JavaScript must be enabled to use this chat software. Tuesday Edition... Saints @ Rams.........(long)

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  1. #1
    Coach_Largent Guest

    Tuesday Edition... Saints @ Rams.........(long)

    Rams fans.... this is the first in my weekly posts that I do for the upcomong weekend. This is just to offer the game from another perspective. I always enjoy going to the enemy forums and checking out the different takes on the game. It is not intended as smack, that is what smack boards are for. I watch tapes of just about every game that I can get my hands on, and between myself and 2 other coaching friends we usually tape 8-10 games a week. Take it as it is.

    So, here we are as little as 3 weeks ago this looked like a possible clash between NFC elite. The battle for NFC West ( and NFC ) supremacy. It has turned into a wild-card hopeful vs. a Super Bowl expectant. Is this realistic ?
    Yes and no. The season is still very early, the inevitable injury bug is starting to hit every team in the league and many team fortunes will be won or lost by undrafted or unheralded young back-ups and grizzled veterans hanging on for one more season as back-ups. That being said, the Rams are playing very well. The improvement in speed on D is evident and they force teams out of their normal gameplans early, in effect, not having defend near as much field or scheme, think of it as defensive offense.

    So what can we expect ? Depends on what New Orleans team shows up and how big the loss of both Willie Roaf, to injury, and Aaron Brooks missing confidence are.

    Let's take a look at the Rams. The first question is, "Are they vulnerable and where ?" The answer came in the most suprising tape of all. The Detroit Lion game. I watched this Monday night tilt live and remember James Stewart taking the Lions straight down the field only to have Batch throw that pass to I don't even know who , for an INT. When watching on tape, I found something WAY more interesting. Stewart got almost all of his yardage (6.8 ypc ) straight up the middle. A-gap.When the Lions ran the stretch or slide plays off-tackle, the Rams swarmed them with LB's and Little off of the backside. Lots of speed. So, my objective was clear, watch the other 5 games and see where guys got yards. Lo and behold the Jets blowout gave me these numbers ( Curtis Martin 4.5, LaMont Jordan 8.5, and Richie Anderson 6.5 ypc ) 9 (of 24) rushes inside the OG's and a 74 % of their rushing yardage on these carries. LaMont Jordan had good success up the gut. The Dolphins and Chan Gailey never went away from the stretch and Smith was bottled up all day by a fast, aggresive defense that was unconcerned with Fiedler.
    So, what does this give the Saints? A liltte hope. The Saints can be effective running the football UP THE GUT. The Rams D is fast and it does hit, and it is improved, so the running game will have to come right up the middle, although I am interested in seeing a team run the counter tre' right at L.Little. Seems like you could take his upfield speed and the pursuit of the LB's and use it against them by trapping him upfield. So, why haven't we seen someone beat the Rams this way ?? One word. A big one ..........
    I watched all of these teams have some success running the ball up the middle of the Rams, I have seen teams complete high %'s of passes vs. the Rams, and then they all go away from it. ( All but the 9ers actually ). Teams become psyched out by a quick score or the Rams answering and start the shotgun " gotta do something to keep up " and take themselves right out of the game.
    In the 9ers game you saw the one thing that is separating the Rams from the rest of the pack right now. Holding on to a lead. How did they do it ? Well, the 9ers were on fire late, and the Rams got the ball back with 6:35 on the clock. Enter the running game. The front 4 of the 9ers were not able to stand up to the pounding running game late after rushing the passer all game. For all of the media's talk of the "quick strike" capabilites of this offense and the basketball on grass playbook, the most impressive drive I saw from all six games didn't even yeild points. The Rams ran 10 TIMES and threw 2 short ( high % ) passes to move the chains , move the clock and ran all 6 + minutes off of the clock. Even though the 9 ers had timeouts AND momentum. Very Impressive.

