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Report card: Defensive line earns an A, coaches an A-

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  • Report card: Defensive line earns an A, coaches an A-

    Report card: Defensive line earns an A, coaches an A-
    By BILL COATS | Posted: Sunday, October 3, 2010 5:22 pm

    St. Louis Rams 20, Seattle Seahawks 3

    QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford threw a bad interception in the end zone, and a few of his tosses, especially early in the game, were off target. But that's quibbling in what overall was a solid effort by the rookie. His 15-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Gibson was a laser shot, but Bradford also showed a nice touch on the large number of screen passes that were called. GRADE: B

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson gets extra credit for a gritty performance. Playing with a sore groin, Jackson gutted out 124 yards from scrimmage -- 70 rushing, 54 receiving. Kenneth Darby scored a 21-yard TD with a nice run after a screen pass. GRADE: B+

    RECEIVERS: Another strong outing by WR Mark Clayton (5 catches, 72 yards). WR Danny Amendola also had 5 receptions, including a stunning one-handed catch. WR Brandon Gibson was effective, with 3 catches for 50 yards. TE Daniel Fells averaged 11.7 yards on 3 catches. GRADE: B

    OFFENSIVE LINE: The pass protection was spotty. Bradford was sacked four times and scrambled out of trouble on a few other occasions. The run blocking improved as the game went on. GRADE: C+

    DEFENSIVE LINE: A stellar performance, featuring a number of big plays. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck was harassed all afternoon, and mostly by a four-man rush. He was sacked four times. The Rams were stout against the run, especially in the second half, when RB Justin Forsett mustered just 16 yards on eight carries. GRADE: A

    LINEBACKERS: David Vobora had a sack. Na'il Diggs was the most active he's been all year. Laurinaitis was solid, it not spectacular, in the middle. Nice job on dangerous TE John Carlson, who had just one catch. GRADE: B+

    SECONDARY: CB Bradley Fletcher had an interception for the second consecutive game. Ron Bartell was strong in coverage again. With Oshiomogho Atogwe getting limited time, Craig Dahl and James Butler did a nice job at safety. GRADE: B

    SPECIAL TEAMS: The Rams thwarted a fake field goal, Kevin Dockery hauling down the ballcarrier. Donnie Jones dropped four of seven punts inside the 20. K Josh Brown hit on both FG attempts. Rams coverage against Seattle's dangerous return units was good. GRADE: B+

    COACHING: Odd call by coach Steve Spagnuolo, eschewing an easy FG late in the game. Still, he obviously prepared his team well, despite injuries to his captains, Jackson and Atogwe, and several others throughout the week. Nice game-planning by OC Pat Shurmur, who hurt Seattle with several screen passes, and used a couple of four-wideout sets. DC Ken Flajole kept the Seahawks guessing, with different looks up front and well-timed blitzes. GRADE: A-

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  • MauiRam
    Report Card: D-line earns an A, coaches an A minus ..
    by MauiRam
    By BILL COATS | Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010 3:45 pm

    Post-Dispatch football writer Bill Coats grades the St. Louis Rams after their 20-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks:


    QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford threw a bad interception in the end zone, and a few of his tosses, especially early in the game, were off target. But that's quibbling in what overall was a solid effort by the rookie. His 15-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Gibson was a laser shot, but Bradford also showed a nice touch on the large number of screen passes that were called. GRADE: B

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson gets extra credit for a gritty performance. Playing with a sore groin, Jackson gutted out 124 yards from scrimmage -- 70 rushing, 54 receiving. Kenneth Darby scored a 21-yard TD with a nice run after a screen pass. GRADE: B+

    RECEIVERS: Another strong outing by WR Mark Clayton (5 catches, 72 yards). WR Danny Amendola also had 5 receptions, including a stunning one-handed catch. WR Brandon Gibson was effective, with 3 catches for 50 yards. TE Daniel Fells averaged 11.7 yards on 3 catches. GRADE: B

