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Was firing Bobby April a mistake?

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  • Was firing Bobby April a mistake?

    Look at what Buffalo is doing on special teams.

    -They rank second in the league in average kick return yards.

    -They have returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, most in the league.

    -They're seventh in the league in average punt return yards.

    -They have two punt return touchdowns, tied for best in the league.

    -Opponents average only 19.0 yards returning kickoffs against them (third best in the league).

    -Opponents average 8.1 yards returning punts on them (15th best in the league)

    -They have not allowed one punt or kickoff touchdown.

    In 2003, their numbers weren't nearly as convincing. While their coverage units were not drastically worse, their kick and punt returners and teams didn't gain the kind of numbers they are this year.

    So the question is, is it all April or what? I remember many Ram fans from various places cursing his name, but it appears he's doing some good up north.

  • #2
    Re: Was firing Bobby April a mistake?

    Probably, but even a good coach can't win with bad talent. The Rams have a sorry special teams unit, and although I see alot of things that appear to be basics that need to be coached, I also see a unit that has done poorly with 3 different coaches, so it probably wasn't as much Bobby April as a team (led by MM) that doesn't put enough focus and resources on special teams.

    April was supposedly one of the best ST coaches out there, and if I recall correctly, the Rams/Martz gave him another season to coach after a bad year, so I think he had his chance and for whatever reason, it just didn't work out.


    • #3
      Re: Was firing Bobby April a mistake?

      It was probably best for both parties that April was let go. However, the performance of the Bill st shows that the Rams st problems went deeper than the coach.


      • #4
        Re: Was firing Bobby April a mistake?

        Yes it was a mistake, they should have fired the "fat retard" instead of April.


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        • moloch41
          Special Teams
          by moloch41
          Can anyone explain why the kick and punt return coverages for this unit are still below average? I know at first Mad Mike didn't think they were all that important (like defense or turnovers) until he got bashed so badly that they fired Bobby April (who moved to the Bills and had the #1 ranked special teams, I think) and then went to hire someone else who also coached a terrible coverage unit. Now, Linehan comes in and claims it's going to be one of the higher priorities (which it seemed it was because they went out and got some guys that are good ST performers and a new coach), but they are really only marginally better.

          Now, I'm not sure where the stats lie, but every time we kick off or punt the ball, I hold my breath. We almost gave up another one last week against the Saints, which might have really changed the momentum of the game. Luckily, someone was able to pull him down from behind and then the defense held. But if that dude breaks the tackle, we might be looking at 0-9.

          I really think the punting of Donnie Jones has saved us a lot of heartache or that unit would be far worse. I just can't see how you can put out such bad special teams year after year and not be able to fix it. One would think it a simple task.
          -11-16-2007, 02:07 PM
        • RamDez
          Joe DeCamillis outlines the approach to Rams special teams
          by RamDez
          Approaching nearly three decades coaching special teams in the NFL, Joe DeCamillis knows what it takes to put together a successful group.

          He's guided punters, kickers, coverage units, and return units to statistically strong finishes at every stop. Most recently, in each of the last three years with the Jaguars (2018-20), his units placed seventh, fifth, and 13th respectively in veteran NFL reporter Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings.

          Now, he's bringing those core principles with him to Los Angeles as the Rams' new special teams coordinator.

          Early in his introductory press conference, DeCamillis pointed to two foundational pieces to his success: His passion and the quality of players.

          "I would say the secret to success is, my father-in-law, is Coach Reeves, Dan Reeves," DeCamillis said during a video conference Thursday. "So, that was a long time ago, but he told me to be myself. That was one of the biggest things that we talked about. So, I've tried to follow that as much as I can. Be as passionate every day as I can and just enjoy the job. That's really what it's all about."

          Joe DeCamillis on becoming Rams' next special team's coordinator, special teams philosophy

          Like the other phases in the game, DeCamillis said the more talented players you have, the greater chance of success.

          In that regard, he feels confident in where the Rams stand at punter – four-time Pro Bowl selection Johnny Hekker enters his 10th NFL season in 2021 and has a career average of 46.9 yards per punt. DeCamillis also likes the trajectory of kicker Matt Gay, who made 14 of 16 field-goal attempts and 16 of 16 extra-point attempts in seven games with Los Angeles last season.

          "It's to field as much as we can in coverage, which means just trying to put it in small areas, which we've got a great punter to do that," DeCamillis said. "The kicker, I think it's going to get better as we go. Then the return game, you want to spread the field, make it as wide as you can, get as many gaps as you can for your return team, and then get a great return. We've got to get a guy that can ring the bell and drop the ball over the goal line."

          The Rams were notorious for trick plays under John Fassel, their special team's coordinator from 2012-19. Hekker didn't attempt a pass under Fassel's successor, John Bonamego, last season, but DeCamillis indicated he was open to it.

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          When it comes...
          -02-14-2021, 11:09 AM
        • bruce4life
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          It is very apparent we are missing the 2017 version of our Special Teams unit. If you look at the punt and kick return units instead of being tremendous boost to our Team throughout the year, they have been quite the opposite. I can count 6 drives over the last 2 games alone where the special teams unit has killed them.

