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And when the smoke finally settles ....

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  • And when the smoke finally settles ....

    What are we going to see from this Ram's team?

    I guess this is a pre-camp prognosis of some sort. I typically try to look at the season each year, and I usually come up with a semi-inflated, overhyped outlook of the Rams. This is simply because I love the Rams. You always make things you love out to be better than they actually are ...

    Well, with this new, and improved, version of the Rams, I don't feel like I can make an accurate assessment. Honestly, I think this team can end up with anywhere from 4 to 10 wins. And there are a variety of reasons I believe this ...

    First, I've indicated time and time again that I am a firm supported of the theory that there is not much gap in talent from team to team across the NFL. When we talk about talent, we talk about the physical and mental ability of players to be successful and make plays. Just because a player has talent does not mean he will be successful in the NFL, it simply means he has a shot. There is a reason there is an NFL combine each year. It is to see which players can physically, and to some extent mentally, cut it in the NFL. From team to team, across the board, the talent is pretty similar ...

    What distinguishes how the talent translates on the field? Well, in the short term you have to look at experience, morale, the "system", the coaches. In the long term, you have to look at how well such players adapt to change, how versatile they are, whether they can stay healthy, whether they are content with where they are, who they are, and who they might be ...

    So what are the major problems with the Rams of 2009? Simply lack of inexperience from my point of view, at least at most positions. Lack of morale at others ...

    Look at what we have. A new upbeat coaching staff with a vision of a modern WCO and physical defense. A QB that is smart and accurate, a protypical freak of a RB, quick, agile fresh WR's, an established TE, a strong young offensive and defensive line, hungry young linebackers, world class speed and nice size in the secondary ...

    So what's the problem? A QB lacking morale after the beating he has taken, injuries to that chisled freak of a running back, questionable depth behind him, WR's with little or no experience, no proven depth at TE, an offensive line that will be learning one another, undersized defensive line that will have to learn to be creative to take advantage of opportunities, only one proven linebacker, and defensives back that have tons of talent but all seem to be missing "it" with the exception of Bartell and Atogwe (wait to see on Butler) ...

    So, what does this mean? The talent is there, no doubt in my mind. So what does this coaching staff have to do? It's three-fold in my opinion ...

    1. Make the players forget - Make them forget they are losers, start them off on a level playing field. Get them out of the stone age on offense and bring them into the real world with a sophisicated and calculated WCO offense. Let's the players on defense forget about having to be perfect. Let them not worry about having to make mistakes, let them know that each mistake is not their last. Let both sides of the ball know they don't have to win the game alone. Forget the past three years, let's start a new era, with a new team, with a new leader ....

    2. Make the players comfortable - Play to everyone's strengths. Let Bulger throw the intermediate routes that made him a star. Let Darby get in there for Jackson if a critical block must be made. Throw to those same receivers that drop a ball or two. Play to the strengths of the defensive line, move those guys around. Tell Jason Smith it's his turn at Left Tackle, and don't say "Let's see what you got", let's tell him "Go whip some ass". Let James L. become the leader of the defensive and rack up 150 tackles. Let those defensive backs run all over the field, and bump and run, and push, and squeeze. If Josh Brown wants to kick it from 60, let him. Put your teammate on the head when he screws up, get in his face when he isn't giving it his all ...

    3. Make the players BELIEVE - Let Jackson stay in there and make that crucial block even when you think he might not be able to. Let Bulger throw that deep ball, even though he missed two similar ones earlier. Ride Donnie Avery through the air when they stack the line on Jackson and expect to succeed. Blitz recklessly off the edge because you know James L. or Will is going to drop into coverage and bat that ball down. Let it all hang out on both sides of the ball, because they know the other side will pick up the slack. Forget being ONE and be ALL. When it's all on the line, know that it won't matter WHO is making the play, because SOMEBODY will ALWAYS make the play ...

    Whew, what a rant, but it is that simple to me. I think this team has endless potential. I think we have a smart coaching staff, and a renewed attitude, that will lead this team to great places. Will that be this year? I hope so, but unlikely. But two or three years down the road, don't worry, everybody will be talking about the Rams again, and it will be great to leave the EJD feeling as if your ears are bleeding from all the noise ...

    I know my trips back to Alabama will feel alot better wondering when I'll get that hearing back :-)

  • #2
    Re: And when the smoke finally settles ....

