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    Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    In what is likely to be the final game of the Linehan era (lets at least hope so), the Rams found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and lose to an impressive Buffalo Bills squad 31-14. While the Bills won this game going away, the Rams played at least one spirited half of football before getting crushed as usual. Unfortunately, 30 minutes isn't enough to win a game, at least not when you get bombed 25-0 in the second half. It certainly felt like the Rams played better today, and in some respects they certainly did (thank you leonard little, donnie avery and steven jackson), but when a 17 point loss at home constitutes the high point of your season and you have lost 17 of your last 20 games, I think its time to say enough is enough already and make the coaching change that we all know is coming at some point during the bye week. Note that the nfc west is so bad that we are only 1 1/2 games out of first. We are also tied for last in the nfl.

    Just out of curiosity, i wonder if all the Marc Bulger bashers feel better about putting Trent Green in the game today. Boy, that sure made all the difference in the world, especially when he threw the crucial INT for the TD which cost the Rams the lead and was the beginning of the end.

    The Good

    What can you say about Donnie Jones. He is the best punter since Jim Thorpe. 5 punts, 56.2 average, 2 inside the 20. He has a bionic leg.
    Donnie Avery had an impressive game for his first start. Why he hasnt seen more action up to this point is of course one of the par for the course idiotic decisons by Linehan. Excellent run for the td, showed great speed and good hands during the game.
    Leonard Little played like a man possessed. 2 sacks and constantly around the ball. He is our one established pass rusher. When he is out of the game, we are a different team pass rush wise.
    Chris Long continues to impress. Another sack and three total tackles.
    The defense was certainly improved, although we must all concede that its a pretty low par to improve over the first three weeks. We held the Bills to 277 yards of total offense, 3-13 on 3rd down, had our first INT of the year (which granted was an overthrow that hit OJ right in the hands), had four sacks, allowed only 14 first downs, and tackled at least at the level of an average to below average pro team, rather than like a decent college team, which is what we looked like in the first three weeks. We have a long, long way to go on defense, and we certainly got crunched by the run in the second half, but it was certainly an improvement. Why it took haslett this long to get this aggressive i have no idea and i think clifton ryan is an upgrade for sure over glover. Isnt it amazing how much better the secondary looks when you get some pressure on the qb?
    Bartell was impressive. His ball awareness skills make him a solid average corner. IF you could put tye hills speed with Bartell's ball awareness, you would have an actual all pro.
    Steven Jackson (24-110 and 5 catches for 78) had his best game of the year against a tough defense. His first 100 yard game in his last 13. He was shut down completely until the last meaningless drive in the second half, but that wasnt his fault. There were no holes in the second half. Jackson proved once and for all (and anyone who doesnt see this is a blind man) that with any kind of blocking at the line of scrimmage, he is a superstar back. When the line gets him a real hole and he gets into the secondary, he drags guys with him on every play or runs by them.

    The Bad

    Tye Hill (left with injury i think to his ankle) continues to show the ability to run with anyone and still manage to cover no one. The guy truly needs a seeing eye dog to help him find the ball when its in the air. Perfect example was the 50 yard pass he gave up on the first play of the game.
    The 51 yard miss by josh brown didnt help. He needs to make that kick in the dome. I believe it should have put us back in the lead.
    The Green INT just killed us. It put us behind and really pumped buffalo up. Terrible, terrible throw. I wouldnt call Green really bad today (17-32-236), but i would point out that he did absolutely nothing special and certainly nothing to justify the decision to make the change from bulger. Whether the INT cost us the game is a matter of conjecture, but it sure as heck was a huge, huge negative. He threw pretty well and with decent rhythm when two things happened. First, when he got protection and second, when the run was working (both in the first half). He was completely ineffective under pressure and in the second half when we couldnt run. I really hope that people understand that Bulger has not been the problem and any thoughts that we are better off with green as the starter should be laid to rest. Green certainly cant represent the future of this team and all other things being equal (ie a 65 million contract and a strong history with the team), bulger should be back in the lineup as Green did nothing today to make the Rams better than they would be with BUlger playing when we can run and block and use avery as a weapon.
    The offensive line today was better that in the past, but it still wasnt good and we just got killed in the second half. I assume having bell back helped, but we had no push at all in the second half. We have beat this horse to death. We need a center via free agency and another guard to go with bell at the minimum. Pace was ok, not his best but ok. Barron wasnt the worst either. I still think the bulk of the issues are right up the middle.
    The McMichael injury wont help. Lets hope the ankle is ok after the bye week. ALong with spoon, one of the two really good free agency decisions of late.
    Failing to capitalize on the short field right before half when we already had the lead really hurt us.
    Craft gave up a huge long td to lee evans. What is a retread like craft doing out there one on one vs their best guy. Why wasnt bartell on him? An unsigned free agent one on one vs the bills #1 receiver. What type of scheme is that other than stupid.