    OFFENSIVE LINE: The pass protection was spotty. Bradford was sacked four times and scrambled out of trouble on a few other occasions. The run blocking improved as the game went on. GRADE: C+

    DEFENSIVE LINE: A stellar performance, featuring a number of big plays. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck was harassed all afternoon, and mostly by a four-man rush. He was sacked four times. The Rams were stout against the run, especially in the second half, when RB Justin Forsett mustered just 16 yards on eight carries. GRADE: A

    LINEBACKERS: David Vobora had a sack. Na'il Diggs was the most active he's been all year. Laurinaitis was solid, it not spectacular, in the middle. Nice job on dangerous TE John Carlson, who had just one catch. GRADE: B+

    SECONDARY: CB Bradley Fletcher had an interception for the second consecutive game. Ron Bartell was strong in coverage again. With Oshiomogho Atogwe getting limited time, Craig Dahl and James Butler did a nice job at safety. GRADE: B

    SPECIAL TEAMS: The Rams thwarted a fake field goal, Kevin Dockery hauling down the ballcarrier. Donnie Jones dropped four of seven punts inside the 20. K Josh Brown hit on both FG attempts. Rams coverage against Seattle's dangerous return units was good. GRADE: B+

    COACHING: Odd call by coach Steve Spagnuolo, eschewing an easy FG late in the game. Still, he obviously prepared his team well, despite injuries to his captains, Jackson and Atogwe, and several others throughout the week. Nice game-planning by OC Pat Shurmur, who hurt Seattle with several screen passes, and used a couple of four-wideout sets. D
    -10-04-2010, 07:01 PM
  • Nick
    Rams Report Card: D's for Bradford, coaching
    by Nick
    Rams Report Card: D's for Bradford, coaching
    BY BILL COATS | Posted: Monday, December 20, 2010 12:05 am

    Here are the grades for the St. Louis Rams after Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:

    QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford endured one of the worst outings of his rookie season. He was pressured consistently and sacked three times, so his struggles weren't all self-inflicted. He hit on less than 50 percent of his passes (21 of 43) and got a big chunk of his 181 yards in the final minutes. He was intercepted twice. GRADE: D

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson had a so-so performance on a day when he got some decent blocking up front. He averaged 3.5 yards on 19 carries and also caught five passes for 37 yards. GRADE: C

    RECEIVERS: Five of WR Danny Amendola's game-high seven receptions came on the Rams' lone TD drive. WRs Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson each had a drop. TE Daniel Fells had four catches for 47 yards. TE Billy Bajema committed a costly false-start penalty. GRADE: C-

    OFFENSIVE LINE: The run blocking was OK, but the pass blocking was poor. Bradford took a pretty sound beating. He was pressured constantly, sacked three times and hit several other times. Both tackles, Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold, false-started. Smith also was cited for illegal use of the hands and holding (which was declined). GRADE: D

    DEFENSIVE LINE: The Rams didn't blitz much, and the front four couldn't get sustained pressure on QB Matt Cassel. He was sacked three times and hit just a couple of other times. The Rams were gashed for a season-high 210 rushing yards, including Jamaal Charles' back-breaking 80-yard dash with 4:04 left. GRADE: D

    LINEBACKERS: SLB David Vobora had a sack. MLB James Laurinaitis was credited with a team-high 11 tackles in the unofficial press-box stats. WLB Chris Chamberlain had a nice pass break-up but also might've been a culprit on Charles' long run. Vobora and Chamberlain did a pretty good job at containing the edge. GRADE: C+

    SECONDARY: Kudos to CB Ron Bartell for chasing down the speedy Charles on his 80-yard jaunt. CB Kevin Dockery had an interception. Bartell and safeties Oshiomogho Atogwe and Craig Dahl combined for 22 tackles (unofficial press-box stats). Coverage was generally good. GRADE: B

