Friday, October 14, 2016

Los Angeles Rams Weekly

Sunday, October, 9th - The Los Angeles Rams are still a team of mediocrity and it is because of Jeff Fisher. I would not mind having a beer with guy. I just do not want him as my coach. This guy is the worst head coach. I have never seen so many stupid penalty's again this year and the play calling is just unreal. 

Last week with 8:08 remaining in the game, he decides to go for it on a 4th and 5 which failed. Luckily for him and luckily for the team, they got the ball back two more times which led to a TD score to win vs The Cardinals. 

This week was unreal. Let us forget about that incredible call to fake a punt on the 18 yard line which basically put the exclamation point on the loss today. The call to kick a field goal with what 6:38 or so left in the game when down by 7 points from the 4 yard line was amazing for me to watch in real life. 

Then of course there was the Nickell Robey touchdown after an interception to give the Buffalo Bills team that 23-16 lead in the third quarter of the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which was basically where I lost it. It was such an easy interception that Robey could have crawled into the end zone. 

My point is that Case Keenum and his wife are such nice people. I cannot speak higher of them as people. However, we have 14 to 16 million dollar a year QB sitting on the bench. At least give him some plays in the final minutes when the game was out of reach. Or, who knows. What if a person that can throw the ball down field more than 13 yards maybe into an end zone. We could have then been put into a situation of kicking an on side kicks but no, Jeff Fisher is out of his mind. He is so bad at his job. How many offsides and illegal procedures happened today? It was good day in that regard because we had at least three calls which again, is a victory of sort compared to past games. 

Stupid penalty's when the offense cannot even get off a play is a great reflection on the coaching staff. 

Then of course, Fisher called for that fake punt I mentioned above on fourth-and-five from his own 23-yard-line with 3:47 left to play in the game which who does that in the NFL? Either have a Quarterback in place that can deal with getting a team down field or punt the ball so the D can hold them off to get the ball back with time to get a score. 

He leaves me baffled with his play calling. 

And, I go through this every year which I will say t again, what is Jeff Fisher's claim to fame in the NFL? As a Ram fan we all should know it very well. It was him coming up 3 yards short to lose the Super Bowl vs the Rams for gods sakes. 

He is nice guy. Like I said above here, I would like to hang with him but do I want him coaching my team? No. I don't. Or, I should say that I am over it. I wanted him to succeed. He makes zero sense. His decisions off season make no sense. His calls on the field make no sense. Him sitting Jared Goff in week 5 makes the worse sense in the history of the Rams team.

If the offense was thriving making play after play, I would not being saying these sentences and hell, you would not even be hearing from me. The Offense sucks. Todd Gurley cannot go off without a serious pass attack in place. It does not take a genius to figure this out about the team. 

Remember too, that final touchdown ended a frustrating half for the Bills offense. They did well before halftime but produced nothing but punts all throughout the second half.

The Bills still led though because their cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman made the biggest defensive play of the game. Robey-Coleman jumped an out route and cruised into the end zone with an intercepted ball that i could have caught and ran back for a TD. 

Jeff Fisher makes no sense to me. I cannot say that enough times. His aggressiveness with the fake punt after he opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the four-yard-line makes no sense to me as I spell it out here on the fly. Coupled with that 4th and 5 call from last week with 8:08 left when he could have tied up the game just leaves baffled. I am not even sure how to discuss this here today.

Anyway, Case Keenum, did finish up doing 21-of-31 for 271 yards with a horrible interception that was so bad that it led to a touchdown. I know the press will give credit to the Bills defense with creating that situation while generally keeping Todd Gurley under wraps on his way to 72 yards on 23 carries but that is a load of you know what. The reason that happened is because Case Keenum for all intent and purpose is second string QB. He allowed it and the coach allowed it to happen. 

As far as the Rams Defense, that was suspect today. LeSean McCoy ended up with 150 yards on 18 carries, although 111 came before halftime. 

