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Thread: Some Week 2 Thoughts

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    Some Week 2 Thoughts

    -It was a tale of two halves for Bradford; he looked hesitant in the first half and confident in the second. I like the bounce-back to help keep this game within reach, but I feel he had some trouble today seeing the entire field.

    -Richardson had a solid day - 15 touches and 80 total yards. I would have liked to see more production on the ground, but that's hard to accomplish when you go down early. It was nice to see Pead on the field, and he had some nice moves at times. Hopefully he builds on that confidence.

    -Tavon Austin had a nice second game of his career. He had one bad third down drop, but his two touchdown grabs were fantastic. It was nice to see the Rams mix him into the backfield, where he gained 7 yards as a rusher.

    -Too many drops by the receivers, but like Bradford, they also settled down in the second half. Givens quietly broke the 100 yard mark, Pettis showed why he's still starting, but even Quick got in the mix with a nice catch and run. Cook was pretty quiet today; did the Falcons focus on shutting him down?

    -They weren't awful, but I wasn't particularly impressed by the offensive line either. Saffold once again goes down with injury. He simply can't be in the Rams' long term plans at this point. I know some people don't believe in someone being "injury prone" by Rodger is going to test that belief.

    -Two sacks on Ryan by the defensive line, both Quinn and Long seemed active and I'm sure Ryan would tell you off the record he wasn't as comfortable as he would have liked to be back there. Am I reading the box score right - the Rams allowed less than 2.5 ypc on the ground? Nice work.

    -Ogletree was around the ball a lot today, but I don't think Laurinaitis or Witherspoon really stood out. James' most memorable moment was failing to cover the fullback on the game-sealing play action pass to end the game.

    -If he continues to play like he has through two weeks, I would not be surprised if the Rams opt to not pick up Cortland Finnegan's $3 million roster bonus next year and find themselves a new starting corner opposite of Jenkins. He's definitely not playing like a $10-million-per corner right now.

    -I think Rodney McLeod quietly had a nice game. He had seven tackles, and seemed to be aggressive coming up to make a tackle or in run support. I wouldn't be surprised if he held onto the starting job once Stewart was back and healthy.

    -Penalties and miscues... ugh. This is a young team and they're going to make mistakes. One positive to take away from that is here they were, still in the game until the last minute or two. Imagine what they'll be able to do when they put this behind them and play a cleaner game. There is talent here, so now the coaching staff needs to shape it.


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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    I'm also not completely sold on Schottenheimer's playcalling at this point. I wanna like him, and, of course, because of the situation we had ourselves in being down a few TDs, it's hard to re-establish the run game, but I digress. I think we played phenomenally towards the end, for the most part, but sometimes I'm scratching my head at the plays being called at times. Perhaps, as this team matures, things will start to gel more.


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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Great observations Nick! I too was wondering where JL was all day and only noticed him on the play he failed to break up on the game sealing play. Also agree with you on your assessment of Bradford first half was Deer in Headlights and 2nd half was a little more Eye Of The Tiger. All the other miscues a re all about a young football team learning to play in this league. And yes Finny better step up.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    I am also not impressed with Schotty's playcalling in situations where we either just got at turnover or a stop on defense. He is just too vanilla. Or perhaps could it be that none of our WR's are game- changers? Maybe lack of faith?

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Very nice write up Nick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -It was a tale of two halves for Bradford; he looked hesitant in the first half and confident in the second. I like the bounce-back to help keep this game within reach, but I feel he had some trouble today seeing the entire field.
    I would agree that he failed to see some open receivers, but his biggest problem continues to be getting passes batted. He's got to get that under control.

