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Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

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  • Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    It's undeniable in the NFL that in every game, one team will win and one team will lose. Ultimately a team is in large part judged by their record, and fans will seek something to explain the outcome of their game.

    Some will try to find someone to blame for the loss, some will point to the disparity in talent or the effect of injures, some will isolate the poor play of individual players as a focal point, some will point to the coaches. Few will truly give the opposing team credit for winning the game; it's the nature of the fan to hold their team responsible, win or lose.

    We've heard a lot about coaching problems over the last four weeks, and clearly there are issues that can be pointed to and questioned. Pass/run ratio decisions, going for it on fourth down, kicking a long field goal, conservative playcalling, playing an ineffective injured quarterback, not playing to the strength of our roster, halftime adjustments. There is definitely a list of concerning issues that I've seen through four games, many of which played significant roles in the result we see on the scoreboard.

    But let me present a brief recap of events before posing a question to you.

    -In Week One, the Rams played the Carolina Panthers (now 2-2). The Panthers are a team that many pick year in and year out to be a contender in the NFC playoff picture. The Rams went into the locker room at halftime of that game with a 10-7 lead, and extended that lead to 13-7 early in the third quarter. A turnover by Jackson allowed Carolina to take the lead, and they never looked back.

    -In Week Two, the Rams faced the San Francisco *****, a 2-2 team many thought were improving coming into this season. Once again, the Rams went into halftime with a lead, 13-7. But poor tackling allowed the previously bottled up Frank Gore to run for a huge touchdown to take the lead. The Rams and ***** fought back and forth until the final seconds of the game, at which point Jeff Wilkins missed a 56-yard field goal.

    -In Week Three, the Rams headed south for a showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1 after four weeks). This game was a slugfest. The Bucs had four first half drives. Two ended with punts, one a missed field goal, and one a made field goal. The Rams didn't do much in the first half either, punting twice with an interception and a missed field goal. After the half, Tampa scored a touchdown to make it a 10-0 game, but the Rams hung in there and got it back to one possession before Tampa added 14 points in the mid to late fourth quarter. Jeff Wilkins missed two field goals in this game, Marc Bulger threw three interceptions.

    -Last week the Rams took on what many consider to be one of the best teams in the NFC this season, the 4-0 Dallas Cowboys. Among the Rams wounded was Pro Bowl runner Steven Jackson (out for the game) and Pro Bowl quarterback Marc Bulger (playing with broken ribs). The Rams allowed the high powered Dallas offense to move the ball in the first half, but the scoreboard was close. Dallas didn’t get on the board until midway through the second quarter, and going into halftime, this was still a one score game. Then, Dallas simply exploded in the second half and the Rams struggled behind an offensive line made up mostly of back-ups and a quarterback whose ribs were shifting with every throw.

    Yes, there are coaching questions to ask here. Did the Rams take the preseason too casually, and thus they have had problems executing their plays in the regular season? Was the decision to kick a 56-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 3 a good one? How much did conservative playcalling play a role in our offensive inefficiency against Carolina or Tampa? Why did this staff insist on playing an injured Marc Bulger against Dallas?

    All of these are legitimate question. But there’s something that I think is being ignored here. We hung with Dallas for a half and Tampa for three quarters. We were right in it with San Francisco all the way until the end despite a number of costly turnovers. And we had a six point lead against Carolina until turnovers crippled us on two important offensive possessions.

    Again, I'm not saying coaching hasn't been an issue. I’ve pointed to a number of concerns I have about coaching decisions through those four games. And yes, the fact that Tampa and Dallas seemed to turn things on in the second half while we continue to stall offensively makes me wonder if our staff is making the proper second half adjustments to exploit what the opposition is doing to us.

    But isn't there also something to be said regarding the coaching when a beat up team like the Rams are able to hang tough with everyone they've faced, four teams that have a combined record of 11-5 right now? Even if it's just for a half or three quarters, this team didn't roll over right out of the gate and get blown out from the first minute.

    Dallas is being considered one of the best teams in the NFC, and the Rams were making the contest quite competitive until the final minute or so of the first half and the second half. Tampa didn't start running away with their game until the fourth quarter. The Rams were in it against San Francisco and were leading Carolina until turnovers shifted momentum.