The Rams should have won this game. The Rams should also play Jared Goff. 

Regardless, the Rams will head to Detroit next weekend and they may have to play without cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was carted off with an ankle injury. The following week they play in London vs the New York Giants. 

I just think it is time to think about changing coaches unless he starts Jared Goff. 

I must watch the debate. I can't overstate what is so obvious any more. I have no time to proof this or to get anyone to proof it so I hope it makes sense and I hope there are not too many spelling and grammar errors.

Will No. 1 pick Jared Goff ever see the field this season? History says yes, but Jeff Fisher might have other plans.

First-overall picks in the NFL are expected to come in and contribute right away. The first guy taken is supposedly the best, so why wouldn’t he play in his Year 1? Well, there are several reasons for this.

Perhaps the team is loaded at the position where he plays. Or maybe the top overall pick just isn’t very good, or ready to take the big stage in the NFL.

The Los Angeles Rams have been faced with a situation where the former certainly isn’t true, but the latter might be.

Jared Goff has yet to see the field this season after the Rams traded up to take him with the first-overall pick in April’s draft. Case Keenum seemingly has a strong grip on the starting job despite playing like one of the league’s worst quarterbacks. He’s completed just 57.9 percent of his passes and has a passer rating of 75.4 – 28th in the NFL.
Could Goff really be that much worse? If we’re to trust Jeff Fisher – who’s always been patient with his young quarterbacks – that seems to be the case. And at this rate, it doesn’t look like we’ll see Goff at all this season.

Or will we?

The Rams are succeeding with Keenum under center, which is as shocking of a development as any storyline this season. They’re 3-2 and in contention in the NFC West. That won’t last. Los Angeles’ schedule doesn’t look particularly tough on the surface with upcoming games against the Lions, Giants, Panthers and Jets, but it won’t be an easy stretch for Keenum.

The Lions, Panthers and Jets all have strong pass rushes with each ranking in the top 15 in sacks. The Giants are last in that department, but they boast a strong defensive line with Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. At any moment, those three could catch fire and reel off dominant stretches.
Keenum is unlikely to have much success against those teams, and the Rams will probably lose at least two of the four. If they begin to struggle – especially on offense – I’d expect them to turn to Goff and give him a shot. The Seahawks and Cardinals will likely be running away with the division at that point, so it will be time for Fisher to see what Goff has to offer.

After all, he has to improve with all this practice he’s getting, right? Keenum has been in the NFL for five seasons and has yet to improve at all. He’s inaccurate, can’t get on the same page with Tavon Austin, and constantly misses open receivers downfield. Last season at Cal, Goff was one of the best downfield passers in college football. The NFL is a different animal, but at least he showed potential last season.

The next two weeks will be very telling of this situation. The Rams will be on the road for both games – one in Detroit and one in London against the Giants. Typically, when a team returns from across the pond after a disappointing loss, they make changes. Those often come in the form of a coach being fired, but a quarterback switch would be in the cards should Keenum continue to struggle.

While Goff sits on the bench and watches the guy above him on the depth chart throw five interceptions and just four touchdown passes, other rookies are having success. Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz are thriving, while Cody Kessler and Paxton Lynch have even played decent when called upon. None of those quarterbacks were rated more highly than Goff by the Rams – and probably most other teams – so they obviously believe the talent is there.
What the Rams don’t have is a solid infrastructure for Goff. Sure, Todd Gurley is there to take pressure off of him by running the ball 20-plus times, but LA’s receivers are underwhelming and the offensive line has gotten Keenum sacked 12 times – seventh-most in the NFL.

The time to give Goff a chance isn’t necessarily now, but it will come; it has to come. If not, the Rams will be showing near-unprecedented patience when it comes to a quarterback taken first overall.

