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    Coach Scott Linehan December 18

    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    December 18, 2007

    (Opening Remarks)

    “We had a number of guys that were somewhat limited. For the most part we had full participation for the majority of our team. We did limit some guys based on a short week.”

    (On LB Will Witherspoon)

    “Will’s toe is still a little bit sore. He practiced. I don’t think he missed any reps. He might have taken every one.”

    (On if he likes a short week after a loss)

    “I’d rather have it after a win. For this time of year I didn’t know how I’d feel about a short week at the end of the season, when I saw it on the schedule. Being the way that it’s worked out and how it fits into the last two games. It’s good timing. There’s a lot going on around here with Marshall (Faulk) coming back and having his number retired. That will be a good change of pace for us.”

    (On Pittsburgh’s defense)

    “It gets pretty exotic on third down. It’s pretty much what you get from the Steelers on first and second down. When you get in third down it gets pretty interesting. That’s where they do a lot of their damage.”

    (On if Pittsburgh’s defense is similar to San Francisco’s third down defense)

    “It’s very similar. Most of the 3-4 teams are getting to that. A lot of them are mirroring the third-down philosophy and even the 4-3 teams. They get to these exotic 3-4, third-down blitz packages.”

    (On if he will keep the game plan simple)

    “There are some carryover from the last couple of weeks just because of the amount of time we don’t have to rep plays. We still have to prepare for a different defensive front. The match up things that come up with playing a team that has some good defensive personnel.”

    (On RB Steven Jackson’s play this season)

    “He’s been playing exceptional. The four straight games where he’s had a 40-yard run, that’s phenomenal. In 2002, we had a similar deal with Michael Bennett who had five or six games with a 50-yard run or more. Steven seems to be doing it every week, now that he’s gotten himself back to 100 percent. Steven’s a competitor. He wants us to do better. He wants us to have a better football team. That’s one thing I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. You see a guy that wants everything to improve including our football team, our play and everything else. What he wants to really get done is to do things with his play and also step up in a role of a leader.”

    (On why Pittsburgh is so tough to run against)

    “They have a scheme that’s difficult at times to find cracks in. They are very well coached. They do a very good job of taking away those cracks and seems that you need to have to have those two, three or four long runs. They don’t give up a lot of big runs. That ends up being why you have a hard time running the football. We have to stay with it and stay patient with it and understand that it may take awhile to get the running game going and if they commit to stopping it.”

    (On the Steelers not being a team the Rams want to get in third-and-long situations with)

    “I don’t think anybody is, but if you were going to pick one not to be in third-and-long against, it would be this team.”

    (On WR Isaac Bruce)

    “His numbers were way off in 2005 and he had injury issues. He was able to stay healthy last year and this year he missed three games and parts of another. Injuries do take a chunk out of a person’s productivity. The one thing I can say about Isaac is he shows up for work everyday. He works extremely hard as if it were his first year not his 14th. You won’t see a different type of approach and that is what I respect most about him.”

    (On Bruce being 22 yards shy of moving into third place all-time in receiving yards)

    “It’s incredible what Isaac’s been able to do in his career. I’ve always said it’s because he is a true professional. He takes care of himself. He gets himself ready to play each week. He’s been like a lot of players in this league. He’s gone through some injury setbacks, but it can’t be many of them to be in that kind of company.”

    (On WR Torry Holt’s season)

    “Look at Torry’s numbers. They’re still right there with all the league leaders. He’s had a very difficult season, as we all have, but he’s had to deal with more of injuries in his setback. I’m impressed with the fact that even with the way the season’s gone, he’s been able to put up the kind of season he’s been able to do. He’ll finish with impressive numbers by season’s end.”

    (On P Donnie Jones)

    “If you play long enough or you kick long enough, you’re going to have your down cycles. He hasn’t had his best last couple of games. I believe he’ll have two real strong games in the next two games. It has nothing to do with anything other than having just a couple of off days.”

    (On LB Will Witherspoon is an alternate Pro Bowl selection)

    “Not that I’m aware of.”