    Clearly it's easy to look at things from a negative perspective when the Rams lose - what did we do wrong, what errors did the players make, what calls did the coaches get wrong - but I think legitimate attention should be paid to how closely an injured 0-4 team has made some of these games. Doesn’t the coaching staff deserve some credit for that?

    Discuss.
    Last edited by Nick; -10-05-2007, 07:40 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

    Nick, great post and a lot a very good comments, but a football game is 4 quarters,you get nothing for playing hard for half a game,It doesn't really matter whose to blame at this point the Rams are 0-4,add in the morale victories and the Rams are still 0-4.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

      Originally posted by jkramsfan View Post
      Nick, great post and a lot a very good comments, but a football game is 4 quarters,you get nothing for playing hard for half a game,It doesn't really matter whose to blame at this point the Rams are 0-4,add in the morale victories and the Rams are still 0-4.
      I agree in some part. Obviously we need to be playing four quarters of football, and our inability to adjust and remain competitive in the second half in some games is concerning. How much of this is coaching and lack of meaningful adjustments, I don't know. How much of this is the fact that eventually our back-ups are just not going to match the talent and ability of the opposing team's starters, I don't know either.

      That being said, such an emphasis is placed on how big the Rams have collapsed in the second half of some games, and what's being ignored is that a very beat up team is still managing to contend with everyone they play for quite a bit of the game.

      Morale victories don't change the win loss record, but they do add perspective in terms of what's really going on with this team, what our weekly preparation may be like, and how our players feel about this coach.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

        Yes, there are coaching questions to ask here. Did the Rams take the preseason too casually, and thus they have had problems executing their plays in the regular season?
        No

        Was the decision to kick a 56-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 3 a good one?
        Based on how far Money hit his firts FG, it was not a bad call. I woud say not running a play on frist down was a bad call.

        How much did conservative playcalling play a role in our offensive inefficiency against Carolina or Tampa?
        Carolina, out of our four games, I would say this was the biggest game we gave away. Looking back to last year when they beat Marc up, I was ok with max pro. After Pace got hurt, we might have gone into a shell, that cost us, but if we hold onto the ball we win that game.

        Tampa, I think we where already to beat up to open things up, the whinners hit Marc way too much, we had to go Max pro again.

        But isn't there also something to be said regarding the coaching when a beat up team like the Rams are able to hang tough with everyone they've faced, four teams that have a combined record of 11-5 right now? Even if it's just for a half or three quarters, this team didn't roll over right out of the gate and get blown out from the first minute.
        Great point i agree, we did not come out flat against the Boys, we played hard in the first half. The D just is not good enough to carry the beat up offense, not yet.

        Clearly it's easy to look at things from a negative perspective when the Rams lose
        He's talking to you AV LOL

        Doesn’t the coaching staff deserve some credit for that?
        They do! Looking at the list you posted awhile back sums up just how many guys are out and or not at full speed. I find it almost impossible to evaluate how the coach is doing good or bad with the current roster.
        Last edited by Rambos; -10-05-2007, 09:58 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

          Nick,
          I haven't been here very long so I don't know how much this means to you, but I think this was a very intelligent post that will get a lot of people thinking about where their loyalties lay with the coaching staff.I agree with this post whole-heartedly. I would like to add one thing though. You mentioned that eventually other teams starters are going to overpower our replacements. The only clear-cut case of that that I have noticed (Keep in mind that I only get to see the highlights of the games on NFL.com due to the fact that I am in Wyoming, with a large Bronco fan base) was Lenny Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton. It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now. Week one: Jackson fumbles twice. Week two: Both Torry Holt and Dante Hall both fumble on plays that had a very good chance to change the momentum in our favor. Week three: Bulger throws three interceptions. I think that this is proof that our starters didn't play enough in the preseason.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

