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  1. #1
    RamsInfiniti's Avatar
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    Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    I'll take a first crack at this. I've calmed down, watched the game for a second time, and here is what I can make of all of it. The sky might not be falling yet:

    Quarterbacks - Grade D: I'm not quite sure what is wrong with Bulger, but he looked pretty much the same he did all preseason: average. I was going to write a post earlier about how I felt something was wrong with his mechanics, but I passed, so I'll talk about it now. It seems he isn't getting planted in the pocket and he is releasing alot of passes off his back foot. He looked OK in the first half, but his timing is off and he's probably 50% of passes by 1-2 yards. That misfire to Bruce on 3rd down was awful. He got progressively worse as the game progressed and he looked a tad rattle after getting smacked around a few times. The loss of Pace definitely affect any rhythm he had, as I'm sure he was worried about his backside all day. He did make a few nice runs and hung in there well, trying his best not to show the pain from a few hits he took. On a sidenote, there was not one pass attempt over 30 yards all game.

    Running Backs - Grade F: I think this game is proof enough why you don't rest guys like Jackson in the offseason. After a few strong runs early, Jackson had what I believe is his worst game as a Ram. The two fumbles took away any momentum we had and were a decisive factor in losing this game. After the second, his confidence was clearly reduced to nothing. He only had one reception, albeit he made a nice diving attempt to grab a misfired flare sideline flare route by Bulger. Maybe he can quit worrying about 2500 yards and get back to business against the *****. Leonard was a non-factor, catching a few balls out the backfield. No creativity at all. Hedgecock did a great job, as usual, as the lead blocked. He busted open a few huge holes for Jackson early.

    Wide Receivers - GRADE B-: This group didn't have a terrible day. I don't think we have to say anything about Torry. He looked fine. I saw Bruce open several times in seems, where Bulger either didn't see him or misfired, I.E. the third down incompletion. Dante Hall dropped a pass that might have led to a first down, but he had a pair of nice grabs, particularly the one out of the backfield. That was about the most creative play we ran all day. Nice to see Looker get involved with a few short grabs. Unfortunately, it didn't look like we tried to stretch the field at all, the entire game. We desperatetly need Bennett in the lineup as a the 3rd down target, and someone from this group is going to have to emerge as a deep threat. I know who that man is - Marques Hagans!

    Tight Ends - GRADE C-: You didn't hear a thing about this group the entire game, until McMichael made two grabs late in the game. They blocked adequately, but I a baffled at the lack of use of the games as passing targets. I saw McMichael open numerous times all game and he was completely ignored. The Panthers are notorious for giving up big gains to tight-ends and we failed to capitalize on that. I am putting this one solely on the coaching. I'm not sure why we aren't running two TE sets with Walker and McMichael, and sliding McMichael out to slot as in inside receiver. He seems to move very fluidly around the field. We've got a good core group of weapons here with our TE's and we continually allow them to dissapear.

    Offensive Line - GRADE D: This group played fine until Pace went down, then the bottom fell out. Without Pace, Stuessie, and Incognito, this group was in shambles.
    No problems with the center play, and boy was Barron ever a beast, shutting down whoever was placed in front of him and accruing zero penalties. Peppers was a non-factor all day. Goldberg is just too small to be called on as a left tackle, and it showed in Bulger's confidence level. If the QB is not comfortable with who is protecting him, changes need to be made. Hopefully Incognito will return next week to spark this group. He is a beast and might provide the attitude that we seemed to lack after Pace went down. If Pace is down for the season, I definitely think Barron has to be shifted to the left side. Goldberg might fare better on the right, where at least Bulger will have a chance to move around. Timmerman is still out there, and I feel we'd be crazy not to bring him back. Milford Brown looked back and didn't see much out of big Claude. Setterstrom looked good blocking the run. This group needs serious help, and if we don't find a solution, our offensive will be limited due to having to keep TE's and RB's in to block.

    Defensive Line: GRADE C+: I am kind of torn on the performance of this group. We were gashed against the run, but for the first time in a long time, the major problem was not on the D-Line. Carriker had an awesome tackle for loss early in the game, we he just forced his way through the D. Line and through Foster for a loss. Little was also active off the edge against the run. Hall and Little got moderate pressure of Delhomme late in the first half, but this trailed off as the game went on. The Panthers through a lot of shorts balls all game. Overall, the push was adequate and Carriker and Glover flooded the middle on a majority of the plays. Clifton Ryan also looked good in limited action, as I saw him in the backfield twice. Wroten was a non-factor. I like the look of the interior four, as they pushed 70% of the runs to the outside. The DE's need to get separation quicker to shorten these gains. Unfortunately, this group is still undersized and they wore down as the game progressed. Alot of this onus falls on the offense, who left the D on the field for the majority of the second half. That is unacceptable.

    Linebackers: GRADE D: Linebacker play was not good. It would be horrible if not for the outstanding game the Chillar played. 9 tackles, 2 for loss, and a FF. He was all-over to interior part of the field and looked much, much improved. He blasted to the point of attack, and I don't recall him missing any sure tackles. Witherspoon, Pisa, and Draft all looked average. They either play the run too fast, or try to take inside angles. I saw outside sweep after outside sweep turn into an 8-12 yard gain that should have been contained for 3-4 yards. So many missed tackles by those three that consequently made the rushing defense look horrible. With the D-Line getting adequate push, I am concerned as to why our LB's play so close to the line. I've noticed this, and this seems to be the main problem: It looks like the linebackers are constantly trying to shut down run plays for 0-1 yard gains and they take extreme, aggressive angles, only to get pushed off at the last moment. I would much rather see them play back and allow 3-4 yard gains. We can live with those. Watch the tape, and you'll see what I am talking about here. Pisa looks to be injured again, although not serious. Unfortunately, his injuries tend to compound. I would like to see McGarigle, who is a little bigger, get involved on some running downs.

