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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    It's undeniable in the NFL that in every game, one team will win and one team will lose. Ultimately a team is in large part judged by their record, and fans will seek something to explain the outcome of their game.

    Some will try to find someone to blame for the loss, some will point to the disparity in talent or the effect of injures, some will isolate the poor play of individual players as a focal point, some will point to the coaches. Few will truly give the opposing team credit for winning the game; it's the nature of the fan to hold their team responsible, win or lose.

    We've heard a lot about coaching problems over the last four weeks, and clearly there are issues that can be pointed to and questioned. Pass/run ratio decisions, going for it on fourth down, kicking a long field goal, conservative playcalling, playing an ineffective injured quarterback, not playing to the strength of our roster, halftime adjustments. There is definitely a list of concerning issues that I've seen through four games, many of which played significant roles in the result we see on the scoreboard.

    But let me present a brief recap of events before posing a question to you.

    -In Week One, the Rams played the Carolina Panthers (now 2-2). The Panthers are a team that many pick year in and year out to be a contender in the NFC playoff picture. The Rams went into the locker room at halftime of that game with a 10-7 lead, and extended that lead to 13-7 early in the third quarter. A turnover by Jackson allowed Carolina to take the lead, and they never looked back.

    -In Week Two, the Rams faced the San Francisco *****, a 2-2 team many thought were improving coming into this season. Once again, the Rams went into halftime with a lead, 13-7. But poor tackling allowed the previously bottled up Frank Gore to run for a huge touchdown to take the lead. The Rams and ***** fought back and forth until the final seconds of the game, at which point Jeff Wilkins missed a 56-yard field goal.

    -In Week Three, the Rams headed south for a showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1 after four weeks). This game was a slugfest. The Bucs had four first half drives. Two ended with punts, one a missed field goal, and one a made field goal. The Rams didn't do much in the first half either, punting twice with an interception and a missed field goal. After the half, Tampa scored a touchdown to make it a 10-0 game, but the Rams hung in there and got it back to one possession before Tampa added 14 points in the mid to late fourth quarter. Jeff Wilkins missed two field goals in this game, Marc Bulger threw three interceptions.

    -Last week the Rams took on what many consider to be one of the best teams in the NFC this season, the 4-0 Dallas Cowboys. Among the Rams wounded was Pro Bowl runner Steven Jackson (out for the game) and Pro Bowl quarterback Marc Bulger (playing with broken ribs). The Rams allowed the high powered Dallas offense to move the ball in the first half, but the scoreboard was close. Dallas didn’t get on the board until midway through the second quarter, and going into halftime, this was still a one score game. Then, Dallas simply exploded in the second half and the Rams struggled behind an offensive line made up mostly of back-ups and a quarterback whose ribs were shifting with every throw.

    Yes, there are coaching questions to ask here. Did the Rams take the preseason too casually, and thus they have had problems executing their plays in the regular season? Was the decision to kick a 56-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 3 a good one? How much did conservative playcalling play a role in our offensive inefficiency against Carolina or Tampa? Why did this staff insist on playing an injured Marc Bulger against Dallas?

    All of these are legitimate question. But there’s something that I think is being ignored here. We hung with Dallas for a half and Tampa for three quarters. We were right in it with San Francisco all the way until the end despite a number of costly turnovers. And we had a six point lead against Carolina until turnovers crippled us on two important offensive possessions.

    Again, I'm not saying coaching hasn't been an issue. I’ve pointed to a number of concerns I have about coaching decisions through those four games. And yes, the fact that Tampa and Dallas seemed to turn things on in the second half while we continue to stall offensively makes me wonder if our staff is making the proper second half adjustments to exploit what the opposition is doing to us.

    But isn't there also something to be said regarding the coaching when a beat up team like the Rams are able to hang tough with everyone they've faced, four teams that have a combined record of 11-5 right now? Even if it's just for a half or three quarters, this team didn't roll over right out of the gate and get blown out from the first minute.

    Dallas is being considered one of the best teams in the NFC, and the Rams were making the contest quite competitive until the final minute or so of the first half and the second half. Tampa didn't start running away with their game until the fourth quarter. The Rams were in it against San Francisco and were leading Carolina until turnovers shifted momentum.

