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Thread: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    August 5th, 2013 at 7:30 AM
    By Brent Lancaster

    With the first preseason game occurring in less than a week, the St. Louis Rams have now installed most, if not all, of the offensive playbook, and are close to unveiling the new look, “spread ‘em out” offense glimpsed by fans and media during OTA’s, training camp and the Rams’ Fan Fest scrimmage.

    While offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s playbook is the theoretically the same as last year’s, new personnel have allowed the Rams to bring some plays from the back pages to front and center in the offensive game plan. Recently QB Sam Bradford indicated that after the offseason addition of position-flexible personnel like TE Jared Cook and WR/RB Tavon Austin, on top of existing players like TE/H-back Lance Kendricks, Coach Schottenheimer is finally able to explore more pages and allow Bradford to exploit more matchups. This is very good news for Rams fans looking for more creativity and explosiveness from a unit that, in 2012, mustered just 18.7 points per game (25th in the league). Bradford's 6.7 yards per attempt was 26th in the league.

    Traditionally Coach Jeff Fisher has heavily emphasized the run game, going back to his Tennessee Titans days with RB’s Eddie George and Chris Johnson. Coach Schottenheimer did the same while calling plays for the New York Jets. Thomas Jones carried 331 times in 2009 and the Jets ran the ball nearly two-thirds of the time that season.

    In other words,don't expect Fisher and Schottenheimer to turn into Vermeil and Martz and start airing it out all over the Edward Jones Dome. Early observations indicate the scheme no longer emphasizes traditional 2-back personnel since only one FB is listed on the roster, rookie Eric Stevens (with TE’s like Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey shifting into the backfield as a lead blocker on power runs).

    From all accounts, a single-back/single-TE set (11 personnel) is expected to be the bread and butter for the current personnel, including shotgun sets with a RB to the left or right of Bradford and TE Jared Cook in the slot. This base set would play to the strengths of the smaller backs like Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson, who tend to thrive in space and are strong pass catchers, and add wrinkles in formations to create optimum receiving matchups.

    Here are the general traits of the new receiving weapons brought in for Bradford this offseason, and how each presents a matchup challenge/wrinkle in formations:

    Jared Cook
    Elite size, speed and catch radius at the TE position. He is a matchup problem for any linebacker not named Patrick Willis, and is capable of lining up all over the field.

    Tavon Austin
    Elite quickness, speed and elusiveness at the WR position. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field, and is also capable of playing in the slot, backfield, and in motion.

    Stedman Bailey
    Elite hands, concentration and instincts at the WR position. He is already an excellent route runner, and can play all of the receiver positions.

    For example, the Rams could go 1 RB (Pead/Richardson), 1 inline TE (Kendricks) and 3 TE/WR (let us say Austin/Cook/Chris Givens). The defense would likely need to go into a nickel look, with a LB or CB assigned to the slot position. Putting Austin, Cook, Givens or even Kendricks in motion would create headaches for a defense, as a defender could not effectively reroute him at the line of scrimmage and the defense must reassign responsibilities real-time.

    On top of this burden, the defense must respect the unique gifts of each weapon on the field, from the size/speed combo of Cook to the speed/quickness combo of Austin. And we can’t forget the threat of Pead and Richardson out of the backfield. With the personnel now available, the combinations to create matchup problems (at least on paper) really are limitless.

    Perhaps the year away from football allowed Coach Fisher to study the evolution of offenses, and to realize building around a smart, young QB like Bradford was the key to success. While it is expected that Rams’ running backs will still receive lots of touches, it would not be surprising for Sam to sling the ball 40 times in a game, with no single receiver having double-digit catches. This was emphasized by Rams’ COO Kevin Demoff:


    “The goal this year is for Sam to be able to throw to the open player, and I expect that we will get meaningful contributions from all 5 WR's, the 2 TE's and the running backs. I think you could see this offense resemble an offense like the Saints where you have 4 or 5 players catch 40-50 balls but nobody who catches 70 or 80. I'm not saying that we are the Saints offense. We need to improve to become that, but more that style where anybody can be a threat on any play. I think that is where we are evolving, letting the down, distance, scheme and coverage dictate who becomes the targeted player.”