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          -12-17-2018, 09:33 PM
        • RamWraith
          Former scapegoat April earns vindication
          by RamWraith
          By Bryan Burwell
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Sunday, Nov. 21 2004

          ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - It's best that you no longer get either too excited or too
          upset about this up-one-minute, down-the-next season of the St. Louis Rams
          unless you have some demented fascination with excruciating headaches or
          exacerbating heartbreaks.

          The smartest thing you can do is to simply avoid any deep and everlasting
          emotional investment in this schizoid team because the Rams are no different
          from the rest of this menagerie of nondescript NFL teams that have muddled up
          the middle of the NFL standings and can't decide whether they're inconsistent
          pretenders or out-and-out frauds.

          Another week has gone by, and the best we can say about the 5-5 Rams is that
          they are no better than the Seattle Seahawks and no worse than the Miami
          Dolphins. But we still don't know if they are a good team playing
          inconsistently or a painfully average team wallowing in mediocrity.

          But after witnessing another shameful beating at the hands of another lowly AFC
          team - a sound and thorough 37-17 trouncing by the Buffalo Bills - we at least
          know the answer to the age-old question that has been endlessly taxing our

          Q: Who's to blame for why the Rams stink so much on special teams?

          A: It sure isn't Bobby April.

          For the past three years, conventional wisdom was that the blame for the sorry
          state of Rams special teams should be heaped on the aforementioned Mr. April.
          But last winter, April was kicked to the curb by head coach Mike Martz - and to
          rousing public support - and we all figured new blood would come in and change
          things around.

          Fat chance.

          Now that April is employed as the Bills' special teams boss, he once again
          looks like his former mastermind self. And on Sunday inside Ralph Wilson
          Stadium, April's special teams just kicked the stuffing out of the Rams, the
          ultimate retribution for an unjustly persecuted man.

          With the score tied 17-17 in the third quarter, we got graphic exposure of the
          Rams' failings - and stunning vindication of April's coaching strengths in
          about 2 1/2 earth-shaking minutes.

          A bad 39-yard Rams punt (and lousy coverage) turned into a 53-yard punt return
          by Buffalo's Jonathan Smith that set up a go-ahead TD one play later to put the
          Bills up 24-17. Next series, Sean Landeta punted a 54-yarder with no
          discernible hang time, and Nate Clements returned the ball 86 yards for a TD
          and a 31-17 lead.

          On the kickoff, April caught the Rams by surprise, calling for a high, short
          kick directly to defensive end Erik Flowers, who looked exactly like you'd
          -11-22-2004, 06:04 AM
        • RamWraith
          Special teams not so special
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas

          2004: The Rams were 31st in punt coverage and 31st in kickoff returns among the NFL's 32 teams.

          2005: Special teams failures last week against the ***** leave many wondering if the Rams are improved.

          The mission was both simple and ambitious for the Rams' special teams unit Sunday in San Francisco.

          "We wanted to come out and set the tone that this is going to be one of the top-notch special teams in the league," safety Mike Furrey said.

          It began with Chris Johnson stepping out of bounds on the 1 on the opening kickoff, followed by a 40-yard kickoff return by San Francisco's Maurice Hooks, Otis Amey's 75-yard punt return for a touchdown and a successful onside kick by ***** place-kicker Joe Nedney. Oops!

          All of which took place a mere 1 1/2 quarters into the game.

          "It wasn't the debut that we had envisioned," special teams coach Bob Ligashesky said Thursday. "But any time something like that happens, obviously, you can't wait for your next opportunity to play."

          Opportunity knocks Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals.

          This year was supposed to be different. Coach Mike Martz not only hired the young, energetic Ligashesky to run special teams, but he also hired an assistant for Ligashesky, Charles Bankins.

          Whether it was via the draft or through signing low-cost free agents, the Rams added players with an eye toward improving special teams. They appear to be spending more time on the practice field than ever before under Martz on special teams.

          But despite this newfound - and some might say - overdue emphasis on special teams, the results looked too familiar against the *****. It looked very much like the same special teams unit that ranked:

          Last in 2003, and 30th in 2004 in punt coverage in the 32-team NFL.

          Thirtieth or lower in kickoff coverage in four of the past five seasons.

          Thirty-first in kickoff returns last season.

          Thirty-first in punt returns a year ago.

          The rocky start against the ***** prompted cries of "here we go again" throughout Rams Nation.

          "That's part of being a special teams coach," Ligashesky said. "One thing you know is that nothing ever is going to go 100 percent your way. You could have 28 plays of special teams, and if one play doesn't go your way, that's the play that's going to stay with you. So, I knew what I was coming into, and accepted it with open arms."

          One week into the season, Martz remains convinced things will work out with Ligashesky and with special teams.

          "I'm very confident, the rest of the year, that this is going to work fine," Martz said. "This guy that's...
          -09-16-2005, 05:56 AM