Since 1970, 22 quarterbacks have been taken with the first pick. Exactly one of them has failed to play as a rookie: Carson Palmer in 2003. Every single other QB over that span has seen the field in their first season. That was 13 years ago, and times have changed. There’s little patience for rookie quarterbacks nowadays.
Goff will get on the field this season, whether it’s because Keenum gets hurt or because he struggles in the coming weeks. Through all of this Goff has remained positive and believes he’s gotten better with each day. It’s not his decision to make, but he’ll be ready when called upon.

“I’ve felt good every day,” Goff said Wednesday. “I think I’ve progressed ever since I got here, and I don’t think I’ve ever really plateaued or gone backwards. I think I’ve gotten better every time, every week, every day. So I feel good.”

Goff’s time will come, he just has to remain patient.

“The good thing about the way our schedule works, is when you get to Tuesday, everything’s behind you and you move forward.”

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening Remarks)
“The good thing about the way our schedule works, is when you get to Tuesday, everything’s behind you and you move forward. We had a good day today. Got some guys healing up, got some guys on the walk-thru, so it’s encouraging. We had to spend some time this morning, with logistics with traveling and everything. But I think we’re in good shape right now. We like the plan, we got a good opponent – every week you’re playing a good opponent. But (Lions QB) Matt’s (Stafford) playing really well for them. They’re running the ball a little bit, so we got to get that fixed defensively. Then, like we said yesterday, it’s about scoring points. It will be a big challenge for us.”

(On why he thinks they’re struggling to get the ball in the end zone this season)
“It’s avoiding the third and longs inside the 20-yard-line – those are hard. The best way to do that is to stay balanced. You stay balance run, pass and make some big plays, take some shots – avoid the penalties.”

(On the injury CB Trumaine Johnson sustained during Sunday night’s game)
“Nothing. He’s probably not going to go this week. It’ll be week-to-week.”

(On WR Brian Quick getting back to form after the 2014 injury to his shoulder)
“Yeah, I would say he’s back. Yeah he really was. He was really productive for us. It was a near career-ending injury. It was a serious shoulder injury. He and the medical staff, training staff did a great job getting him back. It’s taken time, plus the offense has changed. But he’s comfortable now, he’s making his plays.”

(On what the plan will be if Trumaine Johnson doesn’t play on Sunday)
“(CB) Troy (Hill) steps up like he did in the game. I can sleep at night knowing that (CB) E.J. (Gaines) is back and playing good.”

(On what he’s seen in Troy Hill’s development)
“He understands what we’re doing and he can really run and he has got ball skills. Even though he’s a little slight, he’s a run-support guy. The good thing about both of them is that they can elevate at the ball. They might be 5-10, 5-11, but they can play taller because they can elevate and get the ball.”

(On the NFL transaction wire saying the team acquired Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz today)
“Yes we did. We were really surprised, we were doing our homework with the potential with Trumaine’s injury and the lack of depth there, so we did our research. We kind of got wind that they were going to make a choice there – they did, they let Dwayne go, we submitted the claim and we were awarded the claim, he’ll be there in the morning.”

(On the particular reasons for choosing Gratz)
“Yeah, I liked him coming out of Connecticut. Great, great young man, really smart, a team guy. I think he was a little caught off guard by the release. Yeah, he’ll be here in the morning and we’re get him coached up as quick as we can to play special teams – he played predominately inside for them the last year and a half, but has the skills to play outside. We were really excited about being awarded the claim. He’s familiar with London, that’s the last place he played, so he’s going back. I didn’t have to ask him if he had a passport or not.”

(On if it’s an ever-evolving process to try to find ways to get WR Tavon Austin the ball)
“It is. You just have got to move him around, everybody knows where he’s at. You watch defenses against us and they’re pointing here and they’re pointing across the field to the corner to alert this, alert that. It’s ongoing. By design, there’s things that we stay with, there’s thing that we check to and there’s things that we check out of based on defenses.”

