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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
101ESPN St. Louis audio: Miklasz Show

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The points Bernie Miklasz made about the St. Louis Rams -- Monday and again Tuesday -- formed the basis for our weekly conversation on 101ESPN St. Louis.

The audio is now available.

Bernie wasn't sure to what degree I shared his opinions about the Rams' offensive approach against Seattle and in general.

While I do think the Rams' attempts to strike well down the field have contributed to sack totals this season, coordinator Josh McDaniels' decision to spread the field against the Seahawks turned my focus elsewhere.

In my view, the Rams conceded their best player, Steven Jackson, because they did not trust their offensive line in run blocking. They were willing to leave Bradford alone in the backfield because they trusted his ability to get rid of the football before pressure arrived.

Spreading the field with extra receivers does not necessarily invite punishment upon quarterbacks. That sounds illogical, but it's not.

Quarterbacks gain targets in these situations. Good ones should be able to throw quickly to avoid pressure.

Avoiding interceptions becomes more difficult than avoiding sacks in these situations. That is because defenses counter the additional receivers with additional defensive backs. When teams put additional defensive backs on the field, defensive coordinators can become more complex in their coverages. And when that happens, quarterbacks have more things to consider, which can inhibit their ability to throw decisively.

Any way you look at it, the Rams are a bad team right now. Bad teams face bad tradeoffs. That was the case against a strong Seattle defense Sunday.

We discussed those issues as well as subjects relating to the other teams in the division. Thanks to Bernie for making sure we covered all the NFC West teams. He's a reader of the blog and made a special point to address each team.