    That said, he battled through the adversity and finished with a pretty good overall game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -Tavon Austin had a nice second game of his career. He had one bad third down drop, but his two touchdown grabs were fantastic. It was nice to see the Rams mix him into the backfield, where he gained 7 yards as a rusher.
    Tavon is beginning to get it, in a hurry. The one area he's not getting it yet, is punt returns. He needs to make better decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -Too many drops by the receivers, but like Bradford, they also settled down in the second half. Givens quietly broke the 100 yard mark, Pettis showed why he's still starting, but even Quick got in the mix with a nice catch and run. Cook was pretty quiet today; did the Falcons focus on shutting him down?
    I counted 4 flat out drops, which isn't as bad as I thought, but I agree, too many. It's great to see Pettis getting into the mix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -They weren't awful, but I wasn't particularly impressed by the offensive line either. Saffold once again goes down with injury. He simply can't be in the Rams' long term plans at this point. I know some people don't believe in someone being "injury prone" by Rodger is going to test that belief.
    I wasn't overly impressed either, but you can't argue with zero sacks. As far as Saffold, my opinion that he is injury prone seems to be confirmed every week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -Ogletree was around the ball a lot today, but I don't think Laurinaitis or Witherspoon really stood out. James' most memorable moment was failing to cover the fullback on the game-sealing play action pass to end the game.
    Ogletree started off shaky in coverage, but settled down and ended up with a team high 8 tackles. The coverage by JLau on that pass to seal the deal was disapppoi9nting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -If he continues to play like he has through two weeks, I would not be surprised if the Rams opt to not pick up Cortland Finnegan's $3 million roster bonus next year and find themselves a new starting corner opposite of Jenkins. He's definitely not playing like a $10-million-per corner right now.
    His play is a mystery. I really hope he gets his stuff together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -Penalties and miscues... ugh. This is a young team and they're going to make mistakes. One positive to take away from that is here they were, still in the game until the last minute or two. Imagine what they'll be able to do when they put this behind them and play a cleaner game. There is talent here, so now the coaching staff needs to shape it.
    The penalties are KILLERS. Young guys as well as vets need to show some discipline, and Fisher needs to follow through with his promise to clean them up.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    I'm also not completely sold on Schottenheimer's playcalling at this point.
    I agree, and especially dislike those quick pass fake draw plays. Do those ever work? Seem like a waste of downs to me.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Agree with Nick's assessments. A tale of two halves pretty much sums it up. Kudos to the Rams for battling back and showing some spirit, but you can't spot a team like the Falcons 21 points on the road and expect good things to happen. Another INT return for a TD against us. A ton of 1st half penalties. Not good enough.

    Certainly there were individual positives-Givens, Austin, Quinn, Bradford to name several, but we have to be much, much better if we're going to entertain thoughts of the playoffs and have a season we can be proud of.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    I'm also not completely sold on Schottenheimer's playcalling at this point. I wanna like him, and, of course, because of the situation we had ourselves in being down a few TDs, it's hard to re-establish the run game, but I digress. I think we played phenomenally towards the end, for the most part, but sometimes I'm scratching my head at the plays being called at times. Perhaps, as this team matures, things will start to gel more.
    My guess is that #1 Shotty's play calling has been dumbed-down for the relatively young players with whom he's working. However, I find Shotty's play-calling very dumb at times also. I recall when he came here there was some buzz from his former 'employees' about his play-calling ability. Time will tell I suppose and the Rams are a young team who last year would have been blown out. They came back, realizing of course that in the NFL when a team is ahead they go into the 'infamous' prevent defense, which sometimes prevents them from winning. Today it didn't and the Rams showed a no quit attitude that may serve them well going forward.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    -Penalties and miscues... ugh. This is a young team and they're going to make mistakes. One positive to take away from that is here they were, still in the game until the last minute or two. Imagine what they'll be able to do when they put this behind them and play a cleaner game. There is talent here, so now the coaching staff needs to shape it.

    Alot of what we saw during the preseason has carried over into the regular season. Too bad they couldn't just flip the switch like so many thought they could. Much of what we are seeing on defense is reminiscent of that vanilla defense of the preseason. Right now, I hate this defense!

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Informative assessment Nick. I agree with your comments despite only catching the game via Red Zone. Is Saffold's injury serious, did he come back to play and if not who replaced him? I second your opinion that we need a more durable player at his spot. I also second your opinion on Finnegan. He has been unimpressive throughout the pre-season an the last 2 games. Further, he makes costly mistakes with penalties that prevent our defense from getting off the field. I think Johnson or McGee will be seriously considered for a starting role next year unless we draft or sign via FA a stud CB.

    As I said on the game thread, despite hating to lose, there is no shame in losing to a Super Bowl contender in their house. Hopefully we learned something in this loss. We also let the league know, a large lead isn't safe against us. Next week will be an important game as we may compete for a Wild Card spot with the Cowboys.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Excellent post, fair and accurate.

    Hopefully this game will serve as a tough experience, a learning experience from which the Rams will keep learning and improving, coaches included. Indeed, that 4th quarter drive proved what we are capable of -- and we know there is even more power potential in our engine! Must filter those penalties, etc. Defense too, they have to do a special assignment on film study and regroup!

