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Rams' O-line doing just fine

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  • Rams' O-line doing just fine

    Rams' O-line doing just fine

    Not a lot has gone right for the Rams in 2009, no scoop there. The won-loss record doesn't lie — and the Rams are 1-8 entering Sunday's home game with the Arizona Cardinals.

    But the No. 1 goal of general manager Billy Devaney entering last offseason was to fix the offensive line. Nine games into the season, things are trending that way.

    "I know we've made strides," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "You can always get better everywhere. We're trying to get better at every position. But you do see a little bit of gelling there, guys working together. And that's even without Richie (Incognito) out there, and we know Richie's a key part of it. So there's more confidence there. I like the way it's developed. I think we've just got to keep working at that."

    Incognito will miss his third consecutive game Sunday because of a foot injury. But the line keeps perking along. Sacks are down and rushing yards are up. Against the Cardinals, running back Steven Jackson will be going for his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game, something he has never done since entering the NFL in 2004.

    "I think from the third game on, we've continued to improve," offensive line coach Steve Loney said. "I've been pleased with our progress."

    Granted, there's plenty of room for improvement. But with seven games to play, the basic numbers are good. The Rams are on pace to rush for 1,902 yards this season and currently are averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

    If those numbers hold up, it will be the team's best rushing performance since the 2001 NFC-championship squad rushed for 2,027 yards, at 4.9 yards per carry.

    Obviously, it's not all the line. Newcomer Mike Karney is the team's best blocking fullback since James "The Hammer" Hodgins played here from 1999-2002. The blocking of the tight ends has been solid. But run blocking begins and ends with up front.

    "It's definitely coming together," Jackson said. "Those guys are doing a great job of gelling. We actually have a (pass) protection meeting with them. When I say 'we,' I'm talking about the running backs. We spend extra time with those guys in walkthroughs. So we're all on the same page. Those guys are really communicating and keeping guys off Marc (Bulger). We're going in the right direction."

    Granted, the Rams aren't nearly the high-wire act in the passing game that they've been in the past. Even so, the team is on pace to allow 32 sacks this season — a modest two per game — which would be the lowest sack total since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995.

    "They're not going unnoticed in this locker room, but I think maybe a little bit outside of here," Bulger said. "They're having a pretty good season."

    It hasn't been all wine and roses, particularly early in the season:

    — Right guard Incognito was benched for one series and part of another in the third quarter against Seattle after incurring his second personal foul of opening day.

    — Left tackle Alex Barron was pulled for the rest of the game after a costly illegal formation penalty in the second quarter of Game 4 at San Francisco.

    — Bulger missed most of the Sept. 27 Green Bay game, and then the next two games entirely, with a bruised rotator cuff after Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman got around right tackle Adam Goldberg for a sack.


    — No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith missed 2½ games and had reserve status in three other contests following a knee injury in the Rams' Week 2 loss at Washington.

    — Incognito remains sidelined with what technically is a Lisfranc — or mid-foot — sprain. He appears to be at least a week or two away from returning.

    — Bell (mild concussion) and Brown (knee) missed parts of a game, although they've started all nine contests to date.

    But in backups Mark Setterstrom, John Greco and especially Goldberg, the Rams have developed depth to the point that there isn't a noticeable dropoff when a change is made.

    "Adam Goldberg, his value to this organization, whether that be as a starter or a guy coming off the bench, I think is invaluable," Loney said. "His productivity this year has been very good."

    Goldberg basically is the team's "sixth man" on the offensive line. But because of the injuries to Smith and Incognito, he has started seven games at either right tackle or right guard, and played well.

    "Offensive lines are all about continuity in calls, continuity with each other, and working together," Loney said. "And the more that they are together, then I think their productivity will continue to be good."

  • #2
    Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

    the rams o line has been playing well until today. goldberg gets a 15 yard pentaly making the rams unable to score late in the 4 quater. setterstorm allows dockett to level buldger on the final drive, and that gets followed up by our 5 linmen unable to block 3 cardnials for more than 2 seconds on the last play. although the line made some good holes for jackson today


    • #3
      Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

      Originally posted by jackson3909 View Post
      the rams o line has been playing well until today. goldberg gets a 15 yard pentaly making the rams unable to score late in the 4 quater. setterstorm allows dockett to level buldger on the final drive, and that gets followed up by our 5 linmen unable to block 3 cardnials for more than 2 seconds on the last play. although the line made some good holes for jackson today
      Good holes for Jackson?

      He had almost no holes today. He was trying to make things happen without anything. Worst performance from our o-line this season.

      Bell gave no push up front. It was obvious today.

      Barron got completely abused on that last play. Horrible.


