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Espn Overview Of Game One

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  • Espn Overview Of Game One

    :helmet: Overview
    Many felt that St. Louis was on the verge of becoming a dynasty heading into Super Bowl XXXVI. After all, they had won the championship just two years earlier and were heavily favored to defeat New England. However, nothing has gone according to plan since then. With QB Kurt Warner a New York Giant and few others to blame for their recent struggles in the playoffs, there is even more pressure on head coach Mike Martz to get results. How well he and his team reacts remains to bee seen.
    New head coach Denny Green has Arizona going in the right direction, but injuries have slowed the already tough path back to respectability for the Cardinals. An upset win over conference-rival St. Louis on the road would do a lot to boost the confidence of his relatively young team and help ease the loss of some critical starters.

    When the Cardinals have the ball
    Rushing: Arizona needs to protect a suspect secondary that should have problems defending St. Louis' high-octane passing attack, and establishing an effective running game will help keep the Rams' offense off the field. However, don't expect Arizona to line up in multiple-tight end sets and pound the ball between the tackles too often.

    Offensive coordinator Alex Wood will frequently run out of multiple-receiver sets despite the Cardinals' injuries in the receiving corps. Spreading the field creates running lanes for the backs and makes it more difficult for St. Louis to play SS Adam Archuleta, who is excellent in run support, inside the box.

    SmithRB Emmitt Smith has clearly lost a step with age and doesn't show the same burst through the hole that he did earlier in his career, but he doesn't have to pick up four or five yards a carry in this game. He just needs to be effective enough to create shorter third-down conversion attempts, effectively taking some pressure off QB Josh McCown and helping Arizona sustain longer drives.
    The Cardinals will try to keep Smith fresh and wear down the Rams' interior run defense by spelling him with backup Troy Hambrick, who the team acquired after losing Marcel Shipp to a season-ending leg injury. The loss of NT Jimmy Williams to a broken bone in his right foot has weakened St. Louis' depth at defensive tackle and Hambrick has the combination of size and power to take advantage.

    Passing: Quality pass protection and McCown staying patient will be critical when St. Louis drops into the cover-2 defense, which should be early and often. The Cardinals' 44 sacks allowed last year tied them for second worst in the league and there is little reason to believe that protection has improved considerably.

    It doesn't help that LDE Leonard Little, who recorded 12.5 sacks last year, has the speed to run by ROT Anthony Clement and the agility to redirect inside when Clement takes away the outside. Arizona can help its offensive line by keeping a back or tight end in to help out in pass protection at times. This limits McCown's options, but it should give him more time to go through his progressions.

    McCownThe Cardinals cannot afford to turn the ball over in this game, so McCown must go through his reads and take what the defense gives him. The cover-2 is designed to protect against the big play because the corners get safety help over the top. If McCown tries to force the ball to WR Larry Fitzgerald downfield, either Archuleta or FS Aeneas Williams will rotate over.
    Williams excels at reading opposing quarterbacks' eyes and has the ball skills to make McCown pay for any mistakes he makes downfield. While Larry Marmie will continue to run ample amounts of cover-2, he is expected to blitz more than former Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith did a year ago. McCown must recognize when Marmie is going to bring pressure and take advantage of the single-coverage opportunities the blitz creates.

    When the Rams have the ball
    Rushing: The impact of ROT Kyle Turley's season-ending back injury, LOT Orlando Pace's contract holdout during the preseason and the release of OC Dave Wohlabaugh could be significant. Offensive lines have to play well as a unit to be effective and St. Louis' front five needs to jel quickly.

    PaceAlthough the Cardinals finished with the third-worst pass rush in the league last year, they did well to add RDE Bertrand Berry during the offseason. Berry shows good quickness off the line and good closing speed to the quarterback. However, he lacks great size and Pace has the strength to dominate him at the point of attack.
    The Rams can take advantage by consistently running at Berry. Pounding the ball at the undersized Berry will help wear him down over the course of the game and keep him on his heels when Arizona drops back to pass. In addition, few backs have Marshall Faulk's vision and he will cut inside if Berry starts to fly upfield in an effort to avoid the block.

    Faulk is the primary back, but Lamar Gordon and Steven Jackson will get plenty of carries in relief, especially if St. Louis jumps out to an early lead. A steady rotation keeps the backs fresh late in the game, allowing the Rams to protect any kind of a lead. It also reduces the chances of Faulk, who missed give games last year, sustaining an injury.

