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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Rams' offense remains ineffective

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/19/2007

    Those looking for positive signs from the Rams didn't have much to hang their helmets on in Saturday's exhibition game against San Diego.

    The first-team offense, albeit minus running back Steven Jackson, was held off the scoreboard. The first-team defense was so-so at best against the potent Chargers running game. And special teams sprang several leaks, including one tidal wave: an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by Darren Sproles.

    It all added up to a 30-13 loss to the Chargers that must have left the Rams' coaching staff thankful that it's still only August.

    "There's not a whole of positives in the loss," coach Scott Linehan said. "I'm sure when we watch the film (Sunday) ... there's going to be some things we're going to look at and say, 'That wasn't so bad.' But right now, it's hard to put a lot of positive spin on it."
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    With their starting offenses on the field, San Diego and the Rams both advanced the ball twice into enemy territory in three possessions.

    The difference? San Diego converted its first such possession into a touchdown. The Rams, meanwhile, lost the ball on turnovers on both of their possessions. And that pretty much was the difference in Saturday's exhibition contest played in a half-empty Edward Jones Dome — that, and San Diego's punt return for a touchdown.

    Keep in mind that neither team's Pro Bowl running back touched the football Saturday. The Rams' Steven Jackson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage a year ago, was in for only one snap. The Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson, who finished No. 2 in yards from scrimmage last season, was not in uniform.

    The Rams nickeled and dimed their way down field after taking the opening kickoff. Despite no play gaining more than 9 yards, the Rams advanced the ball to the Chargers 26, where they had a first down with just over 8 minutes to go in the opening quarter. But after taking a short pass from Marc Bulger, Madison Hedgecock had the ball stripped by San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips. Shawne Merriman recovered the fumble for the Chargers.

    Linehan looked at the replay not once, but twice, on the big scoreboard screen in the dome before tossing his red flag. But Linehan's replay challenge was unsuccessful.

    In any event, San Diego made the most of the turnover, marching 71 yards for a touchdown. Tomlinson's understudy, Michael Turner, had gains of 17 and 9 yards on the drive, with linebacker Will Witherspoon and cornerback Tye Hill missing tackles that could have shortened each gain considerably. ST. LOUIS RAMS
    Wide receiver Vincent Jackson scored the touchdown on a 5-yard reception from Philip Rivers with 1:48 left in the first quarter. Jackson came down with only one foot in bounds, but members of referee Larry Nemmers' officiating crew ruled that Jackson was pushed out of bounds by Rams defenders.

    The Rams took the ensuing kickoff and advanced the ball quickly into Chargers territory, On first and 10 from the San Diego 25, Bulger went to the end zone, but his pass intended for Holt was picked off by Chargers safety Clinton Hart with 11:49 left in the second quarter.

    "They stayed true to their coverage," Bulger said. "I probably should have put it on (Holt) more, put it on his body more. I led him a little too much."

    Bulger and the starters played one more series before giving way to the backups, but went three-and-out. So in five series with the starting offense this preseason, albeit most of them with Leonard as the feature back, the Rams haven't scored a point much less a touchdown.

    "You want to always come out and do your best," Bulger said. "But we're not going to panic. We definitely want to come out and score more touchdowns and finish drives. We're really good at making adjustments during the game. ... It's a little difficult to do that now, because you don't want to show things."

    In three of those first-team possessions this preseason, the series has ended with a turnover — two interceptions by Bulger and the Hedgecock fumble. Together, the Rams are minus six in two exhibition games. They have committed six turnovers, but their defense hasn't come up with a takeaway.

    "It starts with the head coach, making sure we continue to work on it," Linehan said. "We emphasize it. We talk a lot about (turnover margin). But we have not executed that in preseason. ... And that's got to change."

    jthomas@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8197

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  2. #2
    supachump is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    If recall correctly, this is the same thing that happened last year. The first team offense sputtered. It continued into the season for a few games until the ship started righting. I hope that it doesn't take as long this year.

  3. #3
    BigGameMN Guest

    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Quote Originally Posted by supachump View Post
    If recall correctly, this is the same thing that happened last year. The first team offense sputtered. It continued into the season for a few games until the ship started righting. I hope that it doesn't take as long this year.
    Especially when you consider that Arizona and Green Bay gave away games against us last year in the early part of the year. If we start off slow like that again something tells me we won't be so lucky.

  4. #4
    blood85 Guest

    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    The way I see it, the one td that Rivers threw to the receiver in the endzone, was a very difficult pass to cover as it was right in the corner. Yes, their 2nd and 3rd teams played better than us, yes the Chargers are still better than us ( and probably most of the NFL for that matter), but remember that this is pre-season, we still have time to work out the kinks. I think our first goal should be (before we start measuring ourselves with the NFL elite) is to WIN OUR DIVISION. IF we can't beat teams in our own division, who can we beat?? Correct me if I'm wrong, but we didn't do to well in our division last year.

  5. #5
    blood85 Guest

    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Let's take it one step at time, in a positive direction.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Quote Originally Posted by BigGameMN View Post
    Especially when you consider that Arizona and Green Bay gave away games against us last year in the early part of the year. If we start off slow like that again something tells me we won't be so lucky.
    Green Bay didn't give us anything last year, Little caused that Favre fumble.

    I do agree that the Arizona fumble fest was a gimme.

    As for being lucky, Seattle was pretty lucky last year that they beat us twice also, so it's all relative.
    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce
    Kudos to Jared Cook for saying what needed to be said about being outplayed and outcoached vs the Cards.

  7. #7
    nuclearman's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce View Post
    As for being lucky, Seattle was pretty lucky last year that they beat us twice also, so it's all relative.
    ... extremely lucky I would've thought.


    Back to the article - I am more concerned with the defense ... I am confident the offense will get it together, and I think the special teams will too .. the defense I am not too sure about and 30 points in the against column, even though it is still pre-season is worrying.

  8. #8
    Country Guest

    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    This doesn't matter at all and let me tell you why

    1. Our best player, Steven Jackson, did not play and if you remember he was a huge portion of the 2006 offense.

    2. They were playing the best defense in the NFL and still moved the ball with solme effectivness.

    3. The starters were only in for a quarter of the game and it takes longer then that to establish an offense and set up and adjust to the defense. Who knows the starters may have scored 28 in the second half once they knew what San Diego is doing.

    4. The offense is showing a Vanilla package.

  9. #9
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Total offense in the quarters that mattered, The Rams played better. I don.t think the first fumble was a fumble and the toss S.D. had in the corner was not a push in my eyes. Also, The Chargers had about 19 precedure calls that were never called. So i that veiw in my eyes really wasn't that bad. Yes Bulger made yet another bonehead INT second week in a row, but he will be much better come opening day. the only thing that burns me is the ST play and the TD of 81 yds. D-line had good push last nite so I'm ok w/the performance!!!!

  10. #10
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    Also last year, our defense was actually GOOD for the few first games after being ripped several times in the preseason.

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams' offense remains ineffective

    I don't take this article into account, they need something to write about and that offense was very vanilla but still effective against a good D. Our D is what more concerns me.

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