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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    At least the Rams' defense made progress

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    09/18/2007

    Upon further review, the Rams’ 17-16 loss to the ***** wasn’t an utter catastrophe.

    The defense DID take a step forward, despite the absence of suspended cornerback Fakhir Brown, suspended defensive tackle Claude Wroten, injured cornerback Tye Hill and injured linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.

    Cornerback Ron Bartell had a breakthrough game. Lenny Walls and rookie Jonathan Wade held up fine at cornerback, too, with Walls using his size to good advantage and Wade using his speed to stay on top of receivers trying to take him deep.

    In just 18 snaps, rookie nose tackle Clifton Ryan had a huge impact on the game -– earning two sacks and forcing and recovering a fumble on one of them. New defensive end James Hall stood out against the run, earned a sack and impressed the Rams staff with his active play.

    “He went up and down the line making tackles,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “I think he is getting a better grasp of the defense as he goes on. He has great energy. He flies to the ball, he’s really good on the run and he had a nice sack yesterday. He plays fast.”

    Outside linebacker Chris Draft did fine filling in for Tinoisamoa. Middle linebacker Will Witherspoon had a very strong game against the run and pass.


    Rookie nose tackle/defensive tackle Adam Carriker didn’t have his best game, but he played 40 snaps -– forty! -– and assumed multiple roles in Wroten’s absence.

    The defense kept the ***** from grinding out long drives with running back Frank Gore pounding the ball. And the unit limited San Francisco to just 97 net passing yards.

    “We are a very cohesive group,” Bartell said. “I think you can see that by the young guys coming in and stepping up. Anytime somebody goes out, the next man has to be ready. This is the NFL. There are no excuses. I think a lot of guys were ready today.”

    Head coach Scott Linehan was pleased with the “D,” except for two San Francisco possessions. Haslett broke it down further -– lamenting one series of three plays that led to the key ***** touchdown.

    “We gave up a touchdown that really we were in a great situation to get off the field and we didn’t do it,” Haslett said Monday. “To me, that one drive, the three plays, if we could have taken back, we would have taken them back.”

    The Rams seemed ready to make still another big defensive stop . . . but then let the opportunity quickly get away.

    “We had the team second-and-18,” Haslett said. “They ran a draw for eight yards.”

    Trouble was, the Rams were sitting on the draw and still failed to defend it. They were basically in a 4-4 defense at the time.

    “They never should have had the eight yards because of the eight men in the box,” Haslett said. “Once they were third and 10, they cut a checkdown, we miss the tackle, they have fourth-and-1. If we make the tackle, it’s fourth-and-4 and they punt the ball. Next play they run for the touchdown.”

    Ah, the touchdown. Gore plowed off tackle between the power side of the *****. The Rams front seven initially stood up, but Gore kept pushing until he found a seam. He squeezed through until he ran into Corey Chavous.

    Believing Gore was contained, Chavous went for the ball. But Gore’s legs were free and he blew through Chavous like he was a stop sign on a country road.

    “I think he made a bad decision trying to tackle the football,” Haslett said. “We stress getting turnovers and we stress stripping the ball, but in that case, you have to secure the tackle first and then second or third men in have to try to get the ball out. All day our guys were trying to grab the ball and get it out from him. We know he has the hand problem. In that case, Corey just made a poor decision.”

    Such is the margin of winning and losing in the NFL. At least Haslett’s unit DID make progress, generating hopes of better things to come when Brown, Wroten, Hill and Tinoisamoa return for the difficult stretch of schedule ahead.

    If only we could be that optimistic about the turnover-prone Rams offense . . .


  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: At least the Rams' defense made progress

    Hard to believe that it was the defense that almost won the game!

    Now we're rooting for the OFFENSE to produce! 'You can do it!!!'

    COME ON OFFENSE! -- GO RAMS!!! :bash:

  3. #3
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: At least the Rams' defense made progress

    Who knows if it is the defense though? Are the ***** that good on offense to begin with? I thought even for our abysmal defense, the 49er's offense was unbelieveably beatable. They truly got lucky on Sunday, and that is why I'm still miserable over this loss.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: At least the Rams' defense made progress

    :\ Good point V6. Still, hang in there.

    I believe -- really and truly -- that the Rams defense HAS improved and will continue to show it every game, even if it may falter at times. Overall it seems it is better, especially by virtue of a better DL.

    We'll be challenged every week and I'm hoping we'll make a stand of strength and honor during each battle.

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