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Danny Amendola's 43-yard punt return led to a field goal. Overall return game was pretty good. Rams coverage was good on kickoffs, just fair on punts. Josh Brown hit both FG tries, including a 52-yarder. P Donnie Jones had a so-so day, by his standards. GRADE: B

    COACHING: Strange use of a timeout, plus some odd play-calling near the end of the half. After a fast start, the offense went stagnant for most of three quarters. Defensive approach, which featured only rare blitzing, was baffling. Overall, Rams didn't concoct an effective game plan on either side of the ball. GRADE:...
    -12-20-2010, 09:49 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Report Card: A For Secondary; C Minus For Sam
    by r8rh8rmike
    Report Card: A for secondary; C minus for Sam

    By BILL COATS
    Monday, December 6, 2010

    QUARTERBACK: Rookie Sam Bradford didn't have best day. He was a bit inaccurate at times, threw a bad interception and made some questionable decisions. Still, he managed to avoid serious trouble and stayed the course on a day when points were hard to come by. GRADE: C-

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson's rushing total of 102 yards was slightly misleading; he lost 10 yards on two carries as the clock wound down at the end. Jackson had a 27-yard TD run when he broke a tackle or two and sprinting down the right sideline. GRADE: B+

    RECEIVERS: WR Brandon Gibson continues to perk, getting 54 yards on six catches. TEs Daniel Fells and Billy Bajema combined for five receptions. WR Danny Amendola was targeted just twice, and had one catch. GRADE: C+

    OFFENSIVE LINE: Jackson generally wasn't given much room, although RT Jason Smith helped spring him with a nice block on his TD run. Bradford was sacked twice and pressured occasionally. GRADE: C

    DEFENSIVE LINE: The Rams were gashed early on the ground, but stiffened later. Still, Arizona averaged 5.5 yards per rush attempt. The Rams recorded four sacks (two by DT Fred Robbins) and consistently applied pressure to the Big Red QBs. GRADE: B

    LINEBACKERS: SLB Na'il Diggs was having perhaps his best day of the season before leaving with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. MLB James Laurinaitis was his usual steady self, but David Vobora didn't provide a lot at WLB. GRADE: B

    SECONDARY: Interceptions by SS Craig Dahl and CB Bradley Fletcher led to six crucial points. Quincy Butler performed well after replacing the injured Ron Bartell. Kevin Dockery made a couple of plays in the nickel package. FS Oshiomogho Atogwe was active. GRADE: A

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Danny Amendola was very good on returns, averaging 20.5 yards on punts and 26.0 on kickoffs. P Donnie Jones averaged 50.0 gross and 45.5 net. Josh Brown was four-for-four on FGs, including a 52-yarder. The Rams' coverage was pretty good. GRADE: A-

    COACHING: OC Pat Shurmur's approach wasn't flashy, but it was effective. DC Ken Flajole brought the heat, with consistent blitzes keeping the Cardinals QB on their heels. The clock could've been managed a bit better at the end of the half, but no serious issues overall. GRADE: B+
    -12-06-2010, 08:40 PM
  • Nick
    Rams Report Card: Coaching rates an F
    by Nick
    Rams Report Card: Coaching rates an F
    By BILL COATS | Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 6:32 pm

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Here are the grades for the St. Louis Rams after Sunday's 18-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

    QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford had an 89.6 passer rating, but that was misleading. Bradford did toss two TDs and wasn't intercepted. But he wasn't close to sharp, misfiring badly on several passes. He completed just half of his 26 passes and amassed only 126 yards through the air. GRADE: D+

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson averaged a solid 5.0 yards per carry and, with 110 yards, went over 100 for the third week in a row. He also surpassed Eric Dickerson as the Rams' career rushing leader. Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston added 26 yards on six carries. The Rams finished with season-high 161 yards on the ground. GRADE: A-

    RECEIVERS: On a day when Jackson was the team's leading receiver (35 yards on two catches), none of the Rams' wideouts or tight ends mustered more than 29 yards. TDs by WR Danny Amendola and TE Michael Hoomanawanui. GRADE: D

