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  • How They Look - Offense

    How they look Offense
    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/30/2009

    Talk about tough breaks, pun intended. In what's a make-or-break year for Marc Bulger, a broken pinky finger suffered in practice already has cost him two preseason games. Not to mention two weeks of practice time that could've been used polishing up on the new West Coast scheme installed by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The hope at Rams Park is that better pass protection by a revamped line will help Bulger return to his Pro Bowl form and showcase his accuracy. But the finger won't be completely healed on opening day, Sept. 13, in Seattle. Backup Kyle Boller, a former first-round pick by Baltimore, lacks Bulger's accuracy but has a stronger arm. He also has the quickness and speed to avoid the rush and make something happen with his legs.

    Obviously, the Rams are counting on a big year from Steven Jackson, both as a runner and receiver. He will be the centerpiece of what coach Steve Spagnuolo hopes is an efficient ball-control offense that spreads the ball around in the passing game. Jackson has compiled four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but missed four games and most of a fifth because of injury in each of the past two seasons. The dropoff has been dramatic when Jackson is sidelined, and the Rams really didn't address the No. 2 running back issue during the offseason. So barring a late roster move prior to opening day, they will rely on some combination of Samkon Gado, Antonio Pittman, Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya behind Jackson each of whom has holes in his game.

    Mike Karney missed two weeks of camp with a sprained ankle, so he's still not entirely in sync with Jackson. But at least the Rams have their first true lead-blocking fullback since Madison Hedgecock was unceremoniously released by Scott Linehan one game into the 2007 season. Karney is a thumper built low to the ground. If he stays healthy, the running game should be that much better. At tight end, Randy McMichael returns from an injury-shortened '08 season, still hoping to become the receiving threat that has been forecast for him every year since signing here as a free agent in 2007. Offseason pickup Billy Bajema is a blocking specialist who also has shown surprising ability to catch the ball on the practice field and in the preseason.
    No Holt, no Bruce, no hope? We'll see. This unit remains the biggest question mark on the team because of a lack of proven experience. Plans for speedy Donnie Avery to be the No. 1 option were derailed three weeks ago when he suffered a fractured foot in the Lindenwood scrimmage. There's no guarantee that Avery will be back for the season opener, although he appears to be progressing more quickly than expected. Laurent Robinson, acquired in a pre-draft trade with Atlanta, has been impressive this summer, flashing size, speed, hands and some run-after-the-catch ability. Keenan Burton is a grinder who has the ability to make the tough catch. Like Avery, he must stay healthy. After that, Tim Carter, Ronald Curry and Derek Stanley are the frontrunners for the final two or three spots on the 53-man roster.

    Barring injury, there are no excuses this season for this unit. The Rams have expended a lot of money and draft picks, and it's time to produce. Left tackle Alex Barron and right tackle Jason Smith are first-round draft picks; Smith was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in April. Left guard Jacob Bell and center Jason Brown were free-agent pickups the past two offseasons, to the tune of more than $60 million in combined contracts. The other starter is hard-nosed Richie Incognito at right guard. At the moment, versatile veteran Adam Goldberg is the starting right tackle, but Smith should be there sooner rather than later. This is a bigger line and should be a more physical line the better to run-block for Jackson. Guard-center Mark Setterstrom and guard John Greco provide depth.

  • #2
    Re: How They Look - Offense

    thats very true about the money spent on the o-line, if they go and resign Barron at the end of this season there will be a ton of money invested in that offensive line,now it's time to step it up and earn all that money.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How They Look - Offense

      Originally posted by HawkTroll
      lo?
      you should have a good oline by now. how many top 5 picks you guys got going now?
      And how many big games have the Seasacks EVER won?

      At least the biggest thing our franchise is known for is not a beligerant quote by the franchise quarterback ....

      "We want the ball and we're gonna score" ...

      LOL at that!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How They Look - Offense

        Originally posted by HawkTroll
        lo?
        you should have a good oline by now. how many top 5 picks you guys got going now?
        You're just embarrassing yourself with comments like that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How They Look - Offense

          Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
          How they look Offense
          BY JIM THOMAS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          08/30/2009

          Talk about tough breaks, pun intended. In what's a make-or-break year for Marc Bulger, a broken pinky finger suffered in practice already has cost him two preseason games. Not to mention two weeks of practice time that could've been used polishing up on the new West Coast scheme installed by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The hope at Rams Park is that better pass protection by a revamped line will help Bulger return to his Pro Bowl form and showcase his accuracy. But the finger won't be completely healed on opening day, Sept. 13, in Seattle. Backup Kyle Boller, a former first-round pick by Baltimore, lacks Bulger's accuracy but has a stronger arm. He also has the quickness and speed to avoid the rush and make something happen with his legs.

