By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
10/21/2008

No, coach Jim Haslett insisted Monday, he didn't throw a chair during his impassioned speech to the Rams before Sunday's meeting with the Dallas Cowboys.

"I didn't throw anything," Haslett said. "You'll know if I throw something."

Still, Haslett acknowledged that he minced no words including a strong assortment of blue language in firing up his troops for the heralded Cowboys.

This is the basic text of the speech "without all the other stuff mixed in," according to Haslett:

"All I said to them was, 'It's not who we're playing. It's still a game. Go out and have fun. Don't worry about the team you're playing. Don't worry about all the hype and all the bull that you hear about this team, America's Team and all that. Just go out and have fun and play hard. Good things will happen to us.'"

Obviously, the message was received. The Rams blistered Dallas 34-14 in one of their most riveting home performances in recent years.

"I think the guys have kind of bought into what we're trying to do," Haslett said. "They feel good about themselves and are taking ownership in their team. You've got to like that."

As for the specific reasons behind the Rams' 2-0 turnaround since they opened 0-4 and Scott Linehan was fired, Haslett offered no sage enlightenment.

"I can't answer that, to be honest with you," he said. "It's working, so take advantage of it. The guys are into it. We practice hard, and they have fun when they're out there. That's the way it should be.

"So, as long as we keep that up, we'll be all right."

INJURY UPDATES

Todd Johnson, a backup safety and special-teams standout, suffered the most serious injury Sunday: a bruised kidney that will keep him hospitalized for a day or two and off the field for a couple of weeks.

Johnson was injured on the same Dallas punt return early in the third quarter on which teammate Derek Stanley was knocked cold. Stanley was checked out at a hospital but didn't spend the night there. He'll undergo a neurological exam today.

Defensive tackle Adam Carriker sustained a sprain low on his left ankle. Carriker was wearing a walking boot Monday and said he wouldn't be able to practice until Friday. Haslett called him questionable for Sunday's contest at New England.

BACK IN IT?

As goofy as it might seem, the Nov. 2 Rams-Cardinals matchup at the Edward Jones Dome could be for first place in the NFC West. That would be the case if the Rams (2-4) beat the Patriots and Arizona (4-2) loses at Carolina on Sunday.

Not that Haslett is interested in such possibilities at this point.

"I really don't even know the records in the league right now," he said. "I know we're not in the mix, so I'm not really worried about it."

Asked whether he realized that the Rams were in second place in their division, Haslett replied, "We're in second place?"

GOLDBERG HOLDS UP

Subbing at left tackle for the injured Orlando Pace, Adam Goldberg graded out well. Even though Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware recorded three sacks, Goldberg wasn't culpable on least two of them.

"I thought he played well," Haslett said. "Obviously, we had to help him (with blocking) they've got the beast (Ware) over there. The guy's a great pass rusher."

RAM-BLINGS

Pace worked out Monday at Rams Park and is expected to test his sore thigh in practice Wednesday. ... Although he didn't get a sack, rookie defensive end Chris Long had five quarterback pressures Sunday.