    Keys to the game are simple.
    Contain the RB ( Faulk or Canidate ) , you can give them some yards, just don't miss tackles.
    Pressure Warner. He has taken a LOT of hits this year.A Lot, ask a Ram fan, I still can't figure out why he was in the Lions gaem after the 3rd qtr !!!!!!!! In the Lions game he was sacked but once , but sent to the ground OFTEN. We all know about the Giants putting pressure on him as did the 9ers. If you can knock him around, as with any QB, you can help your DB's vs. the deep ball, and maybe create turnovers. Look for some pressure from the DT's as the Lions, Dolphins,and 9ers were able to get upfield pressure from the DT's.
    Stay in the gameplan. If the Rams get up by 17, don't go 5 wide shot-gun ..... stay in your plan. The 9ers did it, and had a good amount of success against the D in the second half. They are fast , but they are small, so try to keep them on the field and push right at them.
    Make tackles. The Rams have playmakers. They are going to be open and they are going to get yards. Don't give them any extra. Play physical, but make the play above all else.
    NO TURNOVERS in the kicking game.The punt return team is like a circus, and at this point, I'd like them to just put Kevin Mathis back there and let him field the punts. Duece is not capable, and turning the ball over deep will get you beat, ask the Eagles.
    Keep RW involved in all phases of the offense. Every week, this one is true. 30 + touches means a beaten down defense.
    Use Willie Jackson's big frame on the slant. The Rams like to use A.Archuleta as a rover on first downs and in short yardage, he is not strong in coverage, so use motion to get Willie the oppurtunity to take advantage of the space created by Archuleta being near the LOS. He will be up to try and contain RW !!
    Get Aaron out of the pocket to get him more comfortable, and to slow the fast but undersized DE's rush upfield. Get him outside of contain EARLY ( as in the first drive!!! )to put pressure on the DE to CONTAIN, not just rush.
    Get the ball down filed at least twice a qtr. Use play-action in max protect and get the ball over the top to Horn and/or Connell. Force the Rams into making a play on the ball. Williams will probably lock up on Horn most of the day and this should be a good battle.
    Utilize Cleeland. Chad Lewis and Anthony Becht had good success finding open space above Fields, use this to get the LB's and AA off the LOS a bit, to give RW space.
    So, what does all this mean, really ??
    Simple, we have to play football up to the capability of our personnell, we haven't played that way for 4 quarters in any game yet, so .........

    Rams 34
    Saints 23

    Here's to hoping I'm wrong .......
    I'll be back to talk about specific match-ups later in the week ............
    Last edited by Coach_Largent; -10-23-2001 at 10:18 AM.

  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Hmmm, interesting...

    Coach Largent, impressive analysis - very interesting, especially regarding the running strategy against the Rams.

    As you said, here's hoping you're wrong too --about the score, that is-- take 6 points away from Aints. Thanks.

    GO RAMS!!!

  3. #3
    Coach_Largent Guest

    Thank you Jorge .....'s an interesting note on the game. I don't think Ricky Williams has ever suited up against the Rams. Ditka ran him into submission in year one and last years broken ankle was in week 10. We played all three with you guys after that.

    Weird .....

  4. #4
    RammStein Guest
    interesting note

  5. #5
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Smile NICE

    You have a very nice reading piece of work coach....


    What makes you different from an NFL coach? Don't you think every coach in the NFL has thought of the same thing and just can't seem to accomplish the task. I have been hearing the same thing from many "coaches" but it doesn't seem to work.

    I like your ideas and thoughts, but I really think the Rams make great adjustments through out the game and seem to pick any stratagys opposing coaches can dish out. Couple things to note.

    1) Your not going to stop this offense once it starts clicking

    2) You are making the same statments that people have been making for 3 years about the defense. I PROMISE YOU one thing, this IS a different defense and it IS coached better than any thing previous. The reason the niner's stayed with the Rams is they are getting better and better and I think they rate in the top 4 teams in the NFL right now. :confused:

  6. #6
    Coach_Largent Guest

    J - Ram .....

    ... thank you for the compliments.