    (On the types of problems S Troy Polamalu he presents)

    “He’s one of those guys that it seems like there are 12 guys on the field when he’s out there. He shows up everywhere. His range is pretty amazing. He plays close to the box. They have him in the deep half of the field. Sometimes he starts up close and runs down the play from behind. He’s one of those guys who has a great knack and feel for where the football is. You always have to be aware of where he is.”

    QB Marc Bulger

    December 18, 2007

    (On playing against Pittsburgh, his home town)

    “My real, real close friends root for me, but a lot of my acquaintances (root) for the Steelers. Anyone who stays at my house will be rooting for us, though.”

    (On if he loved the Steelers growing up)

    “I didn’t love them. I liked them. My dad was never really a big Steelers fan growing up because everyone in Pittsburgh loves them, so I think he liked to be the bad guy there. It is one of those things where you can understand here with Cardinals baseball how people are nuts. It’s probably even more in Pittsburgh with the Steelers. It’s one of those things where I think they’re going to be bringing just as many Steelers fans as last week with Green Bay, so we’ll get a little taste of that.”

    (On if his family just wanted to be different by not rooting for the Steelers)

    “No, it was my dad. I was still a Steelers fan.”

    (On who the family rooted for)

    “Notre Dame. That was it growing up. actually liked the Raiders.”

    (On friends calling to ask for tickets)

    “(There were) not too many. It’s a little more than usual, but it’s the same ones who come out for other games, so it was just about the same. There were some people out of the woodwork as you expect.”

    (On if he’s recognized in Pittsburgh often)

    “A lot less than here. It’s one of those cities where if you’re not a Steeler, they honestly think I play high school football somewhere. They think it’s a different league and I’m not kidding around. They love the Steelers and their third-string quarterback there is way more popular than I would ever be in Pittsburgh.”

    (On if he expects a significant turnout of Steelers fans at Thursday’s game)

    “I’d be surprised if it’s not like Green Bay. I think that you’ll see there’s going to be a lot of terrible towels and everything. They’ll be just as loud I think, so we have to get ready for that.”

    (On if Steelers will applaud Marshall Faulk’s jersey being retired)

    “I hope so. I think everyone, just like last week with Brett (Favre breaking Dan Marino’s all-time passing yards record)…Rams fans and Green Bay fans were just appreciating the moment and I think with Marshall it’ll be the same thing. People appreciate what he was able to do.”

    (On WR Torry Holt being selected to the Pro Bowl)

    “It’s funny when you have an ‘off-year’ for Torry, you look at his numbers and they’re still up there. That just shows that probably I take him for granted and I think everyone may because he continually, year in and year out, runs great routes and gets open.”

    (On what problems facing Pittsburgh’s top-ranked defense presents)

    “I think third and long. They’re obviously solid everywhere. 3-4 front, they have great athletes. I think third down is when they do the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen along with Coach (Jim) Haslett. First and second down are going to be important to get in third and short because when you get in those situations you can run the ball, you can throw it and expect man, but when you’re third and 10 or more, third and 8, it’s going to be tough to convert. First and second downs are going to be the key for us.”

    RB Steven Jackson

    December 18, 2007

    (On what 1,000 rushing yards would mean to him this year)

    “It means three consecutive years of playing at a high level and moving the ball on the ground. Trying to get something started, not only in my own personal career but we have come a long way in this offense. We moved the ball a lot through the air and now we are making the transition to a more balanced team. It is just saying that we are heading into the right direction.”

    (On if he feels as good and is playing as good as he ever has right now)

    “I feel like finally we have an offensive line that has been able to put a string of games together and that is allowing for me to get those runs. Those guys are doing a great job. It is going to be another tough task. A short week versus a defense that is pretty good against the run. If we can continue to get those creases and I can continue to run the ball hard like I have been, I think we can definitely continue to play at this high level.”

    (On how tough the Pittsburgh defense will be)

    “When you watch a team on film they always look good. They are aggressive, they create turnovers. Troy Polamalu and their linebacker corps are really good at pressuring the quarterback but that is a different matchup. We have to go out and see how we matchup with them. They may cause some confusion or we may give them some fits that another team may not. It will be interesting come Thursday.”

