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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Sep. 10 2007

    During the long offseason, throughout training camp and then the exhibition
    schedule, the Rams' defensive mantra was the same: stop the run, stop the run,
    stop the run.

    Yet in Sunday's season-opener, the Rams couldn't stop the run, done in by blown
    assignments and shoddy tackling. That Carolina waltzed out of town with a 27-13
    victory was no coincidence.

    "That's disappointing," linebacker Will Witherspoon said. "Just small mistakes,
    a guy missing a tackle, or just playing too fast, or just not being in the
    right place at the right time."

    When the Rams finished 31st in the 32-team NFL against the run last year, they
    yielded an average of 4.9 yards per carry. That's exactly what the Panthers
    produced in 38 attempts Sunday. Carolina piled up 186 of its 387 total yards on
    the ground.

    The Panthers' "De backs" — DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams — combined for
    156 yards on 32 carries. Williams indicated that it wasn't all that difficult
    to gash the Rams. "Our offensive linemen opened up gaping holes," he said, "and
    you can't do anything but run through them."

    The press-box statistics bore that out: The Rams' top five tacklers were
    defensive backs or linebackers.

    Tackle La'Roi Glover said, "Early in the ballgame, we had some success against
    them. But they made some adjustments and we were kind of a second late to make
    our adjustments. They took advantage of some things we weren't doing properly."

    Carolina, which trailed 10-7 at the half, rolled up 114 rushing yards in the
    last 30 minutes. Eight of the Panthers' 12 runs of 10 or more yards came in the
    second half, when they outscored the Rams 20-3.

    Rams coach Scott Linehan said, "I think we tired a little bit in the fourth
    quarter, but I give them credit. They were able to sustain drives and stay on
    the field."

    In an attempt to shore up the defensive line, the Rams signed free agent end
    James Hall and spent their first-round draft pick on tackle Adam Carriker. Hall
    was credited with five tackles and Carriker two. The Rams pressured quarterback
    Jake Delhomme but failed to record a sack.

    "They ran outside quite a bit," Carriker said. "Hopefully we were holding the
    point in the middle pretty good."

    The Panthers were particularly successful on cutback runs and plays in which
    the back started up the middle and then bounced outside. Carolina was generally
    successful at pinning the ends, and the Rams were unable to contain on the
    edges.

    "Once you lose your position on plays like that, it's tough to recover," Glover
    pointed out.

    Said end Leonard Little: "This is a better defense than it was last year,
    obviously. But you can't make big mistakes against a team like that."

    Despite their struggles vs. the run, the Rams were stung deepest by a 68-yard
    touchdown pass from Delhomme to wideout Steve Smith. It came midway through the
    third quarter, put the Rams down 14-13 and turned the momentum toward the
    Panthers.

    "We felt like we were playing well," Carriker said. "It was close on the
    scoreboard, but we felt like we could put them away. (Smith) made a heck of a
    play."

    Of Carolina's 32 plays thereafter, 23 were runs. While the Panthers ground out
    yards and whittled away at the clock, the restless fans at the Edward Jones
    Dome let their displeasure be known.

    Safety Corey Chavous said, "They paid their money, and tickets cost a lot now.
    They had a right to boo. We can't get caught up in that. We're playing the
    other team; we're not playing the fans."


  2. #2
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    Well, if Carriker's right, then we spent good money on him. I didn't see the game except for mostly Panther highlights(yay Holt TD?) but if most of their runs were outside or became outside runs, then Carriker did what we needed him to, and he sealed up the middle with Glover/Wroten. Outside runs are all on Hall, Little, and the backers. The other problem is that this was a very balanced attack, and we couldn't just key up on the run because of Steve Smith.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    The Rams run defense was passable in the first half, but really looked helpless in the third after the two Jackson fumbles. I will give credit to the new Carolina offensive coordinator for coming up with some really nice change of direction plays that completely fooled me and the defense.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Sep. 10 2007

    "Just small mistakes,
    a guy missing a tackle, or just playing too fast, or just not being in the
    right place at the right time."
    I'm sorry 'Spoon, but that just doesn't cut it anymore. How many years do we hear this line trotted out? When the fact off the matter is that the under-sized front 7 are constantly bullied and worn down up-front by the opposition's O-line, plain and simple..

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    Secondly, the offense didn't do the d any favors by not occasionly staying on the field.
    "The horror"

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    Quote Originally Posted by live4ramin View Post
    Secondly, the offense didn't do the d any favors by not occasionly staying on the field.
    That is exactly right! We had an opportunity to open the game up at the very beginning of the 3rd quarter but only came away with a FG. :x

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    Re: Rams' run defense picks up where it left off last season

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    That is exactly right! We had an opportunity to open the game up at the very beginning of the 3rd quarter but only came away with a FG. :x
    Yup, the Rams O actually was given a 2nd opportunity to open the game up the next possession before Steven Jackson decided to leave the ball on the ground at the Panthers 26yd line.

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