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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    Burwell: Rams grasp meaning of first place

    November 9, 2010

    Of all the fascinating things that have occurred so far to the Rams as they've taken us along for the ride on their rather rapid and surprising road to recovery, there is something happening that not even the most optimistic Rams loyalist couldn't have foreseen.


    And here we were just searching for just a little sign of improvement, hoping for some tangible, if not slightly incremental snippet that would let us see that they were finally crawling out of that endless sinkhole this franchise fell into over the past few years.

    But as the Rams returned to practice Monday after a four-day, bye-week vacation, things suddenly looked a lot more promising than that. They left last week in second place and came back in first, which is a fairly productive vacation, I'd say, and provides a mountain of possibility for the second half of the season.

    "It is what it is," said linebacker James Laurinaitis, shrugging. "We have eight games to go. No one in here is celebrating."

    Steve Spagnuolo has done a very good job of making sure that his young players understand what this all means to a team that had fallen to the murky depths like the Rams did last year (1-15) and now finds itself holding a 4-4 record, good for first place in the rather mediocre NFC West.

    It means everything and nothing at all.

    It means progress and potential. But it also means that until they start giving out championship hardware and playoff checks in November, it means his rapidly maturing team must spend the next eight weeks fighting to stay in first place and working feverishly to surprise even more people than they already have.

    We're all surprised because when you are tracking the rise of a team particularly one that had fallen as deeply as this franchise you expect the improvement to be a bit more subtle. After last year's bottom-out mess, I think we all would have been delighted if the Rams had used this season to just go from gawdawful to not pathetic.

    But here they are halfway through the season with a chance at something far more rewarding than that.

    The Rams have a chance to win the division.

    Will they do it? Can they do it?

    We're about to find out. But they have a chance, and that is something they shouldn't have to apologize for, even if this is a less than exciting division. Count it as a blessing for the Rams that in the process of their impressive turnaround, they are now being provided with additional opportunities that under normal circumstances would present themselves in more advanced stages of their development.

    But if this young team is smart enough and mature enough to grow up faster than anyone could have predicted, this is the time to show that they can do it.

    Are they better than the Giants or Steelers or Ravens or Jets?

    Probably not. But right now they don't have to be. All they have to do is make sure that they win more games than the rest of the motley crew in the NFC West like the flawed Seahawks, the old Cardinals and the dysfunctional *****.

    This isn't about breaking down the schedules of the other teams in their division. It's not about trying to sort through all the comparable numbers to weigh whether the Rams are stronger, weaker or even with the rest of the pack in the NFC.

    All that matters now for this young team is doing what they've been doing all season long. Learning how to win one small step at a time.

    "What is this, the 16th week we've been together?" rookie offensive tackle Roger Saffold asked locker neighbor Laurent Robinson.

    "Yep," said Robinson.

    "And we still have the same weekly goal, right?" said Saffold.

    "Yep," said Robinson.

    And what is that goal, they were asked?

    "Win the NFC West," said Saffold. "That hasn't changed at all. Everything else can only happen if we take care of the primary goal."

    The Rams' primary goal this week is going to San Francisco and coming away with a victory. They do not have to worry about trying to win those five road games that are on their remaining schedule. They just have to figure out how to go on the road this week and win their first game away from home this season.

    Each week, we have seen just how much better the Rams have become. They have seen four games decided by a total of 10 points that could have easily swung their record from anywhere between 6-2 and 3-5. So 4-4 seems just about right for a team that is still in the midst of the difficult process of learning how to become a consistent winner.

    The victories have shown them what it takes and how good it feels to be on the right side of victory, and the losses on the road, whether narrow or lopsided, hopefully are providing the proper sting.

    Is this the week that the Rams prove they have learned that difficult lesson about winning on the road?

    "We have shown that we can play tight on the road (Oakland and Tampa)," said Saffold. "Now it's time to take it to the next level."

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    I really believe this game is going to be won or lost by our defense. The thing I like is that Julian "the RAM killer" Peterson is no longer on the Whiners. He already tormented us in Detroit this year.

    GO RAMS!

  3. #3
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    patrick willis has taken his place though.

  4. #4
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatestShow99 View Post
    patrick willis has taken his place though.
    Dont they play two different positions olb and mlb?

  5. #5
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    The keys to this game will be between two Number One picked Quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Alex Smith. San francisco is hush on who their QB will be against Saint Louis. Surely, the Fortyniners have game planned the Rams, having only their 1st meeting this late in the season.
    At 2-6, San Fran is in desperation mode, and to think that the Rams are in First, in the NFC West will have Singletary bringing out all the stops to chop down the Rams.

    Frisco's back is against the wall, they'll look to intimidate the Rams in front of their home crowd, trying to get back into the NFC West Chase.

    It's very imporant that the Saint Louis Rams 'Grasp the Meaning of First Place'.
    Every team within the Division is not convinced with the Rams being on Top at this present time. All will be looking to knock off the 1st place Rams, with the feeling that Saint Louis has yet to earn their present standing.

    The 1st Place Rams, from here on out, must play like the leaders they are. They must convince their opponets that it's no fluke that a 1-15 of a year ago can actually win the West.

    The First big test.... San Francisco, On the Road! Something the Rams haven't Conquered in a good while!


  6. #6
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Grasp Meaning Of First Place

    No 2-6 team has ever made the playoffs, so SF may be looking to derail us as much as they are fighting to regain some momentum. I hope be at the game and see firsthand how good we have started to become. I was the lousy Raiders game earlier this year hoping to see Sam's first luck.

    My take is that we must harness their offense with ball control and keeping their defense on the field and wear them down. I think Spags will have the perfect game plan for us as we win our 1st road game. Spags is also the right coach to keep our team focused on the goal of winning the NFC West.

    Go Rams!

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