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Notes and Analysis - Dolphins @ Rams ... 11/30/08

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  • Notes and Analysis - Dolphins @ Rams ... 11/30/08

    Here is my take, for what it's worth:

    QUARTERBACKS - Yes, Marc Bulger had one of the worst games of his career, statistically. It was a rough day all around for Marc, with his high point likely being a tackle he made after his INT. But I adamantly refuse to count out Bulger as a QB that can win alot of games for us. He made alot of bad throws today, and the reads on the first two INT's were even worse. The third INT was not as bad as it looked, as Stanley really didn't give the effort he should have to get that ball. Some critical dropped passes didn't help, as Pittman dropped two screen passes, one perfectly setup that could have resulted in a TD. Holt also dropped a critical pass that would have been a first down had he not been scared to get hit. How far the great have fallen. Bulger's primary problem seemed to be rushing his setup in the pocket today, and I cannot totally blame him for this. Yes, the O-Line showed up today, and they showed up for real. Bulger was not sacked, and his was barely hit all game. But one great game by the O-Line does not make a quarterback comfortable in the pocket. It was clear that Bulger was still looking to get hit, and he was not going through the reads and progressions like he should have. So many on this board, and many other boards, he said how Bulger cannot read a defense. Really? Is that how he garned a 65.0% completion rate and 90+ QB rating after his first five years in the league? He is a battered QB and he lacks confidence. I remember Warner throwing 3 TD and 11 INT in a season for us once, and what is he doing now? If Bulger can get this type of protection for a few weeks in a row, he should see some success again. Well, at least in theory. Fact is, this offensive system is outdated, and it just doesn't work with the personnel we have. We are shifting players everywhere, the receivers are asked to run complicated routes when they are struggling to run even simple ones. The tight end that is so valuable to Saunders scheme is non-existant at this point, and the QB does not feel he has time to throw. It's going to be a long road, but go ahead and keep throwing Bulger under the bus. Of course it's all his fault because he makes the big bucks, right? Simply a bad game from Bulger, but it's going to take awhile to get his confidence back. And we really need to work on this system, particularly in the red zone. Do you see the long developing routes that Saunders has these guys running inside the ten yard line? And enough with the comments about Bulger being an offensive coach killer. The Martz and Saunders offense just isn't effective today like it was in the GSOT days. Teams have figured it out, simple as that. It didn't work for Martz in Detroit and it's not working in San Francisco. Saunder milked it in K.C. but failed in Washington. It seems we might need to get back to the basics - look at the success we had when we were pounding the ball.

    Grade: D-

    RUNNING BACKS: Boy, you don't realize how much you miss something until it is gone and then it comes back. Jackson looked pretty darn good in his return yesterday and further established that he is definitely one of the elite backs in the league when he is healthy. He ran with due diligence yesterday, often carrying defenders two or three yards after the initial hit. He changes the entire dynamic of the offense when he is in there. He made a nice reception on the first play of the game, rumbling for 16 yards, and I definitely hope to see more of this in the future. He is an excellent receiver. Pittman ran hard on the few chances he got, including an impressive rumble for a first down after looking like he was going to be stuffed for no gain. He did drop two passes, one was critical and could have gone for big yards. Darby did nothing spectacular, playing mostly as a third down back in the second half. Daniel Fells looked great in the H-back roll, barreling through to make some crushing lead blocks, including one that let Jackson spring for about 7 yards. He also looked solid catching balls out of the backfield and proved to be very difficult to bring down. I like what we have here, lets hope they work to implement him further in the offense.

    Grade: B

    WIDE RECEIVERS; Yet another subpar day from this group, that is seemingly regressing the past few weeks. Looker led the team in receptions, grabbing everything in sight and running some nice routes to get open for some first down. However, I have to wonder why he is getting Burton's reps. Avery was non-existent today, and just couldn't seemingly get open and often had Looker trying to show him where he needed to be. He also had a false start, his second in two weeks, inexcusable for a wideout. Burton had one grab for a long gain on which he ran an absolulte sick in and out route to get free. He truly looked Bruce-esque on that route. Holt has an average day, catching a couple passed, but dropped a critical one because he seemingly didn't want to get hit. Rumor is Holt didn't even want to be in the game. If this is the case, cut him, I am tired of this nonsense. There is no excuse for him not being more productive, as receivers his age are still producing all over the league, double teams or not. Stanley has to give a better effort on that route at the end of the game. No way that DB should be that far ahead of him considering Stanley is a "track star".

