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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Ultimately, no excuse for Rams' offensive collapse

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    09/09/2007

    Sure, losing offensive tackle Orlando Pace was a tough blow for the Rams.

    The absence of right guard Richie Incognito hurt, too. So did not having third receiver Drew Bennett and back-up tackle Todd Steussie to deploy.

    But ultimately, there is no excuse for the Rams’ stunning offensive collapse against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. This star-studded unit fell apart during the second half of the season-opening 27-13 loss.

    Sure, the defense had its issues, too. The Rams yielded too many big plays to receiver Steve Smith (who knew the Panthers would throw to him?) and folded against the run down the stretch.

    This is still an offense-oriented team, though, and so we look for all the Pro Bowl candidates on that side of the ball to lead the Rams. This franchise has made an enormous investment in its skilled players.

    These guys are supposed to make a difference.


    Coach Scott Linehan didn’t devise a winning game plan and offensive coordinator Greg Olson had a bad day calling plays. The Rams seldom threw the ball downfield and didn’t throw to tight end Randy McMichael until the game got out of hand.

    The Rams mustered just 112 offensive yards in the second half. They scored just three points -– right after Dante Hall’s 84-yard kickoff return -– and lost two Steven Jackson fumbles. Since when does this guy ever lose a football?

    Perhaps Linehan should have played his first offensive unit more during the preseason and gotten everybody in sync. Perhaps quarterback Marc Bulger wouldn’t have thrown 20 incomplete passes during his strangely off-target performance.

    Perhaps he could have gained more than 167 yards on his 42 pass attempts.

    Perhaps Jackson should have seen more than cameo duty during the preseason. Perhaps taking a few bumps would have gotten him into football shape, thus preventing his uncharacteristic turnovers.

    Whatever the case, the Rams are off to a terrible start. NFL teams have to win their home games, especially against conference rivals, especially against comparable teams.

    How could the Panthers come into The Ed and throttle this once-great offense?

    “We can make all the excuses in the world, but we just didn’t play well today,” Bulger said.

    “We had two critical turnovers that ultimately became the No. 1 critical variable to not winning the game,” Linehan said.

    “I include three-and-outs as turnovers,” receiver Isaac Bruce said. “Any time you get into that situation, it’s not good for an offense -– definitely not good for a defense because they don’t have much rest off the field.”

    So this game was a bummer all around. The loss of Pace could have long-term implications, since the team was in no position to lose both the Big O and Steussie to major injuries.

    Can they give replacement tackle Adam Goldberg enough help so that he can survive? Should Milford Brown move to right tackle and Alex Barron move to left tackle, if Pace has to miss significant time?

    Can they muster sufficient pass protection, thus allowing Bulger to stay in the pocket and deliver downfield throws with confidence? Can they hit some big plays -– more than 18 yards for a change -- to Bruce and Torry Holt?

    Can they get Jackson running downhill again? Can they get McMichael more involved in the passing scheme?

    “Tests come, tests go -– you just have to be able to weather the storm,” Jackson said. “You can’t give testimony without going through a test.”

    That really doesn’t make any sense . . . just like this miserable opening performance doesn’t make any sense.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimately, no excuse for Rams' offensive collapse

    Although I agree with the poor play calling. Maybe the Panthers defense deserves some credit. It's no secret that Linehan's RAMS are going to play protect the ball at all cost offense.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ultimately, no excuse for Rams' offensive collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Although I agree with the poor play calling. Maybe the Panthers defense deserves some credit. It's no secret that Linehan's RAMS are going to play protect the ball at all cost offense.
    And they can't even do that! Too much dink and dunk, it is important to change it up to keep the opposing defense guessing. The Rams gameplan made it easy for the Panthers to nulify it, why not at least try and stretch the field every now and then as the dump-offs and under-neath stuff wasn't getting it done. Linehan musn't have even thought of a Plan B scenario. Thats not even mentioning the lack of use of McMichael, Morgan shadowed Jackson for the best part so why not attack the center of the field by sending McMichael in there? The play-calling was as negligent as the awful execution by the players. Yeah credit the Panthers defense they obviously did a good job but I feel the play-calling made it must easier for them than it should have been..

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    Re: Ultimately, no excuse for Rams' offensive collapse

    “I include three-and-outs as turnovers,” receiver Isaac Bruce said. “Any time you get into that situation, it’s not good for an offense -– definitely not good for a defense because they don’t have much rest off the field.”
    Yep this was our down fall.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ultimately, no excuse for Rams' offensive collapse

    AHHHhhh, I have to go to a different website now or my week is going to be ruined.

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