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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Tuesday, Sep. 09 2008
    Of all the disaster footage from the Rams’ 38-3 loss at Philadelphia, perhaps
    this was the most vivid scene:

    There was less than a minute to play in the first half. The Eagles faced a
    third-and-eight predicament on their own 10-yard line.

    The Rams were trailing 14-0 and looking for a big defensive play. They were
    missing Leonard Little, due to a hamstring strain suffered early in the game.
    As a result, they were not generating much pressure on Eagles quarterback
    Donovan McNabb.

    Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett ordered up a cornerback blitz, sending Ron
    Bartell. But the Eagles were ready.

    “Actually, they made a perfect call for what we had on,” Haslett recalled
    Monday during his media briefing at Rams Park. “They max-protected us and threw
    a three-man route, a little stutter-go on us.”

    With a “maximum protection” blocking scheme, the Eagles easily thwarted Bartell’
    s advance. McNabb read the blitz and looked for receiver Hank Baskett -– who
    had a free run up the left sideline.

    Rams safety Corey Chavous did not cover Baskett in Bartell’s absence, as
    required in this defensive scheme. And when he scrambled over belatedly, he
    took a bad tackling angle and whiffed.

    So Baskett delivered the game’s kill shot, a 90-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
    That pushed Philadelphia’s lead to 21-0 and effectively finished off the Rams.

    “We just didn’t execute it right,” Haslett said. “Our safety took his eyes off
    his coverage and missed the tackle after that. It was a combination of a couple
    things. One, it wasn’t well-played and we missed the tackle.”

    This sums up the Rams failure since the start of the 2007 campaign. This team
    has lost 14 of 17 games in a league that insists on parity.

    How can that be? How can this team steadfastly refuse to improve?

    Unfortunately, there are no good answers.

    Fans point to the coaches, who got outmaneuvered, again, in Philadelphia.
    Haslett (sort of) conceded that point.

    “I thought Andy (Reid) and their staff did a nice job of scheming us,” he said.
    “On the third-and-long situations, they blocked us off and took away the
    blitzes and kind of went deep on us. I thought he did a good job and we didn’t
    really counteract it. They got us on a couple.”

    Fans point to the team’s apparent lack of motivation and emotion. “We weren’t
    flat,” Haslett said. “Guys were excited about it. They were ready to play. I
    thought the enthusiasm was there.”

    Fans point to the apparent confusion, since TV cameras captured lots of
    pointing and waving by defeated Rams defenders.

    “I don’t think there was a lot of confusion,” Haslett said. “I just think we
    didn’t play very well. The secondary, we didn’t play with the proper leverage
    all the time. We just got beat one-on-one. We didn’t play well. Let’s just say
    it like it is. We didn’t play well at the back end, we didn’t get a lot of pass
    rush on McNabb up front. The combination was 400 yards passing.”

    Well, then, maybe the Rams just aren’t good enough. Cornerback Tye Hill got
    benched in this game. Defensive end James Hall had an active outing, but
    appeared lost on the left side on some plays.

    Cornerback Fakhir Brown and safety O.J. Atogwe showed some rust, by Haslett’s
    estimation, after sitting out the preseason with injuries.

    The linebackers didn’t distinguish themselves, either. The game started with
    Hill getting burned on a deep throw and ended with the Eagles reserves marching
    the field and eating the remaining clock.

    Across the board, start to finish, this was an inexplicable disaster.

    “I was taken by surprise by the whole thing,” Haslett said. “I thought they
    were ready to play. I heard somebody say we were flat. I didn’t think that at
    all. I thought after the first series, there was a big letdown. We stop them on
    the first, we execute the first play, then Tye gets beat on the coverage and we
    got a penalty on the sideline and they went in and scored. We had two plays in
    a row in the running game that we didn’t play properly -– which is
    disappointing, because we worked on those plays.”

    Yeah, there were a lot of disappointments -– and absolutely no excuses for what
    happened. The Rams lost Little early on, but they still had second overall pick
    Chris Long and Hall playing the ends.

    This team had enough healthy talent to compete . . . and it just didn’t. Now
    the Rams coaching staff has everything to prove while trying to whip this team
    back to respectability.

    The New York Giants are coming to town feeling good about their chances in The
    Ed.

    “We’ve got a game now, you’re playing the world champions,” Haslett said. “If
    you can’t get excited about playing the world champions at home, after a game
    like that you just played, then we’ve got some issues. I don’t think there will
    be any.”