    In return,

    What makes me different is the calibre of my players and, of course, my paycheck :rolleyes:

    Seriously, I am saying some things there that you may be missing. The defense is much improved. They take people out of their gameplan. They take away East-West running, and stuff the strecth. Those are huge compliments, and huge changes to that defense from last year. I didn't say this was some brand of magic that would let any NFL team smite the Rams. Or that the Saints could make it work.
    I know what I'm saying is not revolutionary, what I'm saying is that there is room in the middle to run. The tapes were clear on that. Does that make a gameplan ? Hell no. Does that mean a coach as good as Lovie would let it keep happening. Hell no. I was just pointing out things that could be exploited by the Saints personnell. I try to be fairly unbiased when writing up the weekly. I did see the middle give yards. I did see Warner get hit too much. I'm sure you have seen the same things. I AGREE completely with the fact that this defense is better. WORLDS better than last years porous quitters. Carter really is a cancer ...........

    Lovie is a great half time adjuster. All you have to do is look at the 3rd qtrs of the Rams games this year to see pure evidence of that.

    I listed things the Saints need to do, and places they will try to work to try and win. Not what the Saints WILL do ....... just what I saw watching the tapes ............

  7. #7
    longhornrams Guest

    I echo my fellow Rams fan's sentiments; impressive analysis.

    Question for you: Do you think the "run up the gut" strategy will be effective in terms of clock management? That is, can the Saints afford to plod 3-5 yards/play, taking a long time to score in light of the Rams explosive audience?

    Isn't there an incentive to throw, and throw often, if the Saints get behind on the road early? How would that throw off your game plan?

    I appreciate your input, especially since I know you're a knowledgeable football mind.

  8. #8
    RAMble On Guest
    Hey Coach -

    How about putting together an analysis for what the Rams need to do to stop the Saints?

    (With a CC to Mr. Martz )

  9. #9
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Coach, you were right on the money. Teams are starting to run straight up the middle on us, but that may be because we aren't stuffing the middle with an LB. Arch is trying to stuff the middle on the run, and he has come a long way. However, I thought I did see the Giants and the Jets push the D line back and no LB to fill the gap. Instead of Arch, I believe that either Fields or Fletcher needs to come up a little instead of protecting the outsides.

  10. #10
    Aries51's Avatar
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    I think the Rams objective is to stop Williams and the running game,but the key to the Rams success defensively has been stopping teams in the red zone.So far,the Saints havent had a lot of red zone success and the Rams have kept teams from scoring.So lets see what happens.This game,in my opinion,will be decided by turnovers.Not as far as quantity of,but when and where they occur.

    Last edited by Aries51; -10-24-2001 at 01:55 AM.

  11. #11
    Coach_Largent Guest
    Originally posted by guitarboy51
    I think the Rams objective is to stop Williams and the running game,but the key to the Rams success defensively has been stopping teams in the red zone.So far,the Saints havent had a lot of red zone success and the Rams have kept teams from scoring.So lets see what happens.This game,in my opinion,will be decided by turnovers.Not as far as quantity of,but when and where they occur.
    Right on all counts. Red zone Rams has been good , and the Saints O has been average in the red zone.
    When and where in the T.O. batlle will be very key.

    LonghornRam - I think the key will be to not plod through but use the yards in the middle ( if they can get them ) as a jumping off point, in the same way the Rams use that little 3 step slant to Bruce to go deep to the Y WR off the pump fake. A kind of building block, but you are right, if they take 6 minutes of clock and get 3's not going to do much .... they obviously need to convert 3rd downs and get TD's when given the oppurtunity.
    The pitfall teams get into against you IS throwing more than normal, chenging their gameplan. The goal I think is to force the issue by getting ahead early and then taking those 6-7 minute drives ( the key is getting points on those long drive. ) If the Saints start a track meet with the Rams, well "Katie bar the door" ( Keith Jackson - whoa nelly reference ) the Rams would ut up 50 ...........

    I think the D for one or both teams will probably score, they both have been good at FORCING turnovers.

    txramsfan - arch was a great pickup and is helping that defense vs. perimeter running, Fields while giving you a lot of speed is still scraping too close to the LOS and getting caught up in blockers on plays going away from him and overpursue the on-side plays. It's the price you pay for his speed and the 2-3 big plays a week. When AA is playing that well, you can afford those mistakes .... Fletcher is staying blocked too often.
    you guys know the saying "Being blocked isn't a sin. Staying blocked is." It's true ............

