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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    04/15/2008


    Back in 1999, the Rams turned a 4-12 doormat into “The Greatest Show on Turf.” They did this by making smart moves -- trading for Marshall Faulk, drafting Torry Holt, finding London Fletcher as an undrafted free agent, etc. -– and by exploiting a soft schedule.

    The 2008 Rams will have no such opportunity. Their schedule is a load. After seeing how it will unfold in the fall, fans have little reason for optimism.

    Scott Linehan’s troops ought to do better than 3-13 this season -– assuming their offensive line remains upright -– but getting to the high side of .500 will be an ENORMOUS challenge.

    Even if the Rams do a terrific job with the draft and make a few more veteran additions, they will find victories difficult to come by. Plenty of early challenges loom and most of the easier games come later, when their spirit could be broken.

    Walk through their 2008 schedule (which is devoid of prime-time games) and see what we mean:

    Sept. 7, at Philadelphia: Andy Reid is still coach, quarterback Donovan McNabb is still quarterback and Eagles fans are still restless. But McNabb believes another offseason of rehab will help him regain mobility on his battered knee and he should be fresh in Week 1. And he actually believes his team can improve on its 8-8 finish. “We're going to continue to get stronger as the team continues to build, and we look good to put a good showing on the football field,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.


    Sept. 14, New York Giants: Eli Manning is all grown up now. He doesn’t have to borrow his brother’s Super Bowl ring, because he earned one of his own. So he won’t be intimidated by the noise at the Edward Jones Dome. Then again, the dome might not be quite so noisy this season due to the suffocating pessimism.

    Sept. 21, at Seattle: The Seahawks always beat the Rams. Last year, Seattle won 33-6 at home and 24-19. That the Rams poached reliable Seahawks kicker Josh Brown won’t make a bit of difference. We’ll believe a Linehan-coached team can beat a Mike Holmgren-coached team when we see it. The good news for the Rams: Holmgren will retire after this season and hand the team to successor Jim Mora Jr.

    Sept. 28, Buffalo: The Bills, 7-9 a year ago, are just a pedestrian AFC team. But the AFC is a much better conference, so this is a surprisingly dangerous game for the home team. The Rams could easily finish the first quarter of the season 1-3 or worse.

    Oct. 5, Bye: Coaches usually prefer to get their bye week later in the season. Nothing about this schedule is good for the Rams.

    Oct. 12, at Washington: This opponent is a wild card. Joe Gibbs re-retired after a 9-7 finish and owner Danny Snyder opted for unproven Jim Zorn as his successor. Then the Redskins eschewed the free-agent marketplace, putting all the front office focus on the draft. Quarterback Jason Campbell has some growth potential, but it’s tough to be optimistic about that aging offensive line. When the Rams have the ball, look for Al Saunders to get creative and show up his old bosses. Does an upset loom?

    Oct. 19, Dallas: Tony Romo can’t win a playoff game, but he can certainly lead the Cowboys to overwhelming regular season success -– even with the Simpson Family bringing all those needless distractions into his life. Jerry Jones won’t rest until he has another juggernaut in the Big D. Dallas is one very dangerous visitor.

    Oct, 26, at New England: Even if the Patriots decide not to bug the Rams’ hotel meeting rooms, they will have a big tactical advantage. Bill Belichick could out-coach Linehan over the phone. Matt Walsh could send his entire video collection to the Rams and it would not matter.

    Nov. 2, Arizona: Quarterback Matt Leinart is hanging out with Nick Lachey and packs of college age girls. Based on the Internet photos we’ve seen, he ought to have a beer bong endorsement. Fortunately, coach Ken Whisenhunt still has old friend Kurt Warner to call on. Warner beat the Rams 34-31 here in a relief performance in Week 5 last season. Then he strafed his old team for 300 yards and three TDs in a season-ending 48-19 victory. With Warner at the helm, Arizona went 5-3 during the second half of the ’07 season. Rams fans better hope Leinart starts.

    Nov. 11, at New York Jets: Something tells us that Eric Mangenius, er, Mangini won’t allow this team to finish 4-12 again. After a busy offseason of refining his team sideline defensive signals, the young coach will have his group poised for an 8-8 finish. The Jets also doled out new contracts worth more than $140 million. “What happened last year we're going to learn from, but it's not going to control what happens this year,” Mangini told the New York Post. “One thing I can say with conviction: We're working as hard and as smart as we possibly can to get better and make progress.” The cold, windy conditions in the Meadowlands will hurt the Rams as well.

