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Thoughts and Observations

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  • Thoughts and Observations

    The Rams picked the absolute worst time for an offensive clunker, laying an egg in the Super Bowl, and there were plenty of culprits. Start with Gurley, who showed again that he's obviously hurt, despite the repeated and ridiculous proclamations to the contrary by the organization, McVay and Gurley himself. Was a tight end's name mentioned all night? Higbee and Everett apparently went into Witness Protection, because they were totally invisible. Ditto for Robert Woods, who contributed virtually nothing. Only Reynolds and Cooks carried their weight offensively though Cooks' two drops killed us (more on this later).

    Goff could never get it going. He wasn't helped, as his offensive line played poorly for much of the night, especially Austin Blythe, who was tossed around like a salad every time I watched him. Goff nonetheless took a couple of ill-advised sacks and was skittish on throws when pressure came. He continued his pattern of making bad reads from time to time, trying to hit covered receivers while others roamed free. It's his biggest weakness, IMO, and one has to hope it's the byproduct of youth which will be improved with reps and experience.

    Three pivotal plays changed the course of this game. One was the phantom holding call on Sullivan during Gurley's 27 yard run- a call that changed the drive and forced a punt. Terrible, over-officious call. And plays two and three were the drops by Cooks- difficult catches for sure, but ones made by big time players in big time moments. The 2nd one in particular on a beautifully thrown ball by Goff REALLY hurt, as a possible 10-10 tie was replaced by an interception thrown one play later. Game over.

    McVay was outcoached. One can safely say that because when a man's bread and butter- offensive football- is reduced to a pile of trash on the biggest stage in the sport, he didn't do a good job and had no answers. Why weren't the tight ends incorporated more? Why wasn't CJ Anderson given a bigger role given Gurley's continued troubles? The Goff fake handoff and play action fooled no one. And I think if the offense is predicated too much on the success of one guy (Gurley), you're going to have problems, as evidenced tonight.

    Credit Phillips, who had the defense ready. They played well enough to win, and despite their lousy coverage of Edelman, made stops when needed and kept New England off the scoreboard. We'll certainly see some changes for next year, but couldn't have asked too much more from them- this defeat rests squarely on the offensive side of the ball. And if you had bet me this would be the way the game would go, I'd have lost my shirt.

    In time, I'll appreciate the season we had, but in sports, you must take advantage of opportunities given to you in Championship Games, because you never know if or when you'll ever get back. A bitter pill to swallow on so many levels.

  • #2
    Easily the worst game they played all year.

    Gurley is injured.

    McVay played checkers.

    The Patriots play chess.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda, DIDNT.

    Once again my lifelong team underwhelms on the biggest stage.


    • #3
      Epilogue: Sean, take a step to the front. No Sean, Simon didn't say "Simon Says". I have to resist the impulse to poor-mouth a Coach who in two seasons revitalized a moribund team. I hate to make comparisons to sMartz already, but sMartz proved himself to be an offensive wunderkind who ultimately failed at overall game management. Apparently, DrCoach didn't read the memo he wrote about playing the game. You know they watch film right? You know it's a copycat league right? You knew the Pats would watch the Det/Chi/Phil games and learn what chewed you up right? You knew you had to employ Gurley for PA to work right? You knew you had to keep the pressure off Goff. You repeatedly said as much.

      Yet, despite all this ownership of responsibility you let Goffensive stare into the bright sun without a pair of sunglasses, let alone polarized-ones. Ok, play coy about a possible Gurley injury, but 100 yards against Dallas and a 30 yd TD suggests that a 50% Gurley is better than holding him on the sideline. Breaking those two first down runs in the 3rd/4th (?) while coupled with his visible enthusiasm coming back into the huddle to be fed more often, tells me all about Gurley's willingness to play through injury in possibly the biggest (and only SB?) game of his career. What the fuk were you saving him for? Next year, which may never come? I can only echo that I too would have been taken to the woodshed and beaten like an old rug if you would have forced me to choose sides as to which side of the ball wouldn't hold up its side of the bargain. Outcoached? Nah, more like coaching malpractice.