    Nice read RamsInfiniti. Like you, I think it's hard to read how this unit will perform with all the unanswered questions, but I really do think there will be a marked improvement from the last few years. I'm already encouraged by the fact that it looks like everybody will be in camp on time, and HEALTHY.


    • #3
      Re: And when the smoke finally settles ....

      when it settles I'm hoping that Spags has a system that the players really bite into and bring their hearts with them during training camp and game day. I just want to see a competitive product that fights for everything they gimmies. Just plain hard, old fashioned, rock solid football. RAAAMS BAABY!!!


      • #4
        Re: And when the smoke finally settles ....

        I like your attitude Ramsinfinti. The players definitely need to get out there and start enjoying the game of football again. Let the sport feel natural and fun without all the stress and drama lingering over their heads. It just seems like there has been a cloud over this team for too long now. From the death of Georgia, to the constant coaching changes, to the pending sale of the team, etc. Know one performs well when it feels like every mistake you make could be your last.

        The 2010 Rams have to find a way to create a new identity for themselves. This team is not GSOT anymore. That once glorious title has almost become a burden to these new young players and coaching staff. Almost like an old champion prize fighter trying to recapture the glory of his past. Hopefully, the coaching staff realizes that this team is not a legitimate playoff contender just yet, and focus more on letting these young players grow into their roles while pushing them to develop properly and be aggressive.

        With the combination of a much improved coaching staff and a proven football philosophy already installed, I too share your enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Let's just hope that in the professional world of football where the "must win now" mindset reigns. That Rams organization continues to build these team with the future in mind.

        As for this year, I say we win seven games.


        Related Topics


        • Rampingitup
          QB with nervous feet
          by Rampingitup
          I have seen numerous comments in other threads about the O line and Bulger. Some saying it is all Bulger's fault for not being nimble enough to avoid pressure or not fast enough in getting rid of the ball. In others all the blame falls on the O line. Here are my thoughts.

          Virtually all of the time when a QB gets nervous feet it is due to continuous protection breakdowns by the O line. A QB has a right to expect a 3 to 5 second window in which to run through his check downs. The Rams O line has been consitantly unable to provide that protection for several years. Key word, YEARS. Not one quarter. Not one game. Not one season. YEARS! The offense as a whole is going to be unable to produce if the O line can't, or wont, do its job.

          Someone in one of the other threads invoked the name of Jim Everret. The biggest thing I remember about the Jim Everret years was him having to run for his life down after down after down.

          During the height of the Warner years 99, 2000, 2001 he was able to count on the 3 to 5 seconds from his O line most of the time. It was after the O line began to fail that Warner was getting creamed.

          Now some of this issue can be blamed on injuries. I know "Injuries is never a legitimate excuse, every team has them." But if you look at the best teams in the league, Colts, Patriots, Steelers, Giants. They have very, very, very, few injuries to the O line starters. Their O lines are rock solid, and the QBs have faith and confidence in them. This translates into not worrying about the rush coming, and into finding the receivers and backs. In other words making the plays, not running for their lives.

          Once a QB developes nervous feet it is very hard to get their confidence back. It takes a long time behind a O line they feel they can trust. And while there are certain linesmen (Pace) that do their jobs and do it well, most of the current line is a sieve. Constant break downs in protection, constant penalties negating posative plays. You would think that nearly the enitre line were rookies, instead of 3 to 5 year vets. This week no false starts, but lots of other penalties. Last week 6 different players false starting.

          Right now the O line is my biggest concern and is the place that needs the most attention. Yes I know the rest of the team isn't doing that well either. But you have to start somewhere.

          First. STOP SHUFFLING THEM AROUND TO COVER AN INJURY!!!!!!! This severely disrupts the cohesion of the line as a whole. I do not care is sub player A is better at left guard than right tackle. When the O line has been practicing over and over with players in certain positions that is where they are needed. There is far less adjusting to do mentally if you only have one player moved than several players moved. The entire concept of practicing is to become so familiar with your position that you no longer have to think about how to play it. Every...
          -09-15-2008, 10:55 AM
        • AvengerRam
          Is Waufle awful... or is it me?
          by AvengerRam
          When I watch Hard Knocks, I cringe every time that Mike Waufle is featured. They guy comes across as a foul-mouthed, borderline abusive, wanna-be drill sergeant. He alone gives the show its TV-MA rating.

