Morning Ram-blings: Dealing with tempo

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
8:00
AM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Unless it happens in the postseason, the Rams won't get an up-close-and-personal look at the Eagles and coach Chip Kelly's high-octane offense in 2013.

That doesn't mean they aren't aware of the offensive experiment going on in Philadelphia this season. In fact, all of NFL Nation is well aware of what Kelly is attempting to do with his team. When he was at Oregon, Kelly ran the ultimate in fast-break offenses, and if Monday night's game against Washington is any indication, he appears to be trying to lay the groundwork for that again. Philadelphia ran 53 plays in the first half against the Redskins, running a play every 22.2 seconds. Kelly was actually unhappy with the pace.

That first-week output by the Eagles wasn't all that different than what the Rams saw in Denver on Aug. 24 in their third preseason game. In that game, the Broncos ran 49 plays in the first half, including 30 in the opening quarter. The pace was made even more challenging for the Rams because they were playing in the thin air in Denver.

According to Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the hardest part of playing up-tempo teams isn't just the physical fatigue. It's the mental byproduct of the being tired that can occur.

"I think catching your wind is one, but [also] recognizing route concepts and splits and everything," Finnegan said. "You are just trying to line up and play football and you forget all those things that you did film study on for the simple fact that it’s so wham, bam, bam, bam and the defenses you may run may be vanilla because you may blitz on this play."

Many teams around the league are attempting to add some up-tempo elements to their schemes. The Rams have some of their own, though they didn't push it much against Arizona; offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has said they'll pick their spots. If nothing else, that's a good look for the defense given that the Rams likely will see at least some teams working at a faster pace this season.

I.C.Y.M.I.

Our daily roundup of what we had right here in this space yesterday. It was a busy day as you'll see by the amount of blue links that pop up in this space. ... We started the day with the new weekly feature "QB Watch" and a look at the week that was for Sam Bradford and what could await him this week. ... From there, the news came down that defensive end Robert Quinn was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week in an announcement that wasn't a surprise. ... Then we had the chance to chat with former Rams running back Steven Jackson and get his thoughts on playing his old team. Later, I offered some thoughts on the difficult task the Rams have in replacing all that Jackson brought to the table. ... Rams coach Jeff Fisher laughed at the rumors of a return to USC as head coach, offering comments that again came as no surprise. ... Finally, we discussed the absence of running back Daryl Richardson from Wednesday's practice with the daily injury wire update.

Elsewhere:

Over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and stltoday.com, online columnist Jeff Gordon provided his thoughts on Jackson's departure and the week ahead.

Beat writer Jim Thomas discussed the play of the team's young safeties against Arizona.

The Associated Press provided yet another look at tight end Jared Cook and the premium the Rams placed on signing him in the offseason.

 

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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