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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
    RamWraith is offline Registered User
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    St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

    ST. LOUIS — Imagine the St. Louis Rams with a big, power rusher featured in a grind-it-out offense and a coach willing to call one running play after the next. The first part is a reality called Steven Jackson. The second is almost too weird to consider. And that last suggestion? Mike Martz in love with the run? Maybe next lifetime.
    But it could happen considerably sooner than that. Like now. Revolution is in the air, or on the ground. With the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson stepping in as the starting running back in place of Marshall Faulk, the Rams, with a hammer in the backfield rather than a slasher, may change their philosophy.

    "You try to take advantage of whatever your strengths are," says Martz, whose team closes out the preseason Friday night at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. "We've retooled our offensive line, and I'd love to give that ball to Steven and pound it in there and pound it in there and take our shots downfield when we feel like it. That's fun football. That means we've got control of the game."

    The Rams lacked that last season, when they were 8-8 and a wild-card playoff qualifier. They scored 319 points, down from 447 in 2003, and were held to 17 or fewer in half of their games. Their quarterbacks were sacked 50 times, the most since Martz became head coach in 2000.

    If Monday night's 37-13 preseason victory against the Detroit Lions means anything, this new model works. Jackson carried 12 times for 105 yards in the first half and finished with 14 for 108. Faulk added three carries for 22 yards in the first two quarters. The Rams ran 39 times and passed 25 on their way to 453 yards of total offense, 183 on the ground.

    "Steven can put a lot of pressure on people," Martz says. "You'll see a different type of approach offensively."

    The Rams under Martz have always thrown before they ran. Martz says he derived his philosophy in part from Norv Turner. He was on Turner's staff with the Washington Redskins in 1997-98 and says he carefully studied the way Turner, now the Oakland Raiders' head coach, attacked as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys (1991-93), when the Cowboys won consecutive Super Bowls.

    Turner, Martz says, threw the ball on 70% of the first-half snaps and ran it on 70% of the second-half plays. The rationale: "You throw the ball in the first half and they're rushing the passer, rushing the passer, and you start running the ball when you're fresh."

    The switch to Jackson as a starter was suggested by Faulk late last season. While Jackson is younger and less physically worn than Faulk, he must sharpen parts of his game to become a more complete player.

    "I'm still working on my pass routes," says Jackson, the club's No. 1 pick in 2004. "I never had to do it to this extent. In college it was a dump-off here or there. It's more intriguing here. I'm more comfortable in my blitz pickup. I feel I can block just about anyone and I'm not intimidated by any defender. I just look at it as a challenge, one on one."

    Faulk is second all-time among running backs in receptions and has always been a fine blocker. He'll get plenty of snaps in specific situations and formations while helping Jackson in whatever ways he can.

    "Our relationship is really good. It's positive. There's no strains in it," Faulk says. "And I foresee it being the same way as we go on. Coach (Martz) has done a good job of letting us know our roles so it's fairly simple and there's no complications."

    If Jackson's presence causes defenses to bring a safety down in the box and play eight up front against the run, the Rams possess the tools to loosen them up. Receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce did not go away, and the emergence of Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald— plus Faulk, who can line up in the slot — allows the Rams to spread the field and stretch it vertically.

    "This year we can get into our three- and four-receiver sets and really get in depth with them," quarterback Marc Bulger says. "We have 20 or 30 specific things for them, and I'm sure it will be even larger by the time we get to the opener against the (San Francisco) *****."

    Entering his sixth season as the Rams coach, Martz won't ever coach against his nature. He likes to score quickly. But maybe he's mellowing bit. Given a cannon, he's inclined to shoot it.

    "You have to be pragmatic in your approach," he says. "Whatever it takes to win."


  2. #2
    sprtsmac Guest

    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    "Whatever it takes to win."
    I like that attitude. It doesn't matter if its on the ground or through the air, as long as we win.

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    This year's Rams offense is as promising -- or more than -- the 2000 season.

    LET'S DO IT! ... GO RAMS!


    :angryram:

  4. #4
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    Again this game in the first quarter will test our Run D. But if we blitz like we did last game I think that we can hold them off. And who did the Chiefs pickup? I mean it was a good DE?

  5. #5
    psycho9985 Guest

    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    Even if we dont become Super this is gonna be one hell of a fun season.
    Last edited by psycho9985; -02-02-2006 at 10:24 PM.

  6. #6
    STLRAMSFAN Guest

    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    Their quarterbacks were sacked 50 times, the most since Martz became head coach in 2000.
    We are lucky Bulger is not in a wheel chair. Lets hope he stays healthy this season.

    "This year we can get into our three- and four-receiver sets and really get in depth with them," quarterback Marc Bulger says. "We have 20 or 30 specific things for them, and I'm sure it will be even larger by the time we get to the opener against the (San Francisco) *****."
    Sounds exciting I think we will have a fun year of :football: . I agree with Psycho9985 Super Bowl or Not.

  7. #7
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
    ZigZagRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    And who did the Chiefs pickup? I mean it was a good DE?
    Cheifs didn't get any help on the D-Line this offseason. They did get linebacker help with Kendrell Bell and d-back help with Sammy Knight and Patrick Surtain though.

  8. #8
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat

    The Rams Are Going To Be Alot Of Fun To Watch This Year

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