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RamView, 8/27/2009: Rams 24, Bengals 21 (Long)

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  • MFranke
    replied
    Re: RamView, 8/27/2009: Rams 24, Bengals 21 (Long)

    Thanks. I did not hear that. Something to keep an eye out for.

    --Mike

    Leave a comment:


  • PeoriaRam
    replied
    Re: RamView, 8/27/2009: Rams 24, Bengals 21 (Long)

    Originally posted by MFranke View Post
    RamView, August 27, 2009

    A highly discouraging development was Randy McMichael’s (2-22) poor night at tight end. He blocked poorly and dropped two or three balls, and we know the Rams will HAVE to get better play than that from that position this year.

    Game stats from nfl.com
    McMichael limped off the field after getting "crunched" on his first catch. He came back a couple of plays later, but I wonder if he hurt something on that play.

    Leave a comment:


  • MFranke
    started a topic RamView, 8/27/2009: Rams 24, Bengals 21 (Long)

    RamView, 8/27/2009: Rams 24, Bengals 21 (Long)

    RamView, August 27, 2009
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Preseason Game #3: Rams 24, Bengals 21

    The Rams took a hard knock early from the stars of Hard Knocks, but rode the turnover wave again to bounce back for their second preseason victory, and bounce back from last week’s tough loss. Overcoming their flaws tonight with opportunism and resiliency, this team’s showing the character Steve Spagnuolo’s trying to instill in them. They’re far from perfect, but unlike the last two seasons, they’re playing like believers.

    * QB: It was a nice night to be Kyle Boller (14-20-96, 1 TD), as he led a long TD drive in the 1st to reset the team’s momentum from a poor start. Boller showed fine poise in the pocket, nice mobility I should have given him more credit for last week, and good accuracy on most of his passes. It helped that everything was to the middle of the field this week instead of the more difficult outside throws Boller’s been struggling with. But it helped more that he made critical plays during the two TD drives he led. A screen to Steven Jackson with a blitz coming converted a 2nd-and-long, and again later with a Bengal bearing down on him, Boller found Ronald Curry on 3rd-and-7 to keep the 1st TD drive alive. Boller kept the 2nd TD drive afloat with clutch play, a tough 2nd-down scramble followed by a bullet slant pass to Laurent Robinson for a first down at the Bengals 5. Factor in 2 or 3 drops by his receivers, and Boller had as good a night as you could want him to have, especially since it left out those difficult deep throws that vexed him last week. The QB3 battle, meanwhile, has turned into an unpretty war of attrition, with neither of the back-benchers showing much tonight. Brock Berlin was 2-5-21 in the 3rd, and in the 4th, Keith Null (1-4-24) suddenly turned into 2000 Rick Ankiel, making high, wild throws and looking little like a player who had developed into one of the surprises of training camp. Even his one completion was a dubious play, a ball unwisely chucked into coverage but caught by Sean Walker across midfield. Not sure what made Null so uncomfortable tonight – less work from the shotgun? Bengal blitzing? But he looked as bad making sideline throws as Boller did last week, and the clash at QB3 is going to come down to a tiebreaker next week.

    * RB: What does Steven Jackson (5-12) have in common with the President of the US? They both get a LOT of August off. Jackson had just 6 touches tonight, most of them handoffs with no room to run where he got stuffed. He had one 10-yard run, but a key play of the first TD drive was a 2nd-and-11 screen pass where he hurdled a tackler and scooted for the 1st. Samkon Gado (5-33) stepped in that same drive at RB2 and loudly announced “I’d like to keep this job, please,” with a 9-yard power run and a 16-yard cutback run for a TD that put the Rams back in the game. Also helping Gado keep RB2: Antonio Pittman (7-13) didn’t do a whole heck of a lot, and Kenneth Darby (4-6) did even less. Chris Ogbannaya (6-24) was actually the second-best rusher of the night. Life ain’t fair; Gado got a couple of good blocks, while Pittman and Darby got hardly any blocking at all. But those last two, the previous two RBs tabbed by the Rams to backup Jackson, are probably going to be fighting it out for RB3, or bust, next week.