(On if Austin has lined up in the backfield before)
“Yes we did, he’s been a ball carrier for us over the past couple of years, and obviously very productive.”

(On if close margins in the game magnifies the importance of special teams)
“It does, there’s three equal phases. That’s the way we look at it. Special teams can be the difference-maker in a game. We overcame the penalty last week, and fortunately we had really good field position on the return. We’re dictating; we’re just hopeful. Two things, one on kickoff return, that we get some kicks that are returnable, (RB) Benny (Cunningham) should be back this week, and he can do that. Secondly, it’s another way to get the ball in Tavon’s hands. Buffalo’s plan was similar to most team’s plan, and that’s to put it out of bounds, or kick it high, and not allow them returner.”

(On his support system in regards to game planning and scouting)

“We have a whole process. Our process is on-going. We have an advance scout. The coaches do all the work. For example, on Thursday, the coaches will be working ahead on the Giants. There’s familiarity now with Detroit. We played them last year, and have great respect for what they’re doing. It’s the game plan process. The challenge, the task, rather is to get the game plan together, but get the players to become familiar with an uncommon opponent.”
Rams Claim DB Dwayne Gratz. LA Rams To Claim Former Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz Off Waivers, Drop DE Morgan Fox To Practice Squad. 
The Los Angeles Rams claimed defensive back Dwayne Gratz off waivers on Tuesday.

Gratz was previously on the Jacksonville Jaguars 53-man roster. The 2013 third-round pick out of Connecticut was a 2-time All-Big East second team honoree. (2011, 2012)

To make room for Gratz, the team waived rookie defensive end Morgan Fox.

Practice Report 10/12: Improving Execution in the Red Zone. In terms of yards and first downs, Los Angeles had its highest offensive output of the season so far last Sunday against the Bills. Racking up 345 yards and 23 first downs is a decent indication of how well the Rams were able to move the ball. 

That mark, however, means a bit less than it could because the Rams were only able to score a touchdown once in their four red-zone opportunities. That’s what Los Angeles has to correct this week with facing a tough Lions defense on the road. 

“We recognize, right now, our deficiency with getting the ball in the end zone and that’s what our focus is right now,” offensive coordinator Rob Boras said on Wednesday.  

Boras said L.A. must improve in many aspects when it comes to how the offense plays when there’s a chance for the unit to put up points. That goes from the coordinator on down.

“It starts with play calls,” Boras said. “You’re always self-evaluating as a coach, seeing if you’re putting your players in the best position.”

But it’s also negative plays down in the scoring areas. Both Boras and starting quarterback Case Keenumcited those as being one of the biggest obstacles to cashing in when the offense is inside the 20-yard line. 

“It’s the negative plays that are preventing us from having the continued success,” Boras said. “We’ve started the drives well the last couple of games, we just haven’t finished with touchdowns, we’ve finished with field goals. It’s eliminating the negative plays when we get to the red zone.”

“Whether it’s penalties, negative runs, sacks — yards are precious down there,” Keenum said. “I think we just have to keep moving forward. We’re doing a good job moving the football, just keep moving forward when we get down there.”

Detroit’s defense has done well to contain both the run and pass despite injuries to key contributors like defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker DeAndre Levy. So well, in fact, that the club still has not let up a rushing touchdown. 

“They’re defense is playing well down there — red-zone defense,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “They’ve given up some passing touchdowns. As we talked about success in the plus territory in the red zone, if you will, it’s about carrying balance.”

“We have our work cut out for us,” Keenum said. “I think we’re going to have to play really well to win this game.” 

As we all know, quarterback Jared Goff has been serving as the Rams’ backup since Week 2. Nothing yet has changed when it comes to Goff’s status on the depth chart, as Fisher has maintained the No. 1 overall pick will play when he’s ready. And the head coach told Detroit media on Wednesday that there is no timetable for when the QB will see the field. 

But according to the coaches, Goff has made steady progress. Boras said that’s been most apparent in the classroom. 