    GRADE: D+

    OFFENSIVE LINE: I'll keep it simple, as they say if you are not mentioning these guys, they are doing their job. Inserting Romberg back into the lineup seemed to work wonders for these guys. Maybe he has a better grasp on the protection schemes. Only one time did a defender come free at Bulger on what seemed to be miscommunication between Bell and Romberg. Incognito got downfield early to make a huge block to spring Jackson on a run. Greco did the same on two occasions, and there was no dropoff at all when Greco replaced Cogs. Old man Pace absolutely dominated Porter and showed he can still perform at an elite level when he is challenged. Barron impressed me today, particularly in running blocking. He actually picked up Pittman on one play to push him forward for a few yards. Great day by this group, and hopefully they can continue to build on this. If Bell gets back to 300 lbs next year, and with Greco in the wings and quickly showing himself to be capable, we could have a very solid group.

    Grade: A

    DEFENSIVE LINE: Solid day for this group. Adeynaju continues to be strong against the run. The coaching staff really needs to work on developing this guys pass rushing skills. If he could develop into even an above average pass rusher, he would be a very nice player. Give Chris Long the advantage in matchup one against Jake Long, if by just the slightest of margins. He was able to pressure Pennington into two bad throws and got him for a loss on a muffed snap that Chad had to pick up and run with. Little didn't do much at all. Ryan and Carriker were moderately active, but neither are really being disruptive enough at this point to be major influences on the run game. Carriker did bust through quickly against one play against the wildcat formation that eventually led to a big loss after Fakhir made the stop. Overall, the Dolphins rushed for 149 yards but it took them 35 carries to get there, 102 yards of that on 27 carries by Brown and Williams. All things aside, a fairly solid job I would say compared to what we are used to. We just are not getting enough pressure on the quarterback, and Venturi just refuses to blitz.

    Grade: C+

    LINEBACKERS: Very little Witherspoon today, and rightfully so as he needs to rest those shoulder injuries. He's just taking too big a beating in the middle. Only saw Will a few times on third down passing situations. David Vobora steps in and played a fairly solid game. He is a little more stout than Witherspoon, not quite as quick, but he does have good range from sideline to sideline. He held up pretty well at the point of attack, and was able to shed a few blockers, including one nice play where he was able to shed the fullback and get outside to stop Brown for a 1 yard gain. I see some potential in Vobora to play as the strongside backer, and definitely as a backup in the middle. I am sure his adrenaline was pumping considering the circumstances, so lets see how he fares from here on out. I am sure he will get more chances. Pisa played a role today and he played it pretty well - that was to contain the run to the outside. He had four stops, all of them about 5 to 10 yards deep. Doesn't seem like much, but these are the types of stops we were not making the past couple weeks that led to big gains. Culberson had a nice pass breakup down the middle that almost led to a diving Atogwe INT and recovered Atogwe's forced fumble. While this group didn't make a ton of BIG plays today, they did exactly what they needed to do to prevent big gains from the Miami ball carriers.

    Grade: C+

    SECONDARY: Atogwe, Atogwe, Atogwe. Great game by O.J., who tackled well and made yet another big play, forcing a fumble on a trick pass by Brown that kept us in the game. I really like Jason Craft in the nickle role. He does not have the best coverage skills, but the guy is very active and plays every play to the final whistle. He has a nice breakup on a well thrown play down the sideline, and should have been credited with two tackles for loss. Brown and Bartell played well enough, keeping their guys in front of them for the most part. The scheme is what is causing the most problems with this unit. The lack of pass rush is requiring our guys to play well off of the receivers. This was killing us in the first half. It seemed Venturi tightened up the man coverage in the second half and we looked much better. Bartell and Brown are good athletes and they shouldn't be required to play so far off the ball. Chavous was solid against the run, but he got "burned" (I guess) on one play that should have never been had it been flagged as the illegal pick it was. Can't really complain about this group's effort and performance given the continual lack of pass rush.

    Grade: B

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Brown was superb today as was Donnie Jones. No surprise here. Coverage units were great, with both Chamberlain and Wade making some beautiful open field tackles. Stanley is showing great promise in the return game, but the wedge blocking is leaving something be desired. Overall, a pretty good game.

    Grade: B+

    COACHING: Lots of gripes here. What was Haslett thinking at the end of the first half when there was 31 seconds left and Miami had 4th down? Call a timeout stupid! You never know what might happen on the return, or what kind of big plays you might be able to squeeze out down the stretch. Also, in the 4th quarter, why not go for it on 4th and 1? We were playing like we were 9-2, not 2-9. Yes, it worked out in the long run, but still, do you really wonder why people do not come watch the games when there are gutless calls like these? Do we even know how to blitz? I did not see a single blitz today. We have good athletes on the corners, let them play man to man and send some blitzers. I thought the vanilla was gone when Linehan left, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Want to know why our redzone offense is so bad? Look at the types of routes we are running down there when other teams seemingly run slants and quick hitches. We play right into the hands of soft zone redzone defense because of our schemes.

