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  • Rams-Redskins: Things to Watch

    Rams-Redskins: Things To Watch
    Thursday, Aug. 26 2004

    QUARTERBACK: For whatever reason, Marc Bulger wasn't poised in the pocket against Kansas City. Yes, there were some protection issues. Yes, his receivers missed some hot reads. But he needs to do better against pressure, particularly against the blitz. For example, his INT returned for a touchdown was a hurried, off-balance throw against a double-safety blitz.

    RUNNING BACK: Marshall Faulk plays again but doesn't figure to get much more work than Monday night, when he had seven touches. Can Steven Jackson keep it up? He's averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 63 yards per game in exhibition play. Arlen Harris missed a blitz pickup against the Chiefs that led to a second quarter sack. FB Joey Goodspeed (hamstring) is expected to return after sitting out against KC.

    WIDE RECEIVER-TIGHT END: Some of the younger receivers need to focus more. Shaun McDonald and Dane Looker missed hot reads on Chiefs blitzes that led to botched pass plays. If TE Brandon Manumaleuna had held his block on KC linebacker Scott Fujita, Bulger might have thrown a first-quarter TD pass to Isaac Bruce. Instead, Bulger was hit and the ball was slightly overthrown. Cam Cleeland (hamstring) should make his exhibition debut.

    OFFENSIVE LINE: Nobody's saying it was perfect, but this group's play wasn't as bad as some observers think against Kansas City. As mentioned above, many of the pass protection problems were caused by breakdowns at other positions, or simply sub par execution by Bulger. LT Grant Williams' ankle is doing better; RG Adam Timmerman's status is uncertain because of a shoulder problem; Tom Nutten makes his preseason debut, one week after coming out of retirement.

    DEFENSIVE LINE: Opposing rushers have averaged 130 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry against the Rams this preseason, so this unit needs to improve. The backup spots at DT behind starters Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis are still in flux. Bernard Holsey, Kevin Aldridge and Brian Howard are competing there for one or two spots.

    LINEBACKER: After starting against KC, Brandon Chillar stayed with the starting unit this week, ahead of Tommy Polley and Tony Newson. Early roster cuts have left only eight LBs on the roster. The Rams will keep six or seven, so it's time for bubble players Brandon Spoon and Jeremy Loyd to make a move.

    SECONDARY: Kevin Garrett gets the start at CB in place of injured Travis Fisher. Veteran Tom Knight figures to see some time at corner, too, after spending most of the preseason at safety. This is an important game for Knight, as well as young corners Dwight Anderson and Corey Yates.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: For many players backing up at various positions on offense and defense, their work tonight on coverage and return units could decide whether they stick with the Rams. McDonald and the punt return unit have come close to some dynamic returns. Can they put one together tonight?

    - Jim Thomas

  • #2
    Re: Rams-Redskins: Things to Watch

    OFFENSIVE LINE: Nobody's saying it was perfect, but this group's play wasn't as bad as some observers think against Kansas City. As mentioned above, many of the pass protection problems were caused by breakdowns at other positions, or simply sub par execution by Bulger.
    Finally, a beacon of reason in a sea of panic.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams-Redskins: Things to Watch

      Win or loose, I just hope the first team plays like we expect them to.
      JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
      :ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram:

      "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
      Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams-Redskins: Things to Watch

        I live in the DC area. If the Rams win one preseason game I hope it's this one. I will be a wealthier man if they do. I usually do not bet on preseason games but too many friends running thier mouths about the skins and Gibbs.....

        Go Rams....

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams-Redskins: Things to Watch

          I just hope that we have NO injuries....


          steve :ramlogo: :ramlogo:
          "The breakfast Club":helmet:

          Comment

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          • Nick
            Rams: Things to Watch
            by Nick
            Rams things to watch

            Sunday, Aug. 22 2004

            QUARTERBACK - Mike Martz would like to play Marc Bulger the entire first half. But that depends on game circumstances and the performance of the offensive line. With only six pass attempts and one series in the exhibition opener against Chicago, Bulger needs the work.

