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by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season

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  • by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season

    Rams will have to score a lot this season
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Sep. 11 2004

    The Rams plan to celebrate their 10th anniversary in St. Louis this season.
    Team owner Georgia Frontiere threw a formal party Friday night to kick off the
    festivities, and guests remembered the good times.

    The Rams arrived here in 1995, but didn't stop making fools of themselves until
    1999. The long wait was worth it. The four years of losing was followed by the
    most successful five-year run by a St. Louis NFL franchise.

    Two Super Bowls, one Super Bowl title and four playoff appearances in five
    seasons. The offense filled Sunday afternoons with flying footballs and nearly
    30 points per game. And even when the Rams lost, they were never dull. Coach
    Mike Martz, the designer of this offensive masterpiece, is our town's most
    eccentric and temperamental artist. Martz's avant-garde approach to
    forward-thinking football is frequently controversial, but never boring.

    It's been a thrilling ride. But is it over? Are the Rams about to revert back
    to the days of Same Old Rams behavior? Are we going to have flashbacks? Tony
    Banks throwing interceptions . . . Lawrence Phillips spending more time in jail
    than the end zone. . . . Dwayne "Road Grader" White belly-flopping as he misses
    blocks . . . Overwhelmed head coach Rich Brooks shivering on the sideline at
    Pittsburgh, dressed like a kid on a snow day.

    Let's not go back there, OK?

    As a new season reveals itself, I'm hoping the Rams can continue to entertain
    us with lively if imperfect football. And I believe that's what we're going to
    see in 2004. Lots of points, and too many disappointing losses.

    If there's a model for this season, it's 2000.

    The 2000 Rams scored 540 points, the most in franchise history.

    Problem is, those Rams also were plundered for 470 points, the most in
    franchise history.

    We saw that 10-6 team win games by scores of 41-36, 37-34, 45-29, 57-31, 40-29.
    We watched them lose games by scores of 54-34 and 38-35. It was the EA Sports'
    Madden football game come to life. It was insanity. The Rams went to stadiums
    across America and blew up circuit wiring on scoreboards. I got carpal-tunnel
    syndrome just trying to write down details of all the touchdowns. That Rams
    defense couldn't have won a pillow fight. No surprise that it all ended with a
    31-28 defeat at New Orleans in an NFC wild-card game.

    I fear that we are in for more of the same. I'm not worried about the offense.
    Now that Orlando Pace is stationed at left tackle, the O-line will solidify.
    Martz has never had so many talented receivers available to him. Because of
    rules changes, opposing defensive backs in theory can no longer cheat by
    applying the Bill Belichick stranglehold technique to slow Isaac Bruce and
    Torry Holt. This will also make it easier for quarterback Marc Bulger to
    connect downfield.

    The 2003 Rams were faulty in the red zone, settling for so many field goals
    that Jeff Wilkins tied an NFL record with 39. So Martz went out and drafted a
    train, the Steven R. Jackson. This 235-pound rookie load should give the Rams
    some head-banging power near the goal line.

    This team will move the ball, finish drives and score. The Greatest Show on
    Turf, like an old rock and roll band not ready to go home, is going to go out
    on tour and crank it up again. (In this instance, it's Prince and "1999.")

    This Rams offense had better acquaint itself with the end zone, because they
    will need to build quite a cushion to compensate for the defense. I'm not
    calling out the Rams' defense for being gutless or unwilling to play hard,
    tough football. But many of the guys they have in place are learning NFL job
    skills. The defense is in transition.

    The linebackers, for example, are fast and furious but inexperienced. Injuries
    have wiped out quality depth at defensive tackle and cornerback. Incredibly,
    this team plans to line up with only one NFL-tested corner, Jerametrius Butler.
    Defensive linemen Grant Wistrom and Brian Young departed through free agency.
    Rams fans are still waiting for defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Damione
    Lewis to make the kind of plays that alter games. The established playmakers -
    defensive end Leonard Little and safeties Aeneas Williams and Adam Archuleta -
    will labor valiantly to prevent cave-ins.

    We could see the trend develop last season. In the final seven games, including
    the playoff loss to Carolina, the Rams were trampled for an average of 5.4
    yards per rushing attempt. Ten times last season, opponents averaged more than
    4.5 yards per carry against St. Louis. Carolina exposed the fatal weakness,
    once and for all, with 216 yards rushing in the upset playoff win. And if
    anything, the 2004 Rams have less, not more, talent in the defensive front
    seven. And that's the concern, though Arizona seems incapable of exploiting the
    Rams defense on Sunday.

