Head Coach Scott Linehan

September 13, 2006

(Opening Statement)

Just a couple of things on our injury report. Obviously, Andy (McCollum) was put on IR yesterday and I’m sure you all got the release on signing Brett Romberg from Jacksonville’s practice squad to our 53-man roster. Pisa (Tinoisamoa) has a sore foot. It’s a mild sprain in his mid-foot. It’s enough to where we held him from practice today. He worked on the bike and had treatment. It should continue to get better as the week goes on, but we’ll monitor that. Jimmy Kennedy had successful surgery on putting the pins in his hand. He worked in a limited basis today in practice, and actually did pretty good. I think it’s much more comfortable, like they said. He’s going to wear a pretty small protective cast when he plays. Jamal Brooks had treatment Monday morning on an infected area in his knee in his bursa area that is causing him some discomfort. He had it cleaned out and was able to play and do well in the game Sunday, but this is more of a treatment and precautionary measure. It keeps him out of practice because he has a two inch incision and they had to drain some things from his knee, so he was held out today as well. We had a couple of other transactions on our team. We picked up Romberg from Jacksonville’s practice squad and in turn they picked up Monatavious Stanley off of ours and added him to their 53-man roster. I was sad to see us lose Montavious. I recruited Montavious to Louisville a long time ago and I was pleased that we were able to get him. It’s a good deal for him. He’s obviously been elevated to full-time status there, so we wish him well. Tim Sandidge was added to replace Montavious. He was with us through the preseason. That’s who we added to round out our squad. I guess we weren’t going to get through the season without having someone on an injury report. It’s actually not that bad, other than Andy’s deal, for the first game.”

(On how the Jaguars and Rams swapped players)

“I think it was a little bit more of a coincidence more than, you took our guy, we’re going to take your guy. Stanley was a draft-pick of Dallas’. He could have stayed there because they wanted him on their practice squad. I think he came here with the idea that he was familiar with me and the comfort thing. That’s how it works. It is a great deal for the kid because he gets to be on the 53-man roster that will prepare him to play, as opposed to being on the developmental squad.”

(On how the Rams found Brett Romberg)

“I looked at him some on tape. We were evaluating. We brought in Corey Withrow for a visit a while back. He was picked up afterwards because we hadn’t had the injury yet, so it was just in case something happened, to be proactive. We we’re looking at Brett at the time too. Brett played for Paul Boudreau down in Jacksonville. He knows our offensive line calls, certainly, so his learning curve is going to be pretty quick. He already knows the line calls. As opposed to going though all those hours of learning the verb age. He played well in preseason and started a couple of games for Paul last year in preseason, and played well in those games. He gives us some insurance there. We’re tinkering around with some different lineups. We worked Richie (incognito) some at center today. We’re looking at all those guys and trying to go with the best rotation.”

(On the quarterbacks getting familiar with the offense)

“It takes a while; we’re being patient with it. It is a timing thing. We had relative ease with it today. We had a couple of times where I saw the quarterback double-clutch the ball a little bit. As practice went on, it looked like it went fine. It’s just something we have to keep a close eye on and work hard to make sure it isn’t an issue in the game.

(On what he saw in San Francisco’s first opener)

“Arizona’s pretty good on offense. That’s one of the things I saw. I think San Francisco’s playing, as a football team, pretty well together. I think they’ve added a lot of key players to their team. I think they, like any other team, had some losses in the offseason, and moves. They added some guys in their draft that are helping them. They’re young, but they are going through those things with their defense. I think it had more to do with the fact that they played one of the better offenses not only in our division, but the entire league right now. It was one of those kind of games that ended up being a shootout. They certainly showed much improvement on the other side too. They kept the game close, moved the ball, and showed that they improved on that side of the ball.”

(On the offensive line’s performance in Sunday’s game)

“I thought they did very well. When you have a 100-yard rusher and you are able to go in the fourth quarter and have the ball 10 of the 15 minutes in the quarter and control the ball on the ground that’s a pretty good testament on how the line played. I think we could certainly do better. We gave up a couple of lost yardage plays. That’s a big thing we’re trying to minimize and eliminate. For the first game and losing Andy (McCollum) during the game we’re really a good testament of how they hung in there and played. I think they played pretty good.”

(On the acquisition of CB Fahkir Brown)

“We were pretty high on Fahkir, obviously Jim (Haslett), Willy (Robinson), and Rick knew him a lot better than I did. But I coached against him. He was their left corner when we played them last year when I was at Miami and two years ago we played against him when I was a Minnesota. He looked the part and played great. The only knock on him was that he wasn’t able to stay healthy. He was hurt last year in a freak injury in practice. He ran into one of his own guys and was out for the year. The only reservation, if there was one, was his health. You look at the playing time percentage over time, he showed that he played well, but hadn’t been able to stay in the game. So far, so good with that. I think more was made out of that than there should have been. I think some of it was just bad luck. He showed, from the time that he got out there in the offseason, how good a player he is. He was immediately one of the guys that opened up everybody’s eyes.”

(On how to improve the red zone scoring)

“Just execute better. Every play’s unique in any game, whether it’s the red zone or the 20 yard-line coming out. It’s all really more execution. Every once in a while you have that perfect play, but I think you’ve got to really execute at your best when you get down there. It’s not easy to score down there, as we were proving, but it is about the timing and details of it. I think it’s a great humbling, but learning experience for all of us. Like I said on Monday, we will work very hard on getting better at it without making it a mental thing. Just know that it’s something we certainly need to improve on and just get better at executing down there. I really think that’s it more than anything. You can over-analyze it, but I think we just need to play better and execute better when we get down there.

(On who’s responsible for red zone scoring)

“Everybody. It’s the whole unit. Football’s funny that way. It certainly falls on the team, then it falls on the individuals and coaches within the team. There are so many moving parts in football, that if one guy doesn’t do his job, it’ll affect your ability to execute. I think if we look at it that way, we’ll improve dramatically.”

(On having extra red zone periods this week)

“We’ll work it. Like I said, not to overreact to it. It’s not like we have to get our players attention, they know what have to do better in there. I think we have to work more on our mindset when we get down there more than…like is said, its not the plays. It may appear that way, I don’t know. I look at it as something that we just need to go down there and play our best. You get down there that’s where you’ve got to be your sharpest.”

(On the importance of line calls and if G Richie Incognito and C Larry Turner can fill C Andy McCollum’s shoes)

“I know they can. Both of them have done it. Certainly Larry’s done it more within what we’re doing in our system. Richie knows them. He just isn’t the one saying them. It’s just a matter of not being the one that vocalizes the calls. The calls that are made by the center directly affect the left guard so he knows exactly what the calls are, when they need to be made. It just takes a little time and comfort. Larry’s been doing it, and has done well with it, and we brought Brett [Romberg] in because he has a pretty familiarity with those calls. It’s important, but we make it pretty basic and simple to where he’s going to make a call to a certain linebacker or a protection call and he’s got to execute the technique just like the rest of the linemen. The important thing is getting the ball up to the quarterback so we can begin playing. I’m not as worried about that as I am making sure we handle the exchange without any problems.”

(On changing two positions with G Richie Incognito in there)

“That’s really the issue. You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Are we weakening two positions, or are we getting our best five in the game. I think we’ve backed that up with adding an insurance policy with Brett [Romberg] knowing that Larry is perfectly capable and came in and an outstanding job for us. We’ve got a week, and we know we’re really planning an entire season, as opposed to somebody who is out for a week or two. Our plan is to start now as opposed to waiting two weeks from now as to maybe a plan of maybe getting our best five out there. If our best five ends up being Richie [Incognito] in there, and Todd Steussie playing at guard, or Richie in there…doing that and then having Adam Goldberg swing in and out with the tackles and guards, which he did for us in Minnesota. We’ve got to go through that evaluation, and the only way we can do it is to try it.”

(On if there is a competition between Incognito, Turner, and Goldberg)

“There’s a little bit of a competition. I think common sense says the one who looks the most comfortable and is playing the best during the week certainly is going to get the nod. You’ve got to do it that way. On paper it might look good, but if it’s not working on the practice field, we’re not taking it out there Sunday.”

(On being concerned about backing up Turner)

“No doubt. You’ve got to back up… the center spot’s the one that probably makes you the most nervous going into a game. If you lose your center, what are you going to do? Not that anyone is less important, it’s just easier for a guy to swing from guard to guard, or tackle to tackle. If you lose your center, now you’ve got some issues if you haven’t been taking snaps all week with somebody. That was really the reason we had to go out, I think, and get another center that has actually played, and is as familiar with what we’re doing as possible.”

(On what he’s seen from S Oshiomogho Atogwe)

“He’s an extremely bright kid. He was drafted at the slot he was drafted at because has talent too. I remember sitting in draft meetings last year and people talking and raving about O.J. It’s not a secret throughout the league that he has the ability to be a heck of a safety in this league. You just had to get him out there and let him get his feet wet. An unfortunate thing for us, I guess maybe a lot of the unknown is that he didn’t play last year really. There was a lot of unknown, but I think we were answering a lot of those questions. We just basically put him in there. He started at one level and just improved every day. He proved to me, more than any player that played for us Sunday, that you prepare yourself to play. Whether you’ve started an NFL game or you’ve started your entire career in college, you prepare yourself to play and you’ll have confidence, and you will have confidence in the game. He prepared in practice well and he played like he practiced. It showed that he’s quite a mature kid without the experience.”