          Obviously, the Rams are counting on a big year from Steven Jackson, both as a runner and receiver. He will be the centerpiece of what coach Steve Spagnuolo hopes is an efficient ball-control offense that spreads the ball around in the passing game. Jackson has compiled four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but missed four games and most of a fifth because of injury in each of the past two seasons. The dropoff has been dramatic when Jackson is sidelined, and the Rams really didn't address the No. 2 running back issue during the offseason. So barring a late roster move prior to opening day, they will rely on some combination of Samkon Gado, Antonio Pittman, Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya behind Jackson each of whom has holes in his game.

          Mike Karney missed two weeks of camp with a sprained ankle, so he's still not entirely in sync with Jackson. But at least the Rams have their first true lead-blocking fullback since Madison Hedgecock was unceremoniously released by Scott Linehan one game into the 2007 season. Karney is a thumper built low to the ground. If he stays healthy, the running game should be that much better. At tight end, Randy McMichael returns from an injury-shortened '08 season, still hoping to become the receiving threat that has been forecast for him every year since signing here as a free agent in 2007. Offseason pickup Billy Bajema is a blocking specialist who also has shown surprising ability to catch the ball on the practice field and in the preseason.
          No Holt, no Bruce, no hope? We'll see. This unit remains the biggest question mark on the team because of a lack of proven experience. Plans for speedy Donnie Avery to be the No. 1 option were derailed three weeks ago when he suffered a fractured foot in the Lindenwood scrimmage. There's no guarantee that Avery will be back for the season opener, although he appears to be progressing more quickly than expected. Laurent Robinson, acquired in a pre-draft trade with Atlanta, has been impressive this summer, flashing size, speed, hands and some run-after-the-catch ability. Keenan Burton is a grinder who has the ability to make the tough catch. Like Avery, he must stay healthy. After that, Tim Carter, Ronald Curry and Derek Stanley are the frontrunners for the final two or three spots on the 53-man roster.

          Barring injury, there are no excuses this season for this unit. The Rams have expended a lot of money and draft picks, and it's time to produce. Left tackle Alex Barron and right tackle Jason Smith are first-round draft picks; Smith was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in April. Left guard Jacob Bell and center Jason Brown were free-agent pickups the past two offseasons, to the tune of more than $60 million in combined contracts. The other starter is hard-nosed Richie Incognito at right guard. At the moment, versatile veteran Adam Goldberg is the starting right tackle, but Smith should be there sooner rather than later. This is a bigger line and should be a more physical line the better to run-block for Jackson. Guard-center Mark Setterstrom and guard John Greco provide depth.
          The Rams have 2 good linemen at this point.

          Jacob Bell and Jason Brown. Everyone else has a lot to prove. The rookie aint ready yet. Barron is overrated and gets beat. Incognito is a good run blocker but terrible at pass protection and gets beat. Goldberg isn't a long term solution and gets beat. Combine all of that with our (apparent) backfields inability to pickup the blitz and we have what we have.

          Nobody wants to see this line improve more than I do. Because if they do, we can stand a chance in every game. Provided our QB plays well, Laurent Robinson is fo' real and Avery is back.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How They Look - Offense

            Originally posted by HawkTroll
            how many years in a row have the Hawks whooped your pathetic franchise?
            first to worst in 1 year for you guys. no wonder your owner wants to bail on you guys.

            how pathetic.

            And how many big games have the Seasacks EVER won?

            last, what, 10 against the Lambs?
            The weather in Seattle sucks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How They Look - Offense

              Originally posted by HawkTroll
              how so? is that not a truthful question?

              do you need to be reminded of how many?
              No. But apparently you do. The only Top 5 pick on the Rams' O line is Jason Smith, who has yet to play a regular season game.

              But, no need for us to get off on the wrong foot.

              Welcome to the Clan, dufus.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How They Look - Offense

                Originally posted by btimsah View Post
                The Rams have 2 good linemen at this point.

                Jacob Bell and Jason Brown.
                I'm not even sure Jacob Bell has proven that yet. There are a lot of question marks - and a lot of potential for good things, too - on this Rams offensive line.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How They Look - Offense

                  Come on guys, be civil. Argue through PM's.