    As the Rams enter their 10th season in St. Louis, it's just about time to
    update the Edward Jones Dome. Receivers and backs will be wearing out the
    carpet this season; it will need to be replaced. For fans who love offense and
    35-31 games, the Rams should be your kind of team.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season

    Nothing like optimizim! :bored:

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


    Related Topics


    • RamWraith
      Bernie's Take: Talent drain puts postseason in doubt
      by RamWraith
      Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
      Friday, Aug. 27 2004

      I like the Rams, and their fans, so I'm going to do everyone a favor:

      I predict the 2004 Rams will finish 9-7 and miss the NFC playoffs.

      And that's optimistic. A record of 8-8 is more realistic.

      That's good news for observant readers who undoubtedly will recall that I
      joined most residents of Western civilization in picking the Cardinals to
      finish third in the National League Central this season, behind the Cubs and
      the Astros.

      So I figure a doom-and-gloom forecast is the least I can do for the Rams, who
      have provided such entertaining and (mostly) fulfilling football for the town
      and their fans since 1999. During this special five-year run, which represents
      the golden era of NFL football in St. Louis, the Rams won 70 percent of their
      regular-season games. They averaged 30 points per game. They made the playoffs
      four times. They reached two Super Bowls, winning one. They produced MVPs in
      quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk. It really was The
      Greatest Show on Turf.

      Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that's especially true in the
      NFL, where the finest teams are eventually devoured by the jaws of the league
      salary cap. With so many free-agent defections, it's difficult to stay on top.

      The Rams managed to build to winning form through solid drafts and expert
      salary-cap management by Jay Zygmunt. But there's been slippage. The Rams won
      12 games last season, but five victories came by six points or fewer and could
      have gone either way. Shockingly, their defense was slapped around during a
      home playoff loss to Carolina, allowing 216 yards rushing at 5.3 yards per
      carry. The offense finished ninth in total yards; that was down from the norm.

      Drafts that once kept this team stocked and poised to compete have resulted in
      too many recent misses. The Rams invested a lot of premium picks in their
      defensive line and haven't received the anticipated impact.

      Warner is gone, Faulk has slowed, and there are disturbing signs of
      deterioration. Two starters on the offensive line (Kyle Turley and Dave
      Wohlabaugh) are victims of injuries, and this jerry-rigged O-line will be
      pressed to match last season's mediocre output of 3.6 yards per rushing
      attempt. The defensive line is precariously thin. When the interior lines are a
      team's most alarming areas of concern, major problems are likely.

      When they were The Greatest Show, the Rams featured dominant performers at
      multiple key positions. That's no longer the case. Scanning one scouting
      service, I saw some eye-opening rankings. Marc Bulger was...
      -08-29-2004, 08:35 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams have enough talent to get more from offense
      by RamWraith
      By Bernie Miklasz
      St. Louis Post-Dispatch

      We're still waiting for the "Greatest Show on Turf" to reappear. We're still waiting for that elusive break-out game. We're waiting for Marc Bulger, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk to give carpal tunnel syndrome to overwhelmed scoreboard operators.

      "I believe it's right around the corner," Bruce said. "We've been moving the ball pretty easy. We've been in the red zone a lot. We just haven't capitalized with touchdowns."

      The Rams malfunctioned in the red zone at San Francisco but still squeezed 25 points out of a lost afternoon. At Arizona, the offense produced two dazzling touchdown drives. But much of the time, the Rams stalled in that 17-12 victory, and that gave the Cardinals an opening to nearly steal the game.

      "Last week, I don't know if it was the heat, but we just didn't seem in sync," Bulger said. "We'll get there."

      The Rams offense is putting up positive numbers. After two games, they rank eighth among 32 teams in yards, and 10th in points. It's just that we know they're capable of supplying more electricity.

      In the last 22 regular-season games, the Rams have topped 30 points only twice. By admittedly unfair comparison, the 1999- 2001 Rams exceeded 30 points a stunning 36 times in 48 regular-season games. But the decline in scoring is obvious; the Rams were only 19th in points last season.