    Clearly it's easy to look at things from a negative perspective when the Rams lose - what did we do wrong, what errors did the players make, what calls did the coaches get wrong - but I think legitimate attention should be paid to how closely an injured 0-4 team has made some of these games. Doesn’t the coaching staff deserve some credit for that?

    Discuss.
    Last edited by Nick; -10-05-2007 at 10:40 PM.


  2. #2
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Nick, great post and a lot a very good comments, but a football game is 4 quarters,you get nothing for playing hard for half a game,It doesn't really matter whose to blame at this point the Rams are 0-4,add in the morale victories and the Rams are still 0-4.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    Nick, great post and a lot a very good comments, but a football game is 4 quarters,you get nothing for playing hard for half a game,It doesn't really matter whose to blame at this point the Rams are 0-4,add in the morale victories and the Rams are still 0-4.
    I agree in some part. Obviously we need to be playing four quarters of football, and our inability to adjust and remain competitive in the second half in some games is concerning. How much of this is coaching and lack of meaningful adjustments, I don't know. How much of this is the fact that eventually our back-ups are just not going to match the talent and ability of the opposing team's starters, I don't know either.

    That being said, such an emphasis is placed on how big the Rams have collapsed in the second half of some games, and what's being ignored is that a very beat up team is still managing to contend with everyone they play for quite a bit of the game.

    Morale victories don't change the win loss record, but they do add perspective in terms of what's really going on with this team, what our weekly preparation may be like, and how our players feel about this coach.

  4. #4
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Yes, there are coaching questions to ask here. Did the Rams take the preseason too casually, and thus they have had problems executing their plays in the regular season?
    No

    Was the decision to kick a 56-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 3 a good one?
    Based on how far Money hit his firts FG, it was not a bad call. I woud say not running a play on frist down was a bad call.

    How much did conservative playcalling play a role in our offensive inefficiency against Carolina or Tampa?
    Carolina, out of our four games, I would say this was the biggest game we gave away. Looking back to last year when they beat Marc up, I was ok with max pro. After Pace got hurt, we might have gone into a shell, that cost us, but if we hold onto the ball we win that game.

    Tampa, I think we where already to beat up to open things up, the whinners hit Marc way too much, we had to go Max pro again.

    But isn't there also something to be said regarding the coaching when a beat up team like the Rams are able to hang tough with everyone they've faced, four teams that have a combined record of 11-5 right now? Even if it's just for a half or three quarters, this team didn't roll over right out of the gate and get blown out from the first minute.
    Great point i agree, we did not come out flat against the Boys, we played hard in the first half. The D just is not good enough to carry the beat up offense, not yet.

    Clearly it's easy to look at things from a negative perspective when the Rams lose
    He's talking to you AV LOL

    Doesn’t the coaching staff deserve some credit for that?
    They do! Looking at the list you posted awhile back sums up just how many guys are out and or not at full speed. I find it almost impossible to evaluate how the coach is doing good or bad with the current roster.
    Last edited by Rambos; -10-06-2007 at 12:58 AM.

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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Nick,
    I haven't been here very long so I don't know how much this means to you, but I think this was a very intelligent post that will get a lot of people thinking about where their loyalties lay with the coaching staff.I agree with this post whole-heartedly. I would like to add one thing though. You mentioned that eventually other teams starters are going to overpower our replacements. The only clear-cut case of that that I have noticed (Keep in mind that I only get to see the highlights of the games on NFL.com due to the fact that I am in Wyoming, with a large Bronco fan base) was Lenny Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton. It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now. Week one: Jackson fumbles twice. Week two: Both Torry Holt and Dante Hall both fumble on plays that had a very good chance to change the momentum in our favor. Week three: Bulger throws three interceptions. I think that this is proof that our starters didn't play enough in the preseason.

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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    I agree, and again...We need to play four quarters of football. Not 1, not 3, not two, four; week after week. That is the bottom line, and we need to adjust to the weaknesses each time gives us at half time (which we've failed to do miserably). I remember watching the Dallas game, and everytime they tried to run the ball, we basically stuffed them. This was happening all through out the first half, and after half time, they all of a sudden had a new plan: More Passing. And look what they did to us afterwards. We need to find those weaknesses they found in us. I can say for sure that I know that its a whole hell of a lot easier to find the weaknesses on the Rams than another team, but regardless, that is why we have coaches to coordinate and execute an effictive gameplan for 4 quarters.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  7. #7
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton. It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now.
    Walls would not be at corner if Hill and Brown where not out. That being said, I agree Holt,Hall and Jackson have made some costly fumbles.