    * Receivers: Despite a drop and a penalty early, Laurent Robinson (3-20) continues to emerge as the top pleasant surprise of the preseason. He converted a critical 3rd-and-3 at the Bengals 5-yard-line running Torry Holt’s old slant route. What impressed me about the play was that it looked like Boller totally telegraphed the throw but Robinson still outmuscled and got inside the DB, who had to know the ball was coming. A big but, though, and we’re talking Kim Kardashian here, is that NO one else is stepping up. If Robinson and Donnie Avery aren’t the WRs on the field for the Rams, I fear big problems. Keenan Burton (1-8) made a nice run after a quick slant, but again, just one catch. They only even tried to throw to Burton twice; at least Tim Carter (2-9) got five targets, though few catchable balls. Derek Stanley didn’t have a catch. Ronald Curry had two, including a key catch on a 3rd-and-7 drag route that kept the 1st TD drive going. I guess it’s Curry or Burton for WR3, though it’s hardly an inspiring contest. A highly discouraging development was Randy McMichael’s (2-22) poor night at tight end. He blocked poorly and dropped two or three balls, and we know the Rams will HAVE to get better play than that from that position this year.

    * Offensive line: The Rams won, and the o-line didn’t allow a sack and had some moments worthy of fist pumps, but there was way too much inconsistency to be happy with their performance tonight, especially with the running game averaging just 3.3 a carry. Adam Goldberg and Richie Incognito’s early play on the right side was epic fail. Those two, and McMichael, all found Robert Geathers impossible to block on various plays, and on all of them, Jackson got stuffed for little or no gain. They combined all their poor play on an early 2nd-and-7 pass. Domata Peko shed Incognito and crushed the pocket. Geathers beat Goldberg cleanly. Boller got away and threw to McMichael… who dropped it. Alex Barron’s man beat him the next play and hammered Boller, but not before the QB got away a big 3rd-down completion. Barron got whipped badly by rookie Michael Johnson early in the drive for a pass deflection, and tripped on a pull block that got a Gado run stuffed later. But the left side still fared better than the right side, where Incognito and Goldberg didn’t run-block well all night. Jason Brown’s pull block got Jackson the lane for a 10-yard run in the first TD drive (though Robinson’s illegal block brought most of it back). Mark Setterstrom started at LG and delivered key blocks on both Gado TDs. The first one was a beauty. He made the hole by collapsing a lineman to the right, then lunged left to pick off a LB. Barron also drove his man a good five yards downfield on the first TD. Setterstrom pulled and sealed the edge good and tight for Gado’s second TD. But at center later, Mark missed a blitz pickup and was responsible for a couple of failed runs. Jason Smith wasn’t terribly good, either, from the six minutes or so I saw of him in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. He got beat 4 or 5 times, mostly by Johnson, but usually with the good fortune of the play not running his direction, or Boller proving able to elude the pressure. Smith shifted from RT to LT after halftime but was only marginally better. So again, it’s a win, but one that leaves plenty of reason for concern. There’s too much inconsistency, too many mistakes run-blocking, and Jason Smith will NOT be ready to block for Marc Bulger come opening day. Two bad developments for a franchise counting on good run-blocking and on having Smith in the lineup sooner than later.