      • #4
        Not only did the Rams lose, but the general buzz is that this was one of the most boring SB ever, which makes it even least if they lose, make it exciting and fun..its just so disappointing they looked so inept on offense. How did McVay not expect beleicheck to throw in some wrinkles..Im sorry but Goff was awful, and so was McVay


        • #5
          Of course, I'm delighted with the team's resurgence and return to contention under McVay, and don't want to be ungrateful for the excitement of following the team right now. We are the NFC champions, and that's a big accomplishment that deserves celebration and recognition. I'd rather be us than any other team in the NFC.

          But to end the season with your very worst performance, 2 seasons in a row, is significant and very disappointing. I could take losing a game where the Rams play like the Rams at their best, but get beaten by superior play. But to show up as the worst version of yourself when the game is most important, and lose a winnable game... For all his success thus far, this is a serious failure by McVay and his team, and he must figure this out to achieve long term success and championships in this league. As the whole world saw, he was thoroughly outcoached in this game - game planning, play calling, adjustments, etc. Our boy wonder HC still has much to learn to keep his offense a step ahead of the opposing coaches.

          The Patriots defense was the best unit of any team in the playoffs. They won the line of scrimmage against the Rams O line, plain and simple. Made it difficult (not impossible!) to run, and put a great deal of pressure on Goff. McVay erred grievously by losing confidence in the running game, failing to use creativity to use short passing plays and screens as a run substitute, and trying to have a harried Goff and his WRs carry the offense. This is not an isolated occurrence. He fell into this hole regularly as we went 5-3 over our last 8 games. Goff thrives with the support of a primary running game and solid pass protection (as many QBs would). And then there's the other Goff, inexperienced, under pressure, trying to do too much, making bad decisions and bad throws. And McVay enabled the environment for the "other Goff" way too much in the latter part of the season. We basically had 2 seasons. In the first, our offensive line and running game were working at a high level, enabling our play action game, and we were 10-1, outscoring teams while our D was trying to pull it together. In the second, our O line was inconsistent, Kupp was out, Gurley was lame and/or mentally distressed in some way, McVay lost full confidence in the running game, and Goff struggled accordingly, while the D came on and kept us in games. The very worst versions of our offense showed up in the Chicago game and the Super Bowl. They seemed like pretty similar offensive performances against pretty similar defensive performances to me.

          This is a serious situation about Gurley. He came out of college with a damaged knee, and now seems to be seriously hampered by that same knee. He’s played 4 seasons in the NFL, and RB careers are often short for exactly this reason. His HC has seemingly lost some confidence in him, he actually seems to have lost some confidence in himself, and there’s a weird vibe about the whole scenario. I would say the next phase of his career is in doubt at this point. We’ll likely learn more about this scenario as the offseason plays out.

          The O line is serious issue for the Rams. They rely on a couple of key older players, and clearly wore down as the season progressed. Blythe has mostly looked like a great UDFA find, but is undersized and was terrible in the Super Bowl. Havenstein made a couple of damaging pre-snap errors. The depth (Noteboom and Allen) is raw and untested. This unit has to be rebuilt/buttressed on the fly for the team to continue to have the same kind of offensive success. Big offseason issue/challenge, along with rebuilding the middle of the defense and figuring out the long term DB situation.

          Commendations to Wade Wilson and the defense. They worked and improved steadily all season, peaked at playoff time, and were good enough to win a championship. I would say the difference in experience between Wilson and McVay shows in the progress of their units throughout the season, and their readiness on Super Sunday. Coaching experience matters, Rambros and Ramsisses. We just got a big lesson in that.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Seacone View Post

            Commendations to Wade [sic] Wilson and the defense. They worked and improved steadily all season, peaked at playoff time, and were good enough to win a championship. I would say the difference in experience between Wilson and McVay shows in the progress of their units throughout the season, and their readiness on Super Sunday. Coaching experience matters, Rambros and Ramsisses. We just got a big lesson in that.
            A super lesson for sure. Hopefully we now have a keener, more effective / successful and wiser head coach.

            Also, holding the Patriots to 13 total points (16 if not for their missed FG, still surprisingly few for NE) takes some doing!