    The ugly.

    The decision to bench Bulger by Lineturd was UGLY in the extreme and it sure showed when Green threw the big INT for the TD to give the Bills the lead. Again, Green wasnt terrible, but all he did was make some plays when he had protection and a running game. He did nothing at all that bulger couldnt or wouldnt have done and at age 39, thats not good enough to bench your franchise qb and his 65 million contract. In the second half, when the offensive line was lousy, green did nothing at all. There is no evidence that Green would have survived the battering that Bulger suffered in the first two weeks. Linehan has to live with the consequences. He tried his desperation move and it failed. Time to look for work scotty. There is no future or present for you in St Louis.
    The ball that hit Culberson in the head that he should have picked off. All he has to do is put his hands up and he should catch it. Instead, it boinked right off his helmet.
    It wouldnt be a Rams game if we didnt have at least one play where five guys had their hands on a running back and failed to bring him down (see the run by Lynch at the end of the first quarter)
    The bad snap by Leckey when the game was close in the fourth quarter was ugly.
    The hit on Looker, while clean, was surely ugly. Lets hope Looker is ok. Great play by the Bills, who really hit in that secondary.

    Special mention (bizzare official call of the game)

    Glover was penalized 15 yards on the 2 point conversion for "falling with his full weight on the qb" I have never heard of the penalty before. If he hit him late or in the head, i understand the call. But the replay didnt show that. The call should have been roughing if anything, but i cant believe that if you hit the guy clean you arent allowed to fall on him with your full weight. In 40 years of football, i have never heard of that penalty. Anyone else shocked on that play?


    Summary

    We looked better today, but by nfl standards, we still didnt get very close to a win. We have washington on the road, dallas at home and new england on the road coming up. That looks like 0-7 to me. Why wait. Linehan is a lame duck and the bulger episode has cost him any respect that he still had from the players, which obviously wasnt very much. There is no excuse for ownership not firing him immediately. The green move didnt help a thing and its time to start transitioning into a new era, be that with saunders or someone outside the organization. I will probably be saunders and at this point, anything has to be better than linehan, although i am under no illusions about how we will do for the rest of the year with a different coach. To fix whats broken, we need much better players, both drafting and free agency. The smallest journey begins with a single step (Confucious/Mao). Its time to take that first step and see who has the professionalism to play their hearts out for the rest of this year. Its such a shame because the division is so pathetic i still think 8-8 wins it and while i acknowledge we are not in the same class as the elite teams, i dont think we are that far off talent wise from being a mediocre team, which in this season might even get us a playoff spot coming from the NFC least.

    As a final aside, i hope people understand that Leonard Little is still a valuable player, not part of the problem and a guy who we absolutely need in the lineup. When he is out injured, we are a different pass rushing team entirely.

    Enjoy the Bye week everyone, hope springs eternal. Bring Back Bulger and put Linehan on the Bumble Bee plan (canned like a tuna!).

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel



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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    I just wonder why they have not done it all ready. He should have been fire after the press conference let's get on with it.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Everybody's jumping on Linehan for changing QBs, which I think was absolutely necessary, if for no other reason than to guage Marc Bulger, the offensive line, and Al Saunders.

    Why continue to watch a QB with no confidence continue struggle every week while the team continues to get worse? I would think it irresponsible of Linehan to send Bulger into the fire every week while not improving.

    Besides, what coach on the "hot seat" just trots out the same broken formula week after week with the same results, while trying to save his own job? No smart one that's for sure.

    No, Trent Green didn't exactly light the Bills up, but I still felt more confident with him at QB than I have for some time with the 65 million dollar man.

    We played our most inspired game of the year today. So in spite of those not in favor of the move we did improve today because of it.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The last part of your statement is a stretch at best. The best offensive production came on the ground (including the touchdowns) while the worst offensive play came through the air. Additionally the only thing that kept the rams in the game for three quarters was a fired up defense. I'm not sure how the QB situation fires up the defense...

    You could say the Avery touchdown had them fired up, but that had nothing to do with Green one way or another.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    continues to show the ability to run with anyone and still manage to cover no one
    GC, this is a line you should have sold on ebay! Nice post.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    the Ugly, continued:

    Releasing (not trading or benching) Fakir Brown and replacing him with Jason Craft. Even the announcers were shocked that the Rams released their best (not saying a whole lot) corner.

