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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I am very happy with the wins in the last two weeks. The Rams have put themselves in a position to challenge for the division title if they can beat Seattle in two weeks.

    But...

    I'm not ready to return to my preseason optimism.

    Let's break it down.
    • With the return of Bulger, Bruce and Holt, the offense will be fine. I think that Jackson will continue to get carries and will be very productive in the second half of the season. The offensive line has been greatly solidified by the addition of Alex Barron, as well as the contributions of Claude Terrell.
    • The Special Teams unit has improved. The return game is still not doing much, but the major coverage snafus have been generally corrected, and Barker is doing a good job as the punter.
    • The defense - aye, there's the rub. I just don't see how this team can go very far with the defense playing the way it has. While there have been some signs of improvement in the past two weeks, particularly in forcing turnovers, I'm still VERY worried. Too many big plays given up. Too often burned by any receiver taller than 6'. Too many yards given up. Too many points given up.
    The question is... can the defense improve sufficiently in the next eight weeks to make the Rams a real contender come playoff time.

    My answer right now...

    No.

    The personnel is just not there. I like the Rams' DTs and Leonard Little is a very good player. The LBs are doing a decent job. But the defensive backfield is patchwork at best.

    Travis Fisher - disappointing. May never be more than a nickel back.

    DeJuan Groce - A pleasant surprise for the most part, but clearly can't be a No. 1 CB. A solid #2 at best.

    Corey Ivy - Feisty, but severely limited physically.

    Ron Bartell - Could be the Rams' best CB and maybe even a future #1, but he's not there yet.

    Adam Archuleta - Great playmaker; lousy in coverage. That's okay for a team with good CBs and a good FS, but, that's not the Rams.

    Mike Furrey - A nice story, but a starting NFL FS?

    Jerome Carter - A good roleplayer, but not strong enough in coverage.

    O.J. Atogwe - He is still on the team, right?

    A lot can happen in eight weeks, and I'll be happy to be wrong. But right now... I'm just not feeling "it."


  2. #2
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I disagree.

    That patchwork D has made up for mistakes by an offense led by Jamie Martin. That Patchwork D limited Fred Taylor to only 54 yards in the second half I believe, and -4 yards in the 4th quarter.

    The D is getting better each week. Bartell is getting better. Groce limited Jimmy Smith to only two catches. This is the same Jimmy Smith who destroyed the Seahawks.

    Ivy is getting better each week as well as Furrey. Arch is not great in coverage, but he makes plays and that is what the Rams need.

    The Offense has the potential to be better than we have ever seen it though. Picture this.

    -We replace Jamie Martin with Marc Bulger (A healthy Marc Bulger)

    -We slide Curtis back to the #3 spot as soon as Bruce returns. Can you imagine what he will do to those nickel backs after spending this week burning a very good CB in Rashean Mathis.

    -The O-Line is better now than at any other point during the season.

    -Jackson finally looks like he has come into his own.

    -Hedgecock looks good in run blocking, but I would like to see him used more as a receiver as well.

    This offense did a pretty good job against a very good Jacksonville defense. Just think what they can do once we actually have a QB and one of the league's best receivers back in the lineup.
    The Roman and The Prince. Playmakers until the end.


  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    Jacksonville came into the game averaging 300 yardsper game in total offense. They had 427 against the Rams' defense.

    Earnest Wilford had 117 receiving yards coming into the game. He had 145 against the Rams.

    The D's not there.

  4. #4
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    Quote Originally Posted by AV
    Earnest Wilford had 117 receiving yards coming into the game. He had 145 against the Rams.
    This is something I've been curious about. The other receivers (Jones & Smith) had minimal production, but Wilford went off the charts. As I didn't get to see the game (curse you KOLR10, Springfield, MO CBS affiliate), which corner was matched up with Wilford?
    "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

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    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I agree with Av. The D has been surprizingly bad, or mediocre. And,the O hasn't been great over the 8 game period either.

    We are, as our record indicates, an average team. Just as we expect our team to get stronger, so too other teams will get stronger.

    We still have Marmie, and he is a proven failure AFAIC.

    I started out this season very optimistically, thinking we could go to a SB. Now, I hope to be a Wildcard playoff team at best. The D has not performed well enough to expect anything more. And Seattle isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

  6. #6
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I'm not sold on the offense. Even when the starting QB comes back I think the pass happy crap needs to end and become more balanced.

    As far as the D, I am not sold on the LB's. The DL is playing great and is probably the best unit on the D. If the DL continues with solid play and the LB's improve I don't see the majorn concerns with the DB's. The current weak link on the defense, in my opinion, is the LB's.

    Keep in mind that the vaunted defenses' of the eagles and redskins were both shreaded this week in yards and points given up.




  7. #7
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I think the offense will be more balance after Jackson shown he can carry this team. He needs 20 to 25 runs per outing. He has shown nice hands on the edges he runs down hill use him!

    Holt, Bruce and Curtis will get theirs, as long as Marc is upright. With the run game and Alex this should not be a problem.

    ST has played well for us. They have helped win games lately not losing them for us.

    Front four once little is back will be fine; Green should get the start over Hargrove.

    Hargrove zero tackles again last week make the move.

    LB are not playing light out, but they don’t look soft too me,

    Claiborne 4 tackles 1 asst. 1 FF, .50 sack

    Tino 3 tackles

    Coakley 2 tackles 1 asst.

    Chillar 2 tackles

    Wahlroos 1 tackle

    Trev Faulk 1 tackle

    That is 13 tackles 1 sack and 1 FF

    28 running plays last week the LB made 46% of the stops. Not sure what you want from these guys Feter.