            I agree, and again...We need to play four quarters of football. Not 1, not 3, not two, four; week after week. That is the bottom line, and we need to adjust to the weaknesses each time gives us at half time (which we've failed to do miserably). I remember watching the Dallas game, and everytime they tried to run the ball, we basically stuffed them. This was happening all through out the first half, and after half time, they all of a sudden had a new plan: More Passing. And look what they did to us afterwards. We need to find those weaknesses they found in us. I can say for sure that I know that its a whole hell of a lot easier to find the weaknesses on the Rams than another team, but regardless, that is why we have coaches to coordinate and execute an effictive gameplan for 4 quarters.
            Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

              Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton. It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now.
              Walls would not be at corner if Hill and Brown where not out. That being said, I agree Holt,Hall and Jackson have made some costly fumbles.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                Originally posted by Wyoming View Post
                You mentioned that eventually other teams starters are going to overpower our replacements. The only clear-cut case of that that I have noticed (Keep in mind that I only get to see the highlights of the games on NFL.com due to the fact that I am in Wyoming, with a large Bronco fan base) was Lenny Walls getting massacred by Patrick Crayton.
                Well I think it's also noticeable along the offensive line where we're losing battles in both pass protection and in the run game every week.

                Originally posted by Wyoming View Post
                It seems to me like it's our stars who are making the mental mistakes that are killing this team right now... I think that this is proof that our starters didn't play enough in the preseason.
                I just don't buy that more snaps in the preseason would have suddenly made Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, or Dante Hall protect the ball better; I certainly don't see how you can say their turnovers are proof of that. As you said, these guys are stars of this team. They shouldn't need 20-25 more snaps in preseason to remember how to carry, catch, and protect the football, especially since teams go through ball protection drills all through camp and practices.

                It's an execution and concentration issue, both in terms of how well our players are protecting the football as well as how well the opposition is attempting to strip or force turnovers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                  Coaching is definitely an issue, but trying to execute any type of gameplan or adjustment is going to be extremely difficult with an undermanned team in constant flux playing on razor thin margins. We're just snakebitten and until we get some bodies back and some degree of stability, things are going to be tough.

                  I do think the coaching staff deserves some credit for putting the team in a position to compete despite all the obstacles, but they, along with the players on the field can do a better job limiting the mistakes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                    Originally posted by Nick View Post
                    I agree in some part. Obviously we need to be playing four quarters of football, and our inability to adjust and remain competitive in the second half in some games is concerning. How much of this is coaching and lack of meaningful adjustments, I don't know. How much of this is the fact that eventually our back-ups are just not going to match the talent and ability of the opposing team's starters, I don't know either.

                    That being said, such an emphasis is placed on how big the Rams have collapsed in the second half of some games, and what's being ignored is that a very beat up team is still managing to contend with everyone they play for quite a bit of the game.

                    Morale victories don't change the win loss record, but they do add perspective in terms of what's really going on with this team, what our weekly preparation may be like, and how our players feel about this coach.
                    Nick, I sit and and watch the games and feel pretty good going into the half as I am sure most of you guys do,but then I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half,it's like day and night, the 4th qtr of the Bucs game was like another team was on the field and also as far as morale victories with us playing two different halfs how do you think they are responding to the coach ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                      So now I'm a naysayer.

                      How ironic.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jkramsfan View Post
                        Nick, I sit and and watch the games and feel pretty good going into the half as I am sure most of you guys do,but then I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half,it's like day and night, the 4th qtr of the Bucs game was like another team was on the field and also as far as morale victories with us playing two different halfs how do you think they are responding to the coach ?
                        I don't have a great explanation for it, jk. I think there are a number of legitimate possibilities - a lack of proper halftime adjustments, the margin between their starters going against our offensive line back-ups growing as the game wears on, our defense simply tiring as our offense can't convert and give them much of a rest. But I think the fact that the team returns every week to play hard out of the gate shows that they're responding to the coaching and are still fighting.

                        Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                        So now I'm a naysayer.

                        How ironic.
                        Who called you a naysayer? And why is it ironic?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                          See here's the thing Nick, these loses hurt so much more because we have been in almost all these games until the end, but still found a way to blow the game. That has been my point in most of my posts. Good write up regardless.
                          Last edited by mikhal5569; -10-07-2007, 06:27 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                            The thing is we could be 2-2. We have played good at home and faltered in the 2nd half of our road games. Both road games were in the heat and humidity of Florida and Texas. It may be a lame excuse but it is a fact.

