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Divisional round Open Thread

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Update [2008-1-13 17:44:58 by VanRam]:An upset! A good upset makes the playoffs better - in any sport. Congrats to the Chargers. Note their success with the conspicuous absence of LT for most of the game. Remember this. A decision looms for the Rams. Steven Jackson, a running back who at times has displayed the talent and panache of Tomlinson, is entering the last year of his contract. A renewal figures to be expensive.

So Art Valero IS going to work for the Rams next season. They just haven't given him a job description yet. Here's my proposal for a title: Offensive Blocking Coach. Once you get past the Kafkaesque ring to it, it makes sense for the Rams. The struggles of the o-line are well documented. The Rams troubles with blocking haven't been limited to the injury delpleted o-line. Tight ends, running backs and receivers all struggled with blocking this season, and the absence of a hard hitting fullback was only part of the problem. Even Steven Jackson has taken some heat for blocking abilities not in line with his other talents. A coach to oversee these improvements and intigrate them into the offensive game plan might go a long way toward implementing the offensive changes/upgrades the Rams need. Obviously, Valero's title will be a little different than my suggestion, but the point remains valid.

Enjoy the rest of the Cowboys/Giants game. Back with more tomorrow.

Whatever the Rams plan to do or whoever they plan to hire for their offensive coordinator position, getting Scott Linehan disengaged from the play calling will be a huge boost to the Rams. The last time the Rams offense strung together a successful run, since Linehan was hired, was last season when he handed over play calling to Greg Olson for the last six games of the season. According to the Post-Dispatch article today, Linehan had minimal involvement in the offensive game planning and the play calling during that time. Don't know what it is; the guy's been moderately successful as an OC before. The responsibilities of head coaching are just to much to micromanage one aspect of the team so closely, especially for a rookie head coach.  

Kind of makes you wonder why Olson got canned.

Cameron to rejoin Schottenheimer in Baltimore?

The search for an OC continues. The same article linked above cites Linehan having preliminary talks with several candidates. No word if Cam Cameron was one of them. If the Ravens hire Marty Schottenheimer, which sounds like a very real possibility at this point, Cameron seems likely to join his old boss. In fact, the Annapolis, MD newspaper reports that Scottenheimer's agent, Trace Armstrong, says that Schottenheimer has commitments from Cameron and Mike Solari to join him as the OC and o-line coaches.

I guess ESPN's Chris Mortensen was just a little premature in reporting that Cameron had joined the Rams. Ah, the world wide leader...

Place your bets

Now let's talk playoffs. Two good games in store today, one featuring my adopted playoff team the Packers. Yeah, big surprise, another carbon blob for the Farve bandwagon. Interesting note about Green Bay, Drew Bennett - remember him? - had his best game of the season against the Packers, 5 catches for 65 yards, not exactly a banner day by any other measure. The reason, according to Football Outsiders, is that Green Bay's defense struggles with multiple receiver sets, something Holmgren no doubt plans to exploit. I'll still take Green Bay in this game.

In the AFC, I'm kind of rooting for the Jaguars, but David (Garrard) is facing a mighty big goliath, whose fate seems predetermined. But what good's a giant if it can't be taken down? A Jacksonville upset would make this one of the more interesting NFL playoffs in years. I'd take them over the Colts too. I'll pick the Patriots, knowing I'm usually wrong and sometimes even jinx the teams I pick.

Football Outsiders has great previews of each game, the NFC games and the AFC games.

Be sure to get enjoyable, partisan analysis of the games at the team blogs too.

Acme Packing Company has a detailed preview and breakdown of the game.

The always insightful Field Gulls, blogging our hated Seahawks, notes the impact of deep passes on the Packers offensive attack among many other things in a Division round edition of "What we know..."

The Giants blog Big Blue View reveals some expert criticism and gives Romo fans reason to be concerned. The daily Jessica Simpson posts are enough to tempt any sailor with their Lorlei call.

Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton has learned many things from T.O. not the least of which is talking shit ahead of the game. Blogging the Boys has the full story, and surprisingly enough, no Jessica Simpson pictures. I guess Cowboys fans don't find the siren's call all that amusing. Studios have to be worried though if Cowboys fans turn on Jessica Simpson; that's gotta be a huge market for any pending Dukes of Hazzard sequel.

Jaguar fans are "putting their faith in the impossible." Big Cat Country will be live blogging the game tonight. Lynyrd Skynyrd's hometown can't be too bothered by the odds.

Pats Pulpit wonders if the Jaguars physical running game poses a threat to the mighty Patriots defense.

Stampede Blue covers the Colts, and still finds time to root against the Patriots.

Sadly, there is no SBNation Chargers blog. Hell, there are more Rams blogs than there are Chargers blogs; now take a minute to ponder that! NFL Gridiron Gab, a great all around football blog, has it covered though. Here are their five keys to beating the Colts.

Enjoy the good football. and cross your fingers that we have a chance to see the Rams playing some again real, real soon.