Rams RB Steven Jackson: Probably the only player that got a passing grade in Sunday’s game. (Courtesy STLouisRams.com)
NFL analysts and Vegas had the Rams 3.5 point favorites coming off the almost win against the very stout San Francisco 49ers team. I should have known something was up when NFL LIVE’s Mark Schlereth and TedyBruschi sang the Rams’ praises. Even the NFL Network Gameday Morning crew picked the Rams to beat the lowly struggling New York Jets. Red flag alert!
For what it’s worth I had the game score at 14-30. The final score of the game was 28-13. I just had the teams wrong.
If the Rams don’t beat themselves they’ll beat the Jets. The Rams have to eliminate the stupid penalties and they can’t allow this become the trap game that people are speculating it could be. They have to win against the teams they are expected to beat.
Key words here include:
1) Stupid penalties – How about that phantom-ish holding call safety Rodney McLeod that wiped out the 98-yard kick return TD by wide receiver Chris Givens?
Here’s what Coach Fisher said when asked what his thoughts were on the penalty.
To me, no? Did it like like that to you? No. We’re not good enough to overcome those kinds of things and the fact that it wasn’t a hold, but it’s just kind of the way it happens. You don’t know what happens with the momentum change in that game if that works.
Or the illegal motion penalty on wide receiver Danny Amendola that negated a key 17-yard reception by tight end Lance Kendricks? All in all the Rams committed less fouls this game – ONLY five penalties for 30 yards. It’s a vast improvement from last week’s 13 but those two specific flags came at very inopportune times.
I cannot tell a lie. This is one game I had circled back in April when the 2012-2013 Rams schedule was released. This and the London game against the New England Patriots. Hopefully this game will have much better results.
I even predicted that by week 11 the famed Jets back up QB/Punt Protector Tim Tebow would be the starting instead of Mark Sanchez.
Tebow may not get the starting nod but I’d bet my money on Jets head coach Rex Ryan using some sort of Tebow package. If the Jets watched any game tape from the Rams-49ers game they’ll know Tebow can run outside a la San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
This week I thought I’d change things up a bit by picking the brain of our Aerys Jets’ writer, Kristine Reese, to get the New York Jets perspective on this match up. (Thanks so much, Kristine!) Oh and give her a follow on Twitter, too at @kristinereese.
1) What do you are the Jets’ biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Unfortunately, the Jets have a number of weaknesses right now in all three phases of the game. Also, as I am sure everyone is well aware, there hav been a number of off the field distractions in the past week, and I believe that this could potentially be the biggest weakness of old. Despite what Rex Ryan is saying, this team is in a tough spot right now and I am not convinced there are as strong a unit as Ryan and others want us to believe.
Obviously the offense hasn’t played well very — Mark Sanchez has struggled the past few games and as a result, the passing game has suffered. The Jets have been unable to score an offensive touchdown since they played New England a few weeks ago. As far as a positive, wide receiver Jeremey Kerley has played very well this season. If he is active (he is listed as questionable) he and Kerley would be the two threats in the passing game the Rams need to look out for.
Eleven days in December. That’s all newly signed quarterback Kellen Clemens had to bite off and digest an abridged yet complex Josh McDaniels playbook before getting his first NFL start in two years.
Clemens played a good game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15 considering the circumstances. He threw for 25 completions on 36 attempts for 229 yards and led the Rams on a late-game charge by throwing a 25-yard touchdown to wide receiver Danario Alexander.
But alas, the Rams came up just a bit short and lost the game 20-13. Clemens finished out the season as the Rams starter while Sam Bradford nursed his high ankle sprain and A.J. Feeley sat with a broken thumb.
Now fast forward to OTAs in June of 2012. McDaniels is now back in New England at his old post as BillBelichick’s right-hand man and the Rams reunite Clemens with his former offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, from his days with the Jets. Clemens spent five seasons (2006-2010) with Schottenheimer in New York backing up Chad Pennington, Brett Favre and Mark Sanchez.
So how much of those experiences translate into the 2012 offensive playbook that the Rams are installing right now? I would have thought it was more similar than different but it’s not that simple. Schottenheimer has different pieces to work with here, unlike those in New York.