    Yeah, well, we’ll see. After 17 games of this garbage, you’ll have to pardon
    our skepticism.


  2. #2
    AugustaRamFan Guest

    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    Apparently Haslett's schemes have become very predictable. I am not sure Haslett is up to the challenge. He may think that if the Ram's continue to fade that he will become the interim solution as HC. For the Team's sake, I hope that is not the case.

    I did not watch the game, but is was impossible to follow on ESPN Gamecast either ...nuff said...

    Clearly the Staff of talking heads cannot motivate the overpaid millionaires (Bulger, Pace, Bennet, et al). Their job (the players that is) is to be ready to play and the coaches need to ensure that the level of game planning prep is there - the Rams were 0 for 2. As a long-long-time fan, the lack of fortitude and fight in the team is really testing my loyalty. On the bighter side - I hope Philly is that good.....

    - Sure don't like going negative - there is just so little to cheer for!
    Last edited by AugustaRamFan; -09-10-2008 at 08:27 AM.

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon
    After 17 games of this garbage, you’ll have to pardon our skepticism.
    Wow. Even the normally aloof media types are getting restless over this nonsense.
    “I was taken by surprise by the whole thing,” Haslett said.
    Come on, Jimbo. You have exactly one job here........don't be taken by surprise. Surprise is born of ill preparation. That falls squarely on your shoulders, my man.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    Dear Mr. Haslett,

    I just read your response to "your" defenses poor performance On Sunday September 7th, 2008 at Philadelphia. Please allow me a recap of your response.

    1. The front line didn't get any pressure on the opposing QB.

    2. The linebackers didn't distinguish themselves. (Will Witherspoon had 1 tackle)

    3. The secondary couldn't cover anyone and there was some confusion.

    1, 2, & 3 are all under your umbrella, right?

    We will be expecting a press conference announcing your resignation very soon.

    Thank you,

    RAMS DIEHARD FAN!!!!!

  5. #5
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    elchiludo is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    So..So...sad.

  6. #6
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    ram3057 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    I am thinking that maybe the coaches should go back to the basics.

    Something along the lines of: (holding up oblong leather sphere) "This is a football...."


    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

  7. #7
    Guam rammer's Avatar
    Guam rammer is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    All i have to say is show up this Sunday and protect our house. Enough of the last game and move on. I wanna to see some DEEEEEFENSE!!! Or put in the Battering Rams and see what they can do.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    "Yeah, well, we’ll see. After 17 games of this garbage, you’ll have to pardon
    our skepticism."

    Hoping for the best, preparing for thw worse. I to am a skeptic.
    :ramlogo:

  9. #9
    blood85 Guest

    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    Yeah where was the defense on Sunday....and offense?

  10. #10
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams will bounce back? Pardon our skepticism

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4tIrjBDkk

    If we take Coach Pacino's approach, we have a chance.

    We've all seen a lot of these players play well even in the recent past. Not consistently enough to win but not often buttwhupped across the board as they were by the Eagles- who, unfortunately for us, played nearly a flawless game & got every break.

    What if:

    Hill's hand is 6 inches one way or the other on the first DeSean J. catch ? That was a huge play.

    Holt bumping into a zebra off the field for a 15 yd penalty ?!

    F. Brown turns his damned head on the pass interference call.If the guy hadn't been rusty due to injury, I say he plays that correctly most of the time.

    I saw T. Holt wander ONTO the field in the background on that play,too.WTF kind of vet leadership is that? Torry's smarter than that,surely?
    Our punt coverage unit hadn't had to give a fired-up DeSean J. so many chances to return the ball. Stills & Wade were outstanding in coverage until the 8th or 9th punt-almost twice as many as we averaged per game last year.

    Punts going the other way bounce into the endzone for touchbacks, not getting downed inside the 5 twice in a row? We didn't just dig our holes; we were thrown into them & proceeded to bury ourselves.



    SJ makes his first & probably only big play of the game-should have been a momentum-turner for the Rams- but it becomes a heartstopping moment that fires up the defense instead when he nearly gets his head taken off. Why wasn't that a penalty,btw?
    Is helmet2helmet only illegal on the QB?

    Add your own favs. Many to choose from.

    Of course , we have to make our own breaks by playing and coaching much better & there are plenty more inches to be fought for .

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