    Going forward we are going to have to blitz and take chances, the DB seem to get burn when we sit back and drop the LB into coverage. Lets blitz and put pressure the QB rather then sit back and die slow.

    DeJuan Groce -
    Corey Ivy -
    Ron Bartell

    They can hang if the QB does not have all day; I think we ended the game last week with a blitz. If you can’t touch the WR, you have to blitz.

    As far as the playoff, we might of gave away one game too many, the whiners loss is going to be big, if we can find a way to beat the Hawks the next four games look, like games we should win.

    Cardinals
    Texans
    Redskins : this is a home game.
    Vikings

    That would put us at 9-4…next three games Eagles, ***** and Cowboys. Two of these games are at home; we will need 2 of 3. 11- 5. Anything less might not be enough.

  8. #8
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    This is something I've been curious about. The other receivers (Jones & Smith) had minimal production, but Wilford went off the charts. As I didn't get to see the game (curse you KOLR10, Springfield, MO CBS affiliate), which corner was matched up with Wilford?
    Carter had Wilford the few times Wilford got open. The first TD by Wilford was just a fluke catch. The ball was tipped and it went into Wilford's hands.

    Carter looked very lost out there Sunday though.

  9. #9
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    28 running plays last week the LB made 46% of the stops. Not sure what you want from these guys Feter.
    Oh, I dunno....

    How about some tenacity? Some instincts? A nose for the ball? How about some pass coverage skills? How about the ability to shed or avoid engaging blocks altogether and stuffing a play or two? I've seen Green do it many times and he is not playing in space.

    Good that they made 46% of the stops. Luckily that stat does not show how far down the damn field those stops occured !!



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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    I don't think the Rams can get into the playoffs with an 8-8 record like last year. Too many teams have gotten better and healthier.

    The bar to get into the playoff starts at 10 wins for the NFC.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    shed or avoid engaging blocks altogether
    Chillar did that in last weeks game, was a great play.

    I just want these guys going after the QB and stopping the run. Let the DB cover WR and let the FS make the big hit in the secondary.

  12. #12
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    The fortunes of the Rams this year will definitely hinge on what the defense can, or can't do. I'm optimistic. The defense has never been able to settle in with the injuries, scheme changes, different coaches pulling the strings, young players trying to learn and fill in at the same time and constant pressure from turnovers and having to defend a short field.

    But despite all that, they're showing improvement, and their showing some intensity. They're becoming more opportunistic and are coming up big in some critical situations. The young guys are responding to the baptism under fire IMO, and the vets are showing more consistency.

    Are they there yet, no. Do they have to find a way to stop the multiple big plays, yes. But I think with Little coming back, the banged up guys being able to heal during the bye, continued defensive coaching improvements, and with the help of a healthy, more balanced offense, this defense might be able to pull itself together. That's my hope anyway.

  13. #13
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    From Rambos

    Cardinals
    Texans
    Redskins : this is a home game.
    Vikings
    I'll also give this team the Seattle win. Especially with Holt and Bulger back. Cardinals is a home game also isn't it? Every game in that 5 game stretch is winnable so that's 9-4 with the Eagles at home but that type of team kills us due to our secondary and McNabb's mobility. That's one I will, for the sake of argument, give a loss so 9-5. If I say the Eagle game is a L then the whiner game Christmas Eve is a W. So 10-5. That could make the Dallas game either huge or irrelevant because I think when the NFC East starts beating up on each other, someone slips to 9-7 and 7-9. I don't think Washington is all that good. Remember our year when we went 4-0 and then tanked the rest of the year? Washington is that same type of team. Dallas is doing it with mirrors. Defensively sound but where on Earth are they generating this offense? Drew Bledsoe ranked #! in the NFC in passer rating? Something doesn't give. It just doesn't smell right. Maybe I'm just not paying attention because they seem to be a solid team outside of the kicking game.

    Is Tampa for real without Griese? Hate to say this but Chris Simms can't take them there. Carolina has currently won four straight and look to be for real. They battle Atlanta twice and it wouldn't surprise me to see Carolina leap frog Atlanta. Atlanta will be there in the Wild Card slot though. That Dallas and Philly game are looming very large if we are battling for the Wild Card instead of the NFC West Champions.
    Last edited by txramsfan; -11-01-2005 at 10:17 PM.

  14. #14
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    Returning to the original thought, I find that my optimism these days is somewhat deferred.

    While I see problems that will derail the team this year, I have great hope for the future (assuming the coaching situation is worked out).

    The Rams can look forward to next year with an offensive line that will be younger and stronger than it has been in years, particularly if Incognito can compete for playing time.

    Some of the old guard, including Faulk and Bruce, might not be back, but the skill positions will still be strong with a now-established Jackson, Torry Holt still in his prime, and now-experienced Curtis and McDonald.

    On defense, if Pickett is resigned, and Hargrove can learn from his experience, the D line will be solid. The LBs are decent, though I would like to see them bolstered.

    The D backs need help, but that can be addressed in free agency and the draft. Also, with Butler returning and Bartell gaining experience, there should be improvement from within.

    This may prove to be a transitional year more than anything.

  15. #15
    STLRAMSFAN Guest

    Re: Some Surprising Pessimism From A Confirmed Optimist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferter
    Good that they made 46% of the stops. Luckily that stat does not show how far down the damn field those stops occured !!
    I must agree with you again this is exactly the problem the stat sheets don’t show how far down the field. They are not keeping records for how far they got before the LB tackles them. The other team got 221 yards rushing 7.9 yards per carry I don’t care if you don’t have a front four the LBs have to stop them sooner then they are.
    Last edited by STLRAMSFAN; -11-02-2005 at 12:52 AM.

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