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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/26/2009

    Since taking over as head coach of the San Francisco *****, Mike Singletary is 7-4, and he has tried to cultivate a new image for his team. The ***** are getting physical. They're using a strong running game, led by halfback Frank Gore, as the foundation for a restoration. We saw that Sunday, when the ***** bullied Seattle for 256 yards rushing in a victory that gave them a 2-0 record on the young season.

    The Rams need to take the same approach with their franchise back, Steven Jackson. The ***** are averaging 26 rushes a game since Singletary took over, but Jackson is averaging only 19.5 carries through the first two weeks of the season.

    One of the puzzling aspects of the first two weeks is the Rams' lack of commitment to pounding the ball. You wonder why Jackson was given only 16 carries in the first game, at Seattle, against the same defense that got gored a week later by the *****.

    Jackson is up to the job. You say he isn't tough enough, and that he tiptoes too much? The numbers tell a different story. Through two games, Jackson has 171 yards rushing, and 127 of the yards were gained after contact. In the NFL, only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has gained more yards so far (161) after being hit by defenders.

    That's the way it is with Jackson, who is probably better than he gets credit for being. Since the start of the 2006 season, Jackson has averaged 89 yards rushing a game, and among backs who played continuously during that time frame, only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson averages more yards rushing per game (91). Peterson, who entered the league in 2007, is averaging 105 yards a game.

    The Rams have one producer and playmaker on offense, and he wears No. 39. If new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo wants to create an identity for his rebuilding team, Singletary is setting the example of how it can be done.

    READING TIME, 3 MINUTES

    Free Victor Adeyanju.

    Though ESPN football analyst Mark Schlereth apologized to Rams GM Billy Devaney for suggesting that the Rams aren't competing hard, Schlereth didn't hold back on delivering another opinion, telling WXOS (101.1 FM) that the Rams are making a mistake by not playing rookie offensive tackle Jason Smith on the left side, his natural position. Schlereth likened it to the Boston Red Sox asking David Ortiz, who bats left, to begin switch hitting or batting right.

    :ramlogo:

  2. #2
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    As usual, BM's numbers and arguments don't add up.

    The Whiners ran the ball 189 times in those last 9 games under Singletary. That's 21/game, not 24.

    And compare that with a real smashmouth team, The NYG, who ran 502 times over last season. That's 31 per game. NYG averaged 5.0 over the 16 game season. The Whiners were at 4.0. Even that number was bolstered by some strong performances before Singletary as well & 4.0/carry, I believe, is the basic threshold for a competent run attack, not a dominant one.

    They won several last year when Gore & co were ineffective( eg vs The Rams),and lost several when they were good ( eg vs AZ). In short, the run game wasn't a primary factor in either defeat or victory.

    This year they have run 54 times.Sounds good,right? Until you look a little more closely. First game , they got stuffed all day(23 for 32 yds) & won.

    Gore had a huge day vs The Hags mainly based on two field length gallops. A bunch of carries by the other Whiner backs; pretty ineffective,btw, 12 for 32 together and a QB scramble, padded the attempt numbers as those long runs did the average per carry.

    No Mebane, no Hill, Tatupu fighting a leg injury,Babineaux fighting back problems ( I think our boys beat 'em up pretty good for The Whiners; mixed feelings about that) , never mind the offense neutered by half time in a tight 13-10 game by the loss of their QB...on the road.

    Yeah...exactly the same, Bernie....putz.

    Yes, the Rams need to get SJ the ball more but that's as much,if not more, about getting the defense off the field as a commitment to the run.

    The biggest difference,imo, between the two teams remains the defensive front seven.

    Right idea, Bernie. Wrong example. And you'd better be much more sure of your facts before telling The Ram Nation that their team needs to emulate The Whiners in any way, shape, or form. Be glad this isn't Buffalo. I'd keep my address a secret,nonetheless.

    As to the dancing SJ thing; people will see what they want to see, whether it's SJ or Bulger or whoever. You only have to watch the games to see that the dancing thing has seldom been true & there have been reasons when it did happen. Early last year when he had missed so much time & appeared indecisive & the O-line was getting smushed,yeah.With a few glaring exceptions where he has jump cut out of his blocking, I think the guy has done a lot with very little so far.

    Incidentally, there's a great article about Croom, our RB coach, on the GB site this week. I think our run game is in good hands.

    I like Adeyanju as well but watching Ah You's quick first step & Ramsey's explosiveness on some plays in the Skins game reassured me that Spajole know what they are doing with the mix of skill sets they want on the DL.

    Just shut up & watch baseball or hockey, Bernie, & leave The Rams to those who care enough to pay attention.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    The thing everyone misses about these types of things is Frisco's defense is ranked 7th and our is 29th. We are also giving up 5 points more a game then they are. When you have a good defense you can try and be a smash mouth team. You can afford to go three and out once in a while because your defense will pick you up. The more we go three and out like we did in Seattle the more chance of our weak defense giving up a td. Also doesnt your offensive line have to open up holes for your running back to run through? On Jacksons long run vs the Skins he was hit four yds into the run and broke the tackle and took it what 50+ yds. I watched Gore run vs the Hawks and on one 80 yd run he wasnt even touched until he hit the goal line. By the way Gor had a total of 16 carries for 207 yds. He had 2 carries for 159 yds on long runs. His other 14 carries went for 48 yds. Thats 3.4 ydsa carry. He didnt exactly tear it up on his other runs. We can pretend to be a smash mouth team, but right now it just doesnt seem like we have the personell. The Rams also havnt had the ball enough to even utilize two running backs very often either. It's a work in progress and changing your identity doesnt happen over night.
    Last edited by rammiser; -09-26-2009 at 08:53 AM.
    Just Fix It