    Nov. 16, at San Francisco: Mike Nolan feels Linehan’s pain. He must win this year. Coming off a 5-11 disappointment, he made major changes while taking his football operation in a new direction. He had to relinquish his GM duties. He brought in Mike Martz to retool his offense. Mad Mike, in turn, helped woo Rams icon Isaac Bruce. Suddenly, ***** Week will be much more interesting, especially after a three-month wait.

    Nov. 23, Chicago: For reasons that aren’t clear to rational people, the Bears extended the Rex Grossman Experiment for at least one more season. (Will he still have the job this late in the season? We doubt it.) And the team is enduring another offseason of contract squabbles. Did this team really win a NFC Championship? That seems unimaginable today.

    Nov. 30, Miami: Even if the Dolphins draft tackle Jake Long, thus breaking Linehan’s heart, it’s hard to imagine them winning in St. Louis. They are recovering from their 1-15 fiasco. Bill Parcells will need some time to rebuild this football operation from top to bottom. Too bad the Rams didn’t get this game earlier in the schedule, to build momentum.

    Dec. 7, at Arizona: Even if Warner has two broken legs, he will beg Whisenhunt for the start. He could throw for 300 yards with his left arm.

    Dec. 14, Seattle: This will be Holmgren’s last chance to beat the Rams at The Ed. What sort of pre-game ceremonies are planned?

    Dec. 21, San Francisco: Maybe at this late stage of the season, Bruce will have a pulled hammy. Or maybe Mad Mike will have suffered his final crack-up.

    Dec. 28, at Atlanta: Falcons owner Arthur Blank really misses Michael Vick. He corresponds with him in prison. He does NOT correspond with former coach Bobby Petrino; that guy left his organization in disarray. For instance, the surviving football people want to draft defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey . . . while Blank prefers quarterback Matt Ryan, who could help him move past Vick. Something tells us this team will struggle again this season. Too bad the Rams can’t play them earlier, to give them a confidence builder.

    Does anybody see more than five or six victories on this schedule?


  2. #2
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    well it does look a tad brutal but lets see how brutal we can be before waving the white flag!

    :r

  3. #3
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    11 and 5! 11 and 5!


    errrr.....

    (ejects from thread)

  4. #4
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Why is everyone so afraid of this schedule? The Rams are not a 3-13 team when healthy. I love this doom and gloom crap before the season, way to help sell the team Jeff. I think the Rams can finish between 8-8 to 10-6 if they stay healthy.

    At Philly-Win,Tough place to start but the Rams could win it there.
    Giants-Loss, they won the Superbowl doesnt make them world beaters they wont win them all.
    At Seattle-Loss
    Buffalo-Win
    At-Wash Win
    Dallas-Loss
    At Pats-Loss
    Zona-Win
    At NYJ-Loss
    At SF-Win they are gonna stink
    Da Bears-Win
    Miami-WIn
    At Zona-Loss not out of the question for a win though
    Seattle-Loss I think we can win though
    Frisco-Win
    At ATL-WIn

    9-7 not out of the question. What if the Rams surprise a few teams. A healthy o-line and a upright Bulger makes the Rams a tough opponent. Oh woe is Jeff Gordon the season is over already. I like a healthy Rams team with Saunders calling the plays using Jackson,Holt,McMichael and all his weapons against a lot of teams. I love the you dont have a shot role like we will get in week two. No one will give us a chance to beat the Gints. No one will give us a shot vs Pats and Cowgirls either but I like our chances if we are healthy. GO RAMS screw this doom and gloom crap.
    Just Fix It

  5. #5
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Okay Jeff...

    So, in April 1999, how many teams saw the St. Louis Rams on their schedule and said "there's a win!"

    Yes, its a brutal looking schedule, but things change rapidly in the NFL.

    I think I'd rather wait until at least August before I start predicting wins and losses.

  6. #6
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    It's not as bad as Pittsburg though. I think we're going to do alot better against Arizona and San Fran this year. And Seattle won't be as difficult this year.