    * Defensive line / LB: Inversely proportional to the offense’s miserable 3-and-out start and the special teams’ miserable start on punt coverage, the defense came out flying and kept it up. James Butler walked in on J.T. O’Sullivan for a sack on the first play, and James Laurinaitis and Jonathan Wade followed the next play by recovering O’Sullivan’s fumbled snap to set up the Rams’ 2nd TD. All three LBs blitzed on a play the next drive that got David Vobora a sack (after Will Witherspoon whiffed). Craig Dahl blitzed in for a sack to start the 3rd, coming up the middle with two blitzmates attacking the left side. Victor Adeyanju had a terrific night, with a second half sack but an even bigger play with Cincinnati driving in the first half. He stuffed big fullback Jeremi Johnson on 2nd-and-1 and held him up long enough for O.J. Atogwe to rip the ball loose for what became a defensive TD. Eric Moore saved the game late by whipping his man and sacking Jordan Palmer near the Rams 30. He classically went after the ball on the tackle, scraped it loose, and C.J. Ah You recovered to prevent overtime (or worse). Ah You had a sack/fumble near the goal line in the 3rd; the Rams had so many sacks tonight, I actually missed that one. What was the last time they had SIX sacks in a game? A badly-needed impressive night for the pass rush, and it came with Leonard Little held out with a slightly-sprained knee. Starting at LDE for Little, Chris Long didn’t have a sack but was still a wild man. He pressured the pocket well throughout the night and made an outstanding play on an attempted screen in the 1st, breaking into the backfield and swatting down the pass before the tight end it was intended for even got turned around to look for it! Cliff Ryan and Hollis Thomas also swatted down passes. I LOVE a line that does that. Still some troubling inconsistency, though. They were too soft on third down, especially in the first half, allowing 50% (5/10) conversion on the night. Run defense was up and down. For every run they’d stuff, they’d give up a long run, ending up charged with 141 yards total. James Hall stuffed Cedric Benson in the 1st but Benson ran for 8 the next play, I believe because James Laurinaitis missed a fill. Larry Grant stuffed a Benson draw for -3 to start the 2nd, but he just took off up the middle for 12 the next play. Ryan couldn’t hold his ground and Laurinaitis was picked off by a TE. But Adeyanju followed that with the stuff that set up Atogwe’s forced fumble. Witherspoon had a stuff later, but they couldn’t pin Cincinnati at the goal line at the end of the half. Bernard Scott got a huge hole for 14 after the fullback (possibly Brian Leonard) took out Long and Butler missed badly in the hole. A 97-yard TD drive got going in the 4th after Scott swept left for 22 ON 3RD AND 21. Dominic Douglas lost containment on the corner and a safety (I think David Roach) dived and missed badly. But the backups killed two Bengal drives in scoring territory after that to secure the win. Ah You submarined a 4th-and-1 run, his second stuff of the series, to end the first threat, and his fumble recovery ended the second threat. I guess I’d take a game like this from the defense every week, though it would surely take a few months off my lifespan. If the big plays continue to outweigh the big misses and result in wins, I wasn’t planning on doing that much early in the year 2053 anyway.

    * Secondary: A bushel basket of big plays from the secondary made them the star unit of the game. James Butler had a big night, with a sack and a fumble recovery TD. That fumble was courtesy of O.J. Atogwe, ripping the ball away from Jeremi Johnson. VINTAGE ATOGWE! Butler returned it 71 yards to give the Rams a 21-7 lead. Craig Dahl had a sack, as the secondary contributed to all areas of the defense. No Ram’s needed a big night worse lately than Quincy Butler, and he achieved that and then some in the 3rd. With the Bengals near FG range, he blew up a screen for -2, then played a Chris Henry route perfectly, – he wasn’t open for a second – picked off Jordan Palmer’s underthrown pass and returned it about 60 yards to set up a FG. And he helped stuff a run for -4 to start a 3-and-out the next drive. Quincy’s not out of the race in the secondary yet, because NOBODY seems able to step up. It’s still Bartell/Hill/Wade atop the list, though none was exceptional tonight. Justin King should have been burned by Andre Caldwell deep but Caldwell dropped the pass. If that was a burn, Bradley Fletcher was scorched beyond recognition in the 4th, whipped by Henry for a 54-yard TD that pulled the Bengals within 24-21. That put a cherry on a pretty lousy night for the Rams’ 2009 draft class. The best rookie tonight was the 7th round pick, Ogbannaya. Teams that force turnovers, though, are teams that win games. Let’s see how well the Rams keep this up.

    * Special teams: Oh, those Rams special teams. Donnie Jones was wildly inconsistent. He had three punts of 55 or over, but two sub-40-yarders (with apparently poor hang time, as no Ram was even within 7-8 yards of the returner who fielded the poor punts) proved costly. Someone named Quan Cosby (seriously?) fielded the first one at midfield, ran by James Butler and past whiffs by Will Witherspoon and Chris Chamberlain for an easy TD that put the Bengals ahead 7-0. None of the coverage unit appeared to even have an idea where a poor Jones punt went in the 3rd. Someone named Tom Nelson didn’t even have a Ram in front of him when he caught that punt and zipped back 44 yards with it. Josh Brown yakked on two FGs in the 50-51 yard range, even choking after Marvin Lewis played the cheeseball last-nanosecond timeout trick to make him kick over right before halftime. Whether or not that kind of cheap coaching gamesmanship should be allowed, a veteran kicker making $millions like Brown is should be hitting those the second time just like the first time. But tonight’s Rams special teams, manned by veterans, showed little of the composure expected of them tonight and sorely needed heading into the regular season.