    (On WR Torry Holt being selected to the Pro Bowl)

    “I think we are all happy. We were a little disappointed that some of our defensive guys didn’t get in. (Will) Witherspoon and O.J. (Atogwe) both guys having great years. But Torry is a fine representative for our team and I think we are all happy for him. Personally I am and I am just disappointed that a few other guys couldn’t go over and make the trip with him.”

    (On if he is prepared for another 50-50 crowd and if he thinks that will be the situation again)

    “We will leave that to the front office. I think I have shared my opinion enough.”

    (On the bigger speakers on the field to crank the music)

    “Yeah you are right. Since you got me started, they did a great job of getting some music in their pumping. The crowd was into it. Now we just have to get the staff to not allow the other team to put signs up in the end zone. We are heading into the right direction though.”

    (On how much is being crammed into the week)

    “The coaches are prepared. They stay a week ahead. Cramming on the player’s part, we just have to put in that much more film. There are only so many reps that you can get it. Guy’s bodies are banged up and sore so in this instance we are just going to watch a lot more film than normal.”

    (On if he likes the short week)

    “No. Not at all. I touch the ball 24 times and get hit by five guys.”

    (On WR Isaac Bruce possibly moving into third all-time in receiving yards)

    “Isaac is a guy that we all look to. Me, myself, as a player and as a spiritual guy he is very grounded and issues that I am dealing with personally I can come and talk to Isaac and day-in and day-out he shows me how to be a professional and to just be all along a great guy on and off the field. He is one of those guys that I strive to be like and hopefully I can.”

    WR Isaac Bruce

    December 18, 2007

    (On what it will mean to move into third place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list)

    “It will mean I’m number three and I’ll be looking forward to being number two.”

    (On if he spends any time looking at the list)

    “Yeah, I have one in my locker right now. (Rams Assistant PR Director) Artis (Twyman) gives me one every week and I spend a little time looking at it and being grateful and thanking God for every single yard.”

    (On if he reflects back on his career)

    “Just a little bit. Not much because I’m still going, so it’s not my time to just sit back and look at the entire body of work.”

    (On if he was surprised that an announcement was not made immediately last Sunday when he passed Marvin Harrison for fourth place)

    “It’s no big deal to me. If they do, they do. If they don’t, they don’t. I passed a guy who is still playing in the league, so who knows. He could pass me this week, so I don’t think they’ll make an announcement.”

    (On if he’s thought about the possibility of this being his last home game as a Ram)

    “No. Not at all.”

    (On Marshall Faulk’s jersey being retired at halftime of the Steelers game and what he meant to the Rams)

    “He brought a lot of credibility to the organization once again. We’d had it once before and when he stepped in with the other guys we brought in it brought a ton of credibility. I always say my expectations went from one day playing in the playoffs to playing in Super Bowls and that’s exactly what I got.”

    (On if he wants his number 80 jersey to be retired)

    “I sure do. As soon as I’m done, go ahead and retire that number and put Henry Ellard’s name right on top of it.”

    (On if he expects his numbers to improve next year)

    “I just ask for more opportunities. I understand that we had a lot of injuries to our offensive line and in that time we had challenges protecting Marc (Bulger). If everything’s back to normal, Big O (Orlando Pace) is back, Marc is back, everyone is full strength – same numbers.”

    (On if it’s important to him to finish his career as a Ram)

    “Oh yeah. I was born in this family and I want to leave out as a Ram, so yeah.”

    (On if he’s considering the possibility of not being a Ram)

    “Not at all.”

    (On if he thinks the Rams are “any more dysfunctional than anyone else in the NFL”)

    “I don’t think we’re dysfunctional, I just think that with a down season like we had this year, you kind of get those different reactions. You get teams like Green Bay coming in, you’ll probably get more (Packer) fans. When Chicago comes in, you’ll probably get more (Bears) fans. We have to take total responsibility for that because if we win, our fans will be there and they’ll cheer. If we do everything condusive to them being there, they’ll be there the entire four quarters of the football game. With winning, you get a lot of great things, including calls from referees.”

