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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Wagoner/Rams site



    Through nine games in the 2010 NFL season, the Rams sit tied for first in the NFL in sacks with 28.

    Considering the pedigree of coach Steve Spagnuolo and his reputation for generating pass rush as a coordinator in New York, that stat in itself might not be too surprising. As the resident expert on the subject, Spagnuolo offers a pretty reasonable explanation for his team’s success bringing down the quarterback.

    “To me sacks always come back to 80 percent want (to),” Spagnuolo said. “You can draw up all different kinds of things and so that comes back to the players. We have some guys that can find their way to the quarterback and get it done.”

    Of course, desire and effort are a big part of rushing the passer but if you ask the assembled, diverse collection of players providing most of that pressure, you’ll find there’s another extremely important ingredient to successfully creating havoc for opposing quarterbacks.

    “We have a lot of different personalities,” end C.J. Ah You said. “You’ve got to have fun and we have a great group of core guys and some young guys. Everyone is cracking jokes and just trying to keep it fun. When you have fun, you play a lot better.”

    It’s no coincidence that the player who is perhaps having the most success of the Rams’ pass rushers is also the one who keeps the jokes coming on a regular basis.
    Now in his third season in the league, defensive end Chris Long is fulfilling the monumental expectations that go with being the son of a Hall of Famer and the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
    On the field, Long has developed into a devastating, relentless pass rusher who spends nearly as much time in an opposing backfield as the quarterback. He’s posted 5.5 sacks, including at least one in each of the past four games. He also leads the Rams in quarterback hits (14) and pressures (13).

    “It’s been fun to watch him develop,” veteran defensive end and noted Long mentor James Hall said. “I would say since the first game against Arizona he did some things that I noticed that I am impressed with. It’s just fun to see him develop week in and week out. It’s fun watching him just developing his own style of rushing the passer and having success.”

    Off the field, it’s Long who has taken it upon himself to keep his teammates loose with well executed jokes and pranks in the right situations.
    Long’s propensity for keeping the mood light is limited to when he deems the situation to be appropriate. But he also does not discriminate in his targets.
    Veteran tackle Fred Robbins has been on the receiving end of a number of those jokes as has Ah You, who is Long’s roommate on the road.

    During the Oklahoma-Missouri football game on Oct. 23, Long attacked OU alum Ah You via Twitter saying on the social networking site that “my roommate CJ Ah You is so mad about Oklahoma, his alma mater he just threw a bottle at me that struck me ... some people have no class.”

    Long went on to play “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat for Ah You for most of the rest of the night.

    “He’s like a little brother that’s like really annoying,” Ah You said, laughing. “He’s definitely the prankster, always making us laugh or doing something. If it’s not him, it’s somebody else. We are always having a good time.”

    Keeping things light and having fun is imperative over the course of a long season, which Long says is the impetus for his playful jabs.

    “We have got to have fun,” Long said. “We have to have fun because it’s a long, rigorous season. If you don’t have fun at the right times and keep it light at the right times, you will probably lose your mind. Defensive linemen by nature are supposed to be a little bit off anyway. I have heard D line coaches say if there’s not something wrong with you, I don’t want to coach you. There are definitely some unique personalities in our D line room and that helps a lot.”

    While Long is second on the team in sacks (behind Hall’s 7.5), his breakthrough performance so far in 2010 can in essence be traced directly to the bond he shares with his defensive teammates.
    When asked about his effort this year, Long points to a number of factors, not least of which is the performance of his teammates undoubtedly spawned from the amount of fun the group has together.

    “I think it’s a team thing,” Long said. “I think we all feed off each other. We are all making plays because one play Fred will get great push and I might benefit from it or James and vice versa. It’s really a team thing. When we are winning and things are rolling and we have leads, it’s really helpful for the defense. It’s been fun to play team defense.”

    Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole concurs that part of Long’s success is directly correlated to the work of his teammates but also offers the normal improvement of a player as talented as Long, particularly in his second season in the system.

    “I think anytime you are in the second year of the same scheme, guys are more comfortable,” Flajole said. “I think the fact that some other guys around him have played well have opened things up. I don’t think people are able to necessarily chip or double to Chris because James Hall is doing a nice job and Freddie Robbins is rushing the passer.

    “Chris is on a natural progression. We are real proud of what he’s done and what he’s accomplished. I think the thing that gets lost is that some of the other guys around him are playing better too which allows people to have to spend time on those guys and not necessarily Chris get all the attention. He gets more single blocked and he does a good job of taking advantage of it.”

    Helping Long’s cause even further was a simple position switch that instantly made him feel more comfortable this season.

    Coming out of Virginia three season ago, Long not only had to make the adjustment from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense but also from a more natural spot on the left side to the right side.

    With end Leonard Little opting not to return this year, Long was moved to his more natural spot on the left side. That might seem like a small thing but being able to get to the place he knows where his dominant (right) hand can be used on the inside has also made a noticeable difference.

    “It makes a difference,” Long said. “Just like any player has a side they prefer, I am on that side now and that’s not to take away from the fact that I wasn’t as good of a football player as I am now for the first two years of my career, period. Whether it was the left or right side. It’s comfortable for me and I appreciate being over there.”

    Although Long is well aware of the perceptions and expectations that come with the territory of being who he is, he’s never let that affect his approach to the game.
    His teammates regularly compliment him for the all out