      With so much talent on hand, the formula for a reversal is there. But for the points to flow, coach Mike Martz and the offense must unclog the pipeline.

      Some of the problems include:

      -- Poor field position. Because of a lethargic return game, the offense plays on a long field.

      -- Third-down struggles. The Rams converted at least 42 percent of their third-down plays in five of the past six seasons, which put them in the top 10 in the league rankings. This year, through two games, the conversion rate is 35 percent, which ranks 22nd.

      -- In 2003, Bulger was among the best NFL QBs on third downs, with 13 touchdowns and a rating of 102.6. His performance on third downs has leveled off.

      -- Red zone alert. The Rams rank 22nd in the league in percentage of touchdowns scored while in the red zone. Bulger's QB rating in the red zone slipped from 104.2 in 2002, to 83.6 in 2003, to 76.0 in 2004.

      -- Pass-protection breakdowns are an issue; can this aging line play at the high level needed to set the playmakers free?

      -- Martz is searching for the right play-calling touch. In Jackson, an oversized but quick running back, Martz has an exceptional new piece for his attack and would like to be more ground-oriented. Late in the Arizona game, Martz went conservative, but the Cardinals stuffed the Rams' running game, and the offense...
      -09-22-2005, 04:48 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Bernie: Rams Need To Hit Back
      by r8rh8rmike
      Bernie: Rams need to hit back

      5 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

      In the first half of the season the Rams moved up, then got pushed back. The NFL’s youngest team made obvious progress during a 3-2 start but couldn’t make it last. The Rams were taken down for three consecutive losses, then staggered into the bye week to stitch their fresh wounds.

      Has the bleeding stopped?

      The San Francisco ***** figure to let us know Sunday when the teams meet at Candlestick Park. This is a tough assignment for the Rams. The ***** have won their last 11 home games vs. NFC West opponents, and they haven’t lost a division home game since Seattle escaped football Alcatraz on Oct. 26, 2008.

      “We’ve got our hands full this weekend,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday. “This is our biggest challenge to date.”

      If the first five games of 2012 were an indication of how far the Rams had come in Fisher’s first season, the 0-3 crash reminded us of how far they still have to go.

      The second half won’t be easy. Among the 32 NFL teams, only St. Louis and Cleveland have failed to win a game away from home this season, and the Rams will play five of their final eight on the road.

      The *****’ style may seem familiar. They thrive on physical, punishing football. They want to hit you early and often. By the time the game is over, San Francisco’s opponents are likely to have more bruises than yards, more injuries than points.

      On offense, the ***** lead the NFL in rushing yards per game and are No. 1 in the league with an average of 5.6 yards per rushing attempt. On defense, the ***** yield only 3.6 yards per rush, have given up only eight touchdowns from scrimmage and are allowing a league-low 12.9 points per game.

      The ***** are nasty, tenacious and unrelenting. They’ll beat you up on the field, then beat you on the scoreboard.

      Or to put it another way: The ***** play Jeff Fisher football.

      The model used by second-year San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh is reminiscent of the approach implemented by Fisher in Tennessee. The ***** are what the Rams aspire to be. The ***** rebuilt their program by tearing down opponents. And that’s how Fisher plans to do it in St. Louis.

      So that’s why I’m intrigued by this matchup, which gives the Rams a chance to reaffirm their commitment to physical football. If you want to play tackle football, then San Francisco is the right place to be.

      I realize they Rams are still short on talent and depth. I realize they don’t have enough playmakers. The Rams are still under construction, and you’d have to be delusional to expect the work to be finished by season’s end.

      But when Rams owner Stan Kroenke hired Fisher to take on the project of strengthening the league’s most pitiful weakling, I expected to see...
      -11-08-2012, 10:23 AM
    • RamWraith
      Better late than never for Rams
      by RamWraith
      The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

      If their timing wasn't perfect, it surely was, oh, just a wee bit intriguing. Several weeks late -- and with a won-loss record that looks more like a defensive lineman's jersey than a Super Bowl contender's flashy dossier -- the better-late-than-never Rams are finally beginning to behave like the team we all thought they would be.

      They may have stumbled and bumbled, gasped and sputtered for almost the entire regular season, but now they're here, only two steps away from an improbably trip to Super Bowl XXXIX.