          As a 48 year old who has spent his adult life working in professional offices, I don't get this method of motivating people. I would never use such a method, and if it were ever used with me, my only reaction would be to update my resume and start looking for a new job.

          That said... I'm not sure I'm qualified to evaluate whether this method might be effective. I've never played organized football, and I certainly don't claim know what makes 20something professional athletes tick. Perhaps Waufle's fear/intimidation approach is what these guys need after growing up on a pedestal. Perhaps the biggest impediment to success on the field is complacency, and Waufle's method is on point.

          Ultimately, as a fan, I'd have to say that this part of Hard Knocks does not resonate with me. I like having insight into the team's preparations, but maybe this is too "inside" for my taste. I'd liken it to a Food Network show displaying the slaughtering of a cow in addition to the cooking of the steak.

          I'm curious how others react to this part of the show. Maybe I'm on an island on this one. Maybe not....
          -08-24-2016, 08:06 AM
        • evil disco man
          Enough with the whining, let's get constructive
          by evil disco man
          It's easy to criticize every facet of the team when they're 0-3 - all of a sudden every draft pick is a bust, the coaches are incompetent, and every veteran is washed up.

          It's also lazy to constantly call for Linehan's head when it's almost a given, at this point, that he will not survive through the end of the season. Firing him will not magically cure every problem.

          So let's get specific - what would you do to ignite the team right now, or at least begin the process of a turnaround for the Rams in the future?

          A few of my ideas, to start off...

          Simplify the offense
          Al Saunders is widely known for having the fattest playbook in the league. Perhaps the players haven't been able to fully grasp what he's trying to establish. Perhaps Saunders himself is not yet be familiar enough with the players he's inherited to know what works best. Instead of crazy shifts and quick throws, I'd like to see more emphasis on running between the tackles (where Steven Jackson belongs, not shuffling around outside the perimeter) and more play-action to freeze the safeties and LBs, opening up the deep ball or more underneath throws to McMichael.

          Simplify the defense
          Jim Haslett has been mentioned among opponents as having one of the more complicated defenses to prepare for. Matt Hasselbeck actually offered advice (in the form of his opinion) that the Rams' defense is beating itself - often being out of position because they are trying to disguise different coverages/blitzes. Why try to disguise anything when it doesn't work in the first place? The defense has had its good moments under Haslett, but now it often reminds me of the Larry Marmie era, where players were thinking so much about what they were supposed to be doing or where they were supposed to be that they forget the fundamentals - taking the right angles, wrapping up, and playing the ball. There is talent on this defense - Witherspoon and Atogwe have shown their production, while guys like Tye Hill, Quinton Culberson, Clifton Ryan, and Adam Carriker had shown glimpses in '07. I don't believe they all simply lost it in the black hole of '08. Simplify the schemes and let the players make the plays. (And IMO, start Carriker at UT, Ryan at NT, and keep Glover as a situational pass-rusher).

          Youth Injection
          The Rams are officially the oldest team in the NFL. Old habits die hard, and this team hasn't won consistently for some time. The urgency and fortitude that this team needs could be encouraged with an injection of some younger guys into the lineup - guys who are trying to prove themselves instead of giving the "bare minimum" some veterans might stop themselves at. I don't care if some older players seem better in practice based on knowing their assignments or simply performing well enough not to lose their job, especially when their salary is part of that equation. These players are practicing...
          -09-24-2008, 02:58 AM
        • rNemesis
          HOW CLOSE IS THIS TEAM TO COMPETING?(VERY LONG)Please provide feedback
          by rNemesis
          First of all let me just say that these last few years have been VERY frustrating and embarassing for me as a RAM FAN and I'm sure you guys are just as disappointed. I have watched my team go from the greatest show on turf to, as a washington post columnist said after the redskins loss, " the most miserable mass on grass". MY main question here is , " How far are the rams from being a decent competitive rock solid team? Its a long way to go; it doesnt happen overnight but it shouldnt take FOREVER either.

          But I am not gonna sit here and talk about that all night. We know what has happened. We know what we've become. 13 straight losses dating back to last season. 3-13 in 2007 and 2-14 in 2008. 5 wins in the last 30 or so games? ( not sure exactly the stats) That is horrible.

