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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Where's the Rams offense?

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/28/2006


    No touchdowns. No problem. In case you missed it, Scott Linehan is not concerned. He was not concerned after the Houston game. And he remained not concerned immediately after the Kansas City contest.

    OK, coach. You've established that point. But would you at least feel better if the first-team offense had scored a TD this preseason?

    "I would feel a lot better," Linehan said, laughing.

    Now we're getting somewhere. Three games into the preseason, the Rams' starting offensive unit has yet to score a touchdown. They are 0 for 11 -- no TDs in 11 possessions -- after managing only a field goal in six possessions in Saturday's 16-12 loss to Kansas City.


    "I'm just like everybody else," Linehan said. "You want to win in the preseason. But I try to keep the focus on the big picture."

    And the big picture is Sept. 10, when the Rams open the regular season against Denver. For perspective, Linehan hearkened back to what was going through his head last year at this time as Miami's offensive coordinator. In Miami's third preseason game of 2005, the Dolphins committed eight turnovers in a 17-3 loss to Pittsburgh.

    "I think we might have had about 120 yards of offense," Linehan recalled. "And I was trying to have that same pep talk about getting ready for Denver then. Wondering how we would cross the 50, let alone score."

    As it turned out, Linehan and the Dolphins piled up 426 yards in winning their season opener 34-10 against Denver.

    "That doesn't mean that's what's in store this year or anything like that," Linehan said. "But I certainly have been through it enough to know that, yeah, I'd like to score a touchdown every drive. ..."

    But that's not going to happen.

    But is scoring on one drive -- any drive -- too much to ask?

    "I had one in my book," quarterback Marc Bulger insisted.

    That was a reference to a 15-yard TD pass to Kevin Curtis that was nullified by a chop block penalty against guard Richie Incognito.

    "Whether he cut that guy or not, it doesn't make a difference," Bulger said. "It would've been a touchdown whether he cut him or whether he didn't. Preseason is practice -- and in practice it's a touchdown. So we can argue over that."

    Interesting logic, but one that is not universally shared in the locker room.

    "There's some concern on my behalf that we haven't been able to punch it in this preseason -- I'm talking about the (first team)," running back Steven Jackson said. "But at the same time, I'm not panicking because I know we're not doing everything that we've been practicing. And also I know we're not game-planning like we would in the regular season."

    Of course, there would be no more discussion about scoreless streaks had Incognito not been guilty of the illegal chop block. Worse yet, it was Incognito's second chop block penalty of the game. The first put the skids on a Rams drive that had carried into the red zone. (They had to settle for a Jeff Wilkins field goal.)

    After the Kansas City game, Incognito didn't exactly repent his sins.

    "Cut-blocking, that's a big part of my game," Incognito said. "That slows the defensive linemen down a step or two, because they think I'm coming at their legs. That's a big advantage for any offensive lineman. Both those cut blocks were legal."

    Later, Incognito added, "It's preseason. They're a little more flag-happy in the preseason."

    But Linehan wasn't sympathetic.

    "They were penalties, I think," Linehan said. "They were effort plays, but they certainly weren't plays that are acceptable."

    Officiating crews have made certain types of cut blocks a point of emphasis this year. And in the case of Incognito's plays against Kansas City, Linehan said: "In this case, I think it was bad judgment. It wasn't really a gray area. It was a mistake. I think the biggest lesson to be learned there is those would be two critical plays in a (regular season) game that are hard to overcome."

    Going into the Kansas City game, Linehan had a play-action pass play in his limited game plan that he thought would work perfectly in the red zone, and perfectly on third and 3. Lo and behold, the Rams faced a third and 3 from the Kansas City 15 late in the first half. That's when Bulger hit Curtis for the TD that was nullified by the Incognito penalty.

    So much for that perfect play.

    "It just goes to show you that everyone's got to be on the same page," Linehan said. "You can't have one guy missing an assignment or having an error. It's going to cost you. I think that's the biggest thing we're trying to get across to our offensive players."


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Where's the Rams offense?

    After the Kansas City game, Incognito didn't exactly repent his sins.

    "Cut-blocking, that's a big part of my game," Incognito said. "That slows the defensive linemen down a step or two, because they think I'm coming at their legs. That's a big advantage for any offensive lineman. Both those cut blocks were legal."
    I can't fully blame RI for those. He was the first to engage the defender with the cut block. It became an illegal chop block when McCollum then engaged the defender. Had McCollum engaged a different defender, or had RI stayed high, there wouldn't have been a penalty...IMO.
    "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
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Where's the Rams offense?

    Had McCollum engaged a different defender, or had RI stayed high, there wouldn't have been a penalty...IMO.
    Perhaps the line coach needs to emphasize better blocking techniques to the young lad.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
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  4. #4
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Where's the Rams offense?

    For me, this just underscores the fact that our offensive line still needs to learn to work togehter as a unit. Everything our offense does in going to key off of the capabilities of the line. Hopefully they can pull things together in the next two weeks.

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