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Rams offense in Jacksons hands ...
Linehan puts Rams offense is in Jackson's hands
By Jeff Gordon
ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
Friday, Sep. 07 2007
In a piece for ESPN.com, the guys at Scouts Inc. ranked the NFL’s most creative
offenses for this season.
The Saints ranked No. 1, which was no surprise. Sean Payton and Co. keep
finding new and exciting ways to keep Reggie Bush busy while maintaining Deuce
McAllister’s role as the lead running back.
The Lions came in second, thanks to Mike Martz’s work in Motown. “Mad Mike” is
valiantly attempting to convert journeyman Jon Kitna into the Next Kurt Warner.
Then came the Chargers, Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Broncos, Gridbirds . . . and
finally the Rams, all the way down at No. 9.
Is this a fair assessment? Probably. In his second year at the helm, coach
Scott Linehan is trying to build his offense on the foundation of power running
and power blocking.
“I feel much better about the size, strength and sheer mass of the offensive
line,” he gushed Thursday.
He plans to deploy all his weapons, of course, but this offense will start
(and, the Rams hope, finish) with Steven Jackson running behind his big guys.
He is not trying to reinvent offensive football with this team, as Martz did.
Linehan simply wants to maintain a consistently powerful offense that controls
the ball, takes care of the ball, eats clock, exploits defensive weaknesses and
A reporter asked him how many carries Jackson would get each game in a perfect
world. His answer: 100.
“You asked me, perfect world,” Linehan said with a chuckle.
But seriously . . .
“He’s going to have the ball, I can tell you that,” Linehan said. “I don’t know
what the number is. Every game is different. We’ve got to have ways to get the
ball into his hands. He’s an exceptional player.
“Just like last year, he can be contained, like anybody else, if you don’t
figure out ways to get him the football.”
Jackson was pleased to hear that Linehan reiterated this commitment. “I’m
expecting a lot of carries,” he said. “I’m expecting a lot of work. I’m
expecting a lot of catches as well.”
Doe he ever worry about getting too much work?
“Nah,” he sniffed. “The ball won’t get heavier, so no.”
Linehan’s offensive restructuring frustrates some fans. In the Internet forums
and on the sports talk radio shows, they yearn for “The Greatest Show on Turf”
and the daring unpredictability of the Air Martz.
Win or lose, the Rams were seldom dull on Martz’s watch. That excitement
spoiled a lot of fans, which is one explanation for the team’s inability to
sell out its home games before the start of the season.
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger still throws the ball plenty in this scheme, but
he is far more likely to settle for “check-down” passes than force the ball
downfield. Last season he completed 124 passes to his running backs and
fullbacks, including 90 to the relentless Jackson.
But just as Marshall Faulk was the perfect feature back for the Air Martz
offense, Jackson is the ideal catalyst for Linehan’s scheme. He is a workhorse
back, capable of pounding out short yardage and breaking the occasional big
Like Faulk, he is a gifted receiver. But unlike Faulk, lining him up in the
slot or putting him in motion doesn’t make much since.
Linehan doesn’t wants to be the next Woody Hayes. He guided the Vikings to
high-scoring success as an offensive coordinator and he will do the same here
as head coach. He just goes about it differently.
Martz wasn’t cavalier about turnovers here, but he always believed he had the
plays and the playmakers needed to overcome them. So he gambled a lot. He
certainly didn’t mind playing catch-up, since he had about 2 million passing
plays rattling around his brain.
Linehan wants his play caller, Scott Olson, to take some shots downfield. But
he doesn’t need to be on the cutting edge of NFL offenses. He would rather have
the cleanest execution and the smartest decision-making.
And all that starts with feeding his monstrous running back, Jackson, early and
often. It is the most obvious thing to do, but it’s for the best.
Re: Rams offense in Jacksons hands ...
Let's show them a thing or two on how's it's done!
Gotta go to work...
Re: Rams offense in Jacksons hands ...
Although we don't know how our defense is going to be for 2007 season yet. I like Linehan's approach to the offensive side of the ball, as long as we're scoring points.
The time consuming ,grind it out, take a shot once in awhile offense keeps our defense off the field but also allows the defense a chance to catch their breath.
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