By Bill Coats
Sunday, Dec. 21 2008
Rams coach Jim Haslett has a piece of advice for his players: Enjoy the final
two weeks of the season, despite the team's 2-12 mark.

"I tell them to not worry about our record, just go out and practice like
you're going to the playoffs, practice hard and then go out and play the game,"
said Haslett, a former NFL linebacker. "You only have 16 games (a year) in the
National Football League, unlike baseball, where there are 162 games. Over the
course of your career if you're lucky, five years you're getting 80
football games in. Enjoy every one of them.

"It doesn't make a difference what your record is. Go out and play the game the
way it's supposed to be played. It's supposed to be hard-fought, it's a
physical game. It's not an easy game to play, so go out and play the 60 minutes
like it's supposed to be played and then see what happens."


Not only does ***** wide receiver Isaac Bruce empathize with the Rams, he
believes that he's due some of the blame for their downturn.

"I take some responsibility for it because ... I was there to help build the
championship team and I was also part of what it is right now," Bruce said. "I
still accept some ownership of it. I feel like I could've done a better job as
far as getting guys coming behind me, younger guys, more ready to play and
holding them more accountable to the job that was at hand."


Academically ineligible coming out of Norcross (Ga.) High, Rams linebacker
Larry Grant enrolled at City College of San Francisco. There, coach George Rush
took special interest in him.

"I was around a whole bunch of good guys there, and one of the greatest
junior-college coaches ever," Grant said. "He knows a lot of people, and being
under his wing for two years, I could get my name out there."

Grant put his grades in order, then chose Ohio State over Florida, Oregon,
Texas A&M and Tennessee after his sophomore year. He started as a senior for
the Buckeyes and was drafted by the ***** in the seventh round last April.
Signed off Frisco's practice squad Nov. 26, Grant is expected to see his first
NFL regular-season action Sunday.


Joe Staley, the *****' second-year left tackle, stumped Miami linebacker Joey
Porter last week. Porter, second in the league in sacks, with 17, was shut out
before moving to the left side and beating right tackle Barry Sims in the final
moments of a 14-9 Dolphins win. Staley also nearly pitched a shutout in a 35-16
victory over the Rams on Nov. 16. He limited rookie defensive end Chris Long to
one unassisted tackle.

"I had a good time battling against him," Long said. "For years to come, it's
one of those matchups that hopefully can gain some luster and we both can have
some success in this league."