            I look forward to the Rams Dee to continue developing into a brick wall.

            Last edited by RealRam; -02-04-2019, 03:06 PM. Reason: Rams Dee


            • #7
              Valid criticisms of our offense. I would simply add that for the first time this season, I saw no adjustments after halftime. Clearly Belichick made the right decision to challenge Goff with an array of defensive schemes that had him confused. While I admire the growth Goff has shown since McVay's arrival, we need to hire a talented QB coach, presuming that Zac Taylor is headed to Cincy as their HC. We cannot assume McVay can handle all the offensive duties as playcaller, OC and others that I'm certain I'm overlooking. His aura took a serious hit yesterday and while I'm sure he'll resume his skills next season there were some very good lessons to be learned. Wondered if the absence of Kupp was a problem for Goff.

              The Gurley situation I'm hoping will be resolved with a solid off-season of rehab and rest. The arrival of CJ Anderson gives the Rams a good opportunity to not have Todd get 25-30 touches per game and work him into a healthy RB as we get to next season. The implication is that we resign CJ this off-season.

              The O-Line is another matter that will be attended to as we move through the off-season. It does bear mentioning that the line has remained healthy all season and that shouldn't be discounted.

              Very disappointing to watch us flub the game away and ruin what was an outstanding season for us. I must admit that it was nice not to be looking at draft prospects immediately after the last game of the regular season. We will be fine in the short term as we have our core players signed for the next few years and have developed a culture of winning that is attractive to players who are already here and those we may want to sign. The next big signing will likely be Goff.

              BTW, Seacone, I know you meant Wade Phillips as Wade Wilson passed away several days ago. That's what happens when you've been a football fan for a while.

              Go Rams!


              • #8
                Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
                BTW, Seacone, I know you meant Wade Phillips as Wade Wilson passed away several days ago. That's what happens when you've been a football fan for a while.
                Go Rams!
                Yes, thank you!


                • #9
                  When I read it, I was thinking of a different Wade Wilson...


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
                    I would simply add that for the first time this season, I saw no adjustments after halftime.
                    Go Rams!
                    Surprising. Maybe it was too big of a moment for McVay also.

                    On another note if Gurley was hurt why not start Anderson and why only rush the ball 18 total times the entire game? Why not throw swing passes or wide receiver screens? Why only 1 pass, incomplete, to a TE?

                    McVay admits he was outcoached and I agree with him.

                    I believe that if Gurley is having any difficulties they are mental. He didn't look phyically I jured to me at all especially on the 27 yard run that was called back.



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                    • NJ Ramsfan1
                      Tonight's loss- Revelations and Observations
                      by NJ Ramsfan1
                      The Rams have enjoyed two back-to-back excellent seasons resulting in two NFC West titles. They've been the deserving recipients of much praise during that time and have made football fun again. That said, some observations must be made.

                      Though not unexpected by me, tonight's loss was nonetheless disappointing. Credit the Bears, a good team who tonight were better, hungrier, more disciplined and tougher- overcoming a 3 int performance by their QB, who was rusty after a two-week absence, And thumbs down to Sean McVay, who continues to bewilder with his periodic unwillingness to utilize Gurley in the running game. This infatuation with the pass when you have the game's best back is mind-boggling to me. Certainly McVay is intelligent enough to know that play action only works when you establish a running game. Otherwise, the ball fake means nothing and defenses aren't fooled. Tonight, his unwillingness to get Gurley going early hurt the offense. It's almost like McVay overthinks stuff from time to time. And the use of timeouts- including an ugly stretch where we used two of them in a three second span- continues to conjure up images of Mike Martz. We simply have to have a better handle on processing play calls.