    Passing: St. Louis will take advantage of Arizona's lack of ideal talent and depth at corner by frequently spreading the field with multiple-receiver sets. Cardinals defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will counter by staying conservative and running primarily soft zone coverages. While this should prevent the Rams from completing too many passes downfield, there are two problems with this approach.

    BulgerThe first is FS Dexter Jackson is out with a back injury and former undrafted free agent Quentin Harris is expected to replace him. QB Marc Bulger shows a good pump fake and at times the Rams will start to roll him out of the pocket before throwing to the opposite side. If the inexperienced Harris commits to the fake or the wrong side of the field, the corners won't get the help over the top they need, resulting in some big plays in the vertical passing game.
    The ability of WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce to get open underneath and then create after the catch is the second problem. Both are excellent route-runners who excel at finding the soft spot in zone coverage, and they will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Cardinals' back seven to tackle well. As a result, St. Louis should have success moving the ball through the air even when Pendergast does drop seven to eight men back into coverage.

    Scouts' Edge
    Green just doesn't have enough weapons on offense, playmakers on defense or the depth to overcome injuries at critical positions to win his debut with Arizona. Expect St. Louis to jump out to an early lead and force the Cardinals to abandon their running game in an effort to come back.

    Once Arizona's offense becomes one-dimensional, the Rams can then sit back in their cover-2 defense. This will force the relatively inexperienced McCown to stay patient while trying to get his team back within striking distance at the same time.

    With this game in St. Louis, where the Rams are close to impossible to beat, McCown should make some critical mistakes that result in turnovers. The end result will be a blowout victory for St. Louis.

  • #2
    Re: Espn Overview Of Game One

    Who's Jimmy Williams?

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


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    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams vs. Cardinals: Breaking Down St. Louis' Game PLan
      by r8rh8rmike
      St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals: Breaking Down St. Louis' Game Plan

      By Steven Gerwel , Featured Columnist
      Nov 4, 2014

      The St. Louis Rams (3-5) are traveling to the southwest to take on the Arizona Cardinals (7-1), and the Rams will need an excellent game plan to overcome the Redbirds, who own the best record in the NFL.

      This will be the first matchup of the 2014 season between these two NFC West teams. Arizona is favored by a comfortable 7.5 points, per Odds Shark , but as we already know, the Rams are a totally different team when playing against their division rivals.

      The Rams hosted the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7 and walked away with a surprising 28-26 victory. This past week, the Rams traveled to San Francisco to take on the *****, and St. Louis shocked the Levi's Stadium crowd by winning the game with a goal-line fumble recovery with just seconds left on the clock.

      Clearly, the Rams are well-acquainted with their fellow NFC West teams and know how to put up an admirable fight. So regardless of Arizona's eye-popping record, the Cardinals need to take St. Louis seriously.

      In fact, we saw a similar situation in 2012. The Cardinals owned an undefeated 4-0 record as they entered their first game against the Rams, but the relentless St. Louis pass rush tallied nine sacks and sent Arizona home with its first defeat of the season.

      The Cardinals lost 10 of their next 11 games following that debacle.

      Will the Rams be able to muster another statement game that once again knocks Arizona off its axis? Or, will it be the Cardinals who provide the Rams with the rude awakening?

      It's doubtful that the Rams will be able to hand Arizona a defeat as embarrassing as that game from 2012. But if St. Louis can accomplish a few key goals, the Rams will be in a position to escape with a victory and their first two-game win streak of the season.

      Here are a few things the Rams must aim for:

      Protect Austin Davis With Screens and Quick Passes

      The Rams defense is certainly not shy about blitzing the quarterback, but the Arizona defense is right there with it.

      According to Josh Weinfuss of, Arizona has the fourth-highest blitz rate in the NFL at 41.8 percent (prior to its game against the Dallas Cowboys), and the team's blitz rate is 47.8 percent since the start of 2013.

      The Cardinals have just eight sacks this season—the second-lowest total in the league—but the constant harassment and pressure could be a problem for St. Louis' young quarterback.

      The protection for Austin Davis was much better against San Francisco than it was two weeks ago against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Davis has still been under considerable pressure in recent games. He struggles with composure against the blitz and often makes terrible throws...
      -11-06-2014, 04:15 PM
    • Nick
      Aerial showdown looms in desert - Scouts Inc
      by Nick
      Aerial showdown looms in desert
      By Scouts, Inc.

      Why To Watch

      For the second straight week, QB Kurt Warner faces a former team and the younger protégé who supplanted him. Warner and Marc Bulger combined to air it out for more than 600 yards in Week 1 losses, largely because neither the Cardinals nor the Rams came close to establishing a running attack.