                  As the article said, Bulger's finger might not be fully healed for game one. Now that sucks...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How They Look - Offense

                    Originally posted by HawkTroll
                    how many years in a row have the Hawks whooped your pathetic franchise?
                    first to worst in 1 year for you guys. no wonder your owner wants to bail on you guys.

                    how pathetic.

                    And how many big games have the Seasacks EVER won?

                    last, what, 10 against the Lambs?
                    man, are the games vs us really THAT big to you?

                    no wonder they blew the SB, too hungover from the win over the Rams during the regular season..

                    what am i talking about though, you'll probly be bragging about that loss to
                    your grandkids lol..good for you!!

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • Goldenfleece
                      State of the Rams: Offense
                      by Goldenfleece
                      The rebuilding process looks quite formidable at this point. We have all kinds of needs all over the place. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So without further ado, here is my best effort to prioritize needs on the offense. Defense to follow eventually.


                      Quarterbacks
                      Current Options: Bulger, Boller, Null
                      Evaluation: It is my personal opinion that although Bulger's problems this year had more to do with protection and the play of receivers, his skill set is not ideally suited for a West Coast Offense. He is at his best when he has time to see what is happening and go through his checkdowns. He can be very accurate throwing into tight coverage when he has his timing down with receivers who run sharp routes because he knows where they are going to be when the ball arrives. We don't have such seasoned receivers, and the offense we are running relies more on quick decision-making than precise down-field passing. Rumors have already begun circulating about whether Bulger will remain with the team next season. Boller's strength is his ability to improvise, but he is not accurate enough to be a long-term solution. Null appears to be a player with some upside, but right now it is far more likely he has a future as a back-up than as a starter.
                      Off-season Priority: Very High. Odds are that our next winning season will be with a quarterback who is not currently on the roster.

                      Runningbacks
                      Current Options: Steven Jackson, Samkon Gado, Kenneth Darby, Chris Ogbannaya, Mike Karney
                      Evaluation: Jackson is easily one of the top backs in the league right now. He breaks tackles, has good top-end speed, and is an above-average pass catcher at the position to boot.

                      Gado bounced around the league for a couple years before landing with the Rams and accomplished little with the team in 2009. Darby's 5.6 yards/carry in limited action in 2009 looks rather impressive on the surface, but if you throw out his single longest run, the average drops to a more pedestrian 3.8 yards/carry for the remainder. Ogbannaya did not work his way onto the game day roster until late in the season but did see some action in the final two games of the season. I would think that Gado will likely be gone before the start of the season; at this point in their careers, Darby and Ogbannaya would probably not be above third string on most teams in the league.

                      Mike Karney is an archetypal fullback, but rarely receives the ball even in short yardage situations.
                      Off-season Priority: Medium-Low. There is a substantial drop-off between our current #1 and #2 options. Entering the season without a better #2 would be risky but not disastrous.

                      Wide Receivers
                      Current Options: Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, Brooks Foster, Ruvell Martin, Jordan Kent
                      Evaluation: Don't let the number of receivers fool you; probably...
                      -01-14-2010, 06:57 PM
                    • RamsInfiniti
                      Where we stand after the draft (OFFENSE) ...
                      by RamsInfiniti
                      Here's my take on the offense:

                      Quarterbacks - Is there any man on the face of the earth happier than Marc Bulger? Hard to tell how "happy" he really is I guess, but considering the debacle of the past two years, he must be gleaming. A revamped offensive line, a real fullback, a new coaching staff, a real front office, and an offensive system that has his name written all over it. Bulger's accuracy and quick release make him perfect for Shurmur's system. If his confidence comes back, Bulger should easily rebound to near Pro-Bowl form. Of course, this is contingent on the development of a very young group of wideouts. Boller is a solid backup, and that is just that. He is good enough to keep us in games should Bulger go down, but I doubt we can win with this game long term. Regardless, definitely a significant upgrade over Trent Green, a Saunders guy who clearly can no longer perform in this league. I cannot see Null beating out Berlin for the 3rd spot, but that battle is irrelevant at this point. Neither is likely the QB of the future here, we'll grab that guy in next year's draft.