          Let's go back year by year as to how we finished record wise.
          In the 1990's we were bad. But so were other teams which are now good today. But if you look at our 90's record to others, you will see that we were bad most of those years. Other teams had bad years too during the 90's but it was only really the lions, bengals, cardinals and saints. That should show you how bad of a team the Rams are. We never finished over 7 wins from 1990 up until 1999, which was our superbowl year. Which now tells me that the Rams have been bad, are now bad, and I hope we dont continue to be bad. But lately one has to believe that that is the penalty for our actions.

          2000- 10-6 DECENT
          2001- 14-2 ( excellent; we beat the pats that season but lost in the SB to the same :|)
          2002- 7-9 Not bad
          2003- 12-4 excellent
          2004- 8-8 not bad; competitive
          2005- I think we were 7-9 or 6-10 cant remember
          2006- 8-8
          2007- 3-13 horrible
          2008- 2-14 lousy

          I am not surprised at how we have fallen so badly. What I cant seem to understand is how fast we have fallen as such. How come we havent been able to stop the bleeding and bounce back like other teams have seemed to?

          So tell me guys. How far off is this team from competing? Well, I look at the league and I have noticed that most of the other teams have playmakers in a lot of key positions. Why is that? Because they do a great job of DRAFTING PLAYERS THAT FIT INTO THEIR SCHEME WELL. We on the other hand have not done that lately. We have drafted players that have done well IN THEIR SCHEME and so it didnt matter to the previous regime ( Jay ZYgmunt ) if they fit or not the point was they wanted them so much that they drafted them regardless of their college scheme and success. In the era since Martz left, we have drafted the likes of busts ( or so they appear to be) like Tye Hill, Adam Carriker, Claude Wroten, Fakhir Brown, etc. The list goes on and on.

          THIS HAS REALLY HURT THIS ORGANIZATION SO MUCH THAT IT IS REARING ITS UGLY HEAD NOW. Bad drafting has put us in such a talentless hole that...
          -09-29-2009, 06:43 PM
        • viper
          Alas..the sky is falling once again
          by viper
          It never ceases to amaze me, how quickly my fellow Ram's fans will turn on thier team, their players and their coach. The clouds of "doom and gloom" lye low above the legion once again. Again the naysayers have their day, to lay their spew upon the feet of the horns.

          Ohhhh no, we've lost to the lowly dirty birds, Ohhh no, we've lost 6 out of the last 7 games, Ohh no, our captain has spoke out to the media about a few of his undisciplined guardians, possibly upsetting a few teammates, Oh no, our coach won't take responsibility and demand accountability from his youthful squires on the front lines, let alone the team as a whole.

          Granted, the legion has seen better days. But, why is it that the masses choose to dwell on the "darker side" of things rather the hope of a brighter day to come. Is there not a chance, a hope that a brighter day shall dawn as a result of the upcoming offseason. This season is lost, no doubt. Who can say that this was not a distinct possibility, considering that we would be brandishing a new head coach, a new defensive coordinator, new offensive and defensive schemes, new free agents, untested rookies and a decimated offensive line. Add to that a previously dysfunctional run defense, pass defense and special teams for the last several years and what do you get? The "2006 St. Louis Rams!" Hooray! We got exactly what we "should have" expected. Or at least considered the possibility that it could be a tough year. Well guess what, it has turned out to be a "tough year." A downright bleak season.

          But, ya know what, believe it or not, there has been improvement over last year. Our special teams have improved significantly in punting, coverage and returns. Our defense, is doing better in the turnover battle, our pass defense is improved and as hard as it may be to believe we do seem to be better at keeping opponents from scoring on us as much.

          Its easy to throw fuel on the fire proclaiming how terrible things are when the going gets tough. The question is where are you when your team needs your support? Anybody can belittle a losing team...and their is no question we are losing right now. But, in doing so, are you any better than the opposing team's fans that come to diss on your team. I haven't seen too many "positive" threads lately about our team that make me feel like this is the Rams home.

          I, personally, have unwavering faith in the positve attributes of the Rams! I choose not to wallow in the ever increasing muck and mire that seems to be prevalent around here lately. I agree that we are not where we want to be...far from it. But, I'm not going to participate in any "hanging" or "slop" parties or anything of the like.

          Why can't we focus on the good things about our team or future prospects. Maybe that means a higher draft pick next year or a few well scouted free...
          -12-05-2006, 10:53 PM