Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
    RamWraith is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
    Age
    44
    Posts
    8,230
    Rep Power
    61

    Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    Monday, December 26, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Joe Vitt has been a coach in the NFL for the past 27 years. In football or any other terms, that is a long time.

    And for almost all of that time, he has specialized in one area of the game…defense. And never in those many years coaching players on the basic and not so basic principles of defense has he seen a team like the one he coaches now work harder on the basic fundamental of defense…tackling.

    “In my 27 years in the league, nobody works more on tackling than our defense has since summer camp here,” Vitt said Monday. “No team. You work on it, and work on it and work on it for ongoing skill development to help them.”

    With that many man hours put into one simple act, one would think that the Rams would excel at tackling if no other aspect of playing defense. By tackling well, a defense can make up for problems in many other areas of the game.

    But that has not been the case for this team, a team that has been consistently inconsistent with the most fundamental part of defense.

    “The amount of time and work hours we have put into tackling, we are certainly not getting any return on it,” Vitt said. “It’s very, very disappointing.”

    After another tackling debacle in a loss to San Francisco on Saturday, Vitt was in the mood to break down what exactly the problems are with tackling.

    “That is kind of like the million dollar question,” middle linebacker Trev Faulk said. “We always end up giving up one big play where someone might not have been exactly where they were supposed to be.”

    But there is much more to tackling than just being in the right place at the right time. That’s part of the game, too, but it isn’t all there is to it.

    “This game is a game of confidence, it really is,” Vitt said. “You are playing fast, you are playing quick and you are playing violent. Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence. When you have lack of confidence playing this game and you play with any hesitancy at all, you are in the wrong sport, you really are.”

    From the way the second part of the season has gone, the Rams have a few players that might be lacking in confidence. That lack of tackling has made superstars out of the likes of San Francisco’s Maurice Hicks, Philadelphia’s Ryan Moats and Washington’s Rock Cartwright, not exactly a who’s who of NFL running backs.

    “Right now, we have some guys that are playing hesitant for whatever reason,” Vitt said. “You can’t play that way. We practice it about as full speed as you can get without contact. If you don’t practice those angles and if you don’t practice your play entry and you don’t practice having the ball at the top of your shoulder and you don’t practice when you are getting to the ball carrier getting your eyes over your thighs, bent knee position and hitting through the target…if you don’t do those things all the time then you are going to get what you deserve, and some guys when they practice, we have to keep reminding them over and over and over again that this is the way you practice, this is the way you are supposed to do things.

    “You should only have to be told once and in this league you usually get what you deserve, you really do. Right now, for some guys on the defense, they are getting what they deserve.”

    While nobody is missing tackles on purpose, Vitt says he won’t question any player’s courage and says he believes the effort is still there, the fact is the missed tackles are piling up.

    On Frank Gore’s 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, free safety Mike Furrey was run over and dragged into the end zone after a number of other Rams whiffed on the tackle. On Gore’s game-winning 30-yard scamper, the group had some shots at Gore before he broke free.

    And though the players missing those tackles feel bad, at the end of the day they still have to be held accountable.

    “It’s too late at halftime to say my bad, I’m sorry, my fault; it’s on me, my bad. It’s too late. It’s over,” Vitt said. “For some of these guys, some of our players, some of my players, that are consistently missing tackles, and overrunning plays and not breaking down at the point, those are all on film. I said this a couple weeks ago, they can be absolutely catastrophic to one’s career because it’s the basic staple of a defensive player is the ability to tackle. At all positions, not just at defensive tackle, not just at linebacker, at all positions. This is a contact sport.”

    There hasn’t been enough contact for the Rams this season, either. As it stands, they are tied for 30th in the league in run defense, allowing 141.4 yards per game heading into Monday night’s game between the Patriots and Jets. St. Louis sits at the bottom of the league in yards allowed per carry, giving up 4.9 yards per attempt.

    After an offseason intended to boost the defense, particularly against the run, it seems none of those moves have paid off as anticipated. Entering the final game of the year at 5-10, this season hasn’t gone the way the Rams want. And in Vitt’s mind, it all goes back to one simple essential to playing defense.

    “I think the main reason we have struggled this year and we have talked about it for about the last six weeks is our tackling,” Vitt said. “It’s just plain and simple. In my opinion, tackling is nothing more than angles and timing. It’s there for the world to see. There’s the ball carrier, there’s the goal line, tackle the ball carrier. It’s been horrendous. It is mind boggling.”

    MARTIN STARTIN’ AGAIN: There will be no quarterback controversy or suspense this week. After Jamie Martin threw for 354 yards against the ***** last week, Vitt readily named him the starter for the season finale against Dallas.