    It appears that the Rams’ front office and coaches have all of the confidence in the world in Bradford. That won't be changing anytime soon. With a supporting cast being assembled that plays to his strengths, and with Coach Schottenheimer scheming to take advantage of the new personnel, this could certainly be the year Bradford proves that he can be “the man” to lead the Rams back to the postseason and beyond.

    As Demoff stated to a group of fans during the Rams’ Fan Fest:


    “Coach Fisher came to St. Louis for two reasons: one was owner, Stan Kroenke, the other was Sam Bradford.”


    Is the offensive Identity therefore becoming a reflection of Sam Bradford, the way the Patriots are a reflection of QB Tom Brady? So it seems, and that is one of the developments to watch this preseason.
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    A few points came to mind while reading this article.

    First, Sam loves his TE's. I fully expect for both Cook and Kendricks to put up good numbers this year as they're both vets and used to the speed of the game, not to mention that Cook will create mismatches to get open and Kendricks will likely be the guy that gets "forgotten" by defenses looking to stop Austin, Givens, and Cook.

    Second, I disagree with the article's statements about how we're likely to keep a run heavy attack given Fisher's and Shotty's pasts. They had run heavy attacks with QB's with much less talent than Sam. Now, I think we will have a west coast look, however, where Sam will be throwing maybe 5-8 times a game to the backs in the flat or otherwise short areas, making it more of an extended handoff, rather than a pass downfield at all. Get them in space and without the whole defense crashing on them and see what they can do.

    Last, this was the exact offense that I was calling for in the lead up to the draft before free agency and when we picked up Cook. Getting way from the 2X personnel and going to a one back look with flex personnel into the backfield for protection, confusion and power run purposes. The article suggests an 11 personnel base. I'm not so sure. I guess it depends on what you call Cook. I'm assuming that Cook and Kendricks are going to be starters, so I'd say that the base look will be a 12 personnel look, as I consider Cook to still be a TE, even if he's going to be in the slot a lot of the time to make the defense play their hand a bit. But we're going to see a constant change up among the WR's, making it difficult on the corners to know who they're covering. We can go blazing with Austin and Givens. Get more posessive with Quick and Pettis and Stedman. Other than Quick and Cook, we don't have a ton of height, but we're young and fast, which should be good at tiring out a defense, especially at the end of games. The good thing with not having a real hierarchy at WR is that we'll keep them fresh while the corners get tired playing most of the time and with different routes from the different guys that they will see.

    This will be fun to watch.
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    A few points came to mind while reading this article.

    First, Sam loves his TE's. I fully expect for both Cook and Kendricks to put up good numbers this year as they're both vets and used to the speed of the game, not to mention that Cook will create mismatches to get open and Kendricks will likely be the guy that gets "forgotten" by defenses looking to stop Austin, Givens, and Cook.

    Second, I disagree with the article's statements about how we're likely to keep a run heavy attack given Fisher's and Shotty's pasts. They had run heavy attacks with QB's with much less talent than Sam. Now, I think we will have a west coast look, however, where Sam will be throwing maybe 5-8 times a game to the backs in the flat or otherwise short areas, making it more of an extended handoff, rather than a pass downfield at all. Get them in space and without the whole defense crashing on them and see what they can do.

    Last, this was the exact offense that I was calling for in the lead up to the draft before free agency and when we picked up Cook. Getting way from the 2X personnel and going to a one back look with flex personnel into the backfield for protection, confusion and power run purposes. The article suggests an 11 personnel base. I'm not so sure. I guess it depends on what you call Cook. I'm assuming that Cook and Kendricks are going to be starters, so I'd say that the base look will be a 12 personnel look, as I consider Cook to still be a TE, even if he's going to be in the slot a lot of the time to make the defense play their hand a bit. But we're going to see a constant change up among the WR's, making it difficult on the corners to know who they're covering. We can go blazing with Austin and Givens. Get more posessive with Quick and Pettis and Stedman. Other than Quick and Cook, we don't have a ton of height, but we're young and fast, which should be good at tiring out a defense, especially at the end of games. The good thing with not having a real hierarchy at WR is that we'll keep them fresh while the corners get tired playing most of the time and with different routes from the different guys that they will see.