                      Running Backs - You would be hard pressed to find a more talented back in the league than S.J.. He has all the tools to be the absolute best running back in the league. He runs hard, catches the ball well, and can turn nothing into something big. If he can stay healthy and stay on the field, we can stay in most games. He has an opportunity to shut up all the naysayers with a big year, and behind this line, he should be gold. Darby, Pittman, and Leonard are a trio of servicable backs, but none stand out as a top prospect for the #2 role. Darby is a hard running, good pass catcher, and good blocker but lacks the explosiveness to break the big play. Pittman is shifty and quick, a nice change of pace from Jackson, but lacks Darby's hands and blocking abilities. Leonard is a jack of all trades, but isn't superior to either of the other two in any area. Obgonnaya seems to be a hard downhill runner with great hands. Darby and Leonard are servicable special teams players, so I am calling Pittman the odd man out here, if anything because WCO backs need great hands. Karney is a hammer in the backfield and should be our best FB since the other "hammer", James Hodgins. He can be a threat out of the backfield.

                      Wide Receivers - Wow, have you ever seen a team go into the season with a younger group of wideouts? Avery developed nicely last year, proving that he can be both a deep threat and a solid go to guy. His route running increased as the season went on and his hands were far better than expected, resulting in several spectacular grabs. He may not be a #1 at this point in his career, but he is going to have to pretend to be this season. Burton struggled with injuries early on, but has all the skills to be an Isaac Bruce type. He looked superb in preseason and is a very nice route runner. It would not surprise me, if healthy,...
                      -04-27-2009, 10:43 AM
                    • RamWraith
                      A Look At The Offense By Howard Balzer
                      by RamWraith
                      A Position-By-Position Look At The Offense By Howard Balzer Tuesday, July 22, 2008

                      With the Rams set for their first practice of training Friday afternoon, here is a position-by-position look at the offense. Tomorrow, we will break down the defense and special teams.

                      QUARTERBACKS: Projected Starter -- Marc Bulger. Backups -- Trent Green, Bruce Gradkowski, Brock Berlin.

                      One of the biggest goals for the Rams this season is to get Bulger back on track after a 2007 season that tested him physically and mentally. The arrival of Al Saunders as offensive coordinator is expected to rejuvenate Bulger, while having Green as a mentor should also help when things get tough. Still, how Bulger performs will depend largely on how well he's protected by the offensive line and whether some of the team's young receivers step up. Green's leadership is evident on a daily basis, but questions remain about his health after he suffered serious concussions each of the last two seasons in Kansas City and Miami, respectively. Gradkowski has some experience after starting 11 games as a rookie for Tampa Bay in 2006, and that could give him an edge over Berlin for the No. 3 job. With the reality of Bulger's and Green's injury history, having a third-string quarterback with game experience could be important. However, Gradkowski didn't arrive until mid-June, so a big question will be how quickly he becomes comfortable with Saunders' offense and his new receivers.

                      RUNNING BACKS: Projected Starter -- Steven Jackson. Backups -- Antonio Pittman, Brian Leonard, Travis Minor, Lance Ball, FB Richard Owens, FB Russ Weil.

                      Jackson is refraining from publicly setting any personal goals this season after he fell far short of the 2,500 combined yards he hoped for last season. He had 2,334 yards in 2006, most in the NFL, but a combination of injuries and a struggling offense curtailed his production last season. He had some offseason issues with his ankle and groin, but it is not expected to slow him when training camp opens. It is unlikely he will have a new contract when camp opens, so Jackson will have the added motivation of playing for a new deal. Pittman, picked up by the Rams at the start of last season after being cut by the Saints, was said to be one of the team's most improved players in the offseason. The question is whether he can be a legitimate replacement if Jackson has to miss any time. Leonard will be a hybrid tailback and fullback, but he is not the banger needed as a blocker in short-yardage situations. Minor will again try to earn a roster spot on the strength of his special teams play. Ball could be an interesting prospect, but it will take a great summer to earn a job on the roster. Owens has to prove he can block in his combination fullback/tight end role, but it remains to be seen whether it will happen. Weil is a long shot, but has a chance if he can show he can block.

                      TIGHT ENDS:...
                      -07-22-2008, 09:52 AM
                    • RamWraith
                      At The Half: Are Rams Better?
                      by RamWraith
                      By Jim Thomas
                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                      11/09/2008

                      What we've learned They have a better record but that's not saying much
                      Unanswered questions Are some of the top players just past their prime?
                      Looking ahead Young receivers, defensive line have been bright spots.