    OFFENSIVE LINE: Jackson had some room to operate and Bradford generally was well protected. A couple of false-start penalties on linemen in the fourth quarter hurt. GRADE: B

    DEFENSIVE LINE: Three more sacks -- all by linemen -- boosted the season total to 20. QB Josh Freeman was chased from the pocket several times. Run defense was good until rookie LeGarrette Blount got rolling in the third quarter. GRADE: B

    LINEBACKERS: James Laurinaitis dropped an interception on a drive that produced a Bucs FG. Larry Grant committed a 15-yard penalty on a drive that also resulted in a FG. Na'il Diggs had a couple of nice pass breakups. GRADE: C-

    SECONDARY: Banged-up unit actually was OK in coverage. Some nice tackling by rookie CB Jerome Murphy. Decent effort overall. GRADE: C+

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Donnie Jones dropped three of his four punts inside the 20, although he averaged just 33.3 yards net. Rams returns were fair, as was their coverage. GRADE: C

    COACHING: Hideous clock management at the end of the first half. Rams called two timeouts, hoping they'd get the ball back, but instead handed the Bucs more time to get a crucial FG. OC Pat Shurmur was aggressive and creative in the first half, predictable and uninspiring in the second. Where was WR Danario Alexander? DC Ken Flajole blitzed a fair amount, but they didn't produce much. Ultimately, all share culpability for a timid second half that spawned an ugly collapse against a mediocre opponent. GRADE: F
    -10-24-2010, 07:41 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Report Card: A For Bradford, A- For Receivers
    by r8rh8rmike
    Report Card: A for Bradford, A- for receivers

    By BILL COATS
    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Here are the grades for the St. Louis Rams after Sunday's 36-33 victory over the Denver Broncos:

    QUARTERBACK: Rookie Sam Bradford had a breakout game, passing for a season-high 308 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception. His passer rating was 113.3, also a personal best. GRADE: A

    RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson didn't get any easy yards, as he picked up 72 on 29 carries, an average of 2.5 per try. Backup Kenneth Darby scored a TD on a 1-yard run. WR Danny Amendola added 48 yards on three end-around plays. GRADE: C

    RECEIVERS: Danario Alexander sparked the passing attack with 95 yards on four catches. Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola had four catches each, and Brandon Gibson added three. No drops by this group. GRADE: A-

    OFFENSIVE LINE: Bradford was generally well protected. But the run blocking was subpar. The interior of the line wasn't able to produce push, which made for a tough day for Jackson to find room to operate. GRADE: C-

    DEFENSIVE LINE: DE Chris Long made two big plays on Denver's last drive, sacking QB Kyle Orton on first down, then batting down Orton's fourth-down pass. DE C.J. Ah You and DT Fred Robbins also had sacks. The Broncos averaged 6.6 yards per rush attempt. GRADE: C+

    LINEBACKERS: Na'il Diggs had a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss. James Laurinaitis also had a tackle for loss but was less involved than on most Sundays. Larry Grant and Chris Chamberlain didn't do much. GRADE: C

    SECONDARY: Safeties Oshiomogho Atogwe and Craig Dahl were active. Atogwe also forced a fumble that led to a Rams TD. Coverage often was soft, and Denver WRs stung the Rams for 257 yards on 15 catches, even though much of the damage came in the game's hectic final minutes. GRADE: D

    SPECIAL TEAMS: K Josh Brown left four points on the field, clanking a PAT try off the upright and missing a 45-yard FG. P Donnie Jones' day was below average for him. Danny Amendola averaged a solid 29 yards on three kickoff returns. The Rams' coverage was pretty good. GRADE: C+

    COACHING: The Rams nearly coughed up another lead on the road, as they again pulled back on offense after taking control. Still, the 36 points marked a high in coach Steve Spagnuolo's two seasons. No issues with clock management or general decision-making. GRADE: C+
    -11-30-2010, 09:16 AM
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