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Thread: Hall of Famer Motivates Rams
Hall of Famer Motivates Rams
Saturday, December 15, 2007
By Brett Grassmuck
After last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
In a disappointing season that has been rocked by injuries, it’s easy to understand if the 3-10 Rams needed a little extra motivation to finish the season strong, especially with three playoff contenders on the schedule to finish out the season.
Saturday morning, that motivation walked through the front doors of the Russell Training Center in the form of Hall of Fame defensive end David “Deacon” Jones.
“I’m here because I played eleven years here, and I'm always associated with this team permanently,” Jones, who was invited by head coach Scott Linehan, told the squad. “It doesn’t go away. So you want to see the team do well. I’ve been in this position before myself, and I know once you start losing, that it’s just the opposite of winning. You can get used to losing, too, and then you stop paying attention and wait until next year. It won't change next year if you don’t do something about it this year.”
Jones is recognized one of the greatest defensive ends to play the game of football. He played 11 seasons for the Rams from 1961 through 1971 and was part of the “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line along with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 in his first year of eligibility. He was named to the Pro Bowl eight times during his playing days and in 1999 was named Defensive End of the Century by Sports Illustrated.
Jones and the Fearsome Foursome redefined what it meant to play defensive line in the NFL, specializing in getting after the quarterback. Jones is actually the player that coined the term “sack,” as it was not an official statistic when he played.
“I named it for the simple reason that there was no name for what we did,” Jones said. “There was no name for tackling the quarterback. You’re not going to get a headline unless you do something that fits the headline. Sack fits the headline.”
If Jones’ sacks would have been official, he would rank third in NFL history with 173.5 behind Buffalo’s Bruce Smith (200) and Green Bay’s Reggie White (198).
Jones said naming his craft was all about bringing an identity to the defensive line, a position that is not as glamorous, though just as important, as say a quarterback or a running back.
He said the term “sack” would provide that identity because it could be worked into newspaper headlines, but the term also came about because of what he visualized when he played.
“You put all the offensive linemen into a burlap bag and take a baseball bat and beat on the bag,” Jones said. “It all ties together. It gave what we did an identification. We were the least paid people on the payroll scale. When I left this game, we were second to quarterbacks.”
Jones may have been seen as one of the more outgoing players in the locker room, but on the field it was all business and after he brought down a quarterback, it was on to the next play.
“I hope nobody dances on me tomorrow, because you have no reason to dance,” Jones said. “That’s wasted energy anyway, energy that could be used on a play. I’d break both of your legs if you danced on me.”
When Jones left the game, it was a different era. Since then the way the game is played and the rules have evolved, but Jones says the basic fundamentals are still in tact.
“They’re still blocking and tackling,” Jones said. “They may be calling it something different now, but the field ain’t no wider and it ain’t no longer. They still have eleven men on both sides of the ball. You can’t punish anybody anymore, and that’s why I’m happy I played when I did. I’d hate to have to play this game and not be able to punish a quarterback. They’ll kill you now for hitting a quarterback. I had my chance at it.”
Jones first spoke with the Rams defensive line during team meetings Saturday morning, and then addressed the entire team following Saturday’s practice.
He told the Rams that he has been in their shoes, and that the only way to win is to play together.
“What I was trying to get them to understand and accept is that they’re the only ones that can lift this (losing record) off their neck,” Jones said. “There has to be 53 of them that walk out of that tunnel tomorrow and decide that this is enough. Once that clicks in, you’ll understand how easy this game is to play.”
He told the team that injuries, although tough, are no excuse.
“Injury happens to everybody, but every Sunday that you go out that door, you have 53 men with you,” Jones said. “They might not be the ones you wanted, but you have 53 and that’s what you have to use. You have to make due with that.”
But most importantly, he wanted them to continue to play with the passion, fire and intensity that NFL players need to be successful.
“This is a game of emotions, and your emotions have to be on top of your shoulders all the time, because that is the thing that will carry you through,” Jones said.
The Rams motivation Sunday will be the same that it is each week, to go out, compete and finish the season strong, but the presence of one of the greatest Rams in the history of the franchise should provide a little extra lift.
“I always like coming back,” Jones said. “I still have a lot of friends here that played or that were there when I played the game. I’ve got eleven years here, and that doesn’t just disappear. I know management very well. I knew Georgia (Frontiere, Chairman/Owner) when they were with the Baltimore Colts. Relationships go back a long time, and they don’t go away. I still love the game of football, and if I wasn’t so far away, I’d be here a lot more.”
Re: Hall of Famer Motivates Rams
Is it too late to have the good Deacon suit up for todays game?[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Re: Hall of Famer Motivates Rams
if having big Deacon glaring down at you doesn't motivate you then nothing will.
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