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  • The first ten minutes.

    I really wasn't sure which forum to put this post in. It's about football, but it's not about the Rams or the NFL. It's also very personal, or at least it's very personal in the sense that it's purely about my sensory perceptions of the first ten minutes of a football game from a players point of view. So, I plumped for the the default choice of the lounge, on the basis that in the unlikely event that I offended anyone with my musings, not very many people would see it.

    As I think we can all agree, whether Ram fans or not, (and there are some who grace our forums who add to this site and aren't) the start of the football season is something to be savoured and anticipated. We start thinking about the future as soon as our teams last snap is concluded. Whether we were happy with the achievments of our chosen team or not,the future provides the panacea for all ills. Anything is possible in the virtual nirvana that is the future. Worst to first in one season is possible, we all know it, so what's to stop us from dreaming?

    It's one of the best features of the human condition, a natural optimism, that, guided by the love of the sport, finds itself a comfortable chair, a jaundiced view and dreams of glories to come. I've already discussed this somewhere else of course, and informed you all of my intention to look for the best this season. I'm sincere in that and hope that I'm pleasantly surprised, but I realised this morning that as I did so, I was talking from a fans point of view.

    This is natural of course because I am an armchair fan, but I was also a player for nearly eight years, and so realised that there are other points of view to explore. Player and fan aren't necessarily related either. At college, I knew guys who loved playing the game and were very good at it but who hated watching it and regarded the three hours spent doing so as a complete waste of time. Happy to have their own bones broken, but not too interested in seeing others break theirs.

    So there is a difference that we often ignore when it comes to being passionate about the result of a football game and the outcome of a season and the vantage point from which you view it.

    We're all guilty of it too. How often have we screamed at the television, berating those players who are on the wrong end of a caning for not caring quite as much as we do? How often have we held them culpable for dashing our dreams? How often have we accused them of being paycheque(paycheck) players with all that is implied in that statement?

    I know that I felt that I had cause to do all those things for virtually the entire 90's.:x

    However at work this morning, whilst writing a lesson plan that would teach chinese children whose native language is Cantonese, to write Japanese Haiku poetry in English, (Not as hard as it sounds) I thought about this very pertinent fact, something I was surprised I hadn't considered before. How did I feel when approaching and playing in, the first ten minutes of a football game and, in fact, a football season?

    Now I don't flatter myself in relating what I'm about to relate in thinking that my experiences are either earth shattering or revelatory because I'm an Englishman who played amateur and college ball in England for 8 years, but it does relate in part to what I said elsewhere in these forums about grasping the best. Because I think, that to do that we need to have a certain empathy for the people who do what we always wanted to and never will, that is, professional football players.

    And to have empathy, you have to have understanding and to have understanding you need experience.

    For me the first ten minutes of the first football game of the season was the most gut wrenching, lung bursting, and bone bruising football that could be played. It didn't matter how many passes you caught as an individual, how many yards the offensive unit got, or the fact you were undefeated the season before (And my college team didn't lose a game for nearly three years over a span of nearly 30 games.............forgive me my one boast) that first game assumed more importance than nearly any other.

    How many players did they pick up, who was coaching them, which players did we lose, who was coaching us (No-one usually), did I get injured the year before?Did their strong safety hand me my ass last year? Is their field pristine or pisstine? How many americans have they got and is one of them their QB? (Lots of exchange students, some were good high school players) All were questions amongst many that flooded through my head as the first game approached.

    Added to this stress is the fact that you have your own job to do and things to remember. As a tight end in a relatively uncomplicated pass happy offence, the calls were formation, strongside, 3,5 or 7 step drop and passing route on a pass play or forget the drop and back and hole on a running play. Blocking assigments were predominantly man rather than zone and you were expected to get it right.

    Now that part was mental, pre-bash, if you would excuse the term, then the game started then everything would change.