    * Coaching: Yeah, I know. They barely beat a pretty bad Cincinnati team that didn’t have Carson Palmer. Special teams were terrible. They didn’t really establish the run and gave up too many long runs on defense. The o-line was somewhat inconsistent and the rookies didn’t really shine tonight.

    But this team is still moving in the right direction. All those bad things and they still won, thanks to winning the turnover battle 4-0 and playing aggressive defense, two of the bulwarks Steve Spagnuolo’s building the team on. Ken Flajole had the blitz meter cranked all the way to 11 tonight. The Rams got a couple of blitzes, Butler and Grant to the QB completely untouched on their sacks; as Roland Williams said on TV, that’s a credit to the play-calling. The Rams brought it a lot of different ways, including all 3 LBs on David Vobora’s sack, and overloading a side, on Dahl’s sack. The Bengals beat the blitz a couple of times – I’m thinking especially of the weird flip pass to Brian Leonard – but with six sacks on the night, half from blitzes, the strategy paid off on the whole for the Rams.

    Especially if the zone blitz ever does what it’s supposed to do. It looked mostly like a source of confusion tonight, especially for Long, who had some really messed-up plays on an otherwise good night, I believe all on zone blitzes. The second half started with an 8-yard DeDe Dorsey run through a hole Long vacated because he thought he had to cover the receiver. A play late in the first started out looking cool, but ended up looking WTF. Long and Laurinaitis are in constant motion to try to fool the QB. Long eventually takes a standup rush stance, inside a DE to his left and Jonathan Wade off the edge in a blitz look. BUT NO, it’s a zone blitz, and cue the Keystone Kops music. Long falls down dropping back into coverage, and Laurinaitis ends up covering Andre Caldwell (equals: MISMATCH), with a lost Wade trailing the play by ten yards. Look, here in Rams Nation we’re expecting big things out of Chris Long at defensive end, like sacks and stopping the run. We don’t need him getting all messed up mentally because he’s having trouble figuring out what RECEIVER TO COVER on some plays. A defense making downfield coverage a significant part of Chris Long’s job is a defense that is too cute by far. Sure, if Long stays on his feet and Wade blitzes like he’s probably supposed to, maybe it’s another big defensive play for the Rams. And I know zone blitzing can work in the NFL. But I haven’t found anything to like about it here, yet.

    The offensive game plan didn’t look any more tricked up for the third preseason game than it did the other two. The passing offense really looked like it was protecting Boller from having to make outside throws; I’d expect a good defense to sit on that tendency in a real game. The only trickeration I saw was Gado’s second TD, the shovel pass. They really sucked the outside LB in on that play. And hey, I saw them practicing that in training camp!

    * Waiver bait: Teams have to cut down to 75 players by the 1st, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Spagnuolo gets this week’s moves made before I even get a chance to guess them. My projections for the fated five: 1) they IR WR Brooks Foster; 2) CB Marcus Brown; 3) SS Mark Rubin; 4) WR Jarrett Byers. If those last three are even finding the field, it’s been very deep into games and they’re not popping up earlier. FS David Roach and RT Eric Young have made enough bad plays to earn an early exit, but I’ll save them from cut #5 and declare an end to the Joe Klopfenstein Era instead. They’re not going to need 5 TEs next week, and Joe is clearly TE5. Maybe even TE6.

    * Upon further review: The Rams completed the back half of the Carey brothers doubleheader by drawing Drew tonight. Just kidding, it was senior referee Mike Carey. My biggest problem play was Boller’s scramble in the first, where a couple of Bengals still hit him (and good) clearly after he had given himself up and gone to the ground. I thought this league was trying to protect QBs; that somehow never applies to those dressed in Ram uniforms. They called a pretty ticky-tack DPI on Cord Parks very late in the game to put Cincinnati in FG range. If nothing else, that proves they weren’t trying to get home early. That and the SEVENTEEN other flags tonight. Grade: B.