                            We all know our offense isn't clicking but more than that our defense has shown a lack of focus and intensity during the 2nd half of both road games. Is that Haslett or the players or a combination of both? I think it's both. Haslett seems to back off the on the blitz calls. Is it because the players are gassed? We need to stay aggressive for the whole game. The players need to suck it up and battle through what ever it is that's affecting them.
                            sigpic :ram::helmet:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Some Questions about Coaching on an 0-4 Team

                              Originally posted by jkramsfan View Post
                              I start to think about how we are going to screw it up in the 2nd half, there has been alot of talk about our 2nd half play,but why do we tank in the second half
                              Originally posted by laram0 View Post
                              Is it because the players are gassed?
                              I think this is a huge part of it. The offense is not sustaining drives and it's putting too much pressure on the defense, which wears down and then gets pushed around and steamrolled by the opposition in the second half.

                              Comment

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                              • RamWraith
                                Get a grip!!
                                by RamWraith
                                I know I said I wasn't coming back until the playoffs....but I just can't keep my mouth shut on this.

                                THIS PEOPLE IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! You all need to get a grip of reality! This is not an overnight fix, and if you all really thought we weren't going to have bumps in the roads then you are only kidding yourself.

                                Are you Ram fans?? Or are you bitter spoiled brats? This is about moving in the right direction people! The piece of crap team that was put on the field 2 years ago is gone. This team needs time to grow...coaches included.

                                There are way too many fans that thinks this thing turns around like the '99 season...that is something that doesn't happen every day, that was just pure magic!

                                We have every right to be disappointed...as it was a tough loss. But step back and take a look at the strides we have made. We are competitive again. We have a chance right now every time we step on that field. How do you think this team feels?? We are already been beaten down by losing so many players to injury. We have been tested with rookies, adversity, loyalty, heart and perseverance. We are already 500 times better than we were last year.

                                Again...if you are riding this train, sit back and enjoy the long ride, have a couple drinks, give a few hugs and talk sensible football. But, if you are unwilling to accept the fact that this train will be making a few stops, might hit a couple of road blocks and just might not be the smoothest or shortest ride. Then you might need to ask yourself what kind of fan am I? I hear the the Packers are having a pretty good season...I bet there is plenty of room on their train!! SEE YA, AND DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA!!

                                Now, I am sneaking out of here til WE make the playoffs this year!
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                              • letsgoramz
                                Texans talk about how they feel
                                by letsgoramz
                                Texans post-game quotes
                                HoustonTexans.com


                                Texans Head Coach Dom Capers

                                (Opening statement) “Obviously we are very disappointed today in the way that the game turned out. I’ve been in the league for twenty years. I don’t know if I’ve had a game like this. We started out playing well in the first half. When you are playing a team like the Rams there are certain things that you must do. They are one of the highest scoring teams in the league. It really came down to we kept giving them opportunities in the second half and we had a hard time executing. They made the plays at critical times. We had them in situations, we had them in a fourth and six and they scored a touchdown. They get the onside kick which put us in overtime. I’m very disappointed and our guys fought hard. We just did not execute during crunch time with the kind of efficiency you have to in order to beat a team like the Rams. We cannot continue to give them the opportunities that we gave them today.”

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                                (On feeling like everything was going wrong) “That’s kind of the way it happened in the second half. We come up with an interception, they knock the ball out and get the ball back and get the field position. You can’t keep putting the Rams offense back on the field because they have too many weapons in terms of scoring points.”

                                (On the key to proper game execution) “I think we did some things as well as we have done. Our offense moved the ball the best they have moved it this year. Our defense sacked the quarterback more than they have sacked him this year. There were some areas where we did better. When we got down the stretch during crunch time to make the play, they made the plays. You’ve got to give them credit. It’s extremely disappointing. I know they are disappointed down there in the locker room. We’ve gone out and put ourselves in a position to win the game and we didn’t finish it off.”