    “Absolutely,” Vitt said. “I thought Jamie really played well. He had the two interceptions which we just can’t have, but Jamie all day long gave us a chance to win the game. At one point we are up 20-7 and he’s rockin’ and rollin’ and he’s got a good pocket presence, he is reading the coverage, the ball is coming live off his arm, he has them in and out of the huddle, playing with a lot of poise. He’ll be our starter. I’m really proud of him but he has to cut back on the interceptions.”

    FOURTH AND ONE DONE: The Rams have been open to going for it on fourth and short since Vitt took the reins as head coach. Against Philadelphia two weeks ago, the Rams went for it on fourth-and-1 and were stopped in Eagles’ territory.

    This week, St. Louis went for it again on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter while nursing a 20-17 lead. Martin handed off the Steven Jackson, who was ran to the left side with Madison Hedgecock taking to the outside for a seal block.

    Left tackle Orlando Pace and left guard Claude Terrell got to their men, but Brandon Manumaleuna’s man beat him inside. Andy McCollum battled in the middle, but it was linebacker Derek Smith who went untouched from the backside to make the play and stuff Jackson for a 1-yard loss. It appeared that right guard Adam Timmerman was supposed to get to Smith after chipping on Bryant Young. But Timmerman had a long way to go and Smith seemed ready to run to the side as soon as the play began.

    “We didn’t get the backside cut off,” Vitt said. “We just didn’t block ‘em. We didn’t give our ball carrier a chance. It’s very disappointing.”

    Vitt challenged the offensive line to be more aggressive and physical last week then gave it an opportunity to prove itself by going for it on fourth down.

    “Our offensive line, you all asked me last week at practice how they practiced, I thought they had an excellent practice,” Vitt said. “I said that the telltale would be how they did in the game. We did a great job of pass protecting. They gave us a lot of different looks, but we are still struggling running the ball. I believe our pad level is too high, I think we are not getting to the second level, we are not finishing blocks, we are not defining a hole for the ball carrier. If you put that challenge out there to the offensive line and the character players we have on the offensive line, I thought that would have been a great defining moment for us on fourth and 1 and get it over the top. But it didn’t happen.”


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is online now Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Kentucky
    Age
    40
    Posts
    13,592
    Rep Power
    145

    Re: Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitt
    Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence. When you have lack of confidence playing this game and you play with any hesitancy at all, you are in the wrong sport, you really are.”
    And that really does sum it up, doesn't it? For two years now, HESITANCY is the word that defines this defense. They don't act....they react.
    This week, St. Louis went for it again on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter while nursing a 20-17 lead. Martin handed off the Steven Jackson, who was ran to the left side with Madison Hedgecock taking to the outside for a seal block.

    Left tackle Orlando Pace and left guard Claude Terrell got to their men, but Brandon Manumaleuna’s man beat him inside. Andy McCollum battled in the middle, but it was linebacker Derek Smith who went untouched from the backside to make the play and stuff Jackson for a 1-yard loss. It appeared that right guard Adam Timmerman was supposed to get to Smith after chipping on Bryant Young. But Timmerman had a long way to go and Smith seemed ready to run to the side as soon as the play began.
    And while we're defining, this pretty much states the situation of our run blocking. Pace is Pace. Terrell & Hedgecock look solid, even as rookies. McCollum is hanging on, but not getting any younger. Timmerman just doesn't have the fuel to get the job done anymore. Manu is a waste of oxygen.
    "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

  3. #3
    general counsel's Avatar
    general counsel is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    atlanta, georgia
    Age
    52
    Posts
    5,607
    Rep Power
    82

    Re: Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    sign granny bison and waive manu. better hands for sure, and a lot tougher as well.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    57
    Posts
    9,221
    Rep Power
    108

    Re: Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    IMO tackling is mind set. A player has to play every play with a killer instinct. As has been said all year long the RAMS need to play SMASH MOUTH football especially on the defensive side of the ball.

    :clanram:

  5. #5
    talkstoangels61's Avatar
    talkstoangels61 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Age
    53
    Posts
    954
    Rep Power
    11

    Re: Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    i see Andy getting pushed around a awful lot as well!

  6. #6
    talkstoangels61's Avatar
    talkstoangels61 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Age
    53
    Posts
    954
    Rep Power
    11

    Re: Tackling a Fundemental Problem

    When players try to tackle high it uasually means that they are scared of the collision! We havent had a true hitter in a long time like Tby wright and the kid who followed!.....I'm forgetful in my old age!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •