The Seattle Seahawks are coming to the Edward Jones dome for a visit. After watching the Rams play the Bears, the Seattle defensive line is probably looking to top its 8 sack performance (IN ONE HALF) from Monday night.
Rams’ fans may not realize their own dire circumstances. I have seen pundits and fans alike suggesting that the dude on offense in “da Bears” game can be corrected by coaching. They suggest the Rams simply need to run more and return to the Redskin game plan of short drops and quick passes. It may not be that easy.
The Redskins created pressure with the blitz. This opened up the middle of the field, which played right into the hands of the Rams who wanted to throw quick passes primarily in the middle. Last week, the Bears created pressure with only four defensive linemen rushing. On occasion, they created pressure rushing only thee. All of the remaining defenders flooded the middle of the field and the receivers had great difficulty getting open quickly.
To get open, the receivers had to run routes deeper than 10 yards and this required time. The time rarely materialized. The Bear defensive lineman were literally running past and/or tossing to the side our offensive lineman and getting to Bradford in two seconds or less. In two of the six sacks, Bradford had at least three seconds time to throw. In the other four, he had time for one look and then it was over. The vast majority of the pressures and hurries also came within two seconds.
So … what now with the sack happy Seahawks in town? I would love to say the answer is simple, but it is not. Here are my thoughts:
1. RUN MORE AND RUN MORE EFFECTIVELY
Running right up the middle and gaining two yards or less is not going to help the Rams, no matter how often they do it. I agree with the proposition that early failure in the run does not suggest game long ineptitude. Yes, the Rams need to keep trying to run if they do not have early success. At the same time, I want to see diversity. If Steven Jackson and his bad groin can’t find space between the tackles, I want to see more of Richardson and Pead. Both have superior speed. One of the ways to create doubt in the running game is to run counter plays. You need a healthy groin and great speed to run counter plays. I want to see 25 total runs, with an average of at least 4.0 yards a carry (I will not include quarterback scrambles in these totals).
2. BLOCK, BLOCK, AND BLOCK SOME MORE
There is no way around it. Our offensive line has to be better. If Wayne Hunter is literally thrown to the ground with a left hand shove, Quinn Ojinnaka lets someone go right by him, and Richardson lets someone go right over him, we have no chance. Fans will not want to hear this, but it is extremely difficult to game plan around a bad line. The short drop/quick throw plan works for Tom Brady as a consistent game plan. However, he is nearly perfect on almost every throw. If our receivers can’t get open quickly, Sam Bradford will have to throw into coverage, place it nearly perfectly and the receivers have to consistently catch it. Perfection is not something Rams fan should rest their hopes on for a victory.
3. IF 1 AND 2 WORK, GO MARTZIAN
Going Martzian does not mean throwing 50 yard bombs. I am talking about timing throws. Martz was amazing at planning routes where the ball is thrown to a spot, not necessarily to a receiver. In other words, Martz wanted the throw made before the QB knew if the receiver was open. Most of these routes were deeper than 10 yards.
Why? If you throw to a spot before the CB turns his back to the quarterback, the CB has the advantage because he can see the QB’s eyes. Once the CB turns his back to the QB, the receiver has the advantage because only the receiver knows when he is breaking off his route and when the ball is going to be thrown. In three games, I have seen very few timing throws.
Maybe this is Bradford’s fault. Maybe it is coaching. Maybe the receivers can’t be trusted to make it to the spot in time. Whatever the explanation, almost every Bradford throw is designed to be thrown at the first sign that someone is getting open. (This may explain why he lasers in on receivers). If the line is bad, you can’t run deeper routes and wait for the receiver to be open. You have to throw before they are actually open. This requires trust in the receivers to make a play.
4. CATCH THE DAMN BALL – MAKE A PLAY
Catch the damn ball. If Brandon Gibson wants to continue to be starter, he has to show that he can consistently get open and consistently catch the ball. If Lance Kendricks wants to be a pass catching threat, he has to catch every ball thrown at his chest. I don’t care if there is tight coverage. Your only job is run a route and catch a ball. Do your job. Oh, and for all the wide receivers, when Sam Bradford doesn’t make a perfect throw, can you try to make an adjustment, position yourself, and make a play?
5. STOP THE RUN
Many talking heads are raving about Seattle’s new quarterback, Russell Wilson. Will you mind if I ask why? The “incredible” Mr. Wilson was 18 for 34 for 153 yards in game one, 15 for 29 for 151 yards in game two and 10 for 21 for 130 yards and 2 TDs in game three (remember the last TD, yards and the completion were not legitimate). I have no fear of Russell Wilson. This team’s offense is based on the running game. Take it away and you will not have to worry about their offense. Including Wilson’s scrambles, I want to hold Seattle to less than 125 total yards rushing.