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Ram View: Week 10 – Part VIII

RamView, November 15, 2009
From Row HH
(Report and opinions from the game.)
Game #9: Saints 28, Rams 23

* Coaching: End-of-game time management looms large today. The Rams expended a timeout at the 2:50 mark after a 23-yard pass to Fells. My guess is Steve Spagnuolo was concerned about the offense getting lined back up for the next play in time. The timeout was followed immediately by a TD, so it was successful, if costly, because they spent only two timeouts getting the ball back from the Saints. And with no TO’s left the last 2:00, they did almost nothing but throw over the middle. After the completion to McMichael with 0:42 left, the best move is a spike. But you can’t spike out of shotgun formation, which is where they kept Bulger, and a screen pass will NEVER be worth TWENTY seconds in this situation, but away it goes, for four whole yards. Bulger didn’t get out of shotgun the entire drive. There was no way he was going to improvise a spike play. Pat Shurmur’s supposed to watch the clock, too; he needed to order up a spike, but I guess he got too caught up getting Bulger multiple play calls and/or trying to bleed time off the clock so the Saints couldn’t have any if the Rams scored. Bulger probably should have thrown it away instead of hitting Jackson the second time. Either way, the Rams tried to cut the endgame way too fine, and they’re much too wet behind the ears to try that. Hell, look at how big an idiot Belichick made out of himself in Indianapolis last night trying it. Right now the Rams need to worry about scoring, period, in late-game situations before they move on to more advanced material. Another problem for Shurmur today was the offense again failing to get back out of the blocks after halftime. Both Jackson after the game and D’Marco Farr during the game mentioned alignment and stunting changes the Saints made after halftime. A rookie coordinator’s going to get outschemed by Gregg Williams, and there was a lot right with today’s offense, in balance, distribution and catching the Saints in defenses they wanted to catch them in. But the halftime letdown is still a Shurmur trend.

I believe Ken Flajole’s strategy today was to keep men back in coverage and blitz very little. It’s an understandable strategy against that passing attack, and the Rams held the Saints to a season “low” 28 points, and Brees to a very modest 223 yards. But they got gashed on the ground for 201, put very little pressure on the QB, and still lost. Spagnuolo and Flajole have to realize by now that their front four guys aren’t going to get it done without help. The conservatism of the Ram offense has chafed at a lot of Rams Nation this year, but I’m not sure that the conservatism on defense hasn’t been worse. Was this the defense you expected? Bailing out at the snap? Playing pass prevent on 1st-and-goal at the 3? Maybe I’m just too impatient to wait out a talent upgrade, but the best this defensive approach was going to achieve today was to slow the Saints down. It was never going to beat them.

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2 Responses to “Ram View: Week 10 – Part VIII”

  1. rams says:

    Why not post the whole article at once? The way you put this out sux.

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