    (On if he ever goes to team executives and tells them when things need to be fixed)

    “Me personally, when I feel like something needs to be fixed, I always look at myself as being the issue, so I need to fix me first instead of going somewhere else and telling someone else what they need to do. I look to me first and I don’t look at anyone else as far as what they need to do. That’s not my style. I go and look in the mirror and if there’s any change that needs to be made, I start with me.”

    (On if he blames the St. Louis fans for anything)

    “Not at all. They expect to win, just like I expect to win. This year you didn’t get that. I’ll just say this: when we go other places, there are fans who are true fans no matter what their team’s record is. I don’t blame them for what they do. It’s there choice, so be it.”

    (On if he “chalks the season up” to injuries)

    “Not really. I don’t want to make any excuses because every time we lose a guy we put someone else in. This is the professional ranks. You get paid to do what you do. No one is here on scholarship and there’s no walk-ons here, so we expect you to come in and play and perform and keep up the production level of the guy you’re replacing.”

    (On if he’s confident that the franchise will return to contending)

    “I’ll tell you what I had no idea when we were 4-12 that we would go to the Super Bowl the following year. Coming into that training camp I knew the players we brought in looked good on paper, but as far as going out and playing the games I didn’t think we’d end up where we were.”

    (On WR Torry Holt being selected to the Pro Bowl)

    “I’m very happy. He’s very deserving of it. He played well this year. He played extremely well in the games where there were a lot of injuries around him and he was the mainstay in that offense and it’s well deserved.”

    WR Torry Holt

    December 18, 2007

    (On how good it feels to be selected to play in another Pro Bowl)

    “It’s a good feeling. First and foremost I want to thank my teammates for believing in me; the coaching staff for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to get to this point. Thanks to the fans, thanks to the coaches that voted, thanks to the players that voted for me. I am truly thankful and it feels good. Coming off the knee surgery and the sputters that we had as a football team and to still be voted in and be thought of as an all-pro receiver is a really good feeling.”

    (On if the selection to the Pro Bowl this year stands out because of the obstacles he and the team has faced this year)

    “Yeah you hit it dead on the head. This one right here is definitely the product of the most special one that I have made since being in the league. I have just been trying to hold back a lot of emotion right now. This is an emotional deal for me right now but this is probably the most special one. Again, coming off the knee surgery and getting back and then losing players; Having a 3-10 record, the constant change at the quarterback position, the constant change of the offensive line, certain things like that and to still be able to hang in there and try to stay somewhat consistent and then to be thought of by your peers and by the coaches and the fans as an all-pro guy is a treat.”

    (On if there has been a day since the start of the season that his knee has felt normal)

    “I have had some days where it felt normal but I can count those on my hands as for how many times it has been that way. I dedicated a lot of my time and energy to making sure that I maintain my knee to where I can come out and play every Sunday. I cut back a lot of stuff that I could have done to promote myself or to do this or that. I just wanted to give all my energy and time to my body, to my knee so I can come out and try to be ready to help my teammates try to win some games.”

    (On how many days there has been where he hasn’t had some kind of treatment for his knee)

    “I have pretty much treated it everyday since the surgery. I will continue to treat it until the season is over and I will continue to treat it more once the season is over with. I am hoping that in the summer, as we get into the off season, things will start to shape up and start to feel a little better and get to normal. Until then I will continue to treat it and continue to keep it strengthened until I get back to close to 100 percent. I don’t know if I will ever get back to 100 percent but somewhere near.”

    (On the short week and how that affects him)

    “Tough week, tough week. I have started my preparation for myself as far as my body, I started Sunday night. Starting to soak and get in some Epsom salts and the cold tub, some massages, some stretching, meeting with the chiropractor, seeing a masseuse and all that stuff. So I have started pretty early. At this point I feel pretty good. Watching my teammates out there today everybody was running around and was moving around pretty good. We had some guys that were ailing out there but everybody fought through it and got through it so it will be interesting on Thursday.”