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    You mentioned that eventually other teams starters are going to overpower our replacements. The only clear-cut case of that that I have noticed (Keep in mind that I only get to see the highlights of the games on NFL.com due to the fact that I am in Wyoming, with a large Bronco fan base) was Lenny Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton.
    Well I think it's also noticeable along the offensive line where we're losing battles in both pass protection and in the run game every week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now... I think that this is proof that our starters didn't play enough in the preseason.
    I just don't buy that more snaps in the preseason would have suddenly made Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, or Dante Hall protect the ball better; I certainly don't see how you can say their turnovers are proof of that. As you said, these guys are stars of this team. They shouldn't need 20-25 more snaps in preseason to remember how to carry, catch, and protect the football, especially since teams go through ball protection drills all through camp and practices.

    It's an execution and concentration issue, both in terms of how well our players are protecting the football as well as how well the opposition is attempting to strip or force turnovers.

  9. #9
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Coaching is definitely an issue, but trying to execute any type of gameplan or adjustment is going to be extremely difficult with an undermanned team in constant flux playing on razor thin margins. We're just snakebitten and until we get some bodies back and some degree of stability, things are going to be tough.

    I do think the coaching staff deserves some credit for putting the team in a position to compete despite all the obstacles, but they, along with the players on the field can do a better job limiting the mistakes.

  10. #10
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I agree in some part. Obviously we need to be playing four quarters of football, and our inability to adjust and remain competitive in the second half in some games is concerning. How much of this is coaching and lack of meaningful adjustments, I don't know. How much of this is the fact that eventually our back-ups are just not going to match the talent and ability of the opposing team's starters, I don't know either.

    That being said, such an emphasis is placed on how big the Rams have collapsed in the second half of some games, and what's being ignored is that a very beat up team is still managing to contend with everyone they play for quite a bit of the game.

    Morale victories don't change the win loss record, but they do add perspective in terms of what's really going on with this team, what our weekly preparation may be like, and how our players feel about this coach.
    Nick, I sit and and watch the games and feel pretty good going into the half as I am sure most of you guys do,but then I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half,it's like day and night, the 4th qtr of the Bucs game was like another team was on the field and also as far as morale victories with us playing two different halfs how do you think they are responding to the coach ?

  11. #11
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    So now I'm a naysayer.

    How ironic.

  12. #12
    Nick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    Nick, I sit and and watch the games and feel pretty good going into the half as I am sure most of you guys do,but then I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half,it's like day and night, the 4th qtr of the Bucs game was like another team was on the field and also as far as morale victories with us playing two different halfs how do you think they are responding to the coach ?
    I don't have a great explanation for it, jk. I think there are a number of legitimate possibilities - a lack of proper halftime adjustments, the margin between their starters going against our offensive line back-ups growing as the game wears on, our defense simply tiring as our offense can't convert and give them much of a rest. But I think the fact that the team returns every week to play hard out of the gate shows that they're responding to the coaching and are still fighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    So now I'm a naysayer.

    How ironic.
    Who called you a naysayer? And why is it ironic?

  13. #13
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    See here's the thing Nick, these loses hurt so much more because we have been in almost all these games until the end, but still found a way to blow the game. That has been my point in most of my posts. Good write up regardless.
    Last edited by mikhal5569; -10-07-2007 at 09:27 AM.

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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    The thing is we could be 2-2. We have played good at home and faltered in the 2nd half of our road games. Both road games were in the heat and humidity of Florida and Texas. It may be a lame excuse but it is a fact.

    We all know our offense isn't clicking but more than that our defense has shown a lack of focus and intensity during the 2nd half of both road games. Is that Haslett or the players or a combination of both? I think it's both. Haslett seems to back off the on the blitz calls. Is it because the players are gassed? We need to stay aggressive for the whole game. The players need to suck it up and battle through what ever it is that's affecting them.

  15. #15
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    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half
    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Is it because the players are gassed?
    I think this is a huge part of it. The offense is not sustaining drives and it's putting too much pressure on the defense, which wears down and then gets pushed around and steamrolled by the opposition in the second half.

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