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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Thursday, Dec. 09 2004

    Rams coach Mike Martz knew this could happen. He knew he might need a capable
    quarterback to step in for Marc Bulger at some point during the 2004 season.

    After electing to move Kurt Warner down the trail, Martz zeroed in on veteran
    Chris Chandler. Martz knew Chandler, respected his mental and physical
    attributes and believed he could still play.

    And here we are. Bulger is sidelined by a shoulder injury and Chandler will
    lead the Rams into their critical battle at Carolina.

    Martz believes Chandler will come through. Rams Nation hopes he is right,
    because this team’s playoff hopes hang in the balance.

    Mad Mike didn’t mist up when discussing the quarterback change, as Dick Vermeil
    would have. Rather, Martz got feisty.

    STLtoday.com readers probably remember that your cyber-correspondent viewed
    Chandler’s ascension with some dread, given all those miles on Chris’ odometer.
    After Sunday’s 16-6 “victory” over the San Francisco *****, I expressed some of
    that dread on this web site.

    Martz responded with some salvoes of his own during Wednesday’s news conference.

    “When we signed him, he’s not 500 years old, he’s 38,” Mad Mike said.

    (Actually, we described him as the “900-year-old Chandler,” but the coach’s
    point is well taken. Even after his Oct. 12 birthday, our exaggeration is a
    whopping 861 years.)

    “It doesn’t matter how old he is, he can play,” Martz continued. “He has
    terrific legs. He’s in there on the treadmill for 35 minutes on (level) nine. I
    don’t know if any of you can do that, and I know I can’t.”

    (Got me there. What’s the word our 1380 ESPN fitness editor used to describe
    me? “Deconditioned”? That’s a polite euphemism for “lard bottom”. Chris would
    dust me on the treadmill.)

    “I think that, and the fact that his arm strength hasn’t been diminished at
    all,” Martz said, continuing his roll. “He’s still on top of his game, in terms
    of seeing things and accuracy. All of those things, physically, would lend
    itself to believe that he still has a lot of football left in him. Otherwise,
    we would have never signed him to a two-year deal.”

    Martz’s move appeared prescient during the preseason, when Chandler starred. He
    completed 29 of 44 passes for 472 yards (fifth-most in exhibition play) and two
    touchdowns.

    Chandler threw a pretty touchdown pass to Torry Holt in Sunday’s victory,
    scraping off some rust to earn the “W” in relief. So Martz isn’t worried about
    throwing him into such a high-pressure situation Sunday.

    “He’s been through all of the playoffs,” the coach said. “He’s been to a Super
    Bowl. He’s been there. He knows how to prepare. He knows how to get himself
    right. A lot of quarterbacks, and this is going to sound silly, but they don’t
    know themselves in big games yet.

    “The players look to him for guidance. They know he’s been there before, and he
    knows the right things to do. He’ll manage the game properly, and if it’s
    something he’s confused about then we’ll stay away from it and move on. He can
    make those clutch throws and clutch plays to win a game.”

    I’ve still got my doubts, having seen Chandler labor through some memorably bad
    outings against the Rams in recent years. And this match-up raises lots of
    important questions:

    Can inexperienced right tackle Blaine Saipaia keep Panthers sackmaster Julius
    Peppers off Chandler?

    Will the Rams be able to balance their offense with a strong run game even
    though both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson are slowed by knee bruises?

    If back-up running back Arlen Harris has to start in their place, will the Rams
    have further problems with their pass protection schemes?

    Chandler’s first start during this latest Rams stint will come on the road
    against a strong, well-coached defensive team with plenty at stake. This game
    is not set up for him to succeed.

    So if Chris can respond to the challenge and lead the Rams to victory, the
    critics -– including this smart-aleck -– will have to finally get off his back
    for good.


  2. #2
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    After Sunday’s 16-6 “victory” over the San Francisco *****, I expressed some of that dread on this web site.
    Maybe that's because he hasn't thrown a meaningful pass since the preseason.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    And since those were exhibition games, calling them meaningful is a stretch itself.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    As far as Chandler goes, I am not worried about his speed or arm strength. I do worry about his throwing accuracy and decision making when throwing into coverage. Hopefully his experience and time on the practice field this week will allow him to lead the Rams forward.

    Sackmaster Julius Peppers will be hungry for some sacks. He will test the line.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    It's not his ability that worries me, it's his well deserved nickname, "Chris Chandelier". If the line doesn't come up with some big time protection, I shutter to think where we'll be if he crumples and we have to rely on you know who.

  6. #6
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    Chandler has me worried as well. He does have the years of experience, but what KIND of experience? I spent most of the 90's either getting married or getting divorced (don't ask...I wasn't smart enough to learn the first time) so I didn't really get to watch much football. The thing is, I really don't remember this guy doing anything big. I have reviewed his record, and I wasn't really impressed.
    I just read where Smoker is the backup for Chandler this week. I think he would give us a better chance than Martin, but dangit, I wish Bulger was back in there. Something about all of this makes me nervous. This game is going to be ugly for us, and the best I can see is a 'scrape win'....where we get that extremely lucky roll of the dice that gives us enough of a break that we pull out a win. Worst case, we lose Chandler and the experience he does have, Holt and Bruce get injured trying to compensate for the lack of Chandler's ability, and we go down in flames. Reality tells me it will be somewhere in between.
    Also read where Harris is starting this week, but not what position he's starting at....for the love of God, please tell me he isn't our starting RB.... :upset:

  7. #7
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    The thing is, I really don't remember this guy doing anything big. I have reviewed his record, and I wasn't really impressed.
    Chris Chandler at times in his career has been a great quarterback. I loved him when he was with the Rams back in '94 and was sorry to lose him. He made the Pro Bowl twice with Atlanta in '97 and '98 and led them to the Super Bowl in '98. He has a great touch, is smart and a good leader but his age has obviously eroded his skills and he has been fragile and injury prone throughout his career. He got nothing done in Chicago, but who could the last few years? I think he can be effective if he gets protection, but that's a BIG if.

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    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    The defense is much more of a concern vs. Carolina than Chris Chandler.

    They will come after him, but I think he'll open up a few deep passes early to back them off.

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