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Thread: Rams Team Report
Rams Team Report
Rams coach Jim Haslett is understandably stunned by how poor his team has played over the past four weeks of the season.
However, Haslett reacts angrily when anyone questions the team's effort. He did so Sunday after the team's 27-3 loss to Chicago.
Said Haslett, "It had nothing to do with effort today. It had everything to do with execution, tackling, fumbles, turnovers, penalties and pre-snap penalties. That is it; it had nothing to do with effort.
"There is not much to work with, you have what you have. I have about 45 guys because about eight are injured, and those are the guys that are playing. We are doing whatever we can do, it is not like we aren't trying to win these games, I can promise you that. I thought the effort was all right. The execution was terrible. The tackling was terrible. You can't get pre-snap penalties; you have to take care of the football."
Haslett was also asked what he would say to fans in an attempt to convince them the team isn't as bad it appears.
The brutally frank Haslett said, "Why would I want to? We looked pretty bad to me. It would be pretty hard to convince somebody of that, don't you think?"
Since the start of the 2005 season, the Rams are 9-20 at home and 1-10 at home in division games. In their past two home games, they have been outscored 61-16 overall, 51-10 at halftime and been outgained 600-184 by halftime.
Since taking an early 7-0 lead over Arizona on Nov. 2, the Rams have been outscored by an astounding total of 123-6 in the first half. In their past four games, they have allowed 1,105 yards by halftime (276.3 average) and gained only 475 yards (118.8).
Sunday against the Bears, the score was 24-3 at halftime, and the Rams had been outgained 267-62.
Haslett virtually threw his arms up in helplessness when asked to explain the offensive problems, lack of defense and repeated special teams penalties.
"I will do anything that I can to help these guys be successful, anything," Haslett said. "I put them in situations where they can be successful individually and as a team. But I can't tackle. I can't do it anymore. I can't take care of the football. The other thing is the penalties; special teams had a bunch of penalties that put the offense in a bad position. I don't know if the offense would have scored anyway, as bad as they were playing. When we did get something going on offense, we would get a penalty or a turnover. Those three things I can't help with.
"We can emphasize it, we can work on it, but if they are going to go out there and hold or they are going to get a pre-snap penalty, I can't help them. I am helpless on the sidelines when it comes to that stuff. I will do anything I can for them, but I can't do those three things. That is what they are paid for. They are paid to tackle, to take care of the football, and play smart with no penalties. I am not throwing it and I am not catching it, I am coaching. I would love to help, but from that standpoint I can't."
—The first possession for each team Sunday epitomized the Rams' season. Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the Rams' 49-yard line. It took the Bears four plays and 1:55 to take a 7-0 lead. The Rams then ran five plays, four of which went for minus yardage, including a sack that knocked quarterback Marc Bulger out of the game with a concussion.
Backup Trent Green fared no better, was sacked twice in the first quarter and wasn't able to capitalize after Derek Stanley returned a kickoff 75 yards to the Bears' 23-yard line. Reliable kicker Josh Brown put a bow on the awful quarter, missing a 40-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
For the quarter, the Rams ran 12 plays and "totaled" minus-16 yards. Of those 12 plays, eight were for minus yardage.
—Asked about Haslett's searing comments about player accountability, CB Ron Bartell said, "He's right. It has nothing to do with the calls. We run basic stuff on defense. This was a basic offense that we were playing against, just line up in the 'I' formation and run the ball down your throat. In the first half, that is what they did to us. He can't make the tackles for us. He can't catch passes for us. He can't block for us. He's pretty much right about that."
—The Rams were penalized 11 times for 85 yards and had another four penalties not marked off because they were declined or offset. Five of the penalties for 50 yards were on special teams. Offensively, there were four false starts, and everyone contributed, with the official guilty parties Richie Incognito, Donnie Avery, Adam Goldberg and Alex Barron. The final two could have been on just about every lineman except center Brett Romberg. Both times, each lineman moved when Romberg didn't snap the ball as the quarterback moved away from center.
—Romberg started after Nick Leckey injured his ankle in pregame warmups.
Rookie John Greco replaced Jacob Bell late in the game at left guard, and is expected to have extended playing time in the final five games of the season. Greco had about 20 snaps Sunday.
Leckey was diagnosed Monday with a broken bone in his foot and will be placed on injured reserve. It's possible OG Richie Incognito could be moved to center, with Greco becoming a starter.
—Mindful of vocal fans that had been calling for Marc Bulger to be benched and Trent Green inserted as the starter, Haslett said, "Anybody want another quarterback?" Green had a passer rating of 37.4 and now has a 41.7 rating for the season.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—QB Marc Bulger, who suffered a concussion Sunday against Chicago, will undergo a neuropsych test Wednesday. If Bulger isn't cleared for this week's game against Miami, Trent Green will start.
—RB Steven Jackson ran Saturday and Monday, and had no ill effects from Saturday's activity. Jackson is expected to practice Wednesday and might be available for Sunday's game against Miami.
—LB Will Witherspoon now has injuries to both shoulders, suffering a slight tear of his labrum Sunday against Chicago. Witherspoon has labrum issues in both shoulders, but has continued to play.
—C Nick Leckey suffered a broken bone in his foot during warmups Sunday against the Bears and will be placed on injured reserve.
—LT Orlando Pace, who did not play Sunday because of a knee injury, is expected to practice Wednesday and might be able to play this week against the Dolphins.
REPORT CARD VS. BEARS
PASSING OFFENSE: F — QB Marc Bulger was knocked out of the game on the first possession after suffering a concussion on a sack. Backup Trent Green was sacked four times and matched that total with four interceptions. The Bears did a good job of bringing their linebackers up as if they were going to blitz, then dropping back, which resulted in tipped balls and three combined interceptions for LBs Lance Briggs (two) and Brian Urlacher.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F — How bad was the ground game? RB Antonio Pittman rushed nine times for eight yards and had 19 yards on two of the carries. On his other seven attempts he had minus-11 yards with four of the rushes for minus yardage. Running back Kenneth Darby totaled 10 yards on seven rushing attempts, with a nine-yard gain. His other six carries totaled one yard.
PASS DEFENSE: D — The Bears didn't have to pass much in the second half, but QB Kyle Orton had a 108.1 rating in the first half with 118 yards and a touchdown.
RUSH DEFENSE: F — The Bears rushed for 201 yards, and RBs Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson combined for 167 yards on 25 attempts. Forte had 132 yards on 20 attempts and 88 of the yards came in the first half. That included a 47-yard touchdown on which he was barely touched by any Rams defender.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D — There were some good moments: A 75-yard kickoff return by Derek Stanley and good punting and punt coverage on Devin Hester. But the negatives were many. That included seven flags on special teams, five of which were accepted; a 50-yard Danieal Manning kickoff return to start the game that set the tone for the Bears; and a missed 40-yard field goal by Josh Brown following Stanley's return.
COACHING: D — The problems are well above Jim Haslett, but it's impossible to give a higher grade when a team continues to play so badly, especially in the first half.
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