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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Vitt calls out team for lack of execution

    By Jim Thomas

    Interim head coach Joe Vitt was roundly criticized for kicking a field goal instead of going for a first down trailing by seven late in the fourth quarter against Arizona. The move backfired in what became a 38-28 Rams loss.

    Similarly, the work of the team's coordinators was blasted on a day when Kurt Warner played like it was 1999, and the Rams couldn't run the ball to save their lives.

    But in sifting through the ashes of the devastating setback Sunday, Vitt made sure to include the players in the discussion of what went wrong.

    Exhibit A for Vitt was Anquan Boldin's 13-yard TD catch-and-run in the second quarter that tied the score for Arizona at 10-10. The Cardinals faced a third-and-goal situation on the play. So basically, all the Rams had to do to force a field goal was tackle Boldin short of the goal line. But they didn't, even though he caught the ball well short of the end zone.

    "There were six missed tackles on the play," Vitt said. "We've got him pinned in. We're coming high. We're coming from the side. ... You can talk about schemes. You can talk about play-calling. We've got six of ours on one of theirs. We've got to make that play."

    But they didn't.

    Similarly, there's not a coach on the Rams' defensive staff who instructed cornerback Chris Johnson to jam an Arizona receiver in the face coming off the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter. But that's what Johnson did, apparently getting too wrapped up in trash-talking and forgetting his technique. The resulting penalty for illegal use of the hands came on a third-and-12 play. Instead of punting, the resulting first down led to the touchdown that gave Arizona the lead for good at 24-17.

    From silly penalties, to sloppy blitz pickup, there were plenty of problems with execution Sunday. Without naming names in his news conference Monday, Vitt made several references to lack of execution. And when a coach refers to lack of execution, it's coach-speak for: A player didn't do his job.

    So at 4-6, the situation looks hopeless for the Rams, who appear destined to miss the playoffs for only the second time in seven seasons. The only avenue into the postseason would be sweeping their remaining six games

    "We have to run the table," wide receiver Torry Holt said. "And hope that some teams lose and give us a shot to get in."

    But even Holt concedes: "We've got a very tough table to run."

    Vitt's task is not only to keep the players motivated but to keep the coaching staff motivated as well. With ailing head coach Mike Martz almost certainly finished as Rams coach, there figures to be a lot of new faces at Rams Park in 2006 - players and coaches alike. But as Vitt sees it, no motivation should be necessary.

    "Nobody's got to come to work on Wednesday," Vitt said. "They really don't. Anybody that doesn't want to play, they can stay home. ... I told the players: This is Thanksgiving week. We all have a lot to be thankful for.

    "Now, things aren't the way we'd like them to be right now. But they are what they are. It's up to us to get it changed. I think the true test of a man's character comes out when times are tough. And times are tough. Make no doubt about that - they're tough. So hey, we'll take roll call. See who's here. Put a smile on our face, and go prepare to play."

    Vitt says he doesn't plan on changing his approach, other than to demand more perfection in practice.

    "If we have a mistake at practice, we're going to have to do the play over again," Vitt said. "If we have to stay out there till 7 o'clock at night until we get it right, that's going to have to be the approach."

    But does this team still have the confidence to get it right, and keep it right, on game day? Following the Arizona game, one Rams veteran said the team had lost some of its confidence, and was playing that way. Again, the last thing Vitt planned to do was give a pep talk to boost the players' self-image.

    "What I'm not going to do is take an air hose and stick it in their ears - sss ... sss ... sss - and start pumping them up," Vitt said. "I'm not going to do that. If they're not excited to play the game, then just let it snow. Just let it snow. We'll bring the next guy on.

    "But I don't feel that. I think a lot of emotions talk after a game. Hey, none of us slept (Sunday) night. We all feel terrible. With 10 minutes left to go, we're winning the game. Hey, it's ugly, but it's a winnable game."

    But then the bottom fell out, the intensity flattened out - and it started snowing. Vitt can only hope it's not the start of a late-season blizzard.

  2. #2
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Vitt calls out team for lack of execution

    Figures. I figured they weren't trying/executing because oru leaders don't know how to speak up.

  3. #3
    Yodude's Avatar
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    Re: Vitt calls out team for lack of execution

    This reminds me of a great quote from former Tampa bay Bucs coach John McKay.

    It occurred during that extended losing streak the Bucs endured when they first came into the league as an expansion team.

    After an especially disheartening loss, a reporter asked McKay what he he thought of his team's execution, to which the coach responded....."I'm in favor of it!"

    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  4. #4
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Vitt calls out team for lack of execution

    "i am not going to put an air hose in there ear and pump them up" and let it snow,let it snow,we went from playoff contender, possibly sb contender to quotes from the hc like this.


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