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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    By Bryan Burwell

    In the violent world of the NFL, panic is never becoming. So as the Rams reported to work on Monday licking their wounds from Sunday's season-opening debacle, there were no frantic minions scurrying around the corridors removing anything with sharp edges from the building.

    Even after inspecting the debris of the Rams' deflating 27-13 loss to Carolina (inexplicably bad offense, predictably bad defense, depressingly bad season-ending shoulder injury for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace), the Rams' players and coaches have in fact decided that the rest of the season can and will go on as planned.

    "It's early in the year," coach Scott Linehan said. "We can't do anything about (the loss) other than learn from it, pick up the pieces, move on and correct the things that need to be corrected."

    So what did the Rams learn from that unsightly loss? Let's hope it is how unflattering fear looks on game film. Let's hope it is how unbecoming a lack of aggression and adaptation is to a game plan. The head coach and most of his offensive stars kept telling us all summer not to worry about the mundane look of the offense during those unproductive, vanilla exhibition games. They told us that the playbook was chock full of delightful, delicious and dangerous X's and O's that would practically leap off the pages and explode into exciting production as soon as the games began to count.

    Please tell me there's more to this offense than that. Please tell me that this year's Rams offense won't spend another September sputtering trying to find itself, digging itself into another playoff-wrecking hole?

    The play-calling in Game 1 felt like Linehan was playing scared, or at the very least, way too tentative for a football team with division title aspirations. Linehan said the loss of Pace near the end of the first half had him so worried about the safety of quarterback Marc Bulger that he probably went too conservative against that strong Panthers front seven.

    The result was, the entire mood of the game radically changed. The Rams went from being the offense that was dictating the action — Steven Jackson was blasting through the Panthers defense with aggressive runs that looked a whole lot like his new Nike commercial — and the Rams were winning an ugly game 13-6.

    But something happened in that third quarter that made no sense. Whether it was the fear of an avalanche of a pass rush, or the reluctance to give the ball to Jackson after his two drive-killing fumbles (only two carries after the second fumble), the play calling sent off all the wrong vibes. The offense went into a shell. Bulger ended up operating an offense that was so bland, so predictable, so lacking in aggression that Linehan's strategy backfired.

    The quarterback still was beaten up just like he has been every other week since he took over as the Rams' starter. When he was leaving the training facility Monday, Bulger was limping. The Panthers just gave the rest of the NFL the ideal blueprint for slowing this Rams offensive attack. They spent every effort trying to take Jackson out of the game with a swarm of linebackers and down linemen who were dedicated to clogging the running lanes and clinging to him whenever he slipped into the flat in the passing game.

    You can't be successful very long in the NFL operating without aggression. You can't play football timid. The story of the 2007 season should not end because Orlando Pace's season has. The story of the 2007 season can't be altered greatly because Jackson uncharacteristically put the ball on the ground.

    You have to stay dedicated to a plan that frees him up no matter what exotic strategies the bad guys come up with to slow him.

    I've seen the Rams' playbook, and based on what we saw Sunday, they never got off the first page. I hope next weekend, we at least get through the second chapter.

  2. #2
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    Good read, this sums it up.

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.

  4. #4
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    I don't usually agree with Bryan Burwell, but he's right here. The offense was way too conservative and gave the Panther defense way too much respect. They played scared, it showed, and the Panthers took advantage. That can't continue to happen.

  5. #5
    marccat Guest

    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    We made, in IMO, a average QB look way to good. 3 TD....we stunk! This ,? ,wont toss 3 in a game the rest of the year.Damn...we stink! On to gaybayboys who we should hammer!! They looked real bad and they're talking up the W like it was a huge step up and how they did this n' that when in real world they were the luckiest team in gay bay last nite. Come on#*!! I will be VERY.., Very .,very, drove if we dont thrill the whiners Sun. Suck it up Rams and go out there and play RAM TOUGH already!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    I just want the offense to take some shots down field some shots at the endzone some risk man like after the 84 yard return by dante hall I say on 1st n 10 you take an endzone shot to torry come on guyz this offense can't settle for field goals in good field position like that martz was high risk high reward and it seems like linehan is total oposite no risk no tds after the 1st qtr shame
    Torry Holt Dont play that

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams pay heavily for timid approach

    No doubt the Rams offense is expected to yield better results, precisely because it is a high-expectations, high-power offense; a high-performance offense.

    ...So yes, I agree with Burwell's message. :\

    Let's regroup, get our act together -- OL being the priority -- and play as we know we can! :bash:

    When he was leaving the training facility Monday, Bulger was limping.
    :x I hope I just didn't read that correctly.

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