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Amid the gloom, the defense is starting to shine
By Bill Coats 10/21/2007 10:41 pm
SEATTLE – The visitors’ locker room at Qwest Field is divided into two areas, one for the offense and one for the defense. The atmospheres on the two sides Sunday after the 33-6 loss to the Seahawks were about as disparate as possible.
On the hushed offensive half:
>>Wide receiver Isaac Bruce was being asked if the team played with “any spark at all” vs. Seattle. “This is the professional ranks, and you have to be self-motivated,” Bruce said. “There’s not going to be someone there every week to pat you on the back and help pull you up. It’s not going to happen. So you have to find some way to motivate yourself.”
>>Quarterback Marc Bulger was being asked about “rolling his eyes” on the sideline after a discussion with coach Scott Linehan. “I think every player and coach are going to get into it probably 10 times during a game. Five seconds later, it’s just football. That’s the way it is.”
>>Tight end Randy McMichael was being asked about the offense’s continuing lack of punch. “I’m grateful to be a Ram, but right now, I’m very embarrassed to be one. It makes no sense what we did offensively today. . . . It’s pathetic.”
On the defensive side, the mood, while decidedly subdued, was far more upbeat. That’s because coordinator Jim Haslett’s outfit finally is healthy and is playing effectively. The Rams have given up an average of just 276.5 yards in the last two games. If that were their average for the season, it would rank them fourth in the league in total defense. Eleven turnovers by the Rams in the last two games are largely responsible for keeping the point totals up.
And the Rams still haven’t yielded 100 yards to a back this year. “That’s huge, something we’ve definitely worked on,” rookie tackle Adam Carriker said. “People know they can’t just run it up the middle on us anymore. It’s going to be a battle when you play the Rams defensively.”
Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said that with the offense struggling, the defenders have “raised the bar for ourselves. We feel like if we give up three (points), it’s still too much. That’s where our standards are right now. . . . Maybe earlier in the year, (the Rams’ lack of scoring) was frustrating, but now, we’re like, ‘We’ve got to do something.’ We’re trying to take the initiative and make things happen.”
Notes & quotes:
>>Those TV rumors about an imminent firing of Linehan? Don’t hold your breath.
>>The usually reliable Jeff Wilkins missed five field-goal attempts all last season. He’s clanked six already this year, including a 44-yarder Sunday.
>>If any Rams player makes the Pro Bowl, it ought to be P Donnie Jones. He averaged 52.3 yards on six punts vs. the Seahawks.
>>Bruce falls down on a sure TD reception and Torry Holt drops a pass in the end zone . . . huh?
>>LB Will Witherspoon was all over the field. And DE Victor Adeyanju was impressive in relief of sore-toed Leonard Little.
>>Newcomer Brandon Williams has been effective as a return man, easing the loss of Dante Hall (ankle).
>>These were Bulger’s numbers at the half: 2 of 10 for 42 yards, four sacks, an interception and a passer rating of 5.0.
>>George Hickman, a native St. Louisan (Sumner High graduate) and one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, helps out in the press box at Qwest Field. Hickman, 87, has been living in Seattle since 1955.
All for now . . .
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