    Eagles (away) - It'll be a toughy, but it will show the fans what we can do against a decent team.
    Giants- Loss. They're one of the better teams now, it'll be difficult for us.
    Seahawks- I think we could win this year. Hopefully Jacob Bell and co can keep Kerney still. But I don't see it happening. Loss
    Buffalo- Win. These guys are ok at best. If we get things straight, we'll be good
    Redskins - I think we could win this one. They're good, but we got their OC, he knows the system a bit.
    Cowboys - Loss. No doubt about it. We may get close, but close won't cut it.
    Dirty Cheaters (away) - Loss. Definately. Still one of the better teams. It'd be nice to get payback for cheating against us though.
    Cardinals - Win. The Cards coming to the dome and trying to beat us will be diffcult this season
    Jets (away) - I'm a little worried about this one. They stocked up their squad and have a high pick like us. I think we won't get this one.
    Niners - Win. Let's hope that Bruce doesnt slap us in the face by beating us. The DB's are gonna step it up.
    Bears-Win. They don't have the offensive weapons, but still have that famous D. We can still control the momentum of the game with the air attack.
    Miami - Win. They won't get too much this draft. They're QB will probably be weak again.
    Cardinals (away) - I dont think we can pull this one off. We got stomped last year. But a win isn't out of sight
    Seattle - It'll be close. I don't see a win however...
    Niners - Win. They won't be that good. Especially at the dome
    Falcons (away) - Win. Even if they draft Dorsey, it wont be enough to stop Marc Bulger and co.

  7. #7
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Even if the Rams do a terrific job with the draft and make a few more veteran additions, they will find victories difficult to come by. Plenty of early challenges loom and most of the easier games come later, when their spirit could be broken."

    I think this statement is correct. We must weather the storm or it might not matter about the late season games.
    :ramlogo:

  8. #8
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    Even if the Rams do a terrific job with the draft and make a few more veteran additions, they will find victories difficult to come by. Plenty of early challenges loom and most of the easier games come later, when their spirit could be broken."

    I think this statement is correct. We must weather the storm or it might not matter about the late season games.
    I see what you mean. I don't think we'll go 0-8 for the first 8 weeks. I think the spirits will be a lot higher. It'll be difficult this year, but we're going to be a different team in 08. Even with a few changes, kicker Josh Brown won't be missing easy field goals, and the addition of Bell will keep Bulger off his back and making holes for Steven Jackson to run through.

    We'll be better. Sure, maybe not a superbowl team, but we'll be much better than 3-13.

  9. #9
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    It would be amazing to get to the bye week with a 2-2 record. If we dont play well early or get unlucky with injuries again, we could basically be out by mid season (again)

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  10. #10
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    It's too early for this, sometimes a schedule that looks brutal in April can look like a breeze as the season progresses.

  11. #11
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Okay Jeff...

    So, in April 1999, how many teams saw the St. Louis Rams on their schedule and said "there's a win!"

    Yes, its a brutal looking schedule, but things change rapidly in the NFL.

    I think I'd rather wait until at least August before I start predicting wins and losses.
    Agreed. Jees...relax y'all!

    The W-L record (1998) of the teams we faced in 1999 was 111-117. (49%)

    The W-L record (2007) of the teams we face this year is 102-106. (49%)

    1 game per team. Sorry - big whoop. and just for the record, our 1998 division opponents swept us, like last year, (except for S.F.)

    The NFC East is overrated - split. 2 wins.

    Ditto the AFC East. Split - 2 wins.

    Split in our division - 3 wins.

    Beat Atlanta and Chicago. 9-7.

    And, incidentally, we knew who we were playing over a month ago - why all the uproar now?

    Gordon's just playin' it safe because he predicted 9-7 last year. What does he know.

    If we're 3-5 at mid-season, we're playoff bound.
    Last edited by VegasRam; -04-17-2008 at 03:32 PM. Reason: laRam0's post - adjusted W-L records.

  12. #12
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    I for one also believe that if we can start off 2-2 that we will be in fantastic shape for the playoffs. Those final seven games look really soft to me.

  13. #13
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    The end of the schedule could allow us to sneak into a Wild Card birth. If we hold the fort until the bye at .500 we would be in great shape. I am inline with the 8-8/9-7 crowd. It is a brutal schedule but it is the NFL. At least the division is weak this year.

  14. #14
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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Our opponents for 2008 had a combined won/loss record of 102/106 for 2007.

    You Gotta Believe.:r:l

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    Re: Even if Rams improve, this schedule will bury them

    Oh the expectations of 08 season:

    The world is full of what-ifs, could have, and should have. The Rams are a case in point. Fact is every team on occation will have a tough schedual--its a given. The differnce is the Rams despite the tactical genious of SCOTTY LINEHAN are not ready for 08.

    Pity that the Rams wasted 3 years and are none the closer to fielding a divisional championship team let alone a contender for the conference. The objective any coach is to build stronger team as time goes on--Like Billick and the Pats (near perfect season in 07)...NOW had Scotty done his job, 2008 would have been tough as it is, but due in to no small part of his incompence its an up hill battle with the enemy firmly entrenched

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