      • #4
        Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

        I agree. O Line wasn't doing much in run blocking. At least from what I could see. It still needs help.
        The Rams... Where dreams go to die.


        • #5
          Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

          Jason Smith just keeps getting better IMO. He hasn't given up a sack in a while and he has been our best run blocker. Our only big run came of RT as Smith sealed his guy. Barron up to his usual stuff getting beat by no names, who the hell is Will Davis?


          • #6
            Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

            Originally posted by supachump View Post
            I agree. O Line wasn't doing much in run blocking. At least from what I could see. It still needs help.
            I'm sure you realize the Cardinals were routinely playing 9 men in the box so I won't ask why you think the run blocking was lacking.


            • #7
              Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

              Originally posted by RebelYell View Post
              I'm sure you realize the Cardinals were routinely playing 9 men in the box so I won't ask why you think the run blocking was lacking.
              If you saw the game, you could see our o-line was not dominating at the line of scrimmage as they usually do. It could of been because of Darnell Dockett. The extra guys in the box helped contain Jackson, but Jackson could never even find any holes in the first place.


              • #8
                Re: Rams' O-line doing just fine

                Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
                If you saw the game, you could see our o-line was not dominating at the line of scrimmage as they usually do. It could of been because of Darnell Dockett. The extra guys in the box helped contain Jackson, but Jackson could never even find any holes in the first place.
                As I said, 9 men in the box. Jackson ran for over 100 yards against a defense focused on stopping him. But hey, teams routinely produce gaping holes on a regular basis when there are more defenders than blockers.


                Related Topics


                • RamWraith
                  St. Louis Rams o-line subs get the job done
                  by RamWraith
                  By Bill Coats
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                  Monday, Dec. 29 2008

                  ATLANTA — Rookie John Greco had known for a few days that he'd probably be in
                  the lineup Sunday at left guard for Jacob Bell, who suffered a hamstring injury
                  last week against San Francisco. But Adam Goldberg didn't find out he'd be
                  filling in for an ill Richie Incognito at right guard until about 45 minutes
                  before kickoff.

                  Not that it fazed Goldberg, a six-year veteran who also made starts this season
                  at left guard, left tackle and right tackle.

                  "If I'm going to be the swing man, the sixth man (on the offensive line),
                  that's my job, to come in and play at a level that facilitates our offense in
                  being successful and moving the ball," he said. "I was proud of our unit's

                  Despite succumbing to the Atlanta Falcons 31-27, the Rams rolled up season
                  highs in total offense (408 yards) and yards on the ground (201).

                  With the "G-men" stepping in and stepping up, the offensive line "played well,"
                  quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Steven (Jackson) was running really hard; he
                  looked great. And I think I only got hit two or three times. So, they obviously
                  run-blocked well, they pass-blocked well. They did everything they had to do."

                  The Falcons presented a beefy yet active front four, anchored by 345-pound
                  tackle Grady Jackson. But Bulger was sacked only three times, and Jackson
                  ground out a season-high 161 yards.

                  "The offensive line did great," Jackson said. "They covered that defensive line
                  and they were able to create some lanes for me."

                  Greco, a third-round draft pick out of Toledo, was making his first NFL start.
                  Still, he played more than half the game last week after Bell went down, so the
                  butterflies were at a minimum.

                  "It was a lot of fun — a great atmosphere, going against a playoff team, the
                  crowd was into it," Greco said. "It was a good game, a close-fought game. …
                  We're all disappointed, but we put together a great effort. Everyone was
                  fighting; no one let up on any play."

                  After being among the game-day inactives for seven of the first 10 games, Greco
                  was eased into action over the last six contests. That experience should help
                  provide a springboard into his second season, he noted.

                  "I told myself before the game that no matter what, I want to be able to look
                  back and say that I have no regrets," he said. "It just makes you work harder,
                  because I want to feel what it's like to win, I want to feel what it was like
                  against Dallas and Washington," the team's only wins in a 2-14 season.

                  The Rams rallied from a 24-14...
                  -12-29-2008, 04:36 AM
                • r8rh8rmike
                  Offensive Line Finding Chemistry
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  Offensive Line Finding Chemistry
                  Thursday, October 15, 2009

                  By Nick Wagoner
                  Senior Writer

                  Facing its biggest test of the season – both in terms of talent and in sheer size – last week against Minnesota, the Rams offensive line turned in its finest performance of the young season and perhaps one of the better overall efforts by that unit in the past few years.

                  With Pro Bowl players such as defensive end Jared Allen and defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams lined up on the opposing side, the offensive line helped the Rams post 400 yards of total offense, 27 first downs and hang on to the ball for more than 32 minutes.

