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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Linehan says it's too early to say Rams have arrived

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/10/2006


    In his early weeks as Rams head coach, Scott Linehan has shown a marked aversion to grand statements and sweeping proclamations. He has displayed minimal public excitement over his team's surprising 4-1 start and status as NFC West leaders.

    He is unwilling to say that his team has arrived, or gelled, or -- perish the thought -- may be a playoff contender.

    "It's way early to evaluate where we are and how we're doing," Linehan said. "I think it will be a big mistake to get ahead of yourself, and start feeling too good about yourself at this point."

    OK. But five games into the 2006 season, what is this team's identity?
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    "They create it weekly," Linehan said. "I think the No. 1 identity is that they play well together. We've done a little bit of 'ham-and-egging,' like you do in golf when you play with a partner. I think we've done a little bit of that, and I think good teams do that."

    It has helped the Rams win four games by a total of 20 points.

    "We're playing disciplined," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Last year, we were close a lot of times. We didn't finish it, and we ended up 6-10. When you can make those plays at the end of the game -- that is the NFL. ... Everything's so close in the NFL now, the fourth quarter's when games are won and lost."

    So at least the Rams are finishing, although in most cases, a more accurate description would be "barely finishing." They have found ways to win, even though each performance has included its share of flaws. The offense has struggled in the red zone in all but the Detroit game. The defense has yielded 100-yard rushers against Denver, San Francisco and Green Bay. Special teams had a kickoff coverage meltdown against the Lions.

    "We've certainly got a long way to go in some areas, but as a team, we believe in each other and have backed each other up at times, and I think good teams do that," Linehan said. "I don't know if that's our identity, but I think it's a good place to start."

    Whether the "ham-and-egg" approach will continue to work remains to be seen, because the Rams are entering the "prime rib" portion of their schedule.



    The 4-1 start has been fashioned against teams with a combined record of 7-17.

    But starting with Sunday's NFC West showdown with visiting Seattle, the Rams' next five opponents are a combined 14-7. The stretch includes two games against the 3-1 Seahawks, plus contests against San Diego (3-1), Carolina (3-2) and Kansas City (2-2). Three of the five games are on the road.

    "I know a lot of people are looking at us saying: 'Four and one? How'd they get 4-1?'" defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "So everybody's waiting to see what happens this (Seattle) game."

    The Seahawks surpassed the Rams as the gold standard in the NFC West during the 2004 season. True, the Rams won three games from the Seahawks that season, including a wild-card playoff victory. But the Seahawks won the division title.

    Last season, it wasn't even close. The Seahawks repeated as best in the West, fashioning a 13-3 record en route to the Super Bowl. Even with 2005 league MVP Shaun Alexander expected to miss Sunday's game because of a foot injury, a victory over the Seahawks would speak volumes about Linehan's ham-and-eggers.

    "This will be a good challenge for our football team, just to see where we're at," Haslett said. "I know our players, they're excited about playing this game. Obviously, being at home and getting our crowd behind us, I think it'll be a heck of a challenge for us. We're kind of looking forward to it."

    As expected, Linehan is doing his part to play down the importance of the Seattle contest, as well as the quality of the competition in the five-game stretch.

    "The records are irrelevant," Linehan said. "I think it's a key game because it's the next one we play. I think it's very important that we stay with that frame of mind, and don't get ahead of ourselves and think about who we're playing and what their records are."

    That approach has worked well so far. The Rams have tended to their business and avoided looking at the big picture. But make no mistake, Linehan is glad to be leading the Seahawks in the West, even if it's only October.

    "It's a good position to be in," he said. "Again, it's way too early to feel too good about the position you're in, other than I'd rather be here than the alternative. But this is big. ... They're certainly the favorites and the frontrunners in our division. And we're going to have to play really, really well against them."


  2. #2
    cowboyhater's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan says it's too early to say Rams have arrived

    Linehan is a grown-up, I like him.

    Four of our last six games are at home. The only road games are Oakland and Minnesota, both very doable. We are being positioned to finish strong. This week's game is crucial.

  3. #3
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan says it's too early to say Rams have arrived

    After we beat Seattle can I get some Bacon and Wheat toast with that ham & eggs ?

    Linehan was with the Dolphins last season when they finished the season strong. If I'm not mistaken the Dolphins won their last 6 games. So Linehan has been part of a coaching hot streak. Counting the Rams 4-1 start, it puts Linehan at 10-1 over the last 11 games he's been part of.

    Maybe I could substitue the Bacon and Wheat Toast with Steak and a muffin ?

  4. #4
    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan says it's too early to say Rams have arrived

    LARam0
    If we beat the Hawks, I'll bring the

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