    Grade: D+
    Last edited by RamsInfiniti; -12-01-2008, 06:45 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Notes and Analysis - Dolphins @ Rams ... 11/30/08

    So the O-line gets an A and Bulger still has a bad game?

    The handwriting is on the wall.
    sigpic :ram::helmet:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Notes and Analysis - Dolphins @ Rams ... 11/30/08

      Originally posted by laram0 View Post
      So the O-line gets an A and Bulger still has a bad game?

      The handwriting is on the wall.
      Regardless, Bulger is going to be the quarterback. Let's see if he improves if the O-line continues to stay steady ...

      Comment

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      • RamsInfiniti
        Report Card = Rams @ 49'ers
        by RamsInfiniti
        Here is the way I saw it:

        QUARTERBACK - Bulger passed for nearly 300 yards, but he had a typical erratic day that we've seen all season. Bulger can seemingly put together two or three consecutive good throws, only to follow with a horrible mistake. Bulger worked to get the ball out quickly today, but he often reacted to pressure that was not there. On two of the sacks, he had at least five seconds to throw, and failed to find an open receiver, or to throw it away. He just looks very confused at this point. He just barely missed Avery on a deep seam route in the first quarter - the ball was slightly underthrown, but the rookie has to find a way to make that play. The main problem I saw in Bulger again this week is predetermining his throws before the snap. It's hard to pinpoint how big an issue this really is, but some great camera angles in this game often showed wideouts sitting open in the flat, particularly on some third downs. It seems either Bulger throws to the flat too quickly before the routes develop, or he is absolutely deadset on throwing deep to Avery, often into double or triple coverage. A very shaky day but Bulger, a day when he had enough time to be dangerous. It should be noted that he made a nifty move and put his head down on a run to get a first down. No doubt the guy is tough, but he is just too big a mental case right now to be a success.

        GRADE: D-

        RUNNING BACKS: Superb effort by this group today. It's really hard to complain when your backup running back and a guy off the street manage to rack up 200 yards of offense. Pittman ran hard and seemingly regained his burst. He picked his holes wisely and showed an ability to get through the second line of defense very quickly, a trait we haven't seen from him in the past. He failed to haul in a potential TD pass early, but he was well covered. Darby continues to show that he can be a definitive option as the third-down back on this team. He picked up one blitz nicely, and ran very hard. Ignore the big five yard loss as that was not on him. Most impressively though, he caught 8 passes out of the backfield and showed an ability to make the defender miss. This is something we do not have with Travis Minor. I didn't see anything of value out of Kreider today, and we definitely need to upgrade that position. Regardless, Pittman and Darby caused significant damage against a 49'ers defense that has not been generous to running backs the past two weeks.

        GRADE: A

        WIDE RECEIVERS: Donnie Avery showed the entire arsenal today, making some yardage out of some smoke routes, cataching a couple intermediate routes, and making an awesome catch down the sideline for a big gain. He needs to make the play on that seam route that Bulger throws in the first quarter. He needs to work on positioning his body better, but overall, Avery showed how big a weapon he can be today. He seemingly has great hands, something that was questioned...
        -11-17-2008, 10:24 AM
      • RamsInfiniti
        Rams-Cardinals Analysis from 12/07 .....
        by RamsInfiniti
        I really don't know how this going to come off, because I am sick as a dog. But here it is, and woohoo, my 1000th post! When I first posted here last year, I never thought I'd get sucked in like this. But I love this board. It is hands down the best Rams board out there, so don't buy into the hype of other impersonators ....

        I have to say, and this may sound nuts, but the Rams have made me hate watching other NFL games this season. Yes, HATE watching them. Yesterday, I watched the Packers take on the Texans and I watched the Lions take on the Vikings, pretty much at the same time. As much as the Lions suck, given they are 0-13, they fought tooth and nail until the very end. Every single player gave 100% effort no matter the situation. And the Packers, well, they have to be the best 5-8 team of all-time. I cannot fathom how they only have 5 wins with that ball-hawking defense. Seems they have problems in the red zone, imagine that ...

        It just makes me sad to watch other teams play, no matter what their record, Every other team in the league seems to give a solid effort from top to bottom, win or lose. I cannot say the same for the Rams given what I saw in the fourth quarter. It was quite disgusting to see both Pittman and Looker quit as passes him them right in the hands in the final minutes, only to be dropped ....

        Anyway, here is what I saw ...