                  “I did think the offensive line played pretty well against a really good defensive line,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I think overall they all did a nice job. We moved the ball on offense. Anytime you can do that, I don’t care whether you’re throwing it or running it, the offensive line is doing something right.”

                  And when the offensive line is doing something right – or in the case of last week, a lot of things right – the offense as a whole is a much better unit.

                  Minnesota’s defensive line posed many threats with Allen leading the way coming off a 4.5 sack effort against Green Bay. But the Vikings had just two sacks in the game and both could be categorized as a bit strange.

                  One came when Rams quarterback Kyle Boller simply dropped the ball and Minnesota was credited with a team sack. The other came on a play when Kevin Williams pulled Boller down by his helmet and was flagged for unnecessary roughness but through a quirk in league rules was still credited with a sack.

                  Aside from that, the line kept the quarterback clean and opened some sizable holes for running back Steven Jackson.

                  “I think them playing together week in and week out, is really helping,” quarterback Marc Bulger said. “We said that in preseason, we said that back in the spring that that’s important. As they get better working together, it’s going to help Steven. As he gets going, the protection will get better because they can’t bring the extra guy in the box. The O-line, D-line, everyone, that’s the no secret that’s the key to the NFL and everybody is getting a lot better.”

                  That growth has probably been stunted by a variety of ailments that have limited the opportunities for the line to play together on a consistent basis.

                  Starting back in training camp, the line at various times has lost guard Jacob Bell to a concussion, guard Richie Incognito to a knee issue, tackle Jason Smith to a knee injury and even Alex Barron has been hampered by some nagging issues.

                  Only in recent weeks has the line chemistry started to form in a way that is producing tangible results.

                  “Linemen have to work together,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said....
                  -10-15-2009, 07:15 PM
                • eldfan
                  Rams Report
                  by eldfan
                  USA TODAY

                  During the 2010 season, Rams running back Steven Jackson spoke often about how important it was for the offensive line in front of him to have continuity.
                  It is something the Rams' line has rarely had over the last decade. When it has, the result has been obvious. Even last season, though the Rams had a losing record, there was still improvement from the year before.

                  The five players on the line started all but one game the entire season. From 1999-2001, when the Rams had a cumulative regular-season record of 37-11, the opening-day starters on the line missed a total of seven starts in three seasons.

                  In 2002, there were several injuries on the line, and the record slipped to 7-9. It went back to 12-4 the next season when the all five linemen started every game.

                  Of course, the biggest disaster for the Rams was 2007. Coming off an 8-8 season in 2006, there was optimism heading into the next year. Jackson had led the NFL in combined yards from scrimmage. Quarterback Marc Bulger passed for over 4,000 yards, while receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce each went over 1,000.

                  But the attrition in the line in '07 started in training camp and extended into the first few weeks of the season. The casualties were Orlando Pace, Mark Setterstrom, Richie Incognito, Todd Steussie and Adam Goldberg, all by the fourth week of the season.

                  By the end of the season, 13 different players had started games on the line at 18 different positions. Bulger was beat up like a rag doll, and the record was 3-13. He really never recovered.

                  Now, the shuffling will likely be happening again on the line. Right tackle Jason Smith has already missed four games because of post-concussion symptoms and appears headed to injured reserve. Left tackle Rodger Saffold tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights last Friday and is done for the year.

                  His replacement, Mark LeVoir, suffered a pectoral injury against Seattle that won't require surgery but will keep him on the sideline for at least two games and maybe four. Rookie Kevin Hughes replaced LeVoir in that game, and the Rams signed tackle Thomas Welch off the Buffalo practice squad this week, but neither is expected to start.

                  The Rams are expected to play their best five guys, even if it means moving a guard to tackle. Both Jacob Bell and Harvey Dahl have played some tackle in their career, although it hasn't been for a while. Goldberg has also played left tackle in the past, and Jason Brown, who was benched two games ago at center, has played guard. Some NFL personnel people have thought Brown might be a better guard than center anyway.

                  Also keep in mind that four of the Rams' final six games will be played against teams (Arizona, San Francisco twice and Pittsburgh) that play 3-4 defenses.

                  Brown said he's not sure what the line will look like Sunday because he expects...
                  -11-24-2011, 05:32 PM
                • RamWraith
                  Offensive Line Sticks Together
                  by RamWraith
                  Thursday, September 27, 2007
                  By Nick Wagoner
                  Senior Writer

                  In the aftermath of yet another injury to the offensive line in the form of guard Mark Setterstrom’s torn ACL, the only thing the remaining linemen can do is find a way to stick together.