      They lost games they shouldn't have, endangered their quarterback's life and limbs, and then watched their head coach perfect the art of living dangerously.

      And yet here they are, back in the championship hunt, leaving a lot of folks perplexed, but making so many more teams in the NFC's upper bracket very nervous. These Rams with their impressionable youngsters and their desperate veterans hungry for one last championship grasp, are heading into this weekend's rematch with the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons with their competitive hearts pumping with confidence.

      "I don't care about the history of being the first 8-8 team to win a playoff game," said veteran guard Tom Nutten. "It really doesn't matter, because we have more work to do. There's another game to be played. We can think abouthistory later."

      Three weeks ago, they were a 6-8 team with a season on life support. But now, they have not only turned the season around, but also redirected this franchise's fate from a failing team in turmoil to a hopeful one on a decided upswing. This is why it's OK to be positive about the Rams and their less-than-beautiful 9-8 record. This is why it's rational to feel positive about a team that gave you so many headaches and heartbreak for most of the fall and winter.

      You can look at the Rams in a different -- and clearly more positive -- light now and not feel delusional. I don't know if they can go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons, but I believe that they are certainly capable. A few weeks ago, I couldn't have said that with a straight face. A year ago, the 12-4 Rams of a year ago slumped at the finish. So why are these 9-8 Rams swaggering instead of staggering?

      It's all about timing. It's all about progress. Consider this: The Rams offense really began to struggle right around the time we thought they would surge early in the season. They were 4-2 entering Miami, but got routed 31-14. Quarterback Marc Bulger got beaten up pretty good in that game, injuring his shoulder on a fourth-quarter hit by Dolphin pass rusher Jason Taylor.

      After that hit, the Rams offense struggled noticeably for the next seven games, averaging barely one touchdown per game (1.28) and 335 yards of total offense. But since Bulger came back from...
      -01-11-2005, 02:10 PM
    • RamWraith
      Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected
      by RamWraith
      By Bernie Miklasz
      Sunday, Dec. 24 2006

      For the first time since moving to St. Louis from SoCal in 1995, the Rams are
      blacked out in the regular season and won't be seen on local TV. For those at
      home staring at the flat screen, this means no Rams vs. Redskins, no Alex
      Barron vs. the snap count. And those contests aren't nearly as compelling as,
      say, Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell.

      This disappearance from the airwaves, while annoying, isn't exactly a crisis.
      There's no reason to roast your chestnuts over this. I received serious e-mails
      this week from anxious souls, inquiring about the status of the Rams' lease at
      the Edward Jones Dome, or to ask if team President John Shaw is scheming to
      load up the vans for a move from Earth City back to Century City.

      Please, stop it. This is the Rams' 12th season in St. Louis, and they've had
      only four winning seasons, but have sold out 100 consecutive home games
      (regular season and playoffs) until now.

      The Blues? Now there's an attendance problem. The Rams do not have an
      attendance problem. Falling 3,000 seats short of a sellout in a Christmas Eve
      game pitting teams with a combined 11-17 record does not represent the death
      spiral of a franchise.

      What the Rams do have going is a run of on-field mediocrity and front-office
      dysfunction, two negative forces that have softened the support.

      The Rams aren't a horrible team, and compared with lost NFL colonies in
      Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and Houston, this dry spell is relatively harmless.
      The offense has a Pro Bowl quarterback (Bulger), Pro Bowl running back
      (Jackson) and Pro Bowl receiver (Holt), so there's hope.

      Still, since losing to New England in the Super Bowl to end the 2001 season
      with a crash, the Rams have filed one winning record, are 39-39 in the regular
      season, and have lost two of three postseason games. And since their last
      winning campaign, in 2003, the Rams are 20-26.

      It's been a slow, gradual comedown from the Greatest Show on Turf years. We
      were thrilled by the entertainment, the big stars, and the constant beatdowns
      the Rams gave their opponents. From 1999 through 2003, the Rams went 56-24 in
      the regular season, hosted five postseason games, won five postseason games,
      triumphed in a Super Bowl, competed in a second Super Bowl, and averaged an
      astounding 30 points a game over five seasons.

      So when you follow up that legendary, scintillating act with 20-26, and
      averaging 20 points a game (as the Rams are this season), the difference is
      roughly that between Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra Jr. And given the
      frustrating realization that this slide could...
      -12-25-2006, 06:32 AM