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  1. #1
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    Why the Rams Must Run

    By Bernie Miklasz
    09/22/2007

    Just a follow-up on my Saturday “Bits” column in which I made a quick point on the need to give the football to Steven Jackson.

    In the first two games, the Rams have attempted to pass the ball on 77.3 percent of their plays in the second half.

    They have scored zero touchdowns in the second half.

    This is no coincidence.

    You just can’t have that kind of flagrant imbalance and expect to keep the defense off guard. You can’t abandon the run and become so predictable that you make it easy for the defense to blow in and attack QB Marc Bulger. I’m not saying I want to see a Chuck Knox offense, but reasonable balance in your offensive approach is always a plus.

    I know Jackson has to play better. I’ve said that multiple times in print, on the blog, and on my 1380 ESPN radio show.

    But if last year is our guide, Jackson is a back who thrives on heavy work.

    In 2006, he was at his best once he got more than 15 carries in a game.

    On his 16th to 20th carries in a game last season, he averaged 4.8 yards per rush.

    On his 21st to 25th carries in a game last season, he averaged 5.5 yards per rush.

    On his 26th to 30th carries in a game, he averaged 4.1 yards per rush.

    And on Jackson’s handful of carries beyond 30 rushes in a game, he averaged 6.5 yards per attempt.

    To add it all up, on his rushing attempts that exceeded 15 in a game last season, Jackson had 114 carries for 476 yards, for an average of 5 yards per run.

    Moreover, the Rams must call more plays that suit Jackson’s profile.

    And what he does best is power up inside, between the tackles.

    Since the start of the 2005 season, Jackson has 193 inside runs for 1,026 yards, for 5.3 yards per carry. The Rams call too many plays that have Jackson dancing around on the perimeter. He’s not effective running to his left, and better going to his right. But the inside game is where Jackson delivers. He’s a big strong back who punishes tacklers. His coaches should play to those strengths.

    One more note about the predictable nature of the Rams’ offense:

    This team isn’t using the middle of the field nearly enough in its passing game.

    In the first two games, the Rams threw the ball 25 times to the left side, 49 times to the right side, but only 9 times over the middle. (There were also 13 pass attempts that originated behind the line; the quick outs and such).

    Does that make sense, considering that the team signed free agent Randy McMichael to upgrade the receiving skills at tight end?

    In the running game, and in the passing game, the Rams should make a more concerted effort to attack the middle.

    Perhaps we’ll see more of that at Tampa Bay.


  2. #2
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Rams Must Run

    I think Jackson would get better because we would start to wear out defenses. To do that, we'll also HAVE to get some 3 and outs when we are on defense, and not allow opposing offenses to march the ball down the field for long drives.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why the Rams Must Run

    We need to run the ball more or get off to a good lead like 14-0 so the defense can take a few more chances.

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    Re: Why the Rams Must Run

    To run the ball, the line has to hold there blocks and make holes, or shades of the Cardnals 06 running game will be visited on the Rams in 07. As so far shown the line can't protect Bulger.

    I figure a package of run/quick pass would better suit the Rams offense. Forcing the opposing defense to defend a short field. If the Rams can get a few 3rd and 4 or even better yet 2nd and 5, opens the possibilty of hitting Bruce/Holt deep. The idea is to keep the opposing defenses guessing.

    But for now your right, a good ground game would help. I wonder if any of the TE are capible of being transformed into a fullback. Good enough at blocking yet good at catching the ball

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    Re: Why the Rams Must Run

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    I wonder if any of the TE are capible of being transformed into a fullback. Good enough at blocking yet good at catching the ball
    We have one of those, his name is Richard Owens.

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    Re: Why the Rams Must Run

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    ...A good ground game would help. I wonder if any of the TE are capable of being transformed into a fullback. Good enough at blocking yet good at catching the ball.

    Looks like that is exactly in the works for game 3:

    LEADING THE WAY: Since the Rams cut fullback Madison Hedgecock in the days following the opener against Carolina, they have been in search of a true lead blocker to open holes for running back Steven Jackson.

    Fullback/tight end Richard Owens signed with the team last week, but wasn’t ready to go in time for the game against the *****. This week, it appears Owens is closer to being ready to be on the field.

    Linehan said Friday a decision on Owens will be made in the next 24 hours.

    “Richard has a good chance of playing this week,” Linehan said. “He’s going to be a big factor on special teams. He’s a very willing blocker. I think he’ll really help us in the run game because he’s going to be a guy that can run the lead block plays we have. He has exceptional backup snapping ability, so it backs you up there if something ever was to happen to (Chris) Massey, which is unusual I think more so than anything. I think he’s closer this week. He has a good chance of being up this week.”
    From Rams Official website

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