    (On what fun things he will do in Hawaii)

    “I will probably just kick back this time. Drink as many Mai Thais as I possibly can and smoke a few cigars and may go over to the battle ship, I haven’t done that yet. A lot of Mai Thais and a lot of cigars for me.”

    (On if he spent any time wondering if he would get selected to the Pro Bowl)

    “Yeah I did. Making the Pro Bowl is a goal of mine every year. When the team started to sputter and things started happening I thought there was a possibility that I could and a possibility that I couldn’t. I did have some mishaps and I could have done some things better, but I think overall, through the course of the season, I thought I played pretty consistent. Not to the level that I did in the past for numerous reasons but I felt I was staying somewhat consistent so I still felt I had a chance. Then when I looked at the other guys in the NFC and the other receivers in the league and what they were doing, here I am right there in the top four, I thought shoot I have a pretty legitimate shot at making it. Then I got the news today that I made it. I stuck on my guns and prayed on it and tried to stay consistent and help us win.”

    (On whom he told first about his selection)

    “I just called my pops and told him. He was excited and it was a little emotional there and then now I get off and will call home and call my family and call my brother and my sister and everybody and let them know what is going on.”

    (On if it is ‘Dad before wife’ when it comes to sports)

    “Actaully I couldn’t get her on the line so the next person in line was my pops and I called him and told him the good news.”

    (On how he found out that he was selected)

    “Coach told us at the end of practice. Listening to coach he felt like we could have had a few more guys like Will (Witherspoon) and O.J. (Atogwe) and Donnie (Jones) and other guys easily could have been Pro Bowlers themselves. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way. Those guys don’t have anything to hang their head about, they have had an outstanding season and hopefully they can come back out next year and duplicate it and open up some eyes and maybe get in.”

    (On if this week is like cramming for a test)

    “Well a little bit. It is more so film study. We will really see who is watching film because we don’t have a lot of time to get a lot of reps or get a lot of plays so now it is going to really come down to who is studying film, whose getting the edge and who is getting the beat. The same goes for them. That is the biggest challenge for this week. Getting a lot of film study in and then playing the game in your mind as you are watching film."

    (On how tough Pittsburgh is defensively)

    “Very tough, very physical. The 3-4 defense with the three guys down, (Casey) Hampton and those guys are tough. Their linebackers are very athletic hard hitters and in their secondary they have some guys that will knock your head off too. Very sound in their coverages so it is a very tough defense that we are facing. No different than last week.”

    (On being able to watch the Marshall Faulk ceremony before the game)

    “I am looking forward to it. I have been looking forward to it ever since they told me this would be happening. I have spoken with Marshall and have told him how proud I am of him. It will be a special time. It is going to be pretty special. I am pretty sure it will be emotional for him. I asked him if he was going to cry, he swore up and down that he wasn’t but I think he will probably shed a couple tears. A very exciting time for Marshall and his family and then for the guys that played with him and the guys on the team now to see it all go down.”

    (On WR Isaac Bruce needing 22-yards to move into third all-time in receiving yards)

    “That will be special and he will get it. You think about it, Marshall (Faulk) with the jersey being retired and being up in the rafters where Ike soon will be. Then Isaac getting 22 yards and moving into third place all-time receiving in the National Football League. I think it is going to be an electric, incredible night. A lot of history will be made Thursday night and I am glad that I am able to be a part of it and to see it and to physically be a part of it as far as playing with those guys.”

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    Re: Coach Scott Linehan December 18

    This is by far the best read I have had when reading player quotes. There are so many positives that I see in this if you read between the lines. These aren't guys that are looking to abandon ship...they are true warriors and are going to come back with a vengeance next season...mark my words!

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    Re: Coach Scott Linehan December 18

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    This is by far the best read I have had when reading player quotes. There are so many positives that I see in this if you read between the lines. These aren't guys that are looking to abandon ship...they are true warriors and are going to come back with a vengeance next season...mark my words!
    Exactly.....I'm with you Wraith.

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    Re: Coach Scott Linehan December 18

    Oh my, don't screw up now and lose out on the 2nd pick......

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