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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    By Howard Balzer
    Monday, August 11, 2008



    MEQUON, Wis. – Scott Linehan might not be a fan of Bing Crosby, but forgive the Rams’ coach if he was humming a Crosby tune after his team returned from Tennessee, victims of a 34-13 loss Saturday night.


    You might have heard Linehan say: “You've got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Mister In-Between.”


    While the loss to the Titans Saturday night looked like more of the same things that led to a 3-13 season in 2007, Linehan managed to find some silver linings behind the dark clouds.


    “I saw some good things,” Linehan said Sunday. “Certainly started a little slow. But they drove down, they got a big play to put themselves in position to score and we stopped them. That was great. We had bad luck with turnovers and bad field position. The great part about the whole thing for me was they settled down and put together a good drive, got points on the board. We were playing one of the best defenses in football last year. It was a good test for us to work against them and carry it over to the game. I was happy with how in the first half, from the start of the first half and to the end of the first half, our guys started to settle in and play.”


    The difficulty in evaluating preseason football is that so many players participate, that consistency is hard to achieve. When the starters depart as early as they do, you never know what would have happened.


    “If we played the whole game with that group, I think we would’ve had a hell of a game,” Linehan added. “When we talk about the other four quarters, I can’t say so much for the rest of the game, we didn’t do much. But, for the first half I thought there was a lot of good things, it was nice to see our first two-minute drive take it down, get points.”


    Linehan was also pleased with the play of the first offensive line. “It was
    a good start as far as guys up front,” he said. “I thought our guys did a good job against a really good front, both on the run and the pass as far as the line.”


    When camp opened, Brett Romberg and Richie Incognito were competing at center, with Mark Setterstrom at right guard. But when Setterstrom injured his knee early in camp, Incognito slid back to right guard. Setterstrom is back, and played right guard with the second unit, but Linehan indicated the first unit will stay as is with Romberg at center.


    “I think we’re probably set where we are going to be with our O-line unless something changes,” he said.


    Despite the fact many players on the field in the second half Saturday night won’t be on the roster when the season opens Sept. 7, Linehan knows establishing a priority of producing in the second half has to be established. The Rams were outscored 14-0 in the second half. Last season, they were on the short end of a 258-96 count in the second halves of games and 147-40 in the fourth quarter.


    Linehan said, “I’m not happy with it, and it’s not acceptable. We didn’t get it done and we are going to if it kills me. We’re going to figure out a way to be much, much better in that area. We continue to search for whatever it’s going to take to be there. And, our guys will get there. We’ve been working very hard, we’re conditioning. I don’t think it’s a conditioning thing. I think it’s our mentality has to be, the game is won in the second half. Positioning is in the first half, the game is won in the second half, that’s what we’re going to have to get done.”


    The Rams host the Chargers Saturday night, and when asked the importance of winning, Linehan said, “It’s very important. That’s why we play them. That’s our goal and it’s very important. I don’t discount the importance of any game, preseason or not. There’s not a whole lot of good that comes out of losing a game. But, once it’s over you have to look at the positives and there were some positives that we can really build on as far as our team finishing, controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought the offensive line played well, I thought there was some good play out there and a lot of guys having to take a lot of snaps.


    “And, we played our game without our middle linebacker and our tailback. That is the obvious stuff that happened, because it is what it is. You’re always extremely disappointed when you don’t win and that’s how we feel because we didn’t win this game. Ultimately, you want to have your team primed and ready to go and get all those things done.”


    Reviewing other issues:

    *Linehan on rookie cornerback Justin King being lost for the season: “He was playing good. He was playing good in the game. He’s made progress, until he had the injury and now it’s a weird deal, but I feel bad for him because he came in and worked really hard. He was really going to push for a lot of playing time throughout this year, so we’re obviously light at corner and we’re light at safety now with Jerome (Carter) out. I don’t know how long he’s going to be out.”


    King will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left big toe and will be placed on injured reserve. Carter injured his groin. With free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe out with a hamstring injury, there was such a lack of depth that international practice squad player Sebastian Sejean played in the fourth quarter and was credited with two tackles. In addition to King and Carter, tackle Brandon Gorin suffered a slight tear to the rotator cuff and will be out at least two weeks.