    Defensive Backs: GRADE D: Not a really good day for this group. Chavous looked slow in coverage, and missed a couple tackles, albeit he was having to provide too much run support to the outside due to failures at LB. He did have a nice forced fumble that was quickly negated by a Rams' TO. Atogwe played well in run support, but he should never have to make 10 solo tackles in a game. Both OJ and Chavous were horrible on the deep TD to Smith, providing zero offside coverage help on the route. OJ needs to play a little more patiently. He has a terrible breakdown that resulted in a long pass interference penalty. Hill played well in coverage against Smith and provided good run support, which is not a good thing. Smith pushed off twice on the deep pass, one which almost sent him stumbling. The safeties were as much responsible for this one as Hill was. Bartell was subpar as was Walls. They show signs of being effective of the edge, but no way Drew Carter should ever catch two TD's against us. We desparately need Brown back. Didn't see much from Wade.

    Special Teams: GRADE A-: What can you say about this group other than they looked very good, if not great. Hall broke an 80+ KO return with some awesome moves, but got run down from behind. I'm not sure if he has lost some speed, or if just being on the field in alot of three WR sets wore him down. Regardless, that's the longest KR we've had in years. He didn't do much on PR. Tackling on returns was great all around. We didn't give up any big returns and Donnie Jones looked fantastic. Wilkins was money as usual. There was one horrible call on Wade for a block out of bounds that cost us a few yards. Chillar was also a standout on special teams. I saw him around every ball carrier.

    Overall: GRADE D: Not the worst game I've ever seen the Rams play, but up there, especially the second half. We need some changes on the offensive line if Pace is gone for the year, and we've got to change the defensive scheme to allow our undersized, yet quick, linebackers to get better attack angles against the run. The secondary looked bad, but some pressure on the QB would help. The D-Line looks improved, and if they can keep forcing the runs outside, the problems against the run may be able to be addressed. Jackson needs to wake up from his summer slumber and get his head in the game. His performance and LT's perfromance in San Diego (17 cars for 25 yards) prove that these guys NEED to play in the offseason. I think our defensive problems are partially the offenses fault. Our defense is undersized and relies on speed and energy, and if the offense is continually providing us with a steady diet of three and outs, the defense is going to get progressively worse as the game goes on. We held Carolina to 130 yards in the first half. We need to get some points early and get into a rhythm. This defense is going to have to rely on the blitz often this year, and that is taken away if we cannot get these guys off the field. Case in Point, we lost TOP 35.5 to 24.5. That is unacceptable.

    The sky is not falling and I expect the coaches to make some changes this week, enough to squeak out a 20-17 victory over the 49'ers next week.

    Let's all pray that Pace is not out for good ...

    Thanks for reading!


  2. #2
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    You made a fantastic point about Timmerman still being available, (something I somehow managed to completely forget.) If the coaching staff can beg him to come back he just might be able to keep us a float until Todd's foot heals. Hears hoping, because we have very little other options otherwise.

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    itsguud's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    Great post, although I still am unimpressed with Linehan, as I was all of last year, and Haslett is a pussy and needs to stop playing conservative and starting throwing pressure at the QB from MANY different sources. Delhomme had an unreal amount of time in the pocket on at least 5 plays that were huge (including 2 of the three TDs) yesturday. I was told there would be a lot of blitzing from this Rams D and with the speed we have it would only make sense. Hasletts is an idiot, and I can't believe he is ou D-coordinator.

    I wish Lovie was back

  4. #4
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    It looks like the linebackers are constantly trying to shut down run plays for 0-1 yard gains and they take extreme, aggressive angles, only to get pushed off at the last moment. I would much rather see them play back and allow 3-4 yard gains. We can live with those. Watch the tape, and you'll see what I am talking about here.
    Good call, I saw the same thing when I watched the replay; unfortunately. :x
    I'm still trying to figure out what Haslett is trying to do with this defense.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  5. #5
    RamsInfiniti's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    The weirdest part was I never thought Chillar would be the LB to play the most intelligent game ...

  6. #6
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    The weirdest part was I never thought Chillar would be the LB to play the most intelligent game ...
    My guy Chillar was all over the place, guess we should keep him.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  7. #7
    RamOfDenmark Guest

    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68 View Post
    My guy Chillar was all over the place, guess we should keep him.
    I wouldn't be surprised if we let Chillar walk after this year, just as he's developing into a pretty solid linebacker - then he'll play the next 4-5 years at a higher level with some other team after we trained him for a couple of years. I hope we keep him, he won't be that expensive (unless he plays every game like he did yesterday) and had a very nice game showing some promising developments. Let's keep him.

  8. #8
    viper's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina

    Great post, RamsInfinity! Some good insight.

    I agree the D-line seemed to hold up well for the most part. Carriker and Ryan looked good clogging up the middle, forcing many runs to the outside...where we failed to contain them.

    Can we expect this fine reporting each week this year?

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