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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/27/2006

    KANSAS CITY In the visitors' locker room late Saturday night, there wasn't a man in the room who didn't know what happened out there on the plush grass field of Arrowhead Stadium.

    "We had a relapse," running back Steven Jackson said in a voice barely above a whisper.

    "We didn't play a very clean game," coach Scott Linehan said in a clipped voice.

    "I don't mind the holding penalties all that much," quarterback Marc Bulger said, forcing a smile as he began cataloging all the miscues during the three-hour disaster of this 16-12 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. "But the mental mistakes -- the offsides, the missed assignments -- man, there were just too many of those tonight."
    This was the night the Rams were supposed to show us something. This was the night when Linehan's offensive X's and O's would come alive and the first-unit defense would flex its muscles against a worthy adversary named Larry Johnson, and everyone would see the sort of progress that the Rams had made from last season's nightmare to this season's rebirth.



    Well, excuse me if I hold off on the renaissance a bit longer, because by the end of this breezy night, the only thing the Rams starters revealed was some potentially troubling glimpses into an uncertain future. After a relatively mistake-free start to the preseason, the Rams have spent the last two games repeating annoying and disturbing self-destructive habits.

    In a game where large men in heavy armor fly around with the sole intent of knocking people senseless, it goes without saying that there will be a certain degree of imperfection in a football game. I also understand that when a team is in the process of learning a new offensive and defensive system, growing pains are to be expected.

    But what I saw happen inside Arrowhead Stadium bothered me, and I know it bothered Linehan. As I've told you before, this guy's a perfectionist. He's been stressing mistake-free football since the start of training camp, and after a relatively efficient effort against Indianapolis two weeks ago, it appeared that his methods were working.

    Yet with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos only two weeks away, the Rams committed far too many mental and physical mistakes on both sides of the ball.

    If the Rams don't work out these kinks and contain the sloppiness in a hurry, this could be a long and painful season to endure. There was one nightmarish blur early in the third quarter that highlighted exactly how self-destructive these breakdowns can be. Left guard Richie Incognito, who was called earlier for one drive-killing penalty, was caught on an illegal chop block that nullified what would have been a 15-yard touchdown pass by Bulger, and the only touchdown of the preseason for the Rams' first unit.

    After the TD was wiped out, Bulger attempted to throw another pass on the next play, but tailback Moe Williams, a supposed third-down specialist, whiffed on a pass-protection block, allowing Chiefs defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson to roar in and sack Bulger, taking the Rams out of scoring position.

    I don't care very much about winning preseason games. The NFL history books are filled with pages that tell stories of Super Bowl winners going through the preseason with losing records. But if you look back on those teams, what you see are teams that are polishing up their acts in these dress rehearsals.

    Right now, there is very little polishing going on for the Rams, and they look as if they're a long way from being ready for the regular season.

    "The good news is, it's only the preseason," Bulger said. "Now if we're still talking about this after the Denver game..."

    Bulger shrugged his shoulders, smiled a bit and didn't finish the sentence. Of course, he didn't have to.


  2. #2
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    i agree totally,its like what i said in another post,these games do matter to a team like the rams,maybe not the score,but getting everybody on the same page, working hard to eliminate the mistakes and penalties.right now this team is a long ways away from being a playoff team.

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    Absolutely, JKramsfan! That's what I'm talking about!

    My consolation is that it seems Coach Linehan and his staff, as well as the Rams players, are definitely taking note of these issues and, hopefully, getting ready to overcome them. Pronto...

    Good, realistic article by Burwell.

  4. #4
    Thresher Guest

    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    I recall watching the Raiders for years, through 3 different coaches (until Chucky) a myriad of players and all sorts of different schemes. Raider football was synonimous with holding, false starts, roughing the passer, and conduct unbecoming an NFL player. It was sickening to watch. Seriously 6 years or something ridiculous of leading the league in penalties.

    The last 4 years watching the Rams has made me feel ill in the same way.

    I could be way off base here but it seems we are about 18 weeks from taking that title.

    It saddens me, Vermeil ran a very tight ship, from day one. I just can't imagine that Linehan won't get the train back on the tracks, who knows...

  5. #5
    LaRamsFanLongTime Guest

    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    right now this team is a long ways away from being a playoff team.
    Well considering it is August I would not disagree with you. The Rams looked rocky they have not played great. Bulger is off and we have seen a porus line. We also saw Pace, Bruce, and Holt out hmmmmm you think that could have an effect on this team? Too many of you hang your head in times like these. Seriously its preseason. Things are not looking great but preseason seldom is a barometer for success. There is a couple issues that need to need to be addressed lets not jump in front of a bus just yet hey guys and gals.

  6. #6
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    Quote Originally Posted by LaRamsFanLongTime View Post
    We also saw Pace, Bruce, and Holt out hmmmmm you think that could have an effect on this team?
    Just to clarify, Pace actually played the first half, to my knowledge.
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  7. #7
    LaRamsFanLongTime Guest

    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    Just to clarify, Pace actually played the first half, to my knowledge.
    I already erased the game from my DVR so I cannot check on that now. Did he play the whole first half? I thought I remember Steussie being in his place most the game. I can be wrong though it happens like once maybe twice a year.

  8. #8
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Error-prone Rams are a long way from being ready

    LARAMSFANLT, FYI...

    Bruce sits out because of injury to hamstring [partial quote, see blue below]

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/27/2006

    KANSAS CITY The Rams were minus both starting receivers Saturday, when Isaac Bruce was a late scratch for the Governor's Cup preaseason game with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Bruce was held out of most of Wednesday's practice at Rams Park because of what coach Scott Linehan referred to as "camp legs." Bruce had a tight hamstring during pregame warmups at Arrowhead, and it was decided to hold him out of Saturday's game as a precaution.

    "His hamstring is probably about 80 percent, and he did hurt it (Wednesday)," Linehan said. "He practiced about three-quarters speed most of the week. He says it doesn't feel very good. We actually went out and worked him out (during pregame), and he just felt like it was too tight. I didn't want to risk any further injury."

    Meanwhile, Torry Holt sat out as expected with a bruised sternum suffered in last week's preseason game against Houston.


    Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald started in place of Bruce and Holt.

    Injury update

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy left the game momentarily in the first quarter with what was described as an ankle injury but returned later in the first half.

    "It didn't appear to be too bad, but we'll wait and see," said Linehan, who said Kennedy probably would undergo an MRI exam.

    Curtis suffered a slight concussion on a play that resulted in a Kansas City interception late in the first half but returned to play in the third quarter.

    Left tackle Orlando Pace returned to action after missing the Houston game with a sore ankle, knee and hip. But while the rest of the offensive starters played into the third quarter, Linehan replaced Pace in the first half with Todd Steussie.
    Last edited by RealRam; -08-27-2006 at 06:17 PM.

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