    * Cheers: After their solid broadcast two weeks ago, tonight’s Fox-2 presentation was sorely lacking, a huge disappointment. Production values were awful. Camera work was terrible all night long. Camera angles were lousy. We couldn’t even see the returner on the opening kickoff. We couldn’t see the PUNTER on the first PUNT. You know, the one Cincinnati returned for a TD. It looked like most of the game was shot with zoom on by mistake, and that the cameraman didn’t know where to aim half the time. Announcers go off the camera feed even though the play’s right in front of them, so tonight’s cinematographic misadventures could not have made their job easy, but Martin Kilcoyne and Roland Williams didn’t help any. Kilcoyne slipped back into morning radio-goof mode, looking too hard for humor and not enough for timely details. Failing to introduce the starting lineups until late in the second quarter is a good example of the latter, though I doubt that was Kilcoyne’s fault. Williams was likeable and personable but didn’t add anything. He misidentified players, and some of the few plays he did break down, he broke down wrong, though poor angles on many replays could not have helped him any. And Roland was a player apologist par excellence – how about the exchange where he talked up Brown, and Bell, and Incognito, and then said the Rams are just a few moves from having an outstanding line? Gah! Which is it? If 60% of the line is so great, how many moves can they need to make? I won’t get to see Roland next week, but let’s hope they get him some decent replays to break down, cut his usage of clichés by 80% (still leaving about 100 a game), and maybe get him and Martin a director and camera crew that’s seen a football game broadcast on TV before. Snicker of the night: Jason Brown during a sideline interview referring to the Rams’ #1 QB as “Big Bulge”.

    * Who’s next?: Sure, there’s the Lombardi Trophy, the Stanley Cup, the World Cup, the O’Brien Trophy, and that dorky baseball thing that looks like a birthday cake with a bunch of flags stuck in it, but what, I ask you, what, can stand up to the import, integrity and honor of the Missouri Governor’s Cup, a trophy that has only been earned by three different teams? So, do you remember who won it last year? (Hint: the Rams’ head coach last year was Scott Linehan.) Correct! The Chiefs, 21-17. (I admit I had to look the score up.)

    This is the dumbest game of the year to try to break down, so why even try? Coaches are already planning for the first regular season game; nothing very interesting’s going to happen on the field. About all a fan can do is watch with an eye on the closer roster position battles. Who ya got? QB3: Berlin or Null? (I think Berlin now; Null to practice squad) RB2: Gado, Pittman or Darby? (Gado. Wouldn’t shock me if Darby doesn’t make the team) WR3: Burton, Curry or Stanley? (Don’t sell the veteran Curry’s chances short) KR/PR: Anybody besides Gado and Stanley? (apparently not) CB2: Anybody besides Hill? (I fear not)

    Or, start up a drinking game! Take a drink for any: naked bootleg, draw play or screen pass on 3rd and longer than 10, illegal block in the back, or broadcast reference to a professional wrestler. You could be completely wasted by halftime, but remember, the party really starts if David Roach commits a clipping penalty.

    Just make sure you’re ready to go (hopefully a lot more ready than last year’s team) for the start of the regular season September 13th!

    --Mike
    Game stats from nfl.com

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  • MFranke
    RamView, 8/21/2009: Falcons 20, Rams 13 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, August 21, 2009
    From Row HH
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Preseason Game #2: Falcons 20, Rams 13

    Preseason is easy to overreact to; trust me, I'm an expert at it. The Rams definitely showed flaws, some painfully familiar, while getting overpowered by the Falcons tonight. But just as those weren't the 1999 Rams who won in New York last week, those weren't the 2007-08 Rams last night. While not ignoring the minuses, we'll be better off heeding the timeless words of Allen Iverson. We're talking about practice!

