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Linehan has plenty of praise for offensive line
Group performed well in win over Ravens
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS --
The offensive line was the key to the St. Louis Rams playing their "best game of the preseason" on Saturday night, coach Scott Linehan said Sunday.
The Rams' offensive line paved the way for 411 yards of total offense and allowed no sacks in a 24-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
"I thought they played outstanding," Linehan said. "I think they've played three really solid games. Our first game (against Tennessee) wasn't their best, but it wasn't our best game as a team either. But, they've improved from there.
"Since then, I've seen the group really came together and played well as a unit, and that's what an offensive line really is. Good offensive lines that you see in this league play well together."
Linehan said the only knock against the offensive line that he could find in the game was its four false start penalties.
The play of the offensive line was a major factor in quarterback Marc Bulger looking much more comfortable.
Bulger, who had struggled in team's first two preseason games, completed 18 of 25 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a half of work against the Ravens.
"Our timing was better, and our protection is crucial for the quarterback," Linehan said. "He looked much more comfortable in the pocket than he has in the first two games. I felt he went out and let 'er rip last night. That's the way he has to be. That's the Marc that we're all accustomed to."
The two touchdowns were the first TDs scored by the Rams' starting offense in 11 preseason games under Linehan.
"You know, we really don't talk about 'monkey's off our back' in the preseason," Bulger said. "It is pretty much practice, and we have been having great practices. We still have to do it against Philly (in regular-season opener on Sept. 7), so we can't get to excited about a couple of drives tonight. We have to keep getting better.
"We have a lot to improve on, get Orlando (Pace) back and get Steven (Jackson) in there and get Brett Romberg healthy. We have a little ways to go in the next two weeks."
Pace didn't play against the Ravens after injuring his biceps trying to make a diving tackle after a interception last week against the San Diego Chargers.
Adam Goldberg started in place of Pace, and did an admirable job of filling the shoes of the seven-time Pro Bowl selection.
"He played very well, and he has played very well all through the preseason," Linehan said of Goldberg said. "He had to go in there and play a real challenging position in this league, and he held up and played extremely well, which is very encouraging."
With only two practices under his belt after holding out the first 27 days of the preseason, running back Steven Jackson didn't dress Saturday night.
Linehan said he hasn't decided whether Jackson would get any carries in the Rams' final preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, but he would be getting a lot of extra work in practice.
"He will take snaps not only with the first unit, but with the second unit and the third unit, just to catch up on plays."
Linehan was thrilled with the performance of his two rookie wide receivers against the Ravens.
Avery had five catches for a team-high 65 yards, while Burton had three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
"It kind of changed the game in a lot of ways when they were out on the field together and started making plays," Linehan said. "They really stood out to me. They sparked us in a lot of ways, and that's what youth does sometimes."
The Rams' defense limited the Ravens to 10 points despite starting three drives inside Rams territory.
"I would say we did not win the field position battle, but we won the game," Linehan said. "That says a lot about how the defense played because they had to go out and get some stops."
Linehan said he wasn't worried about his special teams, which surrendered a 42-yard punt return to Jim Leonhard and allowed Tom Zbikowski to come free up the middle and partially block a punt.
"Yeah, you're concerned when you get a blocked kick or you don't cover the way we plan on covering and those things, but as long as we keep working on the process, we will get the results we want," Linehan said. "But, it doesn't hurt to have some reminders, and I'd rather have them now than a few weeks from now."
Overall, Linehan feels like the Rams are getting closer to being ready for regular season.
"I felt like we played our best game of the preseason last night," Linehan said. "At this point, we feel like we are making progress. We have a long ways to go, but the general attitude and approach by the team has been outstanding."
Re: Linehan has plenty of praise for offensive line
"The play of the offensive line was a major factor in quarterback Marc Bulger looking much more comfortable."
I know it's elementary but the better they play the better he play and he gain confidents.:ramlogo:
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