        QUARTERBACKS - Outside of the Cowboys game, this was Marc's best effort of the year. He looked more comfortable in the pocket this week, and it seemed they utilized a new dropback where Bulger rolled off to the right before setting to throw. This often gave him several seconds to throw. It seems his confidence in the line may be growing. He threw two passes that resulted in first downs with heavy pressure coming at him. He would have went down on these throws a few weeks ago. He also made some beautiful passes into tight spots, including a swing pass to Pittman and a pass down the seam to Fells (!). Bulger is clearly frustrated with Avery, and rightfully so, as the rookie continually seems to be out of position and unaware of what is going on around him. Bulger threw a perfect pass at him for a hot read that would have gone for a big gain, but Avery never saw it. Bulger was animated over this for those that say he shows no emotion and fire. Bulger did miss Avery wide open down the sideline late in the game. Ultimately, no way Bulger could have succeeded with the playcalling in this game. The vanilla screens that Saunders calls for are sad, and we hardly ever throw the ball downfield, despite no found options in the rookies and Daniel Fells(!). The INT is clearly on Bulger, but at that point, it was for not. I really have a hard time faulting the man for trying to make a play when he is not given even basic tools (playcalling) to begin. I believe I even saw Bulger audible once or twice in this game. It should be noted that Bulger completes 70% if not...
        -12-08-2008, 09:40 AM
      • RamsInfiniti
        Analysis versus Seahawks - Positives need be identified
        by RamsInfiniti
        Here is my take.

        QUARTERBACK: Bulger had yet another ordinary game. He was not pressured for the majority of the day, yet still looked very uncomfortable in the pocket. This is a good indicator that his confidence is gone. At this point I do not know if he will ever get it back. He consistently overthrew receivers on short and intermediate routes and underthrew them on deep routes, including one where Avery was wide open down the sideline. He did make one superb play, by moving around the pocket and hitting Looker in stride for the TD. The Bulger that played against Baltimore in the preseason would have had 300+ yards today. The receivers were frequently open and he missed them. Forget Trent Green watch, what is he going to do for our future? Barring injury, we need to stick with Bulger. GRADE: D

        RUNNING BACKS: Jackson showed good hands out of the backfield, and make some good spin moves on the hitch pass for the 50-yard gain, but he winded quickly and danced too frequently in the backfield. If we cannot rely on this bruiser to convert 3rd and 1 situations, we will never be successful. His style has become more Barry Sanders than anything, and he will never be productive in this mode. Regardless, the effort is there, he is running hard after contact, but if he hit the hole quicker, we'd see more 4 and 5 yard gains than 1 and 2 yard gains. Why is Travis Minor on this team? Where is Brian Leonard, as Kreider is terrible, giving up the only sack of the day on a fairly routine pickup. GRADE: C-

        RECEIVERS: Subpar day from this group. Holt dropped two passes, including one for a touchdown in the end zone. The defensive back never touched that ball, it was simply a drop. I do not know if Holt is failing to get separation or if Bulger doesn't have confidence that he has time to hit Holt on the seam, but there is no explosiveness from him. Looker was open a few times, but Bulger missed him, other than the TD. Dante Hall is not worth mentioning. Avery looked great in his first significant action, including a sick move to get open deep down the sideline, only to have it wasted by Bulger's INT. Why wasn't he on the field more considering he made a play everytime he touched it. GRADE: C-

        OFFENSIVE LINE: Solid day from this group. Replays show that there were holes available for Jackson to run through, he just didn't hit them quick enough. They struggled to get to the point of attack on the outside, resulting in some losses on sweep plays, plays that we shouldn't be running anyway. The O-Line gave up no sacks, and gave Bulger plenty of time to throw. He was not hit often. Only one false start, by guess who, is pretty impressive when playing in Seattle. GRADE: B-

        DEFENSIVE LINE: Adam Carriker was an absolute beast, racking up six tackles, including three for loss, and nearly reaching out to throw Hasselbeck for a sack on a play he was being held on. Ryan also had a huge tackle for a loss. Adeyanju...
        -09-22-2008, 10:17 AM
      • RamsInfiniti
        Rams' Infinite Analysis: Game 1 vs. Carolina
        by RamsInfiniti
        I'll take a first crack at this. I've calmed down, watched the game for a second time, and here is what I can make of all of it. The sky might not be falling yet:

        Quarterbacks - Grade D: I'm not quite sure what is wrong with Bulger, but he looked pretty much the same he did all preseason: average. I was going to write a post earlier about how I felt something was wrong with his mechanics, but I passed, so I'll talk about it now. It seems he isn't getting planted in the pocket and he is releasing alot of passes off his back foot. He looked OK in the first half, but his timing is off and he's probably 50% of passes by 1-2 yards. That misfire to Bruce on 3rd down was awful. He got progressively worse as the game progressed and he looked a tad rattle after getting smacked around a few times. The loss of Pace definitely affect any rhythm he had, as I'm sure he was worried about his backside all day. He did make a few nice runs and hung in there well, trying his best not to show the pain from a few hits he took. On a sidenote, there was not one pass attempt over 30 yards all game.