    I did not watch the game but did follow it on NFL Game Center; was exasperated by the incompletions but then learned about the dropped passes here and there. Again, 4th Qtr Rams almost came back. Bradford can play well, produce.

    Next game, next game.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Sam's progressions are to look at one WR for a few seconds and then throw it to him or dump-off. There is no WR 2 or WR3 in this offense. I was thinking during the game how Martz would never have a Sam Bradford as a QB. Then, I also remembered how no NFL team wants to have Martz on their coaching staff either

    Not down on Bradford, but he's more of a caretaker QB who happens to earn a ton of money and his ROI ain't that good. The first half, he looked like a scarred Marc Bulger out there even though the Coons weren't really putting the heat on him. He was checking-down almost instantly and that's why he hasn't been sacked in two games...he unloads in a real hurry and gives up quickly on the play.

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Consider this...

    Sam Bradford's first half QB rating was 54.5. In the second half, his passer rating was 108.5.

    Before anyone loses it, obviously the drops and the deflected INT played a big (the biggest?) part in that first half stat. But any honest observer would admit that Bradford's penchant for checkdowns over finding his better weapons downfield did as well; if you take away the 47-yard strike to Givens in the first half, Bradford would have been 11/20 for a measly 77 yards. Richardson led the team at the half with five targets, but would give way to 12-target Austin and 11-target Pettis by game's end. In the second half, Bradford improved his YPA average by nearly an entire yard (significantly more if you think about what his first half YPA would have been without the Givens bomb).

    I think it's clearly impossible to blame Bradford for the outcome of his pass to Richardson, the one Daryl should have caught but instead was deflected and intercepted. That's out of his hands and on the receiver. However, what I will critique Bradford for when it came to that play was the fact that Fox's All-22 replay revealed a wide open receiver in the intermediate middle of the field that Sam didn't see as he instead opted to check down. And though Bradford's stats will unfairly credit him with that INT, karma perhaps paid him back later in the game as a Falcons defender whiffed on a gimme interception in the red zone on a poor throw to Givens on third down.

    So yeah, while Sam wasn't getting much help, he also wasn't having a good game in the first half. For Sam to come back after the half and put up the kind of performance he did, that says a lot about the guy. I think in the past, this team would have folded under the weight of what they faced. But I think it speaks for the leadership of this team - specifically at the quarterback position - that they did not give up and they continued to fight. Bradford looked sharp and confident in the second half. He hit receivers in stride and got the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He helped remind fans who were baffled in the preseason why Austin Pettis is starting on this team. He showed great chemistry with Tavon Austin on two touchdown passes, and continued to have faith in the Mountaineer even after a bad drop on Austin's part on a third down pass. Aside from some tipped passes, Bradford looked very much in control of the situation in the second half.

    Had the defense been able to shut out the Falcons instead of allowing that final touchdown, or heck had Richardson held onto the ball or just knocked it to the ground, we may be looking at a different outcome. For us to be able to say that about the Rams when they're facing a team that's been an annual championship contender, on top of the context of all the other mistakes, penalties, and miscues we saw on the field, I think as a fan I'm left disappointed in the result of this game but optimistic about the long-term picture that is being supported here. Because, to reaffirm something I touched upon in the original post, imagine what this team will be capable of doing when they finally eliminate these mistakes and these young guys get some experience under their belt. If they're able to compete with very good teams down to the wire while not at all playing their best game, it'll be fun to see what they do when their best game finally rolls around.
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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    Excellent points Nick.

    For Sam to come back after the half and put up the kind of performance he did, that says a lot about the guy.
    I absolutely look forward to an improved Rams passing game. With each game too!

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    Re: Some Week 2 Thoughts

    After just two games, I've seen pretty much what I expected... I'm not concerned with the offense or the play calling at this point like some of you. It's just too easy to second guess play calling after the fact. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20.

    My problem is the defense.

    It's not putting enough pressure on the QB's, and the secondary play has been abysmal. Jenkins and Finnegan are a liability so far. I guess I don't understand the defensive philosophy. They're seemingly content on rushing four and playing a soft zone, but they're inviting quick short passes in front of that soft zone, while getting no pressure on the QB because it's almost pitch and catch. How about challenging the receivers a little?

    But all-in-all, I expected a lot of mistakes from the rookies and some tentative play and that's what we're getting in the first half. Only after the team gets down does it seem to focus and play with a purpose. If this team can win one of the next two games, and be at 2-2, I'll consider that a win.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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