                      Goff, for all of the tremendous strides he's made, still has much work to do. He had the absolute worst game he's had in the McVay regime, looking totally lost and displaying the lack of poise shown in his rookie year. His mistakes were numerous and came in all areas of play. He misfired on numerous throws, missed open receivers, forced balls, showed poor pocket presence and threw 4 interceptions- one of which immediately followed a Rams defensive pick. Goff has regressed the past two weeks, and as we head towards the playoffs, this is a concern. It begs the question "Who is Jared Goff?" Is he a guy who needs everything to be perfect including great protection, a great back, and the weather to succeed? Or is he a guy who can succeed despite adverse conditions? Is he truly a potentially elite QB or simply the beneficiary of a lot of surrounding talent and a brilliant coach? His performance tonight feeds the stereotype of the West Coast/warm climate player: a guy who isn't tough and performs poorly in less-than-ideal weather and with some pressure in his face.

                      Tonight's game also drove home a point I've made time and again- to the disagreement of some in today's fantasy-driven offensive-minded NFL: Defense is still very important. The high-flying Rams were grounded tonight. And with the big names we have on defense, we have to be able to do this to a New Orleans, a New England or a Kansas City if we see them again.

                      Moving forward, I want to see improved balance from McVay with Gurley getting the opportunity to establish things early. I want continued improvement from the defense. And I want Goff to rebound from two sub-par weeks of football....
                      -12-09-2018, 09:20 PM
                    • Nick
                      ‘I don’t call the play calls, bro’ - Rams’ words about Gurley aren’t matching reality
                      by Nick
                      ‘I don’t call the play calls, bro’ — The Rams’ words about Todd Gurley aren’t matching reality
                      By Vincent Bonsignore Sep 29, 2019 12

                      LOS ANGELES — On the oddest of Rams afternoons, it wasn’t the absurdly copious 68 times Jared Goff dropped back to throw that stood out most, or his four turnovers. It wasn’t that somehow the Rams managed to make a game out of the madness that unfolded Sunday at the Coliseum.

                      It wasn’t even that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of all teams, dropped 55 points on the defending NFC champions to hand them their first loss of the season, though it was pretty weird that Jameis Winston strolled in and hung a 55-40 loss on the Rams.

                      No, the strangest thing of all was the Rams’ usage of star running back Todd Gurley, and then coach Sean McVay’s reaction to it.

                      McVay called only five run plays for Gurley (who totaled 16 yards and two touchdowns), and none in the first quarter when the Rams were in desperate need of establishing a level of physicality and dominance. McVay then went to the postgame podium and insisted, through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw, that there is no mandate, no plan, no concerted effort to monitor Gurley’s usage to try and preserve him (and specifically his left knee) for the length of the season.

                      “There’s none of that,” McVay said. “We’re doing what we can to win games. It’s not about conserving. We’ve gotta win right now and that’s the most important thing. There’s nothing like that.”


                      Be it by decree or out of protection for his star running back — who the Rams are tied to through the 2023 season at $57.5 million — or simply out of strategy, McVay has reduced the NFL’s best running back in 2017 and 2018 to little more than a bit player through the first four games of the season. McVay also is standing in front of everyone after every game and every practice and insisting there is nothing to see as it relates to Gurley’s left knee.

                      When it comes to Gurley’s usage right now — or lack thereof — McVay continues to assert it’s simply a matter of the flow of the game and the manner in which he believes victories can be achieved.

                      Sorry, not buying it. And for the first time all year, there was a sense of frustration from McVay while watching him speak.

                      McVay deserves credit for being a good soldier in toeing the company line. He’s taking some massive public-relations hits right now by having to explain a complicated situation and by the way he’s being forced to utilize one of the most prized commodities in all of football.

                      McVay is taking one for the team, obviously.

                      But it doesn’t seem fair.

                      The only alternative is that McVay, who built the NFL’s most explosive...
                      -09-30-2019, 06:59 AM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      Everybody's An Expert On The Rams Woes.........
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                      -12-21-2018, 01:25 PM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      Gurley takes issue with Goff quote, has no comment on Sean McVay being an 'idiot'
                      by r8rh8rmike
                      Todd Gurley takes issue with Jared Goff quote, has no comment on Sean McVay being an 'idiot'

                      The Rams running back seems to be offering a few hints that he's been mismanaged in Los Angeles

                      by Cody Benjamin​​​​​​​@CodyJBenjamin
                      3 hrs ago • 1 min read

                      Todd Gurley has arguably been the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Rams offense during the team's 3-1 stretch to keep playoff hopes alive, but if you ask the star running back whether he should've been more involved earlier in the season, he won't mince his words.