    These are of course nit-picking coach style things. As a whole seeing the improvement of your D on tape is stunning. I can't imagine Lovie not getting some run this year for a HC job somewhere, don't you think.

  12. #12
    longhornrams Guest
    The rumors out of St. Louis are that Lovie's HC stock is moving up quickly, especially because of his abilities to put various personalities together into a cohesive unit.

    In today's free-agency NFL (where a team is lucky if they can keep their nucleus for 2+ years), that is a skill in high demand. While we would obviously love to keep him, I can't imagine he won't get the nod to be a head coach in the next 2 years.

    Nice Keith Jackson reference; hopefully Ricky won't be "rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling" against the Rams.

    Any thoughts on OU-Nebraska Saturday? Need a 'Husker win to give the Horns any chance at all at the Rose Bowl.

  13. #13
    Coach_Largent Guest

    Longhornram ....

    the OU/Neb game will be intersting. Neither of them looked very good last week.
    As far as hopes for UT, you have to hope that someone can beat UCLA and Wash St. both, and V-tech beats Miami. I think UT can squeeze past VT undeafeated. But in that scenario it would be a UT-OU rematch, and as long as Mr.Overrated is QB'ing, I'll take OU in that one. I've been getting AMPED up about a Texas-Florida Sugar Bowl. I mean, THAT would be the most exciting bowl match up of the season, IMHO. Those 2 teaams showcase more speed than 1/2 of the NFL teams do. There would be a hell of a lot of 1-3rd rnd giuys on that field, from freshman to senior.

    As for this weekend, I'll take OU as well. Sadly. Grudgingly. Painfully. I think Nebraska needs one other offensive player to step up and they haven't had it. Crouch is amazing but OU's safeties are better than 2/3 of the NFL duo's. Their LB's are better than 1/2 of the NFL teams, and that freshman kid at DT is simply brutal. How can he be so dominant already ???

    As for RW, I hope he does get to showcase his talent.
    I feel bad for him so far. It's the same scenario as Crouch right now. How far can one man take you ???

    I can't imagine Lovie making 2 more years. Of course, at the time I thought he might get the Texans job ............ How he has made it this long is beyond me. I know you guys would like to keep him, but I wouldn't expect him to be there long.

  14. #14
    dryer89 Guest

    Absolutly excellent post

    Loved your post Largent..I agree the Rams running defense
    is weak when you go right at them as I feel Williams can.
    But the Saints will need alot more then Williams to win.
    I feel the Saint secondary will be your downfall. The Saint front four will not be able to pressure Warner like the Giants did.
    Strahan is an exception and their is no one else like him. The Saints will have to gamble and blitz.TheRams will counter with quick passes to Trung Akim etc...This game will be won in the Saints secondary. If they fall behind early..running up the gut with Williams will not get them back in the game. The only reason the Niners were successful was because the Rams blew some oportunity's to blow the game open on dropped passes !
    The Saints need Brooks to be as good as McNair played in Super Bowl to have any chance. Your defense will not decide this game but how effective your offense will...

  15. #15
    Saint Nick Guest
    Originally posted by txramsfan
    Coach, you were right on the money. Teams are starting to run straight up the middle on us, but that may be because we aren't stuffing the middle with an LB. Arch is trying to stuff the middle on the run, and he has come a long way. However, I thought I did see the Giants and the Jets push the D line back and no LB to fill the gap. Instead of Arch, I believe that either Fields or Fletcher needs to come up a little instead of protecting the outsides.
    This is a very temporary situation here. Lovie Smith had some beef in Tampa Bay at DT in McFarland and Sapp and the result was a less vunerable DL. This offseason, via the draft or free agency, Smith (or his successor if he gets an HC gig) will find a 300+ lber that begs for a tandem block on rushing attempts between the OTs.

    That happens and the rest of the League is in big-time trouble.

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