                      * * * * * *


                      Midway through the 2008 season, the Rams are two games better off than a year ago at this time. But miles away from being an elite NFC team. Under Jim Haslett, the Rams have shown they're better than the 0-4 train wreck under Scott Linehan in September. But still not ready for prime time.

                      Once again, injuries have exposed a lack of depth, underscoring the many failed draft picks and free-agent moves of recent offseasons. There's no guarantee that Haslett will return in 2009 as head coach. With the death of longtime owner Georgia Frontiere last January, and the sale of the team a distinct possibility over the next couple of years, uncertainty is the order of the day at Rams Park.

                      On the field, two victories, one near miss, and five lopsided setbacks haven't established much in the way of benchmarks about the team's present or future. In fact, there are just as many questions if not more about these Rams than at the start of training camp last July in Mequon, Wis.

                      With eight games down, and eight to go in 2008, we examine eight areas to see what we've learned, what questions remain, and what lies ahead for the Rams.

                      * * * * * * *

                      Not Much Bang For The Buck

                      WHAT WE'VE LEARNED

                      The Rams aren't getting anything close to the production they'd like from their highest-paid players in large part because of age, injury, and lack of a supporting cast. No one's saying these guys are dogging it, but by definition your big-money players are supposed to be your big-time playmakers. Nowhere is this more obvious than at quarterback, where Marc Bulger is struggling through his second subpar season since signing a six-year extension that makes him the highest-paid Ram.

                      UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

                      Can Bulger get back on his game, or is that even a realistic possibility given the supporting cast? Will left tackle Orlando Pace, wide receiver Torry Holt, and defensive end Leonard Little be back in 2009? All three Super Bowl veterans will be 33 or older by opening day next season, and all three have 2009 salary cap figures of $7.2 million or greater.

                      LOOKING AHEAD

                      The Rams must decide what to do with wide receiver Drew Bennett, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday because of a foot injury. He has only 34 catches for 379 yards and three touchdowns since signing a six-year, $30 million free-agent deal prior to the 2007 season. The Rams would take a $5 million cap hit if Bennett is cut or traded before June 1, but would save $3.8 million in base salary and...
                      -11-09-2008, 06:51 AM
                    • eldfan
                      Rams Team Report
                      by eldfan
                      USA Today
                      Posted 12h 35m ago E-mail | Save | Print |


                      Aside from trying to win games, coach Steve Spagnuolo had one thing he stressed from the first day he was hired last January: Concentrate on "team first" and building an atmosphere that had that as the main goal.
                      The Rams won only one game during the season, but Spagnuolo insists the team goal was met. Now he knows what has to be done to create wins for an organization that has won just six games in three seasons.

                      Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis likes what was accomplished and says the young talent will only get better.

                      "I think we have a lot of talent on this team," Laurinaitis said. "If you look at a lot of the games this year, they could've gone other ways. I think we have great coaches. Another year together, it's going to be something good. There's definitely a lot of competitiveness in this group."

                      It was also a unique year for Laurinaitis, who didn't lose many games during his entire college career at Ohio State, much less 15 in one season.

                      "It's very easy to play 100 percent when you're winning and things are rolling and the crowd's into it, and stuff like that," he said. "But when you're down and things get out of control, that's when it's very easy to pack it in. I think I learned a lot about myself this year. I've never been put in that (losing) situation except for a few times in college. You can tell who really cares by who really keeps trying in those moments."

                      Cornerback Ron Bartell was an unrestricted free agent last March and was being wooed by the Saints. After meeting Spagnuolo, Bartell elected to re-sign with the Rams. Does he regret it, considering New Orleans was 13-3 this past season and earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs?

                      He said, "When I re-signed, I knew it wasn't going to be an overnight thing. I got into it for the long haul. So I knew it was going to take time. We still have the right people in place. I totally, firmly believe that. I think I made the best decision for me. I still think we can get this thing turned around."

                      Of course, he acknowledged how tough the season was.

                      "It was extremely difficult," Bartell said. "With all the changes we made, you definitely didn't see that coming. But it is what it is. We put ourselves in this position. The only thing we can do now is move forward."

                      Bartell also likes the talent on the roster.

                      "We have a good mix of young guys that are willing to learn, and veterans that are willing to lead," he said. "Not a lot of egos. Everybody's playing for the same goal. We didn't accomplish that, of course, but I think in the end we all just stuck together."

                      Said veteran James Hall, who has played 10 seasons in the NFL...
                      -01-14-2010, 01:33 PM
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