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    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The formula, not bulger is what was broken. The coach trotted out the same broken offensive line, with the exception of bell, who was back and helped some. Avery was a welcome change and he was better. How can you say that green was better than bulger today when he through an INT for a td that was a critical turning point in the game. We had by far our best day running the ball today which had nothing to do with green. Did green complete one ball with guys in his face? Did he show any mobility avoiding the rush? Did he scramble effectively. In short, did he change anything or do anything that bulger failed to do in the past?

    He led the offense to ZERO points (actually minus 7) in the second half of a game when we led 14-6 at half.

    I want to see bulger when he gets 150 yards on the ground, has avery rather than looker/hall as his second receiver and gets better pass protection. To quote from my post earlier this week, just because the patient has gangrene, that doesnt mean you cut off his good leg.

    The DEFENSE was better today by a wide margain. No denying that. The replacements may have helped on defense, but not croft, thats for sure (of course he was in because of the injury to hill). The offense was better in the first half, but did it look better in the second half. Lets not forget that we got beat 25-0 at home in the second half with the great trent green at the helm.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    GC,
    I agree that the formula is broken & that Linehan has to go asap, but please take a closer look at Bulger, his confidence is severely broken which was very evident in the Seattle game. weather he lost his confidence with the OL or the play calling or the staff really doesn't matter it is still shattered & needs to be rebuilt, by taking a week off & the bye week maybe he can get rested & hopefully a new coach comes in and can start some of the road work that needs to be done. Now I don't believe anyone thinks Green is the long term answer, & it was just what you saw, a backup coming in to try & shake things up & hopefully give Bulger some time to reflect & maybe heal some too, he has been knocked around a bit. We are all frustrated with this collapse of our beloved Rams, but change is on the horizon.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    Everybody's jumping on Linehan for changing QBs, which I think was absolutely necessary, if for no other reason than to guage Marc Bulger, the offensive line, and Al Saunders.

    Why continue to watch a QB with no confidence continue struggle every week while the team continues to get worse? I would think it irresponsible of Linehan to send Bulger into the fire every week while not improving.

    Besides, what coach on the "hot seat" just trots out the same broken formula week after week with the same results, while trying to save his own job? No smart one that's for sure.

    No, Trent Green didn't exactly light the Bills up, but I still felt more confident with him at QB than I have for some time with the 65 million dollar man.

    We played our most inspired game of the year today. So in spite of those not in favor of the move we did improve today because of it.
    Good post.

    Actually, it seems everyone is down on the QB change to Green but they still want changes made on the offensive side of the ball. So, what changes would be proposed? Change in RB? No, SJ is the franchise. Changes to the OL. The OL has been abysmal, but Romberg is out, and who do you plug in for Incognito? Setterstrom is hurt. Put in a rookie to replace him? Okay, give it a try. I'm sure that would buck up Bulger's confidence. How about WR? Bring in Avery. That's what Linehan did as soon as Avery was physically ready to play. Burton is down and out. Bennett is down and out (maybe thankfully). Hall?? Past his prime and never was good receiver. So tell me, what changes could be made there?

    I know! We have a QB who has shown happy feet, missed open receivers, pouted on the side line and that was during the third game of the season when he had decent protection and time to throw. Taking Marc out for a game was a logical move. Though it didn't result in a win, Green played no worse than Marc has to this point and at least I felt like a cloud of negativity was removed from the huddle. Now, Marc has two weeks off. Maybe he can get his head right again and return to the ways of 2006 when he performed like the QB we all thought he could be.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    I hear everyone loud and clear. I think people are underestimating the disruption caused by changing starting qb's, especially when one has been so established for so long. I also appreciate that desperate times call for desperate measures. If linehan (or saunders) stays and puts bulger back in, we will see what happens. I just dont think that there is any evidence that they intended to put bulger back in (unless green gets hurt) and bouncing back and forth between the two of them isnt any good either.

    I also take issue with the statement that linehan put avery in as soon as he was physically ready. He was physically ready the week before vs seattle and yet did not see much action ahead of looker and hall.

    The first two weeks bulger got killed so bad there is no way any qb could have made a difference. In week 3, he did miss some throws, but he also had two big drops from holt.

    I appreciate the people who are making the argument that his confidence is shot. I am just not sure how anyone is in a position to get inside his head and know that. I dont think that there is anything wrong with his confidence that 150 yards rushing (like we had today) wouldnt help solve. When you are in 3rd and 9 on every series and cant run or block at all, what qb is going to be effective.

    ramming speed to all

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I just dont think that there is any evidence that they intended to put bulger back in (unless green gets hurt) and bouncing back and forth between the two of them isnt any good either.

    I also take issue with the statement that linehan put avery in as soon as he was physically ready. He was physically ready the week before vs seattle and yet did not see much action ahead of looker and hall.

