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by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season
Rams will have to score a lot this season
By Bernie Miklasz
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Sep. 11 2004
The Rams plan to celebrate their 10th anniversary in St. Louis this season.
Team owner Georgia Frontiere threw a formal party Friday night to kick off the
festivities, and guests remembered the good times.
The Rams arrived here in 1995, but didn't stop making fools of themselves until
1999. The long wait was worth it. The four years of losing was followed by the
most successful five-year run by a St. Louis NFL franchise.
Two Super Bowls, one Super Bowl title and four playoff appearances in five
seasons. The offense filled Sunday afternoons with flying footballs and nearly
30 points per game. And even when the Rams lost, they were never dull. Coach
Mike Martz, the designer of this offensive masterpiece, is our town's most
eccentric and temperamental artist. Martz's avant-garde approach to
forward-thinking football is frequently controversial, but never boring.
It's been a thrilling ride. But is it over? Are the Rams about to revert back
to the days of Same Old Rams behavior? Are we going to have flashbacks? Tony
Banks throwing interceptions . . . Lawrence Phillips spending more time in jail
than the end zone. . . . Dwayne "Road Grader" White belly-flopping as he misses
blocks . . . Overwhelmed head coach Rich Brooks shivering on the sideline at
Pittsburgh, dressed like a kid on a snow day.
Let's not go back there, OK?
As a new season reveals itself, I'm hoping the Rams can continue to entertain
us with lively if imperfect football. And I believe that's what we're going to
see in 2004. Lots of points, and too many disappointing losses.
If there's a model for this season, it's 2000.
The 2000 Rams scored 540 points, the most in franchise history.
Problem is, those Rams also were plundered for 470 points, the most in
We saw that 10-6 team win games by scores of 41-36, 37-34, 45-29, 57-31, 40-29.
We watched them lose games by scores of 54-34 and 38-35. It was the EA Sports'
Madden football game come to life. It was insanity. The Rams went to stadiums
across America and blew up circuit wiring on scoreboards. I got carpal-tunnel
syndrome just trying to write down details of all the touchdowns. That Rams
defense couldn't have won a pillow fight. No surprise that it all ended with a
31-28 defeat at New Orleans in an NFC wild-card game.
I fear that we are in for more of the same. I'm not worried about the offense.
Now that Orlando Pace is stationed at left tackle, the O-line will solidify.
Martz has never had so many talented receivers available to him. Because of
rules changes, opposing defensive backs in theory can no longer cheat by
applying the Bill Belichick stranglehold technique to slow Isaac Bruce and
Torry Holt. This will also make it easier for quarterback Marc Bulger to
The 2003 Rams were faulty in the red zone, settling for so many field goals
that Jeff Wilkins tied an NFL record with 39. So Martz went out and drafted a
train, the Steven R. Jackson. This 235-pound rookie load should give the Rams
some head-banging power near the goal line.
This team will move the ball, finish drives and score. The Greatest Show on
Turf, like an old rock and roll band not ready to go home, is going to go out
on tour and crank it up again. (In this instance, it's Prince and "1999.")
This Rams offense had better acquaint itself with the end zone, because they
will need to build quite a cushion to compensate for the defense. I'm not
calling out the Rams' defense for being gutless or unwilling to play hard,
tough football. But many of the guys they have in place are learning NFL job
skills. The defense is in transition.
The linebackers, for example, are fast and furious but inexperienced. Injuries
have wiped out quality depth at defensive tackle and cornerback. Incredibly,
this team plans to line up with only one NFL-tested corner, Jerametrius Butler.
Defensive linemen Grant Wistrom and Brian Young departed through free agency.
Rams fans are still waiting for defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Damione
Lewis to make the kind of plays that alter games. The established playmakers -
defensive end Leonard Little and safeties Aeneas Williams and Adam Archuleta -
will labor valiantly to prevent cave-ins.
We could see the trend develop last season. In the final seven games, including
the playoff loss to Carolina, the Rams were trampled for an average of 5.4
yards per rushing attempt. Ten times last season, opponents averaged more than
4.5 yards per carry against St. Louis. Carolina exposed the fatal weakness,
once and for all, with 216 yards rushing in the upset playoff win. And if
anything, the 2004 Rams have less, not more, talent in the defensive front
seven. And that's the concern, though Arizona seems incapable of exploiting the
Rams defense on Sunday.
As the Rams enter their 10th season in St. Louis, it's just about time to
update the Edward Jones Dome. Receivers and backs will be wearing out the
carpet this season; it will need to be replaced. For fans who love offense and
35-31 games, the Rams should be your kind of team.
Re: by Bernie the Dolt - Rams will have to score a lot this season
Nothing like optimizim! :bored:JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
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