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Thread: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

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    ZiaRam is offline Registered User
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    Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    by Howard Balzer

    The Rams won't be changing their schemes during their bye week. They won't be making any drastic changes.
    What they will be doing is examining closely what they are at this point. Many teams around the NFL are trying to figure that out right now, while establishing a personality.
    Aside from playing bad football, this Rams team doesn't have an identity.

    From an explosive beginning when running back Steven Jackson scored on a 47-yard run on the first offensive play of the season, the offense has quickly degenerated into a dysfunctional mess that has was fueled by the injury Jackson suffered on that run and the loss of wide receiver Danny Amendola, quarterback Sam Bradford's security blanket, also in that first game.

    The coaching staff wasted no time Monday beginning the self-scouting process that could also include some soul-searching. Players will practice Tuesday and Wednesday, but most of the coach's time will be spent being realistic assessing the talent on hand and figuring out the best way of utilizing it when the season resumes with an Oct. 16 game in Green Bay.

    As coach Steve Spagnuolo said Monday, "You never know when you get the schedule at the beginning of the year if the bye week comes at a good time. In this particular case I think it does."
    It wasn't difficult for Spagnuolo to list what will be scrutinized closely.

    "Certainly protections, certainly third down on both sides, certainly the run fronts on offense. These are the things that just stick out. You guys can probably list another five or six of them, but we'll look at them all. And the thing you do have to be careful with, with that, and I've learned this over the years, is you can't go searching for things that are not there.
    "And you can't knee-jerk react to things that you find, because in a lot of instances it just comes back to fundamentals. I know that's not the glorious answer that you want, but a lot of times that's what it comes down to."
    Ah, fundamentals. Like catching the ball. Like blocking somebody. Like lining up correctly or not starting too soon.

    Games can change when a team is simply opportunistic and fundamentally sound.
    "I think some of that is we're living through some growing pains there," he said. "We've got guys out there for the first time in NFL games. I know it's the fourth game and I'm not trying to make excuses, but if you don't catch the football ... both sides of the ball; if you don't catch the football, come up with it when it's on the ground it makes it hard to win. It changes everything when you get the turnovers on defense and when you catch those particular balls on offense. The whole thing changes."

    When asked about changing schemes (something that would be unrealistic anyway during a season), Spagnuolo said, "Both schemes offensively and defensively, all three (including special teams), have been proven in this league at various places. We believe in that. I know the players believe. What I do think we need to do is do it better. I believe that. That's a simple as I can state it and I believe in that. Will we find a couple of wrinkles? Yeah. You do that all the time. If we were 4-0 we'd find a couple of scheme wrinkles, but at the core we're not going to abandon what we do, we're just going to do it better."

    One wrinkle could be rolling Bradford out more. Said Spagnuolo, "We could do that. We talked a little bit more about more three-step. Where it gets to be a problem and we made this statement this morning when we talked, the shorter passes would be fine. What we've got to do is stay out of the third-and-really longs because then it becomes a little bit tougher. I'm with you on the movement passes which we did have in there, we'll probably find ways to get more of them in there. Sam does throw the ball well on the run."
    Spagnuolo sees the problems with fundamentals actually affirming that the systems are fine.
    "What I'm banking on is that this is going to come around. Whatever it's called, the light goes on, the confidence light, whatever it is, bounces in and you make those plays," he said. "Here's a couple of encouraging things. We know we dropped an interception we should have had. We know we had a fumble on the ground that we could've got and we know we had the five or six drops, but I go back to the scheme thing.

    "If those guys are open and the ball is there, there's nothing wrong with scheme. Defensively, if we're stepping in front of balls there's nothing wrong with the scheme or the player, it's just finishing that play. In some ways it comes down to (something) as simple as that."
    On pass protection issues, asked what he saw on tape, Spagnuolo said, "We listed them. We we're just up there. There are some that are physical. There's some where we weren't separating down field and Sam had to hold on to the ball hold the ball a little bit longer. That makes it tough on the linemen. The quarterback could have got a couple of them out a little bit sooner. Quarterback could have stepped up a couple.

    "Sam would tell you all of the same things. Now we had the conversation up there, do we change our protections? I don't think we should do that. There's only so many things you can do. We have enough of them that you hope to keep people discouraged from doing certain things. We've got to get better at what we're doing."

    He concluded, "Defensively I would like to shut everybody out. When we don't shut everybody out and they only run for 20 yards I find fault with that. Bottom line is we only gave up 17 points. We've got to find a way to score more than 17 and we'll figure that out.

    "I'm kind of glad the bye week is here. I think we all need this to kind of hunker down, work on some things that we need to get better at, get a little bit of time away and then come back ready to go and concentrate on one game."

    Sometimes league rankings can be misleading, especially after only four games.
    But, in the case of the Rams' offense, there are some sobering realities.
    The Rams are one of only five teams with fewer than 10 red-zone trips this season. They have nine, and are tied for the third-worst percentage of touchdowns at 33.3 percent.
    Their inept production on first down Sunday pushed the Rams to last in the NFL with an average of 4.18 yards on first down. By way of contrast New England is first at 7.52.
    The Rams are next to last converting 27.9 percent of their third-down plays. San Diego is first at 58.5.
    Last season, the Rams' defense was one of the better units in the league allowing just a 33.5 percent conversion rate on third down. After four games, that figure has jumped to 45.9, which ranks 30th in the NFL.

    In some other telling categories, the Rams' offense is last in yards per play, last in net passing yards per play and next to last in sacks per pass play.
    All together, it is a recipe for bad football
    Last edited by ZiaRam; -10-05-2011 at 01:26 AM.


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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Article really does sum up alot fo things since the season started. We need to start doing something on third down to fix this season!

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    So basically stay the course and get better at we are doing?

    Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.....

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    So basically stay the course and get better at we are doing?

    Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.....
    How much can you realistically expect to do during a bye week? They can't exactly install a new playbook. I agree that the major failing has been fundamentals. Of course, if it's me, I'm probably strongly considering spending the bye week in a mini-camp where we don't install a game plan for the next opponent so much as practice the basics that we can't seem to execute. I hope some of these guys are drilling day and night with the JUGS machine or drilling the snap count until no one jumps off-sides for 20 straight plays or the like.

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    What's depressing to me is no matter what they fix, we are still playing the Packers in Green Bay after the bye, then the Cowboys in Dalls, then the Saints at home, before we get to the "easy" portion of our schedule. I'm normally a glass is half full type of guy, but at this point I don't see how we escape being 0-7.

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    So basically stay the course and get better at we are doing?

    Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.....
    Yeah stay the course and start catching the ball when it hits you in the hands.
    On the D side Spags and the Rams looked good last year... it's hard for the D too tee off when we are playing from behind.

    Too late for radical changes now... Tackle better, Catch, Block better and play smart.. would go along way.

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Seriously, not to mention we were a run first team last year and if we didnt score at least we held the ball long enough for our defense to rest.

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    What's depressing to me is no matter what they fix, we are still playing the Packers in Green Bay after the bye, then the Cowboys in Dalls, then the Saints at home, before we get to the "easy" portion of our schedule. I'm normally a glass is half full type of guy, but at this point I don't see how we escape being 0-7.
    No freaking way we lose to the CowGirls... these other two game I'm not so hopeful..

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    Re: Rams Have Bye Week to Put an End to Bad Football

    Great to see the focus on fundamentals. The statement in article "Games can change when a team is simply opportunistic and fundamentally sound" is the mantra on this board for most of us since week 1. Hopefully, this finally starts to take hold.
    ZiaRam likes this.

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