    This will be fun to watch.
    Bradford said this after the first day of camp. So you may be right we may be in more 12 then 11, well shall see very soon.

    “We’re gonna be a lot more ‘11,’ a lot more ‘12’ personnel,” Bradford said.

    (What’s called 11 personnel is one-back, one tight end and three wideouts; 12 personnel is one-back, two tight ends, two wideouts.)

    “That gives us the flexibility to move people around and play them in different spots,” Bradford added. “Last year, I think there were times where we were pretty predictable as far as who was gonna be where and what we were gonna do.”

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    “That gives us the flexibility to move people around and play them in different spots,” Bradford added. “Last year, I think there were times where we were pretty predictable as far as who was gonna be where and what we were gonna do.”
    I'm pretty sue we won't have to worry about the offense being labeled predictable this year. In fact, Bradford's biggest problem just may be deciding which open receiver to throw to.

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    all assuming the O Line do their job ...................
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    \ Other than Quick and Cook, we don't have a ton of height
    Austin Pettis is the same height as Quick. Seems like everyone forgets he has solid height for a receiver at 6'3.
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    I agree 100% Dez If Our O line gives Sam the time we could see some outstanding numbers, I'm more concerned about our O line than any other part of our Rams to be honest, We have a solid set of talent their but all of them have had issues staying healthy. Thanks for the post !

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    I hope we don't reveal our offensive identity this week. More so than in previous years, I'd like to see this team keep quite a bit of the fun a surprise until the season opens. That's not to say they shouldn't utilize preseason as a way to work some of these concepts, but I say the less practical game film opponents have of the "new" Rams, the better. Keep it vanilla and don't let the cat completely out of the bag.
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I hope we don't reveal our offensive identity this week.
    Very unlikely they show their true identity during preseason games when the starters aren't going to be playing a large amount. Jake Long won't play much at all if practice and the scrimmage at the dome are any indication. They are trying to keep him healthy.

    Preseason for me is about seeing how the WRs catch the ball (Quick concerns me), how the RBs are seeing the holes and hitting them (Pead coming out strong would be huge), which LG takes over the job and if everyone can stay healthy.

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I hope we don't reveal our offensive identity this week. More so than in previous years, I'd like to see this team keep quite a bit of the fun a surprise until the season opens. That's not to say they shouldn't utilize preseason as a way to work some of these concepts, but I say the less practical game film opponents have of the "new" Rams, the better. Keep it vanilla and don't let the cat completely out of the bag.
    You and I clearly had the same reaction to the article's title.

    I think the Rams should be very close to the vest when it comes to new formations and plays, particularly with respect to Tavon Austin. There are so many ways he can impact a play: as a receiver, as a runner, as a decoy... we want opposing teams to be worried about him every time he's on the field. His speed will do that, but a lack of predictablity will only increase that effect.
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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I hope we don't reveal our offensive identity this week. More so than in previous years, I'd like to see this team keep quite a bit of the fun a surprise until the season opens. That's not to say they shouldn't utilize preseason as a way to work some of these concepts, but I say the less practical game film opponents have of the "new" Rams, the better. Keep it vanilla and don't let the cat completely out of the bag.
    I think a big part of our identity will be speed - on both sides of the ball. I doubt Fish and Schotty will serve much more than vanilla scheme-wise, but they aren't going to tell players to run slower either. Knowing Fish a bit more now, I'm sure he'll throw in a wrinkle or two just for fun. Jeff hasn't forgotten that players need a bit of fun now and then.

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    How many snaps might the first team take in game one of the preseason? Fisher's track record with preseason is more like a mad scientist with a new chemistry set--he wants to see who and what he has first. Already he has an idea who is likely to be on the team; its more he is looking for who might be on the team. But its Fisher so who knows--he might go nuts throwing everything out on the field

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    Re: Rams Offensive Identity Should Be Revealed This Week

    Highly doubt any identity is reveled the next 4 weeks. Fisher had us playing extremely vanilla all pre-season long last year, don't think it changes.


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