            RUNNING BACK - Marshall Faulk will make his exhibition debut and could play the entire first half. Steven Jackson, who was very impressive in practice late in the week after resting his knee a couple of days, will play a lot. Joey Goodspeed has a tight hamstring, so Chris Massey could play at lot at FB.

            WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END - Shaun McDonald appears to have moved up to the No. 4 WR spot, ahead of Mike Furrey and Kevin Curtis. Curtis missed most of the past week with shin splits but returned to practice late in the week. At TE, Cam Cleeland (hamstring) is close to returning. He is OK after Saturday's car accident but probably will sit out this one.

            OFFENSIVE LINE - The probable starting five: LT Grant Williams (despite a sprained ankle); LG Chris Dishman; C Andy McCollum; RG Adam Timmerman; RT Scott Tercero. Recently un-retired Tom Nutten is a few weeks away from being ready to play.

            DEFENSIVE LINE - Anthony Hargrove is back at defensive end after a brief experiment at DT. Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis played well against Chicago, but tonight they step up in class because KC has one of the NFL's best offensive lines. Can Bryce Fisher and Erik Flowers keep up the good work at right defensive end?

            LINEBACKER - After being moved ahead of Tommy Polley on the depth chart at strongside LB, Tony Newson (hamstring) may not play tonight. But rookie Brandon Chillar may start ahead of Polley. This is an important game for bubble LBs Jeremy Loyd, Justin Smith and Brandon Spoon.

            SECONDARY - There is some concern about playing starting CBs Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher for an extended period, because of tight hamstrings. With DeJuan Groce (knee) sitting out, Dwight Anderson has a chance to play a lot in his bid for the fifth CB spot on the final roster.

            SPECIAL TEAMS - The coverage units were solid against Chicago until a couple of breakdowns late in the game cost the Rams on the punt-return and kickoff-coverage units. If Dante Hall gets his hands on the ball tonight for KC, the coverage units will get the supreme test.

            - Jim Thomas
            -08-23-2004, 12:18 AM
          • RamDez
            Rams Position Analysis
            by RamDez
            Rams Position Analysis
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Saturday, Sep. 11 2004

            QUARTERBACKS

            Starter: Marc Bulger.
            Reserves: Chris Chandler, Jeff Smoker.

            For the first time in his career, Bulger enters an NFL regular season as a
            starting quarterback. He actually got a lot less work in exhibition games this
            preseason as opposed to his previous three campaigns with the club. After
            averaging 75 throws in the 2001, '02, and '03 preseasons, he threw only 36
            times this preseason.

            After a rocky game against Kansas City, and a few erratic tosses against
            Washington, Bulger closed strong against the Redskins and looked sharp in his
            only series against Oakland. He must cut down on his interceptions, improve his
            deep touch and avoid rushing through his reads. If he does that, he will make
            the jump from a good NFL quarterback to an elite one.

            Veteran Chris Chandler outplayed Bulger in the preseason, with a 97.9 passer
            rating and a 65.9 completion percentage, easing concerns about his ability to
            be an effective QB at age 38. He looks like a good fit for this offense, and
            can still zing the deep ball.

            The third QB, rookie Jeff Smoker, isn't close to being ready to play in an NFL
            game.

            The Stat: Bulger's .818 winning percentage (18-4) is the best among
            active NFL quarterbacks with a minimum of 10 regular-season starts.



            RUNNING BACKS

            Starters: Marshall Faulk (RB), Joey Goodspeed (FB).
            Reserves: Steven Jackson (RB), Arlen Harris (RB/FB), Chris Massey
            (FB), Stephen Trejo (FB/TE).

            Faulk says he feels better entering this season than he has in a few years. But
            who knows how his right knee will hold up in this, his 11th NFL season? Faulk
            doesn't have the burst he displayed three years ago. But his vision,
            intelligence, pass-receiving skills, and competitive fire appear to be as good
            as ever. It's unrealistic to think he can get 20-25 touches a game and hold up
            for most, or all, of a 16-game season. That's where rookie Steven Jackson comes
            in.

