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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Defense Makes Statement

    Monday, October 4, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    SAN FRANCISCO- With complaints in St. Louis ranging from play-calling to the offensive line, the Rams’ defense has, perhaps, been the most maligned.

    Entering Sunday night’s game against the *****, the group had been pushed around by the likes of New Orleans’ running back Aaron Stecker. The questions swirled around the unit like a tornado. Why couldn’t they stop the run, some cried. How come they can’t get a turnover, others inquired.

    Consider those questions answered. Every member of the defense emphasized every day that nobody wanted to create big plays more than they did. Defensive end Leonard Little even went as far as taking the blame for the loss to the Saints, claiming that he needs to carry the defense at times.

    It was no coincidence then that Little came up with the ball when the Rams finally got that long-awaited takeaway. With 1:45 to go in the first quarter, linebacker Tommy Polley broke through the offensive line and pried the ball loose from San Francisco quarterback Tim Rattay as he brought his arm backward. The ball bounced forward where Little caught sight of it and made his move. With a golden opportunity to get that first turnover, Little said he wasn’t about to let it get away.

    “We work on scooping and scoring every day in practice, so I just wanted to pick the ball up first,” Little said. “I just picked it up, but the first objective was to get that possession and that first turnover.”

    The Rams’ sackmaster spent most of his evening moving all over the field, lining up on both sides of the line and generally wreaking havoc in the *****’ backfield.

    He said he doesn’t worry about where he plays as long as he is making things happen.

    “I don’t care, they can line me up at safety, I do not care,” Little said. “As long as the team wins and we keep getting on this roll.”

    Getting turnovers wasn’t the only goal for the Rams entering Sunday night’s game. The defense had been prone to allowing big running plays and was set on improving in that area. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett insisted that his teammates were much better than they had shown in the first three games, but were waiting to break out.
    That problem appeared to be corrected, also. The Rams held San Francisco to 58 rushing yards and only 3.1 yards per carry. Running back Kevan Barlow gained just 42 yards on 15 carries.

    Little said that kind of effort was exactly what the defense was looking for.

    “Our main objective was trying to stop the run,” Little said. “We were able to do that pretty much tonight. We did a good job.”

    LONG-TIME LISTENERS: Cornerback Kevin Garrett and offensive lineman Scott Tercero made their first career regular season starts against San Francisco.

    Garrett started in place of DeJuan Groce, who has battled a sprained right knee. Coach Mike Martz said earlier this week that he expected Groce back, but Groce was not quite healthy enough to make the start. Garrett finished with three tackles and a pair of pass defenses.

    Garrett is in his second season out of Southern Methodist. He appeared in nine games in his rookie season.

    Tercero replaced Chris Dishman at left guard. Dishman missed practice all week with a sprained knee after he injured it in the first quarter of the Sept. 12 game against New Orleans. Tercero was solid against the Saints and again Sunday night, helping pave the way to 360 total yards, 174 of which came on the ground.

    Tercero spent the final three weeks of the 2003 season on the active roster after spending the rest of the time on the practice squad.

    INJURY REPORT: More good news from Monster Park included the lack of injuries the Rams suffered. There were no substantial injuries. Receiver Torry Holt gave Rams’ fans a scare early in the game when he limped to the sidelines, but he returned shortly.

    The news was not so good for San Francisco on the injury front. Cornerback Mike Rumph stuck his arm out in front of a freight train known as Rams’ running back Steven Jackson. The result of the failed arm tackle was a broken arm. Rumph will probably miss serious time with the injury.

    INACTIVITY: In addition to Groce and Dishman, the other Rams’ inactives were: quarterback Jeff Smoker, cornerback Travis Fisher (broken forearm), linebacker Tony Newson (ankle), guards Blaine Saipaia and Darnell Alford (coaches decision), and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (foot).


  2. #2
    adarian_too's Avatar
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    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    A half a game a statement does not make. They let the Whiners dictate the 2nd half tempo. One will not learn how to play 60 minutes if one doesn't play the full 60 minutes. Why not punish the Whiners unmercifully? Coasting is a bad habit not worth picking up.

  3. #3
    AugustaRamFan Guest

    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    I will be more supportive once the Ram's Defense makes a statement against an upper echelon team. I hope they can make that statement this weekend. I am optimistic - however.

  4. #4
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    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    I think the Rams were using this game to A) hide whatever Martz is dreaming offensively and B) let other teams know that the defense for the Rams is evolving and will constantly try to get better. Little playing the monster screws up O lines blocking schemes. Little played LB in college, and was moved to the D line very successfully (thanks Martz, great call there). This gives the Rams the chance to possibly play as close to a 3-4 as possible to utilize their speed.

  5. #5
    akseahawkfan Guest

    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    What statement was sent by their play against the 9ers? They won a game that they should have won, but weren't very convincing in the process IMO.

  6. #6
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    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    Quote Originally Posted by akseahawkfan
    What statement was sent by their play against the 9ers?
    Game's on.

  7. #7
    viper's Avatar
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    Re: Defense Makes Statement

    Quote Originally Posted by adarian_too
    Game's on.
    As the warrior adarian-too shows the enemy the color of his blade.

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