Tinoisamoa back on practice field
Compiled By Jeff Gordon
STLTODAY.COM SPORTS
11/08/2006

The Rams run defense should get a boost Sunday with the return of linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who was back at practice Wednesday working with the first unit.

“We still have a couple of practices to get through,” Rams coach Scott Linehan said. “With the nature of the injury . . . we still have to be a little bit guarded on that, but he seemed like his old self out there. That’s good news.

“He is one of those quiet leaders. His leadership has certainly been shown by his absence in our performance. It did somewhat affect our team and us defensively in some areas. He’ll give us something back that we’ve been missing.”

With Tony Fisher out for the season, J.R. Reed will move back into the kick-off return role and former Dolphins running back Kay-Jay Harris has come aboard as a reserve running back and special teamer.

“He knows our offensive system,” said Linehan, who was Miami’s offensive coordinator last season. “He knows the terminology, that’s a big hurdle. He knows our running game and our protections. He is a downhill runner with very good hands.

“He’ll factor in a lot with the loss of Tony on the special teams. So he'll get plugged in there right away. He was doing a very good job on the special teams. I noticed that. K.J. was making some really good strides there.”

Here were some other highlights from Linehan’s Wednesday news conference:

On Reed resurfacing as the kick returner: “That enables us to have somebody who has returned for us, and has also been on our kickoff team and has backed up our gunner spot. It doesn’t weaken us at a spot on our special teams. We’re going to need every available body in this game if we want to have a chance to beat these guys.”

On the rush defense suffering because of some misalignment of players: “The accountability starts with making sure – myself and the rest of the coaching staff – get them in position to make plays. The players have to ultimately get lined up in the game and execute. Neither one has been good enough recently. We were in better position in this game than the game before. It didn’t come out that way. Their running back had a phenomenal game. They had four or five big plays that contributed to the majority of the yardage. Bottom line, that is a big variable in winning or losing games. It doesn’t matter that we were great for 45 snaps if for five snaps we imploded and gave them opportunities, let a great back like that have good angles to run, it’s going to kill you. We have to correct that. We know we have to coach better and play better to beat a team like that and we certainly have to do that this week.”

On how the Seahawks are different with Seneca Wallace at quarterback instead of Matt Hasselbeck: “They are not really. That’s a testament to their system. He plugs right in, nothing has changed much. Certainly Seneca uses his legs a little more than Matt, although Matt had the longest run from scrimmage against us last time we played. Matt is a good scrambler. One thing they do a great job of . . . Seneca is looking to throw first. He’s not dropping back and looking around. He’s going through his progressions and going to the right guys. He brings another dimension that makes it more difficult to defend.”

On why Fred Russell was passed over for an active roster spot: “We certainly considered Fred. We’ve been working Fred back there. The only downside for Fred, the return, it’s a tough match-up for him to do anything but that. He can’t be on any of the coverage teams. That’s it more than anything. Certainly if we had another setback, an injury or whatever, Fred would still be up there.”

On whether Seattle's defense improved: “What they have done – which is what really good teams do – they stepped up with the injuries. Losing some of their key offensive players, I’m sure defensively . . . they have really stepped up their game big. It started by creating some key negative-yards plays against us. They went on a pretty good tear sacking the quarterback.

“We’ve got to do a better job running the ball against them. This was probably our worst job all year of having any affect in the running game. They did a good job of stopping the run. We have to establish that so we can open up other things. Everybody is trying to make offenses one-dimension. Whether if you have a good look to run the ball or not, if you’re not getting yards, it’s on us getting everybody blocked, the schemes we’re running, the types of runs we’re running, and being able to break some tackles too.”

On the offensive false start penalties: “We’ve addressed that weekly. We addressed that certainly again. We can’t accept that. If we continue to do that, we’ll have a hard time winning football games.”

On the play of tackle Alex Barron: “If you eliminate some of these penalty things, I think he’s played pretty well. He is a very athletic run blocker. He’s not an overpowering run blocker. He is still a young player. He makes young player mistakes. We’ve got to get through those things that happen before the ball is snapped to get to the next level.”

On picking up the tempo of the no-huddle offense: “You can’t go the pace of two-minute (drills) for three quarters. There is somewhat of a tempo to no-huddle. If you study teams that use no-huddle exclusively, they take the (play) clock down pretty deep. Some of that is designed to snap the ball too soon. You don’t want to wear yourself out. You don’t want to have nothing left in the fourth quarter because you are going at too high of a pace. When you’re in the fourth quarter, you tend to pick it up.”