Jerry, Jerry! Rams football is in your face
By Bryan Burwell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Nov. 19 2005
From one end of Rams Park to the other, they all keep thinking that sooner or
later all our eyes will be diverted back onto the football field.
Almost daily, interim head coach Joe Vitt finds himself defiantly cocking his
neck and angrily cutting his eyes like daggers as he spits out combative
disclaimers in his post-practice news conferences: "Football questions, men.
Anybody got any FOOTBALL questions? I'm not answering tabloid questions, OK?"
Almost daily, the players have to answer - or avoid answering - questions about
the latest episode in this wild and wacky season that has the rest of us
wondering why Jerry Springer came to town last week and held his show at a
casino instead of at Rams Park.
What more could Jerry want for his outrageous reality television show than a
few moments at Rams Park? This place is chock full of Springer-esque theater,
with its daily medical crisis, weekly inflammatory anonymous quote, constant
delicious political intrigue and contentious off-field relationships brewing
every second of every minute. If we could just throw in a paternity test or
two, Springer just might come back to town and bring Ricki Lake with him.
It's no wonder so many of the Rams can't wait to get back on the field Sunday
against the Arizona Cardinals.
"It's been an up and down year, but we just have to stay focused," defensive
tackle Ryan Pickett said. "We just have to win this game, and that's the most
important thing to everybody in this locker room right now is winning this next
game and getting to .500."
All kidding aside, football is the Rams' salvation from this off-field
silliness. Winning football. The best way to overshadow the off-field craziness
is to rebound from a devastating loss to one big division rival is by
emphatically beating another one. The best way to eliminate the odor of the
off-field nonsense is to start a timely four-game winning streak.
If the Rams have any hope of turning around their mediocre season, they're
running out of chances. When your record is 4-5 and the softest part of your
schedule is in front of you, there's no better way to prove your credibility
and legitimacy as a playoff contender than to go on a confidence-building run.
The Rams' next four games are against teams with a combined 12-24 record. If
they can't beat the sorry 2-7 Cardinals and 1-8 Houston Texans on back-to-back
Sundays, then follow that up with very winnable games against mediocre
Washington (5-4) and Minnesota (4-5), then their season is toast anyway.
"I'm excited about us getting out there on the football field and having
another opportunity to redeem ourselves," Torry Holt said. "It's been a very
interesting year this year, we all know that, and we still have seven, eight
games left, so it will be up to us to see how this thing ends."
The Rams keep talking like they're a playoff team, but keep playing like
anything but that. They have been so terribly inconsistent from week to week
that it's difficult to believe that they'll be anything more than hovering
around the .500 mark when the regular season ends.
But I've seen enough offense to make me believe this team can put together a
winning streak to get back into the playoff hunt. The division race is over,
but not the wild card. A four-game winning streak would get the Rams to 8-5
with three games to play. Yet for that to happen, Vitt needs to make sure that
the offensive game plan goes back to the successful formula of two weeks ago
when Steven Jackson was the workhorse runner. Jackson is a rugged bull who
needs to be the focus of this offensive attack, and everyone inside that Rams
locker room knows it.
If the Train doesn't get at least 25 carries and 30 total offensive touches
against the Cardinals and the Rams end up losing another must-win game, maybe
offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild will find more than running backs coach
Wilbert Montgomery wanting to get in his face.
Re: Jerry, Jerry! Rams football is in your face
I am glad that Vitt won't fuel the 'rumor fires'. There's enough 'fertilizer' being spread around already....this guy at least wants to keep more from being manufactured. Shows he is concentrating on being a coach, not a soap opera writer.