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The Case Against The Rams

This isn't one of those weeks in which it feels like we can belabor the point and break down every nuance of the opponent's game. The micro-level dissections of strengths and tendencies, the scouting reports? Well, they're probably less valuable with games against the Rams, Browns and Lions coming up the next three weeks. I figure we'll find some other ways to converse (the Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report has to stay, of course, but it's not like we're going to pick through every aspect of this contest like it's an NFC East showdown).

So we'll kick off today with two posts, taking a look at the case for and against the Rams. First, the case against ... I promise to keep this relatively brief. If I examined every detail of their 0-5 ineptitude, well, we might run out of space on the internets. And then I'll post the case for the Rams.

The Rams have been outscored, 44-7, in the first quarter, through just four games. Starting in that kind of a hole is a tall order for any team, and an impossibility for a club as inept as St. Louis. Suffice it to say, Al Saunders and his infinite playbook are not getting the job done.

They have just 51 first downs this season - worst in the NFL - while opponents have 91. They are converting 22.4 percent of third-down chances, dead last in the NFL. They are worst in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass play. They are dead last in points per game. The Rams' minus-3 turnover ratio is tied for 24th in the NFL; their three takeways are tied for last in the NFL.

No one on the roster has more than a single rushing TD, or a single receiving TD. Marc Bulger has a 73.2 passer rating, 23rd in the NFL. Star RB Steven Jackson, after holding out in training camp and getting a fat new contract, is averaging only 3.6 yards per carry

Defensively, it's not much better. The Rams rank 31st in total defense, 28th against the run, 27th against the pass, dead last in first downs allowed per game, 25th in third down efficiency, and 31st in points allowed per game.

The Rams are on their second coach of the season, and Bulger has already lost and regained his job, and it isn't even mid-October.

Guess that just about sums it up.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 8:32 AM ET
 
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Next: The Case for the Rams (and It Isn't Much of One)

Comments

first,

JLC no need to do for the Rams the Skins are going to destroy this team.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

In the Jansen vs. Heyer debate, I'm 100% behind Jansen. He just gets it done in the run game, you can't debate it. I rewatched the Philly game last night, and he didn't fare too poorly in pass protection either.

On a side note, WAY, WAY to early to talk playoffs, or super bowl or any of that stuff. I could also care less who big media thinks is the best team in the NFL. None of that amounts to a hill of horse-bleep at the end of the day. Just win the game this week, thats all that I want.

If I'm Zorn, I'm a LUNATIC this week in prep for this game.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

fizzerst

Posted by: fawcett007 | October 8, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I know that the Skins should say the right things and prepare to face a fired up Rams team. However, by the secons quarter, the Skins should dominate this team and win by double digit points. That's the skins next biggest challenge, beating teams like the Rams as if they stole something from them.

Posted by: TWISI | October 8, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

True that! Remember that big media thought that the "University" of Georgia would be national champs in college ball and they've looked like national chumps instead.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 8, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I think that this weeks' game will give us a better feel for our team. Under Gibbs 2.0, and to some extent Gibbs 1.0, we always played down to the level of our opponent when playing weaker teams. This will be a good view of what kind of mental and intestinal fortitude our guys have. Truly good teams beat, and beat handily, the teams they are supposed to beat and with a stretch of 3 games coming up against clearly weaker clubs, how the Skins handle these units will give fans a real idea of what kind of team we will have down the stretch. I love our composure so far, particularly in the 4th quarter, and would like to see that kind of concentration and execution against weaker teams just like we've seen these glorious last four Sunday's.

Posted by: splitbill | October 8, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

In the Jansen vs. Heyer debate, I'm 100% behind Jansen. He just gets it done in the run game, you can't debate it. I rewatched the Philly game last night, and he didn't fare too poorly in pass protection either.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 8, 2008 8:38 AM

Greg. I agree that the running game is much better with Jansen in. Jansen is doing ok in pass blocking. On the last drive against Philly, when the skins had third and long, Jansen wasn't very good. The first 3rd down play, Jansen was off balance and got knocked down. JC had to step up to, scramble to Jansen's side before finding ARE. On the second third and long, Jansen got walked back iJC. JC had to step up and scramble for the first. I think JZ preference for Stephon because Jansen is less consistent in his pass pro.

Posted by: TWISI | October 8, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

This could well be a nailbiter. There's bound to be a letdown after two straight divisional road wins and a weak opponent at home. This is another big test for the 'Skins. Can they beat the teams they're supposed to beat, especially in situations like this? Suisham sends it through at the end of the game to win it 23-21.

