It was steussie that got beat for the sack which resulted in the fumble.
    No excuse GC; Curtis and McDonald have proven that they can play at this level, and Steussie was a starter until this season. They looked far from professional out there.:x

    The team looked good in the first pre-season game, but have since digressed. I think you should be progressing by the third per-season game. I just hope they are ready for Denver. :\
    Last edited by RAMMAN68; -08-28-2006 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Because I can.
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