(On when they will decide who will start at center on Sunday)

“We’re not going to wait until game day. We’ll have a pretty good idea, certainly after tomorrow’s practice, which way we’re leaning. Today was encouraging. Richie [Incognito] did a nice job. Larry [Turner] did great. I’m sure Larry probably thinks we don’t have confidence in him. It has nothing to do with that. What’s going to happen now is that we’ve got to give ourselves depth at that position. We’re weakened at the position because of an injury, and you did a great job at your role to fill in there. It is a competition and the best man’s going to win the job. That’s how we’re always going to do it. We’ve got to do our best as coaches to try to get what we feel, or think, is our best five. The best five doesn’t always come out that way either.”

(On ***** QB Alex Smith)

“I think so. You try that. It’s certainly a big part of what we do, and will try every week—a young quarterback, or experienced guy. It’s harder to do it against an experienced guy. The one thing I know about Alex [Smith], he’s an extremely bright kid. He’s pretty mature beyond his years. I think the fact that he’s playing so much better and playing so well now compared to last year is a testament to his toughness and resolve. I think he took a lot of criticism last year for how he played. First year quarterbacks don’t usually look real good, unless they’ve got a great running game and their defense is playing lights-out. It’s just hard. He was in a situation where I don’t they had either, and just exploited the fact that he was young. I’ve known Alex since he was four years old. He’s John L. Smith’s nephew. We recruited him when I was at Louisville. He was my pick if we had the first pick at Miami last year, just because he’s one of those guys who's just going to get better and better, like he’s doing. Unfortunately for us, he’s improving. That’s an important thing is to always test those young guys with multiple looks and try to keep them a little bit tentative as to where to go with ball before the ball is snapped.”

(On if he thinks QB Marc Bulger has grasped enough of the new entire system)

“We do it by week, which is a little bit what you do anyway. I think every week he’ll get more and more comfortable. That’s my goal; that we improve as a unit every week from here on out. I know it sounds simple, but really that’s what we’ve got to do and focus on that. We’re talented enough to get ourselves playing better and doing all that. In the mean time, we’ve still got to do exactly what we did Sunday, and we don’t do things to lose the game. You can lose a game on offense. That’s one thing. If you watch the highlights on Sunday night, you sit there and go ‘Well, I’m not 100 percent pleased with the way things went today, but I’m glad we didn’t do that.’ That’s what you’ve got to tell yourself.”

(On being pretty comfortable with the offense at this point)

“Oh yeah. We put in things and tweak things, and we do things…Henry [Ellard] gives me a lot of input as to things that might be things that ‘our players have done well in the past’ types of concepts. It takes a while. It took us 10 weeks to gel at Miami last year. It was a weekly thing. I’d like it not to be that long. It did. I think we played good early in our first game, probably too good. We set the bar and couldn’t even come close to is for nine games. It’s not that I want to set the bar so low that you go nowhere but up, but I really don’t feel that way after this game. We said we wanted to go in and be good with the ball, still wanted to move the ball, which we did. We certainly didn’t punch it in, but in that particular day in that particular game, we played well enough to win. It’s like Mike Shanahan said when he came across the field, he said, ‘You should be proud of your team. You beat us in all three phases’. He said, ‘That doesn’t happen very often’. That was obviously a testament to how our team played.”

(On the effects of the crowd at the Denver game)

“You get a little bit different of a feel in preseason, but that was the highlight was my time here so far. First home game in the dome, listening to our crowd. Our crowd was 10 times better than I remembered it in the booth when I was on the other team three years ago. It was so electrifying. You hear this 12th man thing…you really get that feel in a dome. I had chills up my spine the whole game just listening to them. I know it elevated our play and helped us defensively and affected them offensively, I’m sure.”

(On five turnovers not happening too often)

“I think we’re mature enough to understand that. I do kind of kid with [Jim] Haslett and say ‘That’s all that we need is five turnovers a game’. He didn’t want to hear that. I think there’s a certain amount of that too. You also need a certain amount of confidence and what a great confidence builder. I think the realistic side says that’s not going to happen very many times in your life time, the way the game went. I think it really sent a big charge through our team that we were able to go out and win a game like that.”

QB Marc Bulger

(On the offense’s inability to score a touchdown)

“There were opportunities. We’re trying not to panic, we have to be patient, and it’s a new system. There were plays we made. I missed some. It’s a new system. It’s going to take some time. Fortunately, our defense stepped it up. I think it will come along eventually, but it’s going to be a little bit tougher than we anticipated.”