      Both teams also looked sloppy on special teams. The Rams allowed a punt return for a TD, while the Cardinals allowed both a punt and kickoff return for TD, the latter coming after an offsides penalty. Both teams also had their character and preparation questioned after lackluster Week 1 efforts.

      Will Mike Martz stick to his game plan and pound the ball with Steven Jackson? Can the Cardinals offensive line open any holes for J.J. Arrington and give Kurt Warner enough time to throw? Expect an aerial duel between two former teammates in this one.

      When the Rams have the ball

      Rushing: The Cardinals' run defense started strong against the Giants, but wore down as the game went on. Arizona's defenders were guilty of several missed tackles in the second half, many of them on big, bruising running back Brandon Jacobs.

      The Rams have a bruising back of their own in Steven Jackson, and a great change of pace back in Marshall Faulk. Jackson is not the type of back Martz is used to, and with his best results probably coming in the fourth quarter, Martz's patience will be tested. The Rams will try to run the ball behind LOT Orlando Pace, though RDE Bertrand Berry and linebackers Karlos Dansby and James Darling were very active in Week 1.

      The Rams are a finesse offensive line, with marginal talent. It is unlikely they can get the same kind of push that the Giants were able to get last week. The Cardinals have good athletes on defense and should be able to best the Rams with movement.

      Passing: Nobody is better at finding man-to-man matchups and exploiting them than Mike Martz . Cardinals' DC Antrel Rolle got picked on a little by the Giants, and Bulger will look to find Torry Holt matched up with him in single coverage. Rolle is a fast playmaker, but has struggled with his pedal since the preseason, and precise route runners like Holt and WR Isaac Bruce will be able to exploit that.

      DC David Macklin also doesn't match-up well with Bruce or Holt. The Rams utilized WR Shaun McDonald out of the slot on third-down situations, running underneath crossing patterns. The Cardinals might look to slow down and jam McDonald, and speedy WR Kevin Curtis, at the line to avoid match-up concerns with their nickel cornerback Raymond Walls. The Cardinals do not have an answer for the Rams when they have to play nickel and dime sets.

      Cardinals defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will show Bulger many different looks before the snap in order to confuse...
      -09-14-2005, 06:25 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams - Cardinals: 5 Things to Watch
      by RamWraith
      Saturday, September 23, 2006

      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      1. Dynamic Duo

      In St. Louis, the fans know all about what a dynamic receiving duo looks like. Rams fans have been blessed with the ability to watch Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt do their thing for years.

      In Arizona, the Cardinals are becoming accustomed to a similar experience with talented young wide outs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin asserting themselves as top-tier players.

      The Cardinals are 10th in the league in passing, mainly because of their dynamic duo at receiver. Both are fast, but they have just about all of the tools to be star receivers for years to come.

      “(They are) big and physical,” Rams coach Scott Linehan said. “They’ve got more tools than that, but it’s really a tough match up when you go up against big, physical guys like that. The challenge is to be able to contain them. I really mean that. They have the ability to make big plays. They’ve got a great quarterback who can get them the ball, who knows how to get them the ball. It’s going to be a pretty big challenge for our secondary to slow those guys down a little bit.”

      In two games this season, Boldin and Fitzgerald have combined for 23 catches for 309 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals passing game was in top form in the opener against San Francisco but struggled with quarterback Kurt Warner in the second game against Seattle.

      The Cardinals also have other big targets in tight end Adam Bergen and third receiver Bryant Johnson, but they rely mainly on the combination of Boldin and Fitzgerald.

      Expect the Rams to come with some creative coverages to attempt to limit the big plays. St. Louis gave up some big gainers in the passing game against San Francisco last week and though it’s almost impossible to stop Fitzgerald and Boldin, they have to at least limit the long plays that result in points.

      “They’re complete package guys,” Linehan said. “That makes it for a tough match-up. We’ve got to be creative in how we also help those guys at times, too. Not always having to cover them one-on-one. . You’re going to have to get it done.”

      2. Living on the Edge

      During the offseason, running back Edgerrin James was perhaps the biggest name available on the free agent market..

      Arizona inked James to a four-year, $30 million deal, giving the Cardinals instant credibility..

      “He’s one of the best running backs in the league,” defensive end Leonard Little said. “He’ll give you 1,600 yards a year. There’s a real threat with their running game. We have to really prepare for both things; the running game and the passing game.”