    Position by position:
    * QB: Now that I know Kyle Boller is dating former Miss California Carrie Prejean, who joins a list that includes Tara Reid and Petra Nemcova, all I can think now when I see him is, “Stoney Case”. If Boller (9-16-91) was as rusty in the singles scene as he was on the field tonight, he'd be dating Madeline Albright. Boller was about as accurate as a rookie weatherman at times. Most of his sideline passes were adventures. At least two of them should have been picked off. Laurent Robinson was open by a good couple of yards for what should have been a 40-yard TD in the 2nd, and Boller threw a bomb out of bounds that the WR couldn't even get to. He had Randy McMichael open by a mile on a dig route deep in Atlanta territory in the 2nd and threw the pass into the ground, short of him by yards. He had Keenan Burton open on one sideline pass, pumped, then had to roll out Burton's direction and throw him the pass on the comeback, that way he could get it out there. Yikes. I understand Boller's coming off shoulder surgery, and that he had men in his face on some of his throws, but everybody else understand that we're going to miss Marc Bulger if he stays hurt. A lot. I'll try to account for Boller's rust and that we've been spoiled by pinpoint-accurate throwers like Bulger and Kurt Warner for a decade. But Boller's numbers on the night were inches from being Ryan Leaf-quality. Speaking of Leaf, his protege Keith Null (6-9-56) had a pretty nice 4th quarter, though Null should look good in the 2:00 drill; that's basically his college offense. Null was accurate, threw the ball into some tight spots, showed a sweet play fake, and ran the offense and stood tall in the pocket with poise. He drove the Rams right down the field from their 35 toward the tying TD before Sean Walker got knocked off his route on a 4th-down blitz, and Null's spot pass for him was intercepted in the end zone. But it looks more and more like the kid's got “it”. That may be a bad thing for Brock Berlin (5-8-71), though he didn't have a bad 3rd quarter. His TD pass to Derek Stanley was a suh-weet throw. He couldn't keep the momentum going, though, taking a sack the next possession despite having plenty of time to throw and Jerome Johnson out in the flat lonelier than a pork chop at a vegan buffet. Thank you! I'll be here all week. So will Berlin, though thanks to Null's emergence, I'm...
    -08-22-2009, 10:40 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 8/14/2009: Rams 23, Jets 20 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, August 14, 2009
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Preseason Game #1: Rams 23, Jets 20

    Last year's disastrous preseason opener led to a disaster of a season. With tonight's game, Rams fans can hope the team has put a lot of 2008 behind it. Compare the first preseason games. Winning 23-20 instead of losing 34-13? I'll take it. Giving up 102 yards on the ground instead of 343? I'll definitely take it. The offense that settles for too many field goals and still doesn't protect Marc Bulger adequately? We'll have to wait on that. But this year's Rams are starting off on the right foot, instead of shooting themselves in it.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Marc Bulger (4-4-77) played about a quarter and a half, and when his teammates protected him, he looked sharp and threw accurately, including as good a pass as he's thrown as a pro, a 50-yard bomb he dropped right into Laurent Robinson's breadbasket in the 2nd. Protection problems, though, got Bulger sacked a startling three times and forced the offense to settle for 3 FGs. Kyle Boller got about a quarter but was pressured into an underwhelming 3-9-25 performance, relying a lot on bootlegs and swing passes. Brock Berlin was 6-8-27 but had a short night, spraining a knee while getting dragged down at the end of a naked bootleg by Zach Potter. The most impressive QB off the bench may have been Keith Null (2-2-16). After Berlin's injury rushed him into play, the Rams got a composed and ultimately game-winning play from the rookie. Sean Walker lined up wrong with the Rams at the Jet 14, but instead of blowing a timeout, Null got Walker lined up correctly before the snap and wound up exploiting a mismatch with a LB and hitting Walker for the go-ahead TD. Berlin'd better be wary or he'll get Wally Pipped. Or is that Trent Greened?

    * RB: Steven Jackson had just a couple of carries and was pulled from the game after a 13-yard gain late in the first. The competition for the spots behind Jackson got more heated when Samkon Gado (6-93) started the second half by exploding up the middle and running through the Jet secondary for a 77-yard TD. Antonio Pittman's (4-36) getting plenty of chances and still looks like the Rams' most elusive back. He bounced a run outside for 20 and forced a fumble on special teams to enhance his chances. Unfortunately, the biggest competition between the RBs tonight was to see who could pick up blitzes the worst. Jackson didn't get a block on the blitzing safety, helping LB David Harris score a sack to shut down the Rams' opening drive. Chris Ogbannaya (9-29) let Kenwin Cummings go right by him and drop Berlin for a huge loss in the 4th. The big winner(?), though, was Kenneth Darby (6-16), who looked far worse in blitz protection tonight than he ever did last season. He let a DB go right around him, creating pressure that led to Calvin Pace getting the Jets' second sack. The third came...
    -08-15-2009, 02:30 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 9/3/2009: Rams 17, Chiefs 9 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, September 3, 2009
    From Row HH
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Preseason Game #4: Rams 17, Chiefs 9