            Jackson led the NFL in rushing during the preseason with 323 yards, and is a
            good pass catcher. How he handles a regular-season game plan remains to be
            seen. The same goes for his blitz pickup and pass-blocking in general, an area
            in which Faulk excels.

            Slowed for part of the preseason with a hamstring injury, Joey Goodspeed has
            shown that he can at least be a competent fullback. He's a willing blocker,
            with decent pass-catching skills.

            Although no game breaker, Arlen Harris can do a solid job running the ball and
            also may be used at fullback in certain formations. Once again, Chris Massey is
            a good insurance policy...
            -09-12-2004, 02:03 AM
          • RamDez
            RamView
            by RamDez
            RamView, September 2, 2004

            From the Couch

            (Report and opinions from the game.)

            Preseason Game #4: Raiders 28, Rams 24



            The Rams churn out a lot of ground yardage, but don't do enough on defense to stave off the Raiders.



            Bright spots: Good offensive line play all-around; no significant new injuries.



            Position by position:

            * QB: Marc Bulger played only the first series and was perfect (3-3-66), sandwiching a 46-yard pass to Cam Cleeland within two quick hitters to Marshall Faulk, who scored a 7-yard TD on the last one. Not as much of Bulger as I would have preferred to see, but he ended the Washington game well and was rolling in this one, so I guess he's maintaining positive momentum. Chris Chandler (6-9-85) played the rest of the first half and looked fine, again getting mostly excellent protection. Jeff Smoker played the whole second half, mostly handing off, but he got enough action (10-15-105) to show nice poise on third down, and he drove the offense to a couple of TDs. Jeff's got some mechanics to work out, though. Many of his passes were too low, at the receiver's feet, or too low at the line of scrimmage, where he gave up a couple of tip balls, one of which the Raiders intercepted. His second interception was the game-ending pass, so the two picks aren't as bad as they look at first. Heading into the season opener, then, it looks like Bulger's back into the groove a little bit, and his backups are capable and know what they're doing for the most part a nice place to be.



            * RB: The Ram running game was Hydra-like, a multi-headed threat that scared up 171 yards on the ground. Faulk was just 4-11 but had two catches for 20. The receptions engaged him more in the offense than last week, and he flashed a little more speed and drive than we saw against Washington. Lamar Gordon had his annual "oops, my job is being threatened" night, where he suddenly puts all his aches and pains aside and has a big night, 22-77. Lamar ran with a lot of power and effort behind the solid Rams front, and also had some outside runs where he turned the corner quite well. He's probably the Rams' best outside runner. He foolishly pulled himself off the field at one point for some little ding, though, or maybe a breath, and that was Stephen Jackson's cue. The rookie tore off another 72 yards on 12 carries. He did a lot of his work right up the middle again, and showed not just Gordon's power and effort, but some of Faulk's footwork and elusiveness. Another good night from the team preseason offensive MVP. All the RBs took good care of the ball, too, including Arlen Harris, who added another 19 yards on 6 rushes, as the Rams seem likely to carry all four tailbacks into the regular season. Waiver bait: Dusty McGrorty.



            * WR: Marchin' Martz only called pass plays about...
            -09-04-2004, 01:58 AM
          • RamWraith
            10 Questions (and a few answers) about the Rams
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Friday, Aug. 27 2004

            On the eve of training camp, the Post-Dispatch posed 10 questions concerning
            the 2004 Rams. One month later, we reassess those questions:


            1. Can Faulk still run (and catch)?

            He was basically a spectator early in training camp. But Marshall Faulk has
            gotten a lot of practice work over the past two weeks, and some exhibition-game
            time as well. He is rounding into form, but even Faulk isn't sure what to
            expect. The early results have been fairly encouraging. Nonetheless, it might
            be a few weeks into the regular season before Faulk has a read on his right
            knee and how it might hold up over a 16-game schedule.

            At least the Rams appear to have an emerging alternative in rookie Steven
            Jackson. Jackson has displayed surprising cutback ability for a 230-pounder,
            with the power to drag tacklers for an extra yard or two. He has above-average
            ability as a pass-catcher, and is a willing blocker on blitz pickup. He must
            keep mistakes to a minimum, however.