    * Linehan on the play of quarterback Brock Berlin: “He played very well and very efficient. I have seen him do that for a lot of years. I really like him and he’s always been really good in those two-minute situations like he was the other night. I thought he looked very poised and bought some time avoiding the rush a few times and made some nice plays. He just looked very much under control. That’s what you want to see. I see an improved player from the time he first came into the league. He has really worked on his game. I was really happy with him.”


    *Linehan on the rookie linebackers (Chris Chamberlain, David Vobora and Marc Magro, who played a lot): “I think the rookie linebackers look like rookies. I think, I would highlight Chris Chamberlain though, I think he seemed to step up his game, and he was probably the most productive in this particular game, and he showed really good coverage ability. He’ll be a good space player and matches up well in those regular personnel groupings. The other guys are just going through some growing pains and have made progress, but the bottom line is for a linebacker, you have to be right. You have to be lined up right, you have to hit the right fit, you have to get the guy tackled. We didn’t do that. We didn’t do a good enough job of that in this game.”


    DICKY V IN TOWN

    Former Rams coach Dick Vermeil will be spending a few days with the team as the Wisconsin portion of camp ends. Vermeil arrived Sunday at the invitation of Linehan.


    “He misses it; he wanted to come stay in the dorm again,” Linehan joked.


    Linehan did add, “I was glad he was able to make it. I told him I would like him to come, spend a couple days, visit with the team here one of these nights before we leave. Kind of pick his brains about 1999, about how every year is different. But, as coaches, we all have to stick together, because you have those up waves and those down waves, you have to pick the other guy’s brain to see what they did.”


    Looking as good as ever, Vermeil still misses coaching and leading a team. “I could still do it,” he insisted. “But I don’t know for how long. I have the energy, but not the stamina.”


    THE LONG TRIP BACK

    The trip from Nashville to Mequon was the longest of this summer journey, right around 560 miles. It was fine until getting bogged down in Chicago traffic for more than an hour. Perhaps the traffic was spillover from Saturday’s Bud Billiken Parade. And you thought only St. Louis University had a Billiken.


    Spots passed along the way were the National Corvette Museum, a sign that hailed “Historic Downtown Bowling Green,” and, of course, the Albanese Candy Store in Merrillville, Ind., that features “The World’s Best Gummi Bears.”


    The odometer hit 2,000 miles outside Horse Cave, Ky.


    Finally, on Interstate 94 West entering Wisconsin, I once again saw the sign for the Bong Recreation Area. This time, I noticed it was at Exit 340. That’s the number of rushing yards the Rams allowed Saturday night. Hmmm. Is there a connection?
    Last edited by RamWraith; -08-11-2008 at 06:31 PM.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Finding The Bright Spots

    Please don't mention "bong" around Fahkir Brown.

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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Finding The Bright Spots

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    “If we played the whole game with that group, I think we would’ve had a hell of a game,” Linehan added. “When we talk about the other four quarters, I can’t say so much for the rest of the game, we didn’t do much.
    I agree, we didn't do much in those four quarters, the rest of the game was great though. Too bad there wasn't any overtime. I think that leaves the cointoss?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Finally, on Interstate 94 West entering Wisconsin, I once again saw the sign for the Bong Recreation Area. This time, I noticed it was at Exit 340. That’s the number of rushing yards the Rams allowed Saturday night. Hmmm. Is there a connection?
    I think we better send someone to take down the sign that leads to the "Bong Recreation Area" before the team bus passes by and someone gets tempted...

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    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: Finding The Bright Spots

    “If we played the whole game with that group, I think we would’ve had a hell of a game,” Linehan added. “When we talk about the other four quarters, I can’t say so much for the rest of the game, we didn’t do much. But, for the first half I thought there was a lot of good things, it was nice to see our first two-minute drive take it down, get points.”

    Okay, seriously, does this guy come to work in a short, yellow bus?

  5. #5
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Finding The Bright Spots

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Linehan
    “I think we’re probably set where we are going to be with our O-line unless something changes,” he said.
    Set unless something changes. Yeah.......that makes sense.

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