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 8, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

If it's too early to talk playoffs & super bowls, then what else are we going to talk about.

The Rams?

ROTLFMAO!!!!!!

I'm very aware that the Redskins MAY not go to the super bowl and miss the playoffs. I think that, but I don't say it.

I'm charged about the 4-1 start.

Posted by: RedDMV | October 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

This could well be a nailbiter. There's bound to be a letdown after two straight divisional road wins and a weak opponent at home. This is another big test for the 'Skins. Can they beat the teams they're supposed to beat, especially in situations like this? Suisham sends it through at the end of the game to win it 23-21.

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 8, 2008 8:46 AM

You are insane there is no way the Rams score 21 points against our defense they will be lucky to get 7.

They have not scored more then 14 points in any game yet.

People stop living in our loser pass this team will beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and beat them badly, there are to many veteran leaders on this team to let anyone get over confident.

Plus it is not in JC's makeup to get over confident the kid is well rounded and very level headed.

JZ played in this league for a long time and he knows that every game is very important, and you can not overlook anyone.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

[Puts on Obama-media hat]

It's racist to start Jansen over Heyer!

[Takes off Obama-media hat]

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | October 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

2.8, versus 5.1 to me that seals the deal. Its not like Jansen is a turnstile.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I am gonna go with whatever Coach wants to do and it sounds like Coach wants Heyer. To me its a draw between the two anyway. If you start Heyer, CP's numbers go down a little if you start Jansen JC's numbers go down a little.

I would still like to see JJ in on goal formations though.
JJ is a standup guy and a great run blocker we need to use him creatively.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 8, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Brooks might well be the goat if we were to lose this one. If he outkicks his coverage to Dante Hall (even if he is only a shell of what he once was), that keeps a dog in a game and starts to give them confidence. Right now Haslett's future is predicated on beating us at home with the Redskins and their fans all full of ourselves. He could well win the job permanently with such a win. He's an interim coach with a lot to prove in a short period of time. He'll go all out on Sunday, including onside kicks and 4th down attempts at spots on the field where most wouldn't. I'm nervous as heck...

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 8, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Boo, diesel_skins_, boo. Let's keep the politicking out of here, all right? Gets way out of hand. And distracts us from all the good stuff happening with the Skins.

Jansen is on his way out, has looked bad at times the past few seasons and this preseason, lost his job to a younger guy, and it sounds like he refuses to admit it. I think any of us would feel the same way... something about the tragedy of getting old in a young man's game. But that doesn't mean he's not still a warrior for this team, capable of helping out in big spots.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 8, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

schroeder,

Haslett has nothing to do with the offense, they will still be as bad as they have been all year.

Haslett is the defensive cordiantor of one of the worst defenses in the league, just becasue they gave him the interim job does not mean he has become some great new coach over night.

He still has the same bum players that are 0-4, so stop being scared and start believing.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 8, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

I'm with you. If i'm Zorn this week I am acting very cranky making sure that everyone knows it's NFL football time.

I hope we jump out quickly. If i'm Z-man and win the toss I put my O on the field and tell them to get to work. Go up early and hopefully this team folds.

Posted by: Gweez | October 8, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

In this case i dont want to go with what the coach said. I think Zorn is pulling for Heyer, if it was up to Bugel I think Jansen would be in. These are Bugels guys I think zorn should just ask him who should play. For everyone that thinks that Heyer is that much better of a pass protactor remember that he is still very young and raw. Jansen has been around the block and then some and has a ton more experience then Heyer. I say keep Jansen in and Heyer learning.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 8, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I want to see the Skins come out and play a solid first half. Hopefully get a good lead, then unleash the Rookies. Take some deep shots and help them get some confidence.

Posted by: TeeSkins | October 8, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Just for the record, Jim Haslett's record against the Skins as Saints head coach:

2001 loss vs Skins 40-10 (Schottenheimer)
2002 win at Skins 43-27 (Spurrier)
2003 win at Skins 24-20 (Spurrier)

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 8, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Sunday at 1pm can't get here soon enough. How nice it will be to actually have a chance to RELAX watching the Redskins without the heart rate averaging 120 beats per minute. Assuming of course, that they do what they should do and pummel the Rams.

Posted by: chris_rollins2k3 | October 8, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Gweez, I agree start on O if you can and make em work from behind if we can.