“I think there’s certainly some carry over offensively,” Clemens said. “Schotty has done a very good job of adapting what he does to what Sam (Bradford) does well and what’s here. He’s always done a very good job of putting the playmakers that he has in the best situation possible to make plays. He’s doing that. There are some tweaks and some different wrinkles that we’ve got going on here.”
Coffee Roasting Grades (via Y Tambe Wikimedia Commons)
It’s going to be one of those days where the above will be heavily needed. Â Don’t you see a pattern developing here? Â If you see this coffee roasting graphic you know I’m in for a long hard day. Â So reader beware!
If you don’t see me on Twitter tomorrow that means I have melted into goop at Six Flags. Â Yes, it’s going to be one of the hottest days of the year and I’m taking a bunch of kids to an amusement/water park. Â Not one of my smartest moves.
Wish me luck folks!
1) Player organizedÂ Rams-camp to be held in Arizona:James Laurinaitis, Ron Bartell, and Sam Bradford will he joining forces again this week. Â The three Rams leaders will be holding a mini-camp this Thursday through Saturday breaking down film and learning Josh McDaniel’s offensive playbook via Professor Bradford.
Hmmm, so I wonder how much of McD’s playbook actually sounds like Spanish…
The two sides met again at an undisclosed NYC hotel to continue the momentum of last week’s talks. Â I guess since the jig was up in Chicago they picked NYC this time around. Â Not that where they meet really matters. Â Just the fact they are talking is big.
The usual suspects were present and hopefully they are that much closer to getting something hammered out. Â Good to see they aren’t waiting around for the three wise men (Benton, Colloton, and Bye) to decide their $9B+ fate.
What do you guys think about “el profesor” for Sam’s nickname? Â I’m sure John Clayton wouldn’t mind sharing it with Sam.
Another week has passed with some ups, some downs, and definitely plenty of drama. Why waste time on made up day time soaps when you have the real world of sports? If the non-sports watching women only knew what they were missing!
The Young Leading Man: Rams first big team workout in St. Louis this week gave us a glimpse into the future of the franchise: Sam Bradford as its leader.
The tall, dark and boyishly handsome Bradford is organizing, facilitating workouts, teaching the new playbook, etc. He’s taken matters into his $50M hands and the team onto his shoulders.
He’s shown a great amount of maturity for someone just going into his second year in the league. What’s more impressive is the players have enough trust and faith in Sam to follow his lead.
The Seasoned Competitor: The “Warrior and work horse” of the team, Steven Jackson, didn’t make an appearance during these voluntary workouts. He was in town but wasn’t at the practices. I believe he’s off in Paris now. Is this SJ’s way of passing the reigns to Sam?
It will be interesting to see if he’ll join the team for the next round of practices to be held the first week of June in Arizona. And if he does where does SJ fit into the leadership scheme? I could be wrong but he doesn’t strike me as a good second fiddle.
The Missing Brother: Another visibly absent Rams player was MardyGilyard. Lots of buzz and concern surrounded him last season as he struggled to grasp the offense and playbook. He’s got a lot of competition in front of him with all the newly drafted offensive weapons.
So why not take every opportunity to get exposure to McDaniels’ new offense? I have read rumors he had to attend to some personal matters (a close friend passed away) this week. But he’s pretty much been M.I.A. most of the off season. Where are you, Mardy?
He’s had his fair share of run in’s with the law over the years but that didn’t stop him from making good on his word. Maybe there’s hope for him after all.
The Natural Disasters: (This is in all seriousness) I’ve lived in the Midwest for a very long time but these past few weeks have been the most devastating in terms of severe weather. I was very happy to see the Rams as whole making a difference.
Last week Spags and some of the assistant coaches helped in clean up efforts in nearby Ferguson, MO. while players delivered much needed supplies to a very hard hit Joplin, MO. (American Red Cross shelter at Missouri Southern State University.) And the Rams organization is making a $25,000 donation to be divided between the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
The Rebel: I’m still trying to grasp what former Rams QB Kurt Warner said during his interview in USA Today. There’s a lot there to digest and he probably meant it in a way to help his former teammates but it comes off the wrong way and it came out at the wrong time.