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                                (On staying focused for remainder of season) “Well it’s a challenge. This season has been a good test for all of us. I think our team has responded the right way up to this point and time. I think they have competed extremely hard, they care. Anytime you care and fight hard and you lose a game like today, it hurts. The challenge will be how we come...
                                -11-27-2005, 08:24 PM
                              • RamWraith
                                First-half rahs, second-half blahs
                                by RamWraith
                                By Jim Thomas
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
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                                For much of this season, the Rams didn't know what it was like to have a lead.
                                Now they've got to learn how to play with one.

                                In their first seven games, the Rams never led by more than seven points. In
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                                Dallas, Baltimore and Seattle.

                                But over the past five games, the Rams have had double-digit leads against
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                                five cases, the Rams either squandered or nearly squandered those leads in the
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                                "If we could just not come in the locker room at halftime, I think that'd be
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                                To a large degree, it has been a season-long problem. Over the course of 12
                                games, St. Louis has been outscored 192-66 in the second half.

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                                better.

                                "We just can't get complacent when we get a lead," cornerback Tye Hill said.
                                "That's basically our biggest thing now. When we get up big, we've got to find
                                a way to put teams away. Play through the last whistle."

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                                — Yards: The Rams have gained 995 in the first half, 689 in the second.

                                — Third-down conversions: 52.5 percent in the first half, 27.3 in the second.

                                — First downs: 63 in the first half, 38 in the second.

                                — Giveaways: One in the first half, four in the second.

                                "I think it's execution; it starts there," coach Scott Linehan said. "You look
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                                Are opposing coaches making better in-game and halftime adjustments? Are the
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                                In-game injuries have been a factor. Against Cleveland, the Rams lost Pro Bowl
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                                -12-07-2007, 04:31 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Here are some number for you
                                by RamWraith
                                Rams - 79
                                Opponents - 177

                                This is the points differences in the second half. Opponents have put up nearly a 100 more points on this team and we have only scored 79. That people is a problem. This should not be this way even with all the injuries, so no one can use that as an excuse. We are simply out coached in the second half on both sides of the ball. We make NO adjustments and are stale. All the life has been sucked from us by then.
                                -11-26-2007, 06:08 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Head Coach Scott Linehan
                                by RamWraith
                                Head Coach Scott Linehan

                                (On game)
                                “The game was a real close game for the first three quarters. We spent a good deal of our time defensively on the wrong side of the field and offensively on the wrong side of the field. It is tough to overcome the field position battle. You spend the whole time playing on the long field or the short field. I don’t have the numbers in front of me of how many plays we spent on the minus part of the field. I know that 41 of their 53 plays were on the plus side of the field for them. You are not going to beat a good football team like this doing that. We had some plays that weren’t made, and we can go back and say ‘if we made that play here or if we finished that drive before the half’ we could have at least tied the game up. Again we have to give them credit for executing better than us.”

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                                “We have to keep looking at who is on there. We have done a lot of shuffling and moving people in and out of there and we have not found the right combination. It has not been a bright spot for us, we have made some adjustments and made some progress for a few weeks, but we have not been consistent. We all need to take credit for that.”

                                (On scoring in the second half)
                                “We are working on it, we haven’t been able to execute it. When you jump off sides and getting holding calls and give up a sack and you have to overcome that plus go 80 or 90 yards each time, it is hard to score points. We have not played good as a team in the second half. You can focus on offense, defense or special teams but our team has not been a good second half team. Our fourth quarter scoring and our ability to stop people in the fourth quarter has not been good enough. You have to win fourth quarters if you want to win in this league.”

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                                “There was zero man coverage and I think we had a miscommunication between a couple of players as to who was going to take the vertical and who had the underneath coverage. Obviously you can’t do that.”

                                (On QB Marc Bulger’s play in the first half versus the second half)
                                “I credit their defense for tighter coverage, they got an early interception and that factored into it a little bit. Once we got behind we got into a little bit of a passing mode, more than what we had anticipated. I thought Bulger played very good except for a couple of plays that could have been made, but he is the quarterback and he throws the passes.”

                                (On RB Steven Jackson)
                                “He is a great football player, and I think that game time is when you give him the football. I think we did a good job of getting him involved early and being able to run the ball. We still continue to try and mount some drives in a the run game.”
                                -12-16-2007, 06:15 PM
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