    Call, pre-snap read, (Where's the defensive end? ****, he's lined up over me............christ he knows my name, did I go for a beer with him last year?........oh hell yes we stole a McDonalds high chair out of that restaraunt in Hull whilst absolutely ****faced....wheres the strong safety...hmmmm he's very close he might blitz....free safety is that porky hitter whose a swine against the run but a liability against the pass............strongside linebacker's got plenty to say as usual but he's not up to much..........I've only got to run a five and out etc, etc, etc...............) snap, play and then all hell would break loose and you would go through that strange period of silence whilst the play unfolded followed by a noisy conclusion, the realisation that you'd been feeling sick on adrenaline for the last 3 hours, you'd just cracked your finger again, the two plates in your ankle from the previous season were holding up fine, that defensive end was as funny as you remebered him, you really wished you hadn't had a couple of beers the night before, your centre had just kneed someone in the balls and was laughing his arse off about it as you went back to the huddle and............................................after the first awful ten minutes...................nothing else exists.

    Playcall, snap, hit, catch, run , pass, hit, whistlle, win, lose.

    It's that simple and it's that painful.

    So, I can forgive a hell of a lot and grasp the best because it's a lottery out there, a maelstrom of mental and physical processes that is complicated by the physics of an ovoid pigskin.

    The first ten minutes are vital, they set the tone for the game and the game sets the tone for the rest of the season.

    Simple?

    Not half as simple as it sounds or looks

    Forgive me if I rambled but I was remembering stuff I'd almost forgotten.

    For me, you can tell a fair amount after the first ten minutes so watch them closely.

  • #2
    Re: The first ten minutes.

    Brilliant write up Mr. Pang. One that is worth reading again.

    But, I have a question...

    <<<It's one of the best features of the human condition, a natural optimism, that, guided by the love of the sport, finds itself a comfortable chair, a jaundiced view and dreams of glories to come. >>>

    Is "jaundiced" the word you wanted to use? Seems a bit misplaced to me.

    And please, don't mistake my question as any lack of appreciation. Your ramblings, as you call them, are very good reading. Please remember more and write!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The first ten minutes.

      Enjoyable read Phang. I appreciate your "ramblings." I suppose that you are right on about the first ten minutes. We shall see where their heads are and if we are truly ready or not.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The first ten minutes.

        Jaundiced.............hell, I may have swallowed the dictionary again Coy.

        I wondered where I put it..................heh heh.

        Seriously, I was thinking about a word that meant suffering from extreme passion or bias and the phrase 'jaundiced view' jumped out at me. I'll have a think about that one.

        Comment

        Related Topics

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        • RamWraith
          Chris Draft article from the Sporting News
          by RamWraith
          STAYING HUNGRY FOR A SACK ATTACK

          Posted: December 13, 2007

          When I first started playing football I was an offensive lineman and a defensive tackle. Obviously I'm not that same player now and I got a lot thinner compared to other guys as I got older. But just because I'm not a defensive lineman, it doesn't mean I've lost that itch to want to sack the quarterback.


          Growing up, the guys I looked up to the most were players such as Reggie White and Bruce Smith. Man, did those guys know how to get to the quarterback. Same with a couple of linebackers at the time, such as the Patriots' Andre Tippett. And, of course, there was Lawrence Taylor. Anybody who grew up around that time was watching L.T. Now that's a bad man.

          I've played a lot of inside linebacker during my NFL career, and you usually don't get as many chances to rush the passer from that spot. My biggest sack season in the NFL came in 2006, when I had 5 1/2 sacks with the Panthers. Honestly, I think the biggest reason I put up my top numbers was the coaches simply knew what I did well and put me in situations to make those plays.

          I'm not about to give away any secrets about my own rushing style. I will say that, as linebackers, we do work on our pass-rush moves a little, but that's mostly reserved for training camp. We don't rely on moves as much as defensive linemen, though. Instead of coming on straight rushes, we tend to come after the quarterback off of pressure packages where we're disguising our looks as a defense.

          When the play call comes in and your number is called to rush the passer, there are a few things going through your mind. Linebackers don't get as many chances to rush the quarterback, so we are extra eager to make our opportunities count.

          When the call comes in, I just keep telling myself, "Man, I've gotta get to him, gotta get to him." I also focus on not tipping my hand and letting the offense know I'm the guy rushing, or which way I'm coming from.

          One of the biggest things in the back of any defender's mind on the blitz is, "How am I going to hit this guy?" With the rules the way they are, you really have to be careful with quarterbacks and have a plan of attack when you hit 'em.

          The way I was taught is that, when you're looking to hit the quarterback, you need to follow the same strike zone they do in baseball -- well, the same strike zone they're supposed to use in baseball, even though they never seem to call it. The target area is between the chest and the knees.

          Don't go too high or too low, and don't hit any part of the QB's head or lead with your own head. You know that if you hit a quarterback the wrong way, you're going to be lighter in the pockets, possibly to the tune of $10 grand.

          Refs are a little more apt to throw the penalty flag if you hit a QB the wrong way, too. And...
          -12-13-2007, 03:24 PM
        • Fat Pang
          Don't look back and anger...........
          by Fat Pang
          Forgive me while I start this little note with a mangling of the title of an Oasis song, it did seem to be appropriate however in light of some of the reaction that we've seen afer our recent disappointment. I have to say that I'm not particularly pleased right now and was even less pleased this morning. However, the distractions of a working day have taken their toll on me and the many others who share these forums and so I feel it's safe to maybe put an alternative spin on some of these things.

          I'm not traditionally a patient man, not known for it anyway. I was prone to volcanic fits of rage on the football field on occasion, whether things were going my way or not. I'd earned the sobriquet of 'Mr Angry' by my second (Sophomore?) year of college and collected receptions despite my personality rather than because of it.

          Age and common sense mellows you however, and I find myself greeting triumph and disaster much the same these days. I have been prone to the odd outburst on this forum and many others at times, and so I have a lot of sympathy for those whose mood has darkened somewhat of late.

          What puzzles me in the wake of the first two games is the disparity of reaction as far as the D is concerned and the extraordinary lack of patience shown with the O. This has manifested itself as our current D (After ONE game) being hailed on these pages as one of the best Ram D's of all time (We had pretty good ones in the 70's.......and the 'Eagle' D of the late Fritz Shurmur in the late 80's routinely gave Montana a headache) and a lock for a top 5 position this season. As far as the O is concerned, we have seen our posse of top flight receivers being questioned, our Pro-Bowl MVP QB being questioned (Please don't return to the debate about his MVP award, the fact is he got there and was awarded it) and the playcalling of a man who is/was one of the most respected OC's in football.

          All this on the strength of TWO games.

          Not enough people, just not enough.

          There are also people, whose opinion I respect, drawing comparisons between days past and days present.

          Don't.

          It'll only lead to disappointment in the long run. We were present when our team possessed the greatest offensive steamroller in football history. Others can debate it, but for me that's the position it has assumed. We were lucky, damn lucky, but the cost of maintaining that performance ultimately undermined our team, our past HC and our future as a dynasty.

          It's also undermining the attempts of our latest HC to form his own identity. Or at least it will if we let it. Give him a break, it's the least he and the team deserve.

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          -09-18-2006, 04:10 AM
        • RamsFanSam
          OK, convince me!
          by RamsFanSam
          I have read plenty of posts from people saying fans shouldn't look at the bright side of last night's defeat, that instead we should all don sackcloth and ashes, and mourn the death of the 2008 season for our Rams.

          Convince me why I should!

          I watched only the first quarter, but I did listen to the entire game. Of course, the TV broadcast was done by the Titans Network, meaning that the commentary was biased in favor of the Titans. The other 3 quarters was a mix of NFL's gamecenter and KTVI audio, niether of which was very good.

          What I came out of the media barrage I witnessed is the following:

          1. Marc looked a little rusty. Of course, considering that there was only TWO others on the offense who had ever played in Saunder's system, I expected to see some confusion. But, I guess that since Marc didn't launch a 99 yard Hail Mary for 6 on the first possession means that Marc is all washed up. After all, when a reciever isn't in the right place at the right time, it's always the QB's fault.

          2. I also saw a really good defense beat our O-line. Considering that these front five guys have NEVER played a single game together before, We know it's all Pace's fault. He is all washed up, and we should have traded for Jake Long and then overpaid him to take Pace's spot.

          3. I saw 2 passes go long, so long that no one on either team had a chance to get to them. It didn't matter that both times the recievers were double covered and had no chance in hell of breaking away, those recievers must suck, so we should have traded them for some untested rookie. Darn Linehan for drafting someone who has skills that our offense could use instead of some other rookie!

          4. I saw our defense get beat up. Badly. Even though they made a solid stand in the red zone, we know they suck. It doesn't matter that some of our starters were out, we should have beaten the Titans back into the stone age with undersized, inexperienced rookies. It's all Haslett's fault for not having UFA's and rookies available that we can afford.

          5. Our "wannabe's" didn't come back in the second half and win the game. Of course, they have had a whole 90 days or so to forget everything they ever learned about football just to learn football all over again. I forget that other millionaires such as Bill Gates have been there before. Didn't he have to forget everything he knew about Windows 98 to learn Windows XP in just 90 days? He didn't? Oh my. Those rookies and coaches have to go....NOW!

          So, as you can see, I am NOT saying everything will be OK by next week. In fact, I'll be happy if we win 3 of our first 8, and come out 8-8 this season. I know all is not well in St. Louis as of yet, and I didn't expect it to be. Last year I had hope, because everything was in place. This year, we have a tougher schedule, most of our great players are either gone or they are getting...
          -08-10-2008, 04:41 PM
        • Bruce=GOAT
          Hulk Hogan: I thank God I'm alive
          by Bruce=GOAT
          http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2...351002,00.html


          WWE wrestling news The LilsBoys' Over The Top Rope


          EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
          Hogan: I thank God I'm alive

          By SIMON ROTHSTEIN of THE LILSBOYS
          August 04, 2007


          WRESTLING legend Hulk Hogan has lashed out at the industry which made him a megastar.

          And he has demanded an end to the decades-long cover-up of steroid abuse in the sport.

          Hogan, 54, took the muscle-enhancing drugs almost daily for 16 years during his career and says he can spot a user a mile off.

          With more than 100 grapplers dying before the age of 50 in the last decade, he is begging others to face up to the crisis.

          The Sun has been leading an anti-steroid abuse campaign since wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and seven-year-old son before committing suicide in June.

          A handful of former stars have already spoken out and prompted US politicians to start investigating the industry.

          But many in the WWE, the world's biggest fight franchise, deny there is a problem and have blasted their ex-colleagues as bitter failures who haven't wrestled in years.

          They cannot same the same about Hogan, wrestling's equivalent of Pele or Muhammad Ali who was fighting for them just 12 months ago.

          In an exclusive Sun interview, he said: "Are steroids a problem in wrestling? Oh God yeah. They have always been a part of the business. It's prevalent.

          "But there's not some big mystery to it. Just open your eyes and it's there. You can look at a wrestler and pretty much tell.

          "They will be above their weight range, with these big veins. My body weight is around 285lb, depending on how much junk I eat. Even if I was 25 and clean, I could probably only carry 300lb.

          "Yet when I was wrestling I weighed anywhere between 320 and 340lb, because my body was full of water weight.

          "My face was puffy, my arms were so bulky I couldn't touch my shoulders. You could take one look at me and know I was on something.

          "Steroids have been around for ever in other sports too, but if we have to pick on somebody now then let's pick on wrestling.

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          The Hulkster added: "I remember up until the early 1990s any wrestler could walk into a doctor and they'd write you a prescription for steroids.

          "Then there was a huge trial where WWE boss Vince McMahon was unfairly accused and rightly acquitted of distributing the drugs to his workers.

          "This ushered in the era of wrestlers playing 'hide and seek'.
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          -08-05-2007, 03:28 AM
        • RealRam
          An Interview w/Deacon Jones / Sept. 27, jersey retired
          by RealRam
          :ram: Thanks Deacon, for all those fantastic / fearsome plays! An absolutely phenomenal Rams DEFENSE, ca. 1966-1970.

          - - - - - - - No. 75, HOF ... ... 6'-5", 275 lbs. of pure attack, head slap and sack!

          PS: Rams official site actually has a nice intro page right now on the Deacon, with soul music of the era and all. ;)...
          -09-23-2009, 06:41 AM
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