Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Upon further review...

Looking at the TiVo again, I came away with the following items...

- We need to work the next two weeks on one subject - BLITZING. Both the Defense doing more of it and the Offense learning how to pick it up. We got killed last night because of our inability to do either. And here's the thing - I think they are directly related to one another. Since Juaron doesn't send people that much, the O gets very limited work in picking up the blitz. The O-Line looked completely out of sync, and KJ looked lost in picking up the LB's. I think this is likely more of a matter of repetition than a systemic weakness. But it begs the question - why haven't they gotten enough practice time against the blitz? I think it may have to do with Juaron not wanting to blitz too much. It's just my thinking, but it seems to make sense.

- The D really missed Baby and Hall. When you don't play with your two best D-Linemen, you definitely lose something up front. And we had NO pressure on Bulger last night. Plus, their guards were able to quickly get to our LB's on sweeps. Add those two back in, and it would likely create a much different look. Without them, I think it shows just how vulnerable we are at D-Line.

- I'm more convinced than ever that if you ring Joey's bell early in the game that it will throw him off for the rest of the game. The Rams got to him early and often, and Joey never felt comfortable back there after that. You really can't blame him for hurrying throws when he was taking that kind of a pounding. That's why it's imperative that the O-Line figures out how to handle the blitz. With all that being said, he didn't look too bad during the game. If CRog and Pollard make their catches, he goes 12-18 with a TD or two instead of 9-18.

- One of the reasons our receivers can't get separation is because of how aggressive the D was against us. They simply never had time to get down the field and get open. The D was attacking on all fronts and had the Lions managed to pick up that blitz, it's pretty likely that at least one of the receivers would have gotten open for a big gainer. Again, it all goes back to the Line.

- As I predicted, the Rams were in their full regular season mode for the game. Martz had some very creative play calls on O that took maximum advantage of his personnel. Their D was stunting and blitzing from multiple angles, overloading sides, delaying bltizes, and generally creating havoc. The Lions opened up the playbook some, but still ran mostly vanilla plays. Our blitzes never seemed to get near Bulger, and based on the Rams O-Line, I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.

It is still preseason. They do have time to work out the kinks before the regular season opens. Hopefully they can figure some of them out...

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