                      "You don't really have to explain too much," Gurley told reporters Thursday, when asked if a bigger role for him leads to more production for the Rams. "You see the results over the last couple of years, when you're running the ball, stuff is going well, stuff is opening up, so it's like, not too much really to explain."

                      According to Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, Gurley's tone indicated the three-time Pro Bowler actually believes his team has a lot to explain. More than that, Gurley's own words throughout the rest of his weekly media conference painted him as the victim of a gamble gone wrong -- the Rams' unofficial plan, Plaschke speculated, to preserve Gurley's health early in the year.

                      Told that Rams coach Sean McVay recently cited himself "not being an idiot" as the reason for an increased Gurley workload toward the end of the year, the big-name back didn't exactly go out of his way to defend McVay.

                      "He said it, I didn't," Gurley said, as Plaschke noted. "That's all I've got to say. I don't have anything else to say."

                      He did, however, also have something to say about a comment by one of his $100 million teammates. Quarterback Jared Goff recently remarked about Gurley's seven-yard touchdown run against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14 by calling the play "vintage Todd." The running back apparently took issue with the phrasing, saying it "sounds like I suck and then made a good play."

                      Gurley, of course, entered 2019 with plenty of durability concerns after seeing a stark decrease in touches during L.A.'s 2018 playoff run. His trainer then revealed the former first-round draft pick was dealing with an "arthritic component to his knee." Despite back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing seasons coming into this year, he took more than 15 carries just twice in the Rams' first eight games. Since then, however, he's topped 20 touches three times and scored three touchdowns as the club's lead back....
                      -12-13-2019, 10:40 AM
                    • MauiRam
                      Bonsignore: Five things the Rams must accomplish in training camp
                      by MauiRam

                      The Rams are counting on new left tackle Andrew Whitworth to bolster a position that has been a problem area for the team for years. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker)

                      A year ago this time the Rams were still getting used to their new Southern California surroundings after making the 1,825-mile trip back home from St. Louis.

                      There was so much still hanging in the air.

                      An entire franchise was making the move across country. A practice facility was hurriedly being constructed to be ready in time for the regular season.

                      Families were still settling into new homes and neighborhoods and schools. Directions were required to find the nearest grocery store, let alone figure out how to get from one temporary practice site to another across three counties and more than 100 miles.

                      “In flux” is as good a way to describe it as any. And that’s not even getting into the actual football side of things. Although we all know how that turned out.

                      That isn’t to excuse the depths the Rams fell to in the eventual 4-12 season. Many of their problems were carryovers from their former home, unrelated to distance and upheaval.

                      It’s simply to point out there was an obvious and constant undercurrent of instability this time last year. And no matter how much the Rams tried to deny or manage or work around it, it was just wishful thinking. Instead they spent a year trying to get comfortable while never really getting comfortable.

                      The difference now can’t be understated. The Rams are no longer the new family on the block. They are established members of the community.

                      And as they approach their second training camp at UC Irvine as the Los Angeles Rams, you get the sense 100 percent of the focus is back on football rather than spread across various different areas.

                      The question is, will stability equate to a much-needed on-field turnaround?

                      For that to be the case, here are five things the Rams much accomplish over the next four weeks:


                      It would be easy to point to second-year quarterback Jared Goff or running back Todd Gurley as the keys to finally getting the Rams offense out of first gear, and their contributions are critical. But the reality is Goff and Gurley remain beholden to the point of attack.

                      There are tangible reasons, however, to believe the offensive line can at least elevate itself to average rather than the league worst it was last season.

                      The addition of free agent left tackle Andrew Whitworth changes the whole dynamic. A two-time Pro Bowler who continues to get better with age, Whitworth, 35, immediately locks down a position that has baffled and sabotaged the Rams for years. It means Goff’s backside is better protected, often as a one-man operation that allows tight ends to be more active in the passing game. It means Rodger...
                      -07-25-2017, 09:06 PM