This Offense of theirs has some good players, I don't think their line is great but they still have a solid backfield and a few good WR's. Though Weird Al's playbook is not WR friendly IMHO.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The best way to learn is to be playing. Heyer is better than Jansen in pass pro now. That's why he was chosen as the starter. Heyer needs to be more agressive in his run blocking and gain experience. It's a push. I do think it more likely than Heyer improves his run blocking, than Jansen his pass pro. Jansen has lost something in pass pro. He get's walked back and that's not good.

Posted by: TWISI | October 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Can't underestimate the crowd factor here, too, everybody wanting to join the fun after those two huge road wins.

Plus the Rams are obscure and located far enough away that they won't have many fans in our building.

Root, root, root for the home team.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

...so stop being scared and start believing.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 8, 2008 9:05 AM

Very well said! Spoken so matter-of-factly.

Posted by: RedDMV | October 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

twisi, Jansen gets walked back on occasion, versus Heyer getting no push in the run game. 2.8, versus 5.1 is a huge advantage. Buges needs to shove his boot up Heyer's backside, and show him how Jansen run blocks. I've said before, Jansen is a good run blocker, because he's a mean, nasty bastard, and likes to take his guy, and just grind him down to nothing, and Heyer just isn't like that.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 8, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Best thing ive seen from Heyer all year was when he smacked the Sh*t outta Dockett after the play. Think Heyer will be great but he plays like a whimp, he needs to strat playing with a mean streak. I dont see how someone so physically imposing could be so soft in the run category.
For that reason alone keep Jansen in as long as we can. This team isnt a WCO its a running team plain and simple. Keeps the guys that are moving your offense up and down the field in the game.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 8, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"Greg,

True that! Remember that big media thought that the "University" of Georgia would be national champs in college ball and they've looked like national chumps instead."

Yeah cause we lost to the #2 team in the nation by eleven points and we're only #10/#11 in the nation!

TE is a ruined, obsessed hater with no life and NO CREDIBILITY!

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 8, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

This is a RUNNING TEAM. We're in the NFC Beast, we need to run, run, run the ball and then run some more.

For that reason alone, start Jansen but get both of 'em plenty of snaps. Let Heyer come in and work on some running plays for the next three weeks.

And yes, we need to get the rookies some snaps.


Speaking of that, and I'm surprised no one has said anything at ALL about this....any chance we'll see Colt unleashed in the next three weeks if all games are blowouts ala Giants\Seahawks last week? Or is it all TC? I know the Zorn Star said Colt won't see the field till next year, but come on!

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 8, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Bucky Brooks on SI.com has a Skin in the running for each of the major award catagories right now:

CP for MVP
JZ coach of the year
London Fletcher Defensive player of the year
Chris Horton ROY

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/bucky_brooks/10/07/awards.watch/index.html

Posted by: wstclair | October 8, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Bucky Brooks on SI.com has a Skin in the running for each of the major award catagories right now

Posted by: wstclair | October 8, 2008 10:18 AM

This sounds like a man who's about to lose his job with SI. Wait until Don Banks, Paul Zimmerman, and Peter King hear about this.

Speaking of "El Rey" did anyone read his justification yesterday for putting Dallas ahead of the 'Skins in his power ranking?

"I realize the product on the field hasn't shown Dallas to be better than Washington so far. It came down to this: If Washington and Dallas met on a neutral field in Wichita right now, I think Dallas would win. I trust Romo a little more than Campbell right now.

The defenses are a wash, and I might like Washington's a little more, particularly after the goal-line stand at the Eagles. It's very, very close. If Dallas plays generously on defense at Arizona this week, I might change my mind. But here's what it comes down to for me, bottom line: I thought Dallas was the best team in football for much of September, and we've seen them blow out Cleveland on the road, score 41 on a tough defense (Philadelphia), and whack Green Bay pretty well on the road. I still like them a lot, and a smidgen better than Washington."

So what is wrong with this picture? He thinks that a team that can't win in its own stadium can win in Wichita.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

F Dallas
F Philly
F the giants
F 'em all!!!!

We go week by week, one game at a time and keep kickin' azzz. Stay healthy and get better each week. That is all we gotta do. the media keeps talkin bad about us and that is fine, just fuel to the fire. all that matters is the confidence of the coaches and players in the locker room and i think that they feel they can beat any of the 31 other teams. I just want the team to continue to get better in each aspect of the game, stay healthy (or get healthier), and get those rookie WR's into the game plan. Hail to the Skins!!!! BTW, did anyone check out the link I put on the blog yesterday? great article on the wack azz cowgirls

Posted by: marleyb313 | October 8, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

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