      In fact, in James’ eight seasons in the league, he has rushed for more than 1,500 yards on four occasions. This season, he is off to a slow start as the...
      -09-24-2006, 07:33 AM
    • HUbison
      Arizona @ St. Louis: It's a good thing it will be indoors...
      by HUbison
      ....cause this game is gonna look like an Arena game. When you compare us and them, the first thing you notice is the defense.......or lack thereof. We can't stop anybody, they can't stop anybody. In this particular contest, the situation could be even worse for the Cardinals with so many injuries to an already poor defense. But then again, we have Marmie so that sorta evens the field a little.

      On the offense, they can pass the ball.....we can pass the ball. Both teams like to get airborne and seem to need passing like a duck needs water. We/they may leave it for a few plays but rest assured we/they are coming right back to it.

      The difference between us and them is in the running game. Simply put, we're okay at it.......they suck at it. We're getting a little over 100 yards a game at a 4.5 ypc clip. They on the other hand are dead last on the run with 67 yards per game and a 3.0 ypc.

      Question for our offense:
      Will we get the ball in the endzone?
      We'll move it up and down the field at will. Both Bulger and Jackson should see little resistence pushing the play, but can we put it in the endzone. They may see several opportunities to answer that question come Sunday.

      Question for our defense:
      Can the pass rush come ready to execute?
      Even with our horrible D, stopping their run shouldn't, I repeat, s-h-o-u-l-d-n-'-t be a problem. We know Warner is going to pass a lot, and we know he's not exactly mobile. Their line gives up a lot of sacks, so if our line can create pressure, our secondary could look better than they actually are.

      The Rams win, if......
      Little, Hargrove and Green get to Warner. But if trends hold true, we'll be in coverage packages all day with very little blitzing, so they will have to do it on their own.

      The Cards win, if.....
      Shipp and Arrington can move the ball. If the Cards show they aren't one dimensional, a weak Ram D becomes even more diluted.
      -11-17-2005, 02:28 PM
    • Nick
      PFF ReFo: Cardinals @ Rams, Wk 5
      by Nick
      ReFo: Cardinals @ Rams, Wk 5
      Ben Stockwell | 2012/10/05

      It had to happen eventually and, as their offense surrendered its 17th sack in two weeks, the Arizona Cardinals finally tumbled to their first defeat of the season. Their 4-0 start was nothing short of miraculous considering the standard of their offense at times this season, but for once their defense couldn’t keep the game close enough for some more late-game heroics. As good as your defense is, if you can’t run the ball and can’t protect your quarterback, then your foes will eventually catch up with you.

      Instead, the Rams stole the Cardinals’ blueprint. They jumped out to an early lead and did just enough to hang on as the Cardinals were forced to pass the ball and expose their weakness in pass protection.

      Arizona – Three Performances of Note

      Struggles Continue Up Front

      There couldn’t be any other headline for the Cardinals from this game other than their offensive line. As much as their defense continues to impress, this was the first week that they couldn’t overcome the breaks that this offensive line put on the rest of the team. If you look at the cumulative offense page for the Arizona Cardinals in our Premium Stats section you will find three members of the Cardinals’ offensive line sporting extremely disappointing overall grades. In terms of context, only four teams in 2011 had a worse offensive ranking at year’s end than the Cardinals do right now. The three worst offenders, Bobby Massie, D’Anthony Batiste, and Adam Snyder were in their customary level of performance this week as well. Each player allowed at least five pressures and both Batiste and Snyder accounted for a trio of sacks allowed apiece. Of those three, it was only Massie who even looked halfway decent as a run blocker, as he accrued a +1.1 grade after the Cardinals picked up 4.3 yards per carry off his right hip. The Cardinals were dealt a serious blow in the preseason when they lost Levi Brown to injury, but it is becoming apparent that their backups were simply not up to the job. Surely it is time for them to scour the list of street free agents (or engineer a trade) to try and find an upgrade, or at least some competition, at tackle.

      The Star of Washington Rises in the West

      Lost in the imbalance that has been the Cardinals’ opening to the season is that Daryl Washington has put in a strong start. The focus has been on the struggles of the offense, and the likes of Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell leading the defense, but Washington is the beating heart of this defense. With another sack this week, Washington now leads the team with five and with a run defense grade of +7.6 is among the best inside linebackers in the league. His six pressures last night were the second most of his three year career (after his seven in Week 10 last season). Washington accounted for half of the Cardinals’ total pressure in this game,...
      -10-06-2012, 09:30 PM