            2. How will Bulger fare as the man at quarterback?

            Bulger seems to have the complete confidence of his teammates. With rare
            exceptions he has thrown the ball well on the practice field - be it in Macomb
            or back at Rams Park.

            He misfired on a few passes against the Kansas City blitz in the second
            preseason game. With the Rams' offensive line in a state of transition, rest
            assured that Arizona (Sept. 12) and Atlanta (Sept. 19) took note. The
            Cardinals, Falcons and other early-season Rams opponents are polishing up their
            blitz packages as we speak.

            A quick start by Bulger in September will keep the pressure off and the Kurt
            Warner zealots quiet.


            3. What's my line?

            The early returns on Bryce Fisher and Erik Flowers at right defensive end have
            been encouraging, fueling optimism that they can adequately replace Grant
            Wistrom. Rookie Anthony Hargrove has shown flashes of his considerable athletic
            talent on the practice field, but has yet to transfer that into games. He
            remains raw and unpolished. His development was hampered by missed camp time
            for a knee and ankle injury, plus a trip to Florida to tend to his family after
            Hurricane Charley.

            The foot injury to Jimmy Kennedy was unfortunate, given the amount of offseason
            work he put in to prepare for this season. His absence makes the defensive
            tackle depth very questionable at this point. Veteran Bernard Holsey is not yet
            up to full speed following offseason surgery to repair a torn quadriceps
            tendon. Brian Howard and Kevin Aldridge have had ups and downs as they contend
            for a backup...
            -08-29-2004, 08:34 AM
          • RamDez
            RamView - Raiders
            by RamDez
            From the Couch

            (Report and opinions from the game.)

            Preseason Game #4: Raiders 28, Rams 24



            The Rams churn out a lot of ground yardage, but don't do enough on defense to stave off the Raiders.



            Bright spots: Good offensive line play all-around; no significant new injuries.



            Position by position:

            * QB: Marc Bulger played only the first series and was perfect (3-3-66), sandwiching a 46-yard pass to Cam Cleeland within two quick hitters to Marshall Faulk, who scored a 7-yard TD on the last one. Not as much of Bulger as I would have preferred to see, but he ended the Washington game well and was rolling in this one, so I guess he's maintaining positive momentum. Chris Chandler (6-9-85) played the rest of the first half and looked fine, again getting mostly excellent protection. Jeff Smoker played the whole second half, mostly handing off, but he got enough action (10-15-105) to show nice poise on third down, and he drove the offense to a couple of TDs. Jeff's got some mechanics to work out, though. Many of his passes were too low, at the receiver's feet, or too low at the line of scrimmage, where he gave up a couple of tip balls, one of which the Raiders intercepted. His second interception was the game-ending pass, so the two picks aren't as bad as they look at first. Heading into the season opener, then, it looks like Bulger's back into the groove a little bit, and his backups are capable and know what they're doing for the most part a nice place to be.



            * RB: The Ram running game was Hydra-like, a multi-headed threat that scared up 171 yards on the ground. Faulk was just 4-11 but had two catches for 20. The receptions engaged him more in the offense than last week, and he flashed a little more speed and drive than we saw against Washington. Lamar Gordon had his annual "oops, my job is being threatened" night, where he suddenly puts all his aches and pains aside and has a big night, 22-77. Lamar ran with a lot of power and effort behind the solid Rams front, and also had some outside runs where he turned the corner quite well. He's probably the Rams' best outside runner. He foolishly pulled himself off the field at one point for some little ding, though, or maybe a breath, and that was Stephen Jackson's cue. The rookie tore off another 72 yards on 12 carries. He did a lot of his work right up the middle again, and showed not just Gordon's power and effort, but some of Faulk's footwork and elusiveness. Another good night from the team preseason offensive MVP. All the RBs took good care of the ball, too, including Arlen Harris, who added another 19 yards on 6 rushes, as the Rams seem likely to carry all four tailbacks into the regular season. Waiver bait: Dusty McGrorty.



            * WR: Marchin' Martz only called pass plays about 40% of the time, so it wasn't a big receiving night....
            -09-04-2004, 03:45 AM
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