I don’t think there’s any question the players have to give back money and we have to realize we’ve had it great for a number of years.
We made a lot of money, and the salaries went crazy. As a player, you have to say, ‘It’s OK for us to pull back a little bit and make less.’
So now where do we subsidize that? Where do we get our benefits in this new agreement?
I’ve tweeted him last night asking if he would have said the same thing if he wasn’t retired from the game but got no response. I was having a discussion with @Ftblsickness yesterday. He called Warner’s comments “realism.” And I agree with him. But I told him, it’s one thing to think it but a whole different thing to verbalize it in an interview. This will not go over well.
The Villian: Roger Goodell and the owners are at it again. Why do they insist on beating the dead horse? Goodell keeps insisting that season ticket holders want an 18-game regular season. Maybe I’m talking to different season ticket holders but the ones I’ve spoken to don’t agree.
In fact, I’ve seen tweets where people have chosen to not even renew their season tickets because they are so turned off and disgusted by the lockout. I can’t say I blame them.
The Town Drunk: So wasÂ Scottie Pippendrunk or just plain high when he said on Mike and Mike that LeBron James may be better than Michael Jordan? This is where Deion Sanders would loudly interject with a H.O.P. (Hold On Playa)! Even their former teammate Horace Grantthinks Pippen’s gone off the deep end.
I guess hypothetically LBJ could reach MJ level someday but to even bring it up this early in LBJ’s career is ridiculous. Someone call me after he’s gotten his first three-peat under his belt. Then we’ll begin the conversation – maybe.
The Village Tramp/Idiot: Thy name is Tiki Barber. We knew he was no good when he left his then pregnant wife, Ginny Cha, and started playing house with the intern. But the latest idiocy to spring from his pie hole was unbelievable. How in God’s green earth do you compare your sad self to Anne Frank? Since when do the paparazzi equal the Nazi? It doesn’t take a journalist to realize why NBC let this gem of a man go.
Our resident Aerys Giants writer, Christine, gives us her take.
The Power Couples: SI comes out with a list of athlete-celebrity power couples each year. They have our usual favorites Tom Brady & Giselle BÃ¼ndchen, Mike Fisher (NHL) & Carrie Underwood, Lamar Odom & KhloeKardashian, Jay Cutler & Kristin Cavallari just to name a few.
One fairly new couple we could add to the mix is NYJ QB Mark Sanchez and actress Hayden Panettiere(from our Aerys Jets writer, Kristine). Although I’m not so sure it was such a great idea for Jets pretty boy to be dating an actress whose former flame (WladimirKitschko) was a heavy weight boxer. Oops. Not only does Sanchez need to learn how to slide he’ll have to learn how to duck and run.
And to round out our sports soap opera world with something warm and heart felt:
The Good Guy: Our Bears writer, Colleen, shares with us the story of their newest rookie, JT Thomas. JT becomes the prom date for a very special young lady.
So for everyone who thought sports was just about sweat, lots of grunting, and testosterone I hope this week’s headlines recap helped you see things in a “guiding light.”
Wk 1 - 9/9 @ DET - L (23-27)
Wk 2 - 9/16 vs. WAS - W (28-31)
Wk 3 - 9/23 @ CHI - L (6-23)
Wk 4 - 9/30 vs. SEA - W (13-19)
Wk 5 - 10/4 vs. ARI - W (3-17)
Wk 6 - 10/14 @ MIA - L (14-17)
Wk 7 - 10/21 vs. GB - L (30-20)
Wk 8 - 10/28 vs. NE - L (45-7)
Wk 9 - BYE
Wk 10 - 11/11 @ SF -Tie (OT 24-24)
Wk 11 - 11/18 vs. NYJ - L (28-13)
Wk 12 - 11/25 @ ARI - W (31-17)
Wk 13 - 12/2 vs. SF - W (OT 13-16)
Wk 14 - 12/9 @ BUF - W (17-13)
Wk 15 - 12/16 vs. MIN - L (36-22)
Wk 16 - 12/23 @ TB - W (28-13)
Wk 17 - 12/30 @ SEA - L (13-20)
Rams finish 7-8-1.