(On the running game)

“We had over 100 yards. The most positive thing, I think, was at the end of the game being able to get those first downs to run the clock out. I know the last couple of years we haven’t been able to finish the game like that. The defense knows you’re going to run and we know we’re going to run. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”

(On thoughts of the Rams offense becoming conservative)

“I don’t think so. Like I said, there’s a lot going into a new offense. Believe me, I’m with you. I’m used to having 300-yard games. It’ll happen. We’ve got the most confidence in Coach Scott Linehan. He’s done it before. He’s installing things with a purpose to bring us along. We’ve all been in the same system for six years. It’s different for us. We’re doing some things well, but obviously we’re struggling a little bit in the red zone, but I think in time we’ll get better.”

(On why it’s more difficult to score in the red zone)

“Everything gets magnified down there. It’s quicker. With the new system, I think things happen in the red zone quicker and maybe that’s why I’m not there yet. Maybe it’s the system, maybe not. We’ll get there. Maybe we can score from outside the red zone. If our defense keeps getting us the ball, we’re not going to count on it, but if they could do that for us we’ll start capitalizing for them and we’ll be in good shape.”

(On being completely comfortable with the offense)

“We’re getting there. It’s an ongoing process. Obviously, we’re not there, but with each game and each practice we’re getting to know each other more and more. He knows what I like more and I’m going to learn what he’s thinking and what he’s going to call more. Same with the receivers. He’s going to start learning what routes they run better than others. It’s a whole maturation process that we’re going to have to go through. I’m not saying two or three years out, but we’re getting there and I think we’ll get better every week. We just don’t want to panic after one week. I know we didn’t do much in the preseason, but we’re going to get it going. One week in, you look at Seattle, the number one offense (from 2005), and they struggled a little bit. If we had the same system, we might have struggled, just because it is Week 1. I think you compound the fact that it’s a new system and that’s why we’re a little bit slow right now. We are doing some good things. We’re going to get there and we aren’t going to panic.”

DE Leonard Little

(On the praise the Rams defense has been getting)

“We played okay, but we didn’t play great. Everyone says we played great because we got so many turnovers. We didn’t really play great because they had 160 yards rushing. One of our main focuses coming into the season was stopping the run. We played good at times, but that’s the thing we lacked was stopping the run in certain situations.”

(On the Rams ***** rivalry)

“Right now, we’re just taking it week by week. We know that last year they beat us twice. They’re really up on us right now, so we just want to come in and concentrate like we did last week and go out and play a good all-around game.”

(On G Larry Allen being absent from the ***** offensive line)

“It doesn’t change that much. It’s still pretty good over there with Jonas Jennings and Kwame Harris. It’s basically the same line they had last year that beat us twice. Obviously they’re pretty good over there. It doesn’t change much. He does add an edge to their line, but it doesn’t change that much without him in there.”

(On ***** QB Alex Smith)

“He has a year under his belt, so he knows how to read defenses now. It’s going to be kind of tough for us to disguise some things out there. We’re going to try our best to play our defense and play how we played in the preseason and the last game, and see how it works.”

(On the defense receiving more media attention than the offense)

“It’s very weird. With those guys on offense, we know they’re capable of busting one any time. We’re not really worried about this being a great defensive team because we have a great offense over there. We have the weapons to score points on anyone. We’re not really worried about people saying the Rams are a defensive team because we have one of the great offenses in the league.”

CB Fahkir Brown

(On defensive strategy for the ***** game)

“We’re probably going to come out trying to do the same thing because we want to be aggressive. Hopefully, we can put pressure on him like we did last week.”

(On getting the sack on Broncos QB Jake Plummer in last Sunday’s game)

“I love that. That was probably my first sack in the regular season. It felt good. I wish I could get a few more.

(On if he will have a CB blitz called for him again)

“Different team, different scheme, so I don’t think I’ll be blitzing this week.”

(On ***** QB Alex Smith)

“We’ve been watching a lot of film on him. He’s a pretty good quarterback.”

(On ***** RB Frank Gore)

“He’s been playing pretty good too. We just have to come out and be prepared for both of them.”

(On the gameplan for this week’s game)

“We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing throughout the preseason and our first game and know what we want to do and know what we want to accomplish. (We need to) go out every week and try to do it.”

(On defensive schemes for the ***** game)

“We’re just going to go off what the coaches are going to have us doing and what schemes they’ll have us playing. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it. For right now, I’m not planning on blitzing.”

(On how he ended up back in the NFL after working at a car wash)

“Before that I was in the league, but I was cut. I was released and Coach Jim Haslett got an opportunity to meet me and got a chance to work me out, and he liked me, so he picked me up.”

(On how he felt during his time away from football)

“You know, hard times, bad times, thinking negative, thinking if I would be able to make it back in (the NFL). I’m just happy that I was able to make it back (to the NFL).”