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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' offense finally finds a rhythm

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/03/2006

    As the Rams' offense struggled week after week, dating back to the preseason, it was easy enough to wonder: What's with this Scott Linehan offense?

    But there were signs of progress in Arizona, and then the breakout game finally took place Sunday against Detroit. Forty-one points. Four touchdowns in five red-zone possessions. A season-high 427 yards of offense. So what the heck happened? Did Linehan dust off a secret part of his playbook?

    "Who knows what it is?" offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "Sometimes it's just a rhythm thing and you can't figure out why it's not working. And sometimes you can't figure out why it worked, either. It's the same stuff we've been practicing. This game it just happened to work."

    All along, Linehan has preached patience with the new offense. It looks as if his patience is paying off. So go ahead, say it ... "I told you so."

    "I would never do that," Linehan replied. "We had a good game offensively. ... It's just taken a bit of time to get our timing down. We have established a lot of things I think are important as far as taking care of the football, running it better, committing to running it more."

    At the quarter pole of the season, Linehan's Rams get high marks in all those areas:

    They have committed only three turnovers, tied for the third-lowest total in the NFL. And they are the only team in the NFL yet to throw an interception this season.

    In terms of being better at running the football, Steven Jackson ranked second in the league in rushing (367 yards) entering the Philadelphia-Green Bay Monday night game.

    And in terms of commitment to the running game, Jackson has gotten no fewer than 22 carries in any game.

    The added bonus against Detroit and Arizona was the productivity of the passing game. But only against the Lions did that result in scoring a lot of points.

    "We've just got to keep it rolling now," tight end Joe Klopfenstein said. "We finally sort of broke out of whatever you'd call it that we were in. Now we've just got to make sure that we don't take that step back."

    Two weeks ago, following the 20-13 loss to San Francisco, the Rams ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing offense. Following back-to-back 300-yard passing games by Marc Bulger, they have moved to No. 8.

    Linehan is quick to point out, "It's only one week. We've got to keep a level head about where we're at, and build on what was good. There were some things out there that need to be a lot better, and we need to improve on every week."

    True, but Bulger looks like a different quarterback the past two Sundays. He is more comfortable in the pocket, and more decisive in his throws.

    What's been different?

    "Familiarity. Comfort level. Knowing what to expect," Linehan said. "I think that's a lot of it. He's more comfortable with what we're doing, and trying to get done. It does take time to make a transition. It's really hard on a quarterback, because if he's done things a certain way for a lot of years, that's how you're programmed."

    Linehan and his offensive staff aren't rebuilding Bulger from scratch, but they are re-programming him in some areas. The obvious area is taking care of the ball and cutting down on interceptions. More subtle has been an emphasis on checking the ball down to underneath routes if the deeper pass isn't there.

    "With the other offense Coach (Mike) Martz's offense if there was a chance a guy would be open, he didn't want me to check the ball down," Bulger said. "He wanted me to throw it. That's why we had some success. But at the same time, there is that risk that you're going to turn the ball over more.

    "With Coach Linehan, it's more that (keeping) the ball is the most important thing. So if you aren't confident in throwing it, check it down."

    Offensive coordinator Greg Olson calls it being "situational smart."

    "Certainly we want Marc to take shots down the field," Olson said. "... But we want to be smart in when we're taking those shots."

    The primary beneficiary of those check downs the past couple of weeks has been Jackson. He has nine catches for 124 yards over the past two games. For the season, his per-catch average of 10.9 yards is tied for second in the league among running backs.

    "Teams have focused on stopping our running game after we started off so good in the first two games," Jackson said. "The coaches have found other ways for me to contribute."

    It's working. Jackson leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (531).

    Also, Bulger has moved up to ninth in passer rating (94.3). Meanwhile, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce are among the league leaders in reception yards.

    "When everyone was on the offense, saying we couldn't score any points, I told everybody they're going to come around one day and be the offense that people think they can be," Rams defensive end Leonard Little said. "Sunday was a prime example of that. They finally got things going."


  2. #2
    bruce4life's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' offense finally finds a rhythm

    Key Word Is Finally!!!!!!!! Lol...

  3. #3
    viper's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' offense finally finds a rhythm

    Quotes about Jackson (my quote button isn't working, any ideas why?):

    "He has nine catches for 124 yards over the past two games. For the season, his per-catch average of 10.9 yards is tied for second in the league among running backs."

    "It's working. Jackson leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (531)."

    Hmmm, not too shabby, considering the big name backs in the league looking up from below Jackson's stats. Maybe some will reconsider Jackson's value to this team. He just has to do it "his way." Keep it up Jackson!

    Go Rams!!! :l

  4. #4
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' offense finally finds a rhythm

    I didn't know Jackson lead yards from scrimmage. That's great! I knew there was a reason as to why I read that! :P


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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