Compiled By Jeff Gordon
STLTODAY.COM SPORTS
10/30/2006

Rams coach Scott Linehan is somewhat optimistic that linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa will be able to return to action for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

“Our challenge now is to find the solution to the protection of that (broken) hand now, something that will work,” Linehan said. “We haven’t come up with a good enough solution for him to feel 100 percent comfortable. Hopefully this week, with the swelling going down and less pain, will be a big factor.

“It looks much better that he will be able to play this game with something. No guarantees, of course, but that is the goal, to get him more ready this week.

“He’s OK to play. He wouldn’t have been active (in San Diego) if he wasn’t able to go. We felt it was better to let him heal for a week.”

Here were other highlights of his news conference:

On his overall reaction to the game: “One of those games you hope never have happen to you. We went in and faced a team on the road that basically played mistake-free football on their side. You have to give them credit for that. We weren’t able to play well enough. We played good in spurts, but we didn’t play well enough as a football to beat a team of that caliber.”

On his team’s defensive struggle: “We need to play better. It is certainly nothing there is not a solution for, or something we can’t fix. We ran into a couple of pretty good football teams and hit them when they were playing pretty well. Matt (Hasselbeck) certainly played one of his best games and this week we played arguably the best player in the league (LaDainian Tomlinson) and he had his best game.

“We have to go back and say this is what we were doing well earlier this season and rely very heavily on those things. Remind ourselves, this was our identity and this is going to continue to be our identity and do the best we can to not expose ourselves to the things we aren’t doing as well. There are things that we were doing very well earlier in the year and we have to get back to those. One of them is – and you can’t always rely on them – we were getting hands on a lot of balls and getting turnovers. That doesn’t excuse missed tackles and things like that.”

On his front defensive seven getting handled in San Diego: “You can’t sugar coat it. You know what you’re deficient at. They ran the ball right at us and were very successful. They got some match-ups in the passing game that were favorable. We have to look at it as coaches and, to the best chance we can, put guys in position to succeed. As players, we have to play better.”

On facing the Chiefs, who also run the ball quite well: “Tough challenge this week because we’re playing a team that’s playing well as of late and has real similar qualities to the team we just played.”

On the impact of Stephen Davis’ fumble, which was returned for a touchdown: “It was a pretty big play in the game, obviously. We could very easily have made it a (close) game by executing that drive. Big turnover. Again, it wasn’t the only mistake in the game, it certainly changed the whole outlook in that game.”

On looking to use Davis more: “You’d like to. When the game is more in balance, the backs will carry the ball a little more. Steven (Jackson) had 18 carries yesterday, and some of that was later in the game. In that game, in particular, Steven didn’t have that many opportunities in the first so we weren’t able to play Stephen Davis as much.

“We certainly want to play him in spots. He brings another element to some of the situations. We used him in short yardage one time yesterday where he had a nice run in the third quarter. It does benefit you to have another ballcarrier to complement your starter. We’re hoping to get there. That was part of the thinking when he was in when he fumbled. He had a good carry earlier. He’s always been good when you get down on that side of the field, start moving toward the goal line, a good north-south runner. Other than the fumble, it was going to be a very good run. We have to stay with the plan, keep on course.”

On his team’s kickoff return struggle: “You keep working on it. We’ve been doing kind of a Rolodex return man thing here lately. It’s a team thing on that whole return unit. It’s not just the returner, we have to hold up on our blocks on the front line better. We have to time our wedge out better. A lot of returns are timing. Our timing is just a little bit off. We had an opportunity for a couple of good returns yesterday, you watch the tape again. It really came down to one or two guys. We were much better this week as far as staying on blocks and finishing blocks than we were the week before. There was improvement there. It doesn’t necessarily show up in the return average. Tony (Fisher) was doing exactly what we wanted him to do.

“You work on things you aren’t doing well . . . where you’re getting that block, at what yard line you’re getting that block, where are you setting that wedge in relation to the returner, seeing where the ball is caught – things that aren’t being done well enough right now have to be corrected.”

On return specialist J.R. Reed remaining inactive: “I met with J.R. on Friday. I explained to him . . . the biggest issue, to me, was where were there for a couple weeks in our secondary depth. Now, I think, he’s in the mix with everybody else as far as being active. It’s nothing he didn’t do. He just has to keep practicing, preparing and being ready. It’s really hard to set up competition during the week on the return team. You’re going to get judged by the way you do in games. If he gets another opportunity here sooner or later, take advantage of it.”

On safety Dwaine Carpenter seeing active duty ahead of Reed: “He had played real well in the (special) team spots, other than the returns. The week before, he was actually our top point production special teams performer. That gave Dwaine another opportunity to play.”

On his decision not to take some downfield shots with the ball during the last minute of the first half: “If you’re getting the right type of coverage, you might take a shot, like we did against Seattle. They were playing pretty far off. We knew we were getting the first possession of the second half. We had the extra possession going. The game wasn’t going to change at that point. So my decision was. ‘If you pop the draw, you get lucky, hit a long run.’ Possibly throw something, a catch-and-run of whatever.

“Being that we started so far down in there, one-score game at the time, we were going to challenge our guys to come out and answer the bell and play a much better second half – and not do anything at that point. Their defensive strength is that they can create some big plays with pass rushing, four-man rush. We didn’t want to put our guys in that position with that field position.”