“A lot of the times, you understand how a person is learning by the questions that he’s asking and he’s not asking rookie questions anymore,” Boras said. “He’s starting to ask those more advanced, if you will, say, the 301- or 401-type question. For me, it starts there.” 

“The easiest way to understand if somebody knows it is when they can regurgitate it back to you,” Boras added. “And he’s able to do that right now and, again, ask some of those questions where you have to, yourself, look up at the sky and try to think, ‘OK, that’s a good one.” And try to give him the right answer.”

“I think I’ve progressed ever since I got here, and I don’t think I’ve ever really plateaued or gone backwards,” Goff said. “I think I’ve gotten better every time, every week, every day, so I feel good.”

Boras was particularly complimentary of Goff’s work ethic, nothing how the quarterback appears to be preparing as if he will play. 

“He’s putting a lot of work in as if he is the starter, which I know is not an easy thing to do, especially for a young player,” Boras said. “But to watch him go ahead and study Detroit and get ready for this week as if he’s playing, I think that says a lot about his maturity as a 21-year-old.” 

But once gameday comes, Goff is on the sidelines, aiding Keenum in any way he can. 

“Mainly looking at the defense, looking at what they’re doing defensively, trying to help Case, trying to see if we can see anything that can help him when he gets to the sidelines,” Goff said. “Looking for different coverages, blitzes, stuff that they’ve done more than once, any tendencies.”

There have been many young quarterbacks and first-year quarterbacks starting around the league this season — many of whom have gotten playing time due to injuries. While as a competitor Goff would certainly like to be on the field, he recognizes every situation is different. 

“All these guys that are doing well right now I’m very happy for. Most of them I’m good friends with, and they’ve done a really good job,” Goff said. “I’m very happy for them.”

Goff, of course, is focused on himself and become the best quarterback he can be for this team. And that process appears to be going well behind the scenes. 

“I’m just trying to improve,” Goff said, “make everything become second-nature and continue to get better, and continue to feel more natural in the offense.”

Cornerback Dwayne Gratz attended his first practice as a Ram on Wednesday afternoon after what’s surely been a whirlwind few days. A third-round pick out of Connecticut in 2013, Gratz played the first three-plus years of his career in Jacksonville. Gratz said Wednesday getting cut from the team that drafted him was tough, as one would expect. 

“But now I’m here. It’s a better opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to playing with these guys,” Gratz said. “I’d rather be here than to be on the couch. The team seems to like me, so I’m just going to go out here and do me.” 

Gratz, who has amassed three interceptions, 12 passes defensed, and 119 tackles in his career, said he’s learning essentially a whole new scheme. So that means there’s a lot of studying for him to do to catch up. 

“It’s always hard when you’re learning a new defense,” Gratz said. “But coming here, be studious, listen to what the coaches are teaching me, and just go out there and do what they tell me.”

Fisher said Gratz has a better chance to contribute on special teams than on defense for now. But the cornerback is working hard to ensure he’s ready if and when he’s called upon. 

“I don’t know yet,” Gratz said of how much he’ll play on Sunday. “I’m going to learn a little bit more today. I just went out there and practiced today. It was a good day, and we’ll just see what happens tomorrow.” 

The Rams have five players listed on their first injury report of the week, all of whom did not participate in the afternoon session. 

Defensive tackle Michael Brockers (hip), defensive end William Hayes (ankle), cornerback Trumaine Johnson (ankle), defensive end Robert Quinn (shoulder), and offensive lineman Cody Wichmann (ankle) were all listed as DNPs. 

However, Fisher said some of those guys were able to participate in the walk thru still have a chance to play on Sunday. 

“The health status is improving,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t mean to say that we got people back on the field, but it’s looking better than it was. We’re hoping to get a couple of guys back Friday. A couple might be game-time decisions, but things are coming along.”

A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Footballteam, and Political Science.