By Bill Coats 10/15/2007 7:01 pm


Down 19 points and with the buses warming up outside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the Rams nevertheless called three timeouts in the last 3 minutes Sunday. A futile exercise, to be sure. But coaches have a hard time conceding defeat, Scott Linehan acknowledged.

“I guess pride, just trying to hang in there,” Linehan explained Monday at his weekly day-after media gathering. “It was probably pretty unrealistic we were going to win.”

With a wry smile, he added, ” I don’t know . . . you can find a lot more things to be critical of me about than that.”

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The two-game Gus Frerotte experiment having fizzled, Linehan has decided to re-install Marc Bulger as the starting quarterback. Linehan said he wanted to see Bulger, who has two broken ribs, throwing without hindrance before bringing him back.

“I talked to him at the middle of last week, and he was feeling much better,” Linehan said. “He looked much better in practice. He started doing some of the scout team stuff. I felt by the end of last week that he looked closer to normal than he had been.”

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Running back Steven Jackson, who has missed three games with a torn groin muscle, did some light running and conditioning last week. He’ll step up his work this week in practice.

“We’re going to kind of push him along and see if he can progress,” Linehan said. As for Jackson’s availability Sunday in Seattle, Linehan said, “There’s an outside chance (that he’ll play). I think it’s very outside, but I don’t want to determine that until we find out.”

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After nailing all three field-goal attempts last week, Jeff Wilkins’ problems resurfaced vs. the Ravens. With the Rams trailing 6-0 in the second quarter, Wilkins pulled a 35-yard try wide left. That marked his fourth miss in his last five tries outdoors, a surprising lapse for historically one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers.

“It’s one of those weird things,” Linehan said. “You would never think Jeff would ever miss a field goal, but he’s human. . . . Guys goes through slumps in their careers, and this is a mini-slump for him. Knowing Jeff, he’ll come back around.”

All for now . . .