        Running Backs - Grade F: I think this game is proof enough why you don't rest guys like Jackson in the offseason. After a few strong runs early, Jackson had what I believe is his worst game as a Ram. The two fumbles took away any momentum we had and were a decisive factor in losing this game. After the second, his confidence was clearly reduced to nothing. He only had one reception, albeit he made a nice diving attempt to grab a misfired flare sideline flare route by Bulger. Maybe he can quit worrying about 2500 yards and get back to business against the *****. Leonard was a non-factor, catching a few balls out the backfield. No creativity at all. Hedgecock did a great job, as usual, as the lead blocked. He busted open a few huge holes for Jackson early.

        Wide Receivers - GRADE B-: This group didn't have a terrible day. I don't think we have to say anything about Torry. He looked fine. I saw Bruce open several times in seems, where Bulger either didn't see him or misfired, I.E. the third down incompletion. Dante Hall dropped a pass that might have led to a first down, but he had a pair of nice grabs, particularly the one out of the backfield. That was about the most creative play we ran all day. Nice to see Looker get involved with a few short grabs. Unfortunately, it didn't look like we tried to stretch the field at all, the entire game. We desperatetly need Bennett in the lineup as a the 3rd down target, and someone from this group is going to have to emerge as a deep threat. I know who that man is - Marques Hagans!

        Tight Ends - GRADE C-: You didn't hear a thing about this group the entire game, until McMichael made two grabs late in the game. They blocked adequately, but I a baffled at the lack of use of the games as passing targets. I saw McMichael open numerous times all game and he was...
        -09-10-2007, 07:33 AM
      • RamsInfiniti
        Analysis from Patriots Game
        by RamsInfiniti
        Here it goes:

        Quarterbacks - What an up and down game for Bulger. He started off hot, making a great deep pass to Avery, and several surgical type strikes to Holt and Burton, and another great throw on the 999 to Avery. However, as the pressure started going up, Marc's performance tailed off. He struggled with mechanics after he was hit a few times, and just couldn't get it going in the 4th quarter. It is clear he has little confidence in his offensive line. Regardless, no quarterback is going to have sustained success when continually put in 3rd and long situations. However, the offense is starting to show real signs of life, and Marc seems to be getting a little more comfortable in the offense, at least at times. He's making some big time throws, but he's also missing on some easy ones right now.
        GRADE: C+

        Running Backs - Nice performance by Pittman today, who showed he can be a capable backup. He ran for the hard yards early, then made some nice gashing runs when the defense backed off after the deep ball to Avery. He seemingly has soft hands, and caught the ball effortlessly out of the backfield. His blitz pickup abilities are average at best, but no worse than Jackson's. Where Pittman struggles is getting to the outside, however this may be rust. I like this guy as a means to take a few carries off S.J. to keep him fresh. Minor ran hard when called upon and made a great recovery on the onside kick. Darby got one carry that was called back due to penalty. Kreider looked OK.
        GRADE: B-

        Wide Receivers - Superb day from this group. Avery was a beast, catching the long touchdown pass and again getting excellent position and making the grab on the 999 route. He maturing quickly: Desean Jackson who, you say? Avery looks to be even a bigger playmaker the DJ in the passing game. Burton came up with a couple nice grabs, and I expect to see big things from him in the future. Where is Torry Holt? He made a couple grabs, but is just not making plays. He just seems like he cannot get separation, especially on grass. But how can he have fallen off so far from last year? Dante Hall showed up big time in the passing game in the 4th and seemed to be the only WR who was open. Great effort grabing the tipped ball. Interesting to see how Bennett fits in when he returns.
        GRADE: B+

        Offensive Line - Very subpar day from this group, and I do not even know where to start. Bell is very, very average, I just don't see where all the hype came from. Leckey is horrible at center, missing many blocks, including letting his man come free and untouched for an easy sack in the 3rd. Pace was okay outside, but Barron looked confused and slow for most of the day. Incognito didn't do much either, other than getting a critical false start penalty called at the end of the game. We need to see what we have in some of the young guys, and where the heck is Romberg?
        GRADE: D+

        Defensive Line...
        -10-27-2008, 07:29 AM
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