    The St. Louis Rams – 2009 Missouri state champs! But more important than that, believe it or not, were the final intrasquad contests, at nearly every position. RamView will now take on the daunting task of breaking down those battles while not detracting from the historical nature of the Rams bringing the storied Governor’s Cup back east…

    * QB: Whoever won the fight at third QB tonight didn’t do it by knockout. Brock Berlin (9-17-97) probably had the better night, despite a bad interception deep in the Rams’ own end in the 2nd. Berlin underthrew what was supposed to be a quick out for Daniel Fells. Hard to believe he didn’t see DaJuan Morgan out there, so I’m assuming the throw was worse than the decision was. Berlin played the second quarter and led the Rams on an earlier TD drive, making several nice throws along the way. After being robbed of a 33-yard TD pass thanks to Derek Stanley’s brutal drop, he hit Nate Jones on the sideline at the 6 with a 27- yard pass, and shortly after, drilled a pass to Fells in traffic at the goal line for the go-ahead TD. Berlin’s engineered some TD drives this summer; his ability to finish drives has to work in his favor. Keith Null (9-17-78) auditioned the whole second half, hitting only one long throw of note, as 23-yarder to Sean Walker. Null didn’t show a lot of touch on what you’d have to call classic WCO throws. Several of the five-yard slant-variety throws he made were high, hard ones his receiver couldn’t handle. Easy there, hoss. Null also fumbled on a completely-blown running play and walked right into a sack in the 4th. Tonight’s starter was actually Kyle Boller (3-4-24), who barely broke even if you take away the 18 yards he lost on just two sacks. I have no idea what the decision’s going to be at QB. Taking the snap from center, having to deal with blitzes, Null hasn’t looked ready to run the offense the last couple of weeks. Yeah, about as ready as Berlin was to play in Cincinnati a couple of years ago. And Steve Spagnuolo’s last team in New York wasn’t that concerned about entering recent seasons without much experience at third string, like Andre Woodson or Hefty Lefty Lorenzen, both 7th-round picks iirc. The guess here is that Berlin’s really going to wish he had that interception back. Waiver bait: Berlin.

    * RB: The muddle behind Steven Jackson on the depth chart got even more muddled when Samkon Gado (6-17) left the game due to a rib injury. And even more muddled because the other backs didn’t make much of their golden ticket. Antonio Pittman (3-3) made a couple of nice blitz pickups but didn’t find much running room. Kenneth Darby (3-14) weaved through the middle nicely a couple of times. Chris Ogbannaya (12-41) got extensive work in the 2nd half. He popped a couple of 10-yard runs early but spent the rest of...
    -09-04-2009, 11:14 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView scrimmage report: 8/7/2009
    by MFranke
    RamView, August 7, 2007
    Team Scrimmage Report from Lindenwood College


    Hey, St. Louis may have figured out it's time for some football. A capacity crowd of 7,000 watched tonight as the Rams locked horns with one another in the closest atmosphere to a live game they've seen so far this preseason. The problem is, I'm not really sure exactly what we all learned tonight. The Rams might have answers right now to a couple of their myriad issues, but there are still an awful lot of questions left blank thus far on their 2009 NFL entrance exam.

