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Thread: 'It hurts if you just quit'
'It hurts if you just quit'
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
GLENDALE, ARIZ. — The fans are mad, the players are frustrated and the head coach is under fire. Mercifully, the nightmare that is Rams football 2007 comes to an end Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
"What are we — 3-12?" wide receiver Torry Holt said. "That's not good, man. Especially coming off a season last year where we were 8-8. We finished on a good note, so you come back (from) the offseason with much promise. You bring in guys, add guys, and that gives you that much more promise."
And then you lose your first eight games.
"To start out the way we did, and to see things just become a domino effect to where we are now, it's disheartening," Holt said. "It's disappointing, especially if you're a winner. If you're a competitor, and you like to win, and you've had some taste of success, it can be draining."
In a season that long ago went down the drain, a victory is needed Sunday to avoid becoming the worst Rams team since the move to St. Louis in 1995. At the moment, the standard bearers for ineptitude are the '98 Rams, who finished 4-12 under Dick Vermeil.
In 70 years of Rams football, only six teams have finished a season with three or fewer victories — most recently, the 3-13 Los Angeles Rams of 1991. That's a neighborhood the '07 Rams want to avoid.
So a victory over the Big Red "can kind of end some of that sourness that's in our mouths," Holt said.
"We're going with the intention of winning the football game and basically setting our goals for 2008," coach Scott Linehan said Friday. "At the end of the game, we're going to be focused on that right away. We want them to be very lofty, and very have high standards for our goals."
Victories haven't come easy for the Rams this season, and beating the Cardinals in their suburban Phoenix home will be easier said than done. The Cardinals are developing a home-field edge in the building now known as University of Phoenix Stadium.
Sunday's game marks the 20th consecutive sellout since the stadium opened in 2006 — a total that includes regular-season and preseason games. The Cardinals are 5-2 at home this season, and a victory Sunday would give them their best home record since the franchise moved to the Valley of the Sun from St. Louis in 1988.
Although eliminated from the playoffs, Arizona (7-Cool does have a chance to finish at .500 (or better) for only the third time in 20 seasons in the desert. Additionally, the Cardinals are trying to sweep the season series with St. Louis for the first time since realignment put both teams in the NFC West in 2002.
So the Cardinals seemingly have much more to play for than the Rams. But Rams players insisted over the course of the practice week that they will do more than just go through the motions Sunday.
"We're all prideful enough to know that we want to win," linebacker Will Witherspoon said. "There's always got to be that sense of urgency to do it — to get the job done.
"I think anyone you ask in this locker room would be like, 'You know what? We've got to go out and get another win. We've got to play and get things done.' I mean, it hurts inside if you just quit. What would your other teammates think about you? You're a quitter."
Quarterback Marc Bulger says he's playing for love of the game Sunday.
"I think we have guys in here that like to play," Bulger said. "I'm looking to have fun. It doesn't mean anything as far as playoffs and all that, but anytime you go out there, you enjoy yourself, and just remember the times when you weren't on a team. Or (think about) people that are in a hospital, or in different countries — in Iraq. I mean, just be thankful and enjoy it."
From a bottom-line aspect, many players are playing for their jobs. After a normal season, NFL teams usually change about one-third of their roster. A 3-13 or 4-12 finish could lead to a lot more change.
"That is the type of thing that can motivate you as a player," safety Corey Chavous said. "Because certainly, a lot of guys won't be back because there will be changes."
If you don't think one game can make a difference, look no further than rookie Derek Stanley. After spending most of this season on the practice squad, Stanley put himself on the radar for 2008 with kickoff returns of 43 and 49 yards against Pittsburgh last Sunday.
"This is my third locker room, and I've seen a lot of guys come and go," said Chavous, who played previously for Minnesota and Arizona. "I've come and gone. ... Before you look around the locker room, look at your own place. And then after that, you hope that you're going to be able to play with some of these guys again. But you certainly cherish every week, because it could be the last time you suit up with some of these guys."
Or suit up, period.
Re: 'It hurts if you just quit'," safety Corey Chavous said. "Because certainly, a lot of guys won't be back because there will be changes."
Re: 'It hurts if you just quit'
I ID'd Chavous coverage as a problem in the pre-season and posted that here.
Lofty Goals? Somehow I think Linehan is shooting for .500, When was the last time we beat a good team?
I hope I'm wrong
Last edited by Tony Soprano; -12-30-2007 at 03:13 PM.
Re: 'It hurts if you just quit'
Is he really that bad? I haven't seen many games at all due to location. But I haven't really seen much of Chavous's play, other than the Frank Gore missed tackle. Didn't he like just get the Carl Ekern award as well for contributions as a team player? The organisation must like him. I'm sure he started life as a CB in Arizona, so surley his coverage aint that bad.........is it? (or more likely) 'was it?'
Last edited by Ntchwaidumela; -12-30-2007 at 07:15 PM.
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