                  That means trying to keep the mood light while attempting to maintain focus on the task at hand. The only remaining lineman at the spot he started the season is center Brett Romberg and Alex Barron is the only other original starter still taking a spot on the line (he moved from right tackle to left).

                  “That was a joke Mark threw at me the other day,” Romberg said. “He said ‘Well, we have you and Alex left, let’s see who can hold on the longest.’ You have to have a little sense of humor about the whole situation. Obviously staying healthy is key and playing together with the guys who are coming in.”

                  The good news for the Rams, though, is that things can’t get much worse for the offensive line and the news will probably get better before it gets worse. As it stands, the offensive line this week will have (from left to right) Barron, Claude Terrell, Romberg, Milford Brown and Adam Goldberg.

                  That line would constitute the 22nd starting group lining up in front of quarterback Marc Bulger since he became the starter. Yet hope still remains that at least one familiar face will reclaim his spot in the lineup this week.

                  Guard Richie Incognito is still limited in practice as he recovers from a sprained ankle, but he has slowly but surely been getting better. In Thursday’s practice Incognito continued to work both in individual drills and team work.

                  In the individual blocking drills, he even had a little bounce to his step. For that reason, coach Scott Linehan isn’t ruling out the possibility that Incognito could take his place at right guard Sunday against Dallas.

                  “I’m not going to count him out,” Linehan said. “He’s still limited because we are working him gradually into the team. I think he looked a lot more comfortable even today than he did yesterday.”

                  Should Incognito come back, it could provide a big boost to a group that has been losing players more than it has gained them. If indeed he is back, the Rams would likely use a rotation of Brown and Terrell on the left side or perhaps in conjunction with Incognito.

                  While getting Incognito back would throw a bit of a wrench into any continuity the offensive line has gained, it wouldn’t change much of anything because the line would be using a new look any way.

                  As Romberg is quick to point out, though, the offensive line has been through it before and succeeded.

                  “The consistency factor is always going to be there, especially with the offensive line,” Romberg said. “Having guys come in and fit in and not be used to people, again we did it at the end of last year. Hopefully we...
                  -09-27-2007, 03:44 PM
                • RamWraith
                  Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down
                  by RamWraith
                  By Jeff Gordon

                  Rams guard Richie Incognito must become less conspicuous to NFL officials. He has repeatedly hurt his team by earning untimely personal foul penalties.

                  “It’s just a growing and maturation process,” Incognito said Thursday afternoon at Rams Park, after the team’s last OTA session of the week. “You just have to know when to choke it back. Some of the stuff is real close. Some of the stuff, the whistle blew . . . I’m playing hard, sometimes I don’t hear the whistle.

                  “A lot of the stuff is stupid, ticky-tack on my end that I need to cut out of my game to be a better football player.”

                  But the key to the Rams ’08 offensive success isn’t calming Incognito down. The key will be to get the whole offensive line to go as hard as he goes.

                  This unit has to protect Marc Bulger, open holes for Steven Jackson and provide the foundation for an offensive revival.

                  As you will recall (while wincing), the injury-riddled line collapsed last season during the 3-13 fiasco. The ever-changing cast of blockers became overwhelmed as the losses mounted.

                  “It was a challenge for everybody to stay upbeat with the way the injuries happened to this team,” said Mark Setterstrom, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. “It’s part of the game, I guess. Just unfortunate events last year.”

                  Now Setterstrom, Incognito, Orlando Pace, Brett Romberg and Adam Goldberg are coming back from various injuries.

                  Free agent Jacob Bell and rookies John Greco and Roy Schuening are trying to reinforce the battered unit. New offensive line coach Steve Loney and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders are fostering a new atmosphere.

                  “It’s going to be great competition going into camp,” Setterstrom said. “Everybody is going to be fighting for a job.”

                  There is much to accomplish between now and Week One of the regular season. Right tackle Alex Barron needs to crank it up. He has the tools to become a great NFL lineman, but he hasn’t played at a consistently high level since coming into the league.

                  Bell must become a tempo-setter at left guard. Setterstrom, a physical run blocker at guard, must learn to play center to give the offensive line added depth.

                  “It’s a learning experience,” Setterstrom said. “Minicamp was just kind of an adjustment period. Now with the OTAs, I feel like I’m settling down and getting into it. I’m getting some extra snaps after practice. Since minicamp, the snaps have been a lot better. We haven’t had any on the ground in a week or two.”

                  Greco, a tackle, and Schuening, a guard, must translate collegiate intensity to the pro level. “They have a lot of work to do,” Incognito said. “They never had this volume of offense and they never played against people this big and fast.”

                  Goldberg must...
                  -05-22-2008, 02:33 PM