    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger looked solid enough, though I'm not ready to proclaim he's “back” like they just did on the 10 o'clock news. The short passing game clicked and Bulger especially made some nice throws into tight spaces. He found Keenan Burton and Donnie Avery downfield a couple of times and is still working really well with Randy McMichael. He was picked off from the goal line by Quincy Butler on an attempted out route to Laurent Robinson. Butler really jumped that route, so I'm not sure if Bulger's throw was the problem there. At least I hope not. That wasn't Bulger's only INT, though; Craig Dahl picked off a deep throw to end the offense's first two-minute drill. Nobody inspired much confidence behind Bulger. Kyle Boller was under pretty good pressure much of the scrimmage and chucked a couple of INTs – one a dumb throw into double coverage, another 10 yards past the nearest receiver and right to the deep safety, I think Dahl again. The TE cut off his route early on that second INT, though, and I'll bet he wasn't supposed to. At least in Boller's mind. I actually started worrying about Boller before the scrimmage started; I don't think he made a single good throw to the sideline in warmups. Brock Berlin lost the snap from center on his first play, really bad timing since the Rams were starting that drive at their goal line. Keith Null didn't show a lot of zing on his deep throws, and he badly missed on a timing route into the end zone during goal line drills, but he drilled a pass into the end zone the next play for a TD on what had to be his best throw of camp so far. Null also showed off a pretty nice play-fake. They're doing well enough by-and-large with the short passing game, but there were a lot of misses deep.

    * RB: Very limited action for Steven Jackson – 3-4 snaps – and Kenneth Darby, and on just about any sweep, the refs were blowing the whistle before the back could get out and turn the corner, making it hard again to figure how well many running plays actually would have fared. Samkon Gado started at fullback; I do not believe Mike Karney played. Gado's RB3 ahead of Antonio Pittman, but Pittman showed some of the nice footwork and elusiveness that makes him worth keeping around. Chris Ogbannaya and Null collided on one attempted handoff and had a lengthy discussion on the field over who was at fault....
    -08-08-2009, 12:07 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 10/4/2009: ***** 35, Rams 0 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, October 4, 2009
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Game #4: ***** 35, Rams 0

    Erasing any doubt they are the NFL's worst team, the epically inept Ram offense and bumbling special teams handed the ***** THREE touchdowns today en route to a truly embarrassing loss, extending the franchise's losing streaks to 14 overall, 12 in the NFC West. Even the SCLSU Mud Dogs never looked this bad.

    * QB: That crashing sound you heard was the Kyle Boller bandwagon going into a ditch, after a Rams season-low 13-24-108 today for a 48.6 passer rating. It wasn't for lack of a good start. He beat a blitz and hit Donnie Avery for 21, and later hit Daniel Fells for 18, to set up a FG attempt in the 1st. His best play of the day may have been a 3rd-and-5 throw to Randy McMichael late in the 1st half. Ray McDonald had jumped offside and was bearing down on him, but a very composed Boller hit the TE for 8 and the first down across midfield. Boller deserves credit for hanging in tough and taking quite a few shots. One thing that hurt his game today was that the ***** shut down his scrambling lanes. And Boller suffered from plenty of what's been sinking the Ram offense all season. He got little help from his offensive line or the running game. Decent offensive gains were erased by penalties. There's nothing Boller could do about special teams gaffes or crappy play-calling or lousy blitz pickups. And it's doubtful he could have done anyfthing about Patrick Willis' two perfectly-timed blitzes for sacks. Other downs saw him with sufficient time to throw, but lack of an open receiver led to a throwaway. Pressing to make a play despite these problems in the 3rd, Boller committed a grave error. Rolling right, he committed the cardinal sin of throwing back across his body and back to the middle of the field. Thinking he had Keenan Burton open, Boller hit Willis instead, for a 49er pick-six that broke open the dam, 21-0. Possibly Burton should have done a better job coming to the ball, but that's a throw a QB of Boller's experience should be smarter than to try. Though Boller may have been the problem on that play, it's hard to argue he was the main problem with the Ram offense today. He made most of the plays that were there for him to make. There just weren't that many to make. It doesn't matter much if it's him, or Marc Bulger, or Keith Null, or Brock Berlin, or Norm van Brocklin, who takes snaps for this offense right now. It doesn't look equipped or even designed to do anything other than blow up on the launching pad.

    * RB: Ineffective day for Steven Jackson, 23-79 rushing, just 3-6 receiving, with a third of his rushing yards coming after the ***** were already up 35-0. Jackson got some decent run blocking in the first half. Opening play of the game, Randy McMichael and Mike Karney give him a massive gap on the right side, but he can’t hit it and only gains a yard. A variety of Jackson’s...
    -10-05-2009, 01:28 PM
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