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    I think the reason we should be constantly handing the ball off is because of the homerun hit with Jackson. Yeah he might not hit the hole every play and blow through, he might dance a few times, but when he dedicates himself to making a play he blows it wide open.
    Who knows? Maybe with an extra 5-10 carries we could see another 20 yard run pop out of him. Even toss him the ball another couple times and let him turn up field on some DBs. It is just 2 weeks into the season though, I don't think we've yet to see the depth of the rams playcalling, so some of these concerns may be unfounded.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    We have had several penalties on the OL and we have opposing defenses stacking the line forcing us to throw. We need to establish that we can throw before every defense in the NFL stops stacking the line of scrimage. We are often 1st and 15, 2nd and long, or 3rd and long. We got down in the first game and lost 28-0 we needed to throw the ball the last two quarters to try to get back in it. We cant run every single play when the defense knows we are going to run. Especially with an OL that is below average at this point IMO. We have Barron who is probably below average at LT and our RT below average at this point (with upside) and is unproven. We have Incognito who cant keep his head in the game. I am not sure yet what we really have in Bell.
    Last edited by RamsSB99; -09-26-2009 at 01:11 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    The problem with running Jackson 30+ times a game right now is that he will just get beat up. Jackson has shown in the past to be susceptible to injury when asked to pound the rock behind this lousy offensive line of ours (as would most backs). As our offensive line deteriorated, so has our running game. The only running back I've ever seen that could excel behind a lousy offensive line was Barry Sanders. Jackson is no Barry Sanders.

    Jackson's stutter step dancing is due to his self proclaimed emulation of Sanders and our offensive line not getting the holes open where they are designed, so Jackson tries to freelance like Sanders (and many times as Faulk was able to do), but he doesn't have that burst off the cut. Jackson is more like Dickerson; a slash, plant, and hit the hole running back that needs to use his size to break the arm tackles at the line of scrimmage, get into the secondary and the race is on.

    I just hope we get to see the full potential of Jackson before his best years are behind him.
    Last edited by bigredman; -09-26-2009 at 01:59 PM.
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  7. #7
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsSB99 View Post
    We have had several penalties on the OL and we have opposing defenses stacking the line forcing us to throw. We need to establish that we can throw before every defense in the NFL stops stacking the line of scrimage. We are often 1st and 15, 2nd and long, or 3rd and long. We got down in the first game and lost 28-0 we needed to throw the ball the last two quarters to try to get back in it. We cant run every single play when the defense knows we are going to run. Especially with an OL that is below average at this point IMO. We have Barron who is probably below average at LT and our RT below average at this point (with upside) and is unproven. We have Incognito who cant keep his head in the game. I am not sure yet what we really have in Bell.
    I think Bell & Cogs played much better in game 2 than game 1. hopefully that's a trend, not an anomaly. Barron had a relatively poor game in #2 over #1 but he got a thigh bruise vs Wash ( I've had trouble walking with a charley horse,never mind blocking a 350 lb DT like Fat Albert or a quick rising star DE like Carter) so I have hopes that he can bounce back. And who would have thought he'd have zero false starts after playing in two loudly hostile venues? Not me,for sure.

    The biggest failure vs Seattle and Wash,imo, was effective screen plays.

    AZ ripped the Whiners very aggressive 3/4 D with screens to RB Hightower; 121 yds on short passes, so I'm hoping The Rams will try the same with GB's 3/4.

    Lure in those outside backers to keep SJ in check up the gut behind Jason brown and Karney then exploit the softened outside. Esp with the injured/green safety duo that GB seems likely to field.

    Both Bell & Cogs are supposed to be good at that stuff ( pulling & second level blocking) & we know SJ is devastating once he gets to that second level outside.

    And if there's been a consistent weakness in Bulger's game so far, I'd say it was, uncharacteristically, his accuracy,timing, and touch on those quick out passes; remember the pass thrown behind Avery, the mistimed zipper to SJ who hadn't turned his head yet,another was complete to SJ but he had to leap to grab it and several occasions when he seemed reluctant to throw out to the flat at all when there was an open guy. Maybe the pinkie affected that somewhat. Kinda makes sense to me that he would have more trouble throwing those angled passes than straight downfield in terms of stress on that hand.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams could take a page from *****' playbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post

    And if there's been a consistent weakness in Bulger's game so far, I'd say it was, uncharacteristically, his accuracy,timing, and touch on those quick out passes; remember the pass thrown behind Avery, the mistimed zipper to SJ who hadn't turned his head yet,another was complete to SJ but he had to leap to grab it and several occasions when he seemed reluctant to throw out to the flat at all when there was an open guy. Maybe the pinkie affected that somewhat. Kinda makes sense to me that he would have more trouble throwing those angled passes than straight downfield in terms of stress on that hand.
    I agree with needing to use the screen pass more. I would like to see some short screen passes to Jackson. He is only averaging 7.5 yards a game receiving after having 31.6 yards a game last year receiving. I also think Warner spoiled us on how a QB should throw a screen pass. He used to have Faulk running full speed and would lay a nice arching touch pass just over his shoulder without him breaking stride. Bulger is probably average at throwing the screen pass but has had trouble at times.

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