Rams Have to Stop Beating Themselves
by D'Marco Farr
Keep losing teams losing.
That's a Dick Vermeil proverb that's still rolling around in my head after all these years. At the beginning of training camp, he would start meetings by rolling out his research with what he discovered about teams that qualified for the post-season the year before and what they had in common. You could tell he put in hours of sweat equity working on it during the offseason and it was about as thorough and intricate as any mission statement from a Fortune 500 company. He would start on day one and go over a chapter at a time per team meeting and it would last until the day we broke camp. That's almost a month's worth of high-level stats and breakdowns aimed at redirecting our minds and fostering the proper culture inside the locker room.
When people say a team doesn't know how to win, this was a way to cover your butt as a head coach because everything winning teams did or did not do he studied and relayed to us. He called it the Rules for Becoming a Playoff Contender and what a team must achieve during the regular season. Along with limiting turnovers, taking the ball away and controlling the line of scrimmage with a powerful rushing attack, defeating teams with losing records was right at the top of the list. He lectured daily about the mindset a winning team must have and all the things that could derail a promising season. It made sense to me. We bought in and it worked.
Breaking a 16-game season down into four quarters, a playoff team should be no worse than 2-2 after any four-week stretch. By that rationale, every team currently sitting at 3-0 or 2-1 after three weeks is considered a post-season contender. The last thing a team wants to do is lose to a winless team like the Rams. Which brings me to my point: the Rams will have to battle on three fronts coming up this weekend.
First, they're going to have to stop helping teams beat them on game day. Winning in the NFL is hard enough without constantly doing battle with mistakes that have plagued the 2011 regular season. Untimely penalties, offensive and defensive miscues that lead to ineptitude and futility on both sides of the ball, and poor execution have all reared their ugly head at various times and ultimately led to a season on the brink before the month of October. There's still plenty of time to right the ship as long as the Rams can find the source of their game-day breakdowns. It's there somewhere in that building over in Earth City and chances are they already know what it is. Fixing the problem is the biggest step.
Next would be the opponent itself. The Washington Redskins are a talented group and are coming off a tough 18-16 loss on Monday night to the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. Dallas kicker Dan Bailey booted six field goals, including a go-ahead 40-yarder with 1:52 left, and linebacker Anthony Spencer closed the show by forcing a Rex Grossman fumble that teammate Sean Lee recovered with 28 seconds left, giving the Cowboys the victory. Nothing refocuses the senses like a tough loss and you know Redskins will be looking for blood on the road coming off a short week. The Redskins didn't finish the game like champions and chances are that's what coach Mike Shanahan will be over-emphasizing as he gets he team ready to play this week.
Lastly, the Rams will be fighting against perception. Right now they are projecting an image of a bad football team that will most likely suffer a head coaching change and wind up in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes in April 2012. No one in the NFL is going to feel sorry for you. No one has the time. Every team has problems and must find ways to overcome them on a weekly basis. The Rams have more than earned their bad reputation. It's right there on the film against the Baltimore Ravens. Most teams will be looking at the Rams as an easy win on the schedule. They say teams play up or down to the level of their competition. Well, let me take it one step further. In the National Football League, sometimes it works the other way.
Good teams can't wait to take the field against overmatched opponents. This isn't college football where head coaches apologize for running up the score. Stats are currency that turns into money come contract renegotiation time so if you catch a team that has no business on the field with you, there will be no compunction whatsoever about racking up big numbers on game day.
Put yourself in Shanahan's shoes for a second. What do you think he's telling his team about the Rams right now?
Re: Rams Have to Stop Beating Themselves
Wanting to give you guys something to read in these negative times. The buzz seems to have left the site, Hope you guys enjoy :D
Re: Rams Have to Stop Beating Themselves
Never seen a team shoot themselves in the foot like the Rams in the past 3 weeks. Giants and eagles games were our for the taking. Smh big time.