    The first two weeks bulger got killed so bad there is no way any qb could have made a difference. In week 3, he did miss some throws, but he also had two big drops from holt.

    I appreciate the people who are making the argument that his confidence is shot. I am just not sure how anyone is in a position to get inside his head and know that.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    GC, believe me, I want Bulger to be the man, but a few things I take exception with you on: First, I never saw any evidence nor interpreted that Green's insertion into the lineup was anything other than a wake up call to Bulger. A temporary move to motivate him. Now we will see how Marc reacts. If he pouts and retreats into a shell, I guess that tells me something about him that I wish I didn't know.

    as far as Avery is concerned, when the guy has been injured twice coming into the third regular season of the game, how would a coach just plan to make him the starter without some confidence that he might even be ready to go 100% ? You have to go with the idea that you will start the healthiest guys you know of and work Avery in as the game dictates. If he comes out of that game unscathed, you can make plans for game 4 to start him. That makes sense to me.

    As far as Bulger's confidence is concerned, though I am not in his head, I can remember how he played in 2006 and how he is playing now. The observations of his performance thus far tells me he has lost confidence. Is it justified, hell yes. But I hope that giving him game four off, and a bye week, will allow Marc to refresh his perspective and take another run at this thing. I sure hope so because we need him.
    Last edited by Chris58; -09-28-2008 at 11:01 PM. Reason: forgot a word

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    chris, what you say on avery makes some sense if there was any kind of viable replacement. However, he is so much more talented than either looker or hall, that i would have started him in week three anyway. Also, the mere fact that we would have a gamebreaker guy in the lineup would help in the game planning. Seattle would have to respect a guy that can get deep like avery.

    At any rate, we sure didnt lose to seattle because avery didnt play. Reasonable people can differ on when he should have gotten in, but now that he started, he has to be in the lineup all the time. He did well today.

    ramming speed to all

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenWing View Post
    The last part of your statement is a stretch at best. The best offensive production came on the ground (including the touchdowns) while the worst offensive play came through the air. Additionally the only thing that kept the rams in the game for three quarters was a fired up defense. I'm not sure how the QB situation fires up the defense...

    You could say the Avery touchdown had them fired up, but that had nothing to do with Green one way or another.

    On the surface you may be right, but it is impossible to measure the effect of a new QB subliminally.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    The formula, not bulger is what was broken. The coach trotted out the same broken offensive line, with the exception of bell, who was back and helped some. Avery was a welcome change and he was better. How can you say that green was better than bulger today when he through an INT for a td that was a critical turning point in the game. We had by far our best day running the ball today which had nothing to do with green. Did green complete one ball with guys in his face? Did he show any mobility avoiding the rush? Did he scramble effectively. In short, did he change anything or do anything that bulger failed to do in the past?

    He led the offense to ZERO points (actually minus 7) in the second half of a game when we led 14-6 at half.

    I want to see bulger when he gets 150 yards on the ground, has avery rather than looker/hall as his second receiver and gets better pass protection. To quote from my post earlier this week, just because the patient has gangrene, that doesnt mean you cut off his good leg.

    The DEFENSE was better today by a wide margain. No denying that. The replacements may have helped on defense, but not croft, thats for sure (of course he was in because of the injury to hill). The offense was better in the first half, but did it look better in the second half. Lets not forget that we got beat 25-0 at home in the second half with the great trent green at the helm.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Never said Green was better than Bulger. I said I felt more confident with him at the helm as opposed to Bulger. At least Green didn't go in already defeated.

    For over a year now all I've read on this board is how awful the offensive line has been, and there's no doubt they have been awful for the most part. But I am not about to go overboard (like many have) and relieve Marc Bulger of any responsibility.

    There have been times when he's had plenty of time to throw and he's simply made poor throws or bad reads. He has absolutely no escapability which makes him a sitting duck.

    So I'd like to invite anybody who can answer this question. How can we expect a sitting duck QB with no confidence to lead this team to success?

    The short answer is, "we can't". Therefore a change was necessary, particularly with the coach on the "Hot seat". Who knows how long it'll last, but it sure was nice to see some inspired play from anybody in a Ram uniform.

    You can draw whatever conclusion you want, but today was the first time I've seen any consistent fire from anybody on this team, and it just happen to come with Marc Bulger on the bench.
    Last edited by Fortuninerhater; -09-28-2008 at 11:52 PM.

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    Re: Rams lose in final game under Linehan (hopefully): The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    On the surface you may be right, but it is impossible to measure the effect of a new QB subliminally.
    Easy to gauge a 39 year old veteran QB throwing the game away on a TERRIBLE decision resulting in an INT, similar to something that a rookie might make ...

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