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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    The one thing that I never understood about the philosophy utilized under the Martz regime was the combination of an ultra-aggressive, quick-strike offense with a relatively passive, bend-but-don't-break defense.

    That simply makes no sense.

    If your offense has the ability to score quickly and frequently, it would seem logical that you'd want that offense to get the ball as many times as possible in the course of a game. To accomplish that goal, it stands to reason that you would employ an attacking defense that puts a premium on blitzing the QB and forcing turnovers. While that style of defense creates a risk of giving up big plays, that risk is worth taking if your offense is one that generally has the advantage in a "shootout" scenario.

    My hope is that this will change under the new Linehan/Haslett regime (or "Lineslett" for short).

    The Rams will do well to maintain an aggressive offensive style (though, perhaps, a bit more run-oriented) and at the same time be VERY aggressive on defense.

    The result? More forced turnovers = more possessions = ball control = more scoring = less points allowed = MORE WINS!!!


  2. #2
    AugustaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    If we saw the "bend but don't break" defense the last couple years, I would hate to see high risk defense (at least under the Marmie regime). The D gave up way too many big plays.

    Under Haslett, the story may be different. I think the Haslett D will apply enough pressure to get the O on the field more often.

    Plus, with a high risk offense, prone to the turnover, the bend but ..... defense even had less applicability. Again, this was the old brian trust.

    It will be interesting to see the Linelett influence. - Agreed!

  3. #3
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    I can see the Haslehan regime having an opposite approach to Martz, with the offense maybe taking a slower, more run orientated approach and more passes to the TE, while the defense takes a more attacking approach, with more blitzing and strong man to man coverage in the secondary.

  4. #4
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    I think we did have an emphasis on turnovers for a while under the Martz regime. I liked that about Lovie. Remember how we led the league in turnovers in 2003? Here's an excerpt from a KFFL article following that season:
    The Rams were one of the best fantasy defenses last season. They attack from all over the place and can get to the ball in the blink of an eye. Their secondary is combined of youth and veteran experience that allows them to take calculated risks and come up big. Their LB corps returns for the most part and they do have the speed to run from sideline-to-sideline. They allowed 17.38 offensive points and 334 total yards per game while recording 42 sacks (2.63 per game), 46 takeaways (2.88 per game) and 5 TDs.
    We went on to literally drop from first to last in turnovers in 2004 (Marmie's first year). I couldn't stand that Marmie "read-and-relax" defense.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what Haslett does, though. I may have said this before, but I think a more aggressive defense should be particularly effective against the QBs we face in the division. The one thing you should never do against Warner is give him lots of time, and conventional wisdom dictates that you always throw more blitzes at rookie QBs until they prove they can react to the speed of the game. I'd apply the same principle to Alex Smith until he has shown more poise. Hasselbeck has gotten better about it, but he used to make some awful decisions under pressure.

  5. #5
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    That scenario changed after 1999 when the players like Faulk, Bruce, Holt, Pace and Warner requested something that everyone seems to like in this world: M O N E Y!

    Not sure it was all Martz or not, but the reason for the bend but don't break defense was the offense was garnering all the cash. I blame your scenario Av on the front office just as much as Martz

  6. #6
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    well put TX, that's another Beer I need to buy you. One day we gonna down a keg!!!!!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  7. #7
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    That scenario changed after 1999 when the players like Faulk, Bruce, Holt, Pace and Warner requested something that everyone seems to like in this world: M O N E Y!

    Not sure it was all Martz or not, but the reason for the bend but don't break defense was the offense was garnering all the cash. I blame your scenario Av on the front office just as much as Martz
    While the disproportionate spending on offensive talent certainly impacted the defense, I don't think it dictated the philosophy. In fact, if a team is forced to play with young, athletic (though, perhaps, unrefined) players on defense, an attacking style is a good idea.

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    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    While the disproportionate spending on offensive talent certainly impacted the defense, I don't think it dictated the philosophy.
    I agree with Av. I spent some time thinking about his first post going back and forth in my mind with it and I think his point was very strong.

    That leads me to think that Martz was inept when it came to defense. He probably wanted to only think about the offense, and let the thinking about defense be done by someone else. He had Lovie who had his pros and cons. Lovie left so Martz did the easy thing and brought in an old friend. A friend with a poor record.

    Bad on Martz for that bonehead move.

    If I remember right, many of the discussions about Martz were never really that he was a zero, rather that he could have done so much better with what he had. His record speaks for itself, and it is a very good record, but coulda, shoulda, woulda.....

    How the mighty are fallen.
    sigh.

  9. #9
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    I'm not too sure about this approach. I've been thinking about this ever since Haslett was hired. Thank you Avenger for being the professional catalyst that you are and bringing this topic up - I've hesitated to put it into words, but here goes.

    Linehan has vowed to be aggressive on both sides of the ball, something I admire because it takes guts, each side trusting the other that their aggressiveness will be well thought out with those high-risk plays called at the right times.

    In Pittsburgh, Bill Cowher has long been successful with his philosophy of an ultra-aggressive blitzing defense countered with a ball-controlling, run-first offense. It seems to be a good combination. To flip that over, the Colts have been winning with an ultra-aggressive offense complemented with Dungy's Cover-2 bend-but-don't-break defense. In 2001, Martz seemed right on target with the same idea and Lovie Smith running the defensive show. The next guy hired (not worth mentioning his name) was one huge mistake.

    A conservative defense focuses on speed and tackling, taking what the offense gives them but stopping them right on contact. The idea is that you can continually prevent the big play and force the offense into a dink and dunk scenario - and with many more plays being run and the offense wearing down, a mistake (turnover) will eventually be made. This eats up the clock while still creating turnovers and takes advantage of the offense's quick-strike early lead. This idea came to fruition with the Rams' (although brief) NFL-leading takeaways, which beautifully offset the offense's huge turnover numbers.

    Now with a new offensive and defensive philosophy, we are faced with many questions that won't be answered until the season comes. Is Linehan focused on running a high-octane offense that likes to take shots downfield and challenge the defense, while running with power to keep them honest? Or will he be what most Martz-haters have hoped for - a run-first, dink to the fullback/H-back, dunk to the tight end, with a quick slant/out to Holt/Bruce every once in a while?

    On the defensive side, Haslett has always emphasized physicality and a no-fear mentality, no doubt about that. The optimistic theory is that with this attacking style, turnovers will become the norm. Without looking up the stats, I've always though Haslett's defenses have been average with their takeaway numbers. While it's fun and popular to try to force the opponent into mistakes by dictating the play (not just bending/taking what they give us) with blitzing from all angles and 'keeping them on their toes,' I don't believe it's as consistent as we would hope. By sending guys on a blitz, that leaves the secondary (as well as running lanes) wide open for easy picking, as long as the quarterback is able to get his read in quickly and can make the right call. This kind of philosophy on defense leads to big plays on both sides, depending on the caliber of players and the timing of plays called. I'm not sure we have the right players just yet to keep up the consistency.

    This combination, though left wide open at this point with a bunch of question marks as far as to what sort of offense we're going to run combined with the 4-3/3-4 mix on defense, is a dangerous one. Gutsy, and I love it, but very risky. I'm in favor of being as aggressive as possible on both sides of the ball. If executed perfectly, it would result in huge blowouts with ESPN highlights on both sides of the ball. But with a new coaching staff and plenty of new players, we can expect some mistakes, and with this offensive/defensive philosophy, in my opinion it'll be a rollercoaster ride giving us either:

    -Pounding runs mixed with short throws to the TEs & deep passes to the WRs, while the defense gains some hard-hitting sacks and picks off the wild-duck-ball throws... or

    -The offense being too aggressive at the wrong times, resulting in turnovers while the defense continually gives up the big play due to botched blitzes.

    Ball control is usually a big part of either the defensive or offensive side of a team. Linehan looks to buck the trend and go aggressive on both sides and hoping for the best. I personally appreciate this approach, but it will probably result in a lot of blowouts or shootouts going both ways, especially in the early years of this new era.

    Now you people see why I don't post so much. Mine are just too damn long when I get into it.

    Ram on. :ramlogo:
    Last edited by evil disco man; -07-27-2006 at 02:04 AM.

  10. #10
    chiguy's Avatar
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    I agree that it would be nice to see our defense create more opportunities, but the thing that always bugged me was not the scheme so much as the poor fundamentals -- bad angles, poor tackling technique, dropped interceptions, no reads, etc. Given our lack of fundamentals, we probably should've tried to pressure the opponent into making more mistakes.

    All that said, I think the list of things I hope change is a lot longer than what AV mentioned:

    1. I'd like to see a return game again. Martz never understood how important Tony Horne was to our SB run. We got important scores/runs from Horne at key junctures.

    2. A better mix of running and passing. I'm very tired of the offense being predictible. I don't think we were very hard to defend the last couple of years even though we had a talent advantage on offense. Martz just kept insisting that we try to execute better and gave up the key advantage every offense has over defense -- unpredictibility.

    3. Ball protection. I'm OK with an aggressive offense. I'm even OK with some turnovers in the spirit of keeping a defense on its heels. But you just can't consistently turn the ball over as much as the Rams did the last few years and win games. Martz never tried to fix this problem and publicly stated he didn't care. Well, he was wrong.

    4. Protection for the QB. Martz goes through QBs like I go through a bag of Dorritos. And it's just as ugly to see the result too. This needs to be a more consistent concern in the draft too, as OLs are better built than bought.

    5. Good players on ST. Game after game we would cede momentum to other teams by giving up big run backs after scoring. At other times, it just hurt us even more by putting our mediocre defense in an even worse spot.

    6. Eliminating stupid penalties. How many defensive offsides penalties did we have last year? False starts? Illegal hits? A lot of these penalties were from a lack of discipline. How many times do you let a guy line-up offsides before you fine him for it or making him run until he gets the point -- don't put your fat bottom in the neutral zone before the snap.

    I'm sure I can think of more, but this is it for now. The one thing that drove me nuts about Martz was not that we made mistakes under him, but that we kept making the same ones time and time again. At a minimum, I expect to see us making new mistakes this year or losing because our talent has declined, not because we just keep doing the same thing over and over.

  11. #11
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: The thing Martz always got wrong, that I hope "Lineslett" gets right.

    Case in point on the defense for Martz. We can all agree that the 2000 rendition of the Rams defense was a far cry from the 1999 version. What did Martz do? Blew the whole thing up and started over. What happened? The next year the Rams went to the Super Bowl.

    Poor draft selection hurt this team also. I believe Arch was a HUGE bust as was DLew. Pickett was serviceable but he didn't come on until late. Everyone makes a big stink about Martz taking Crouch in the third round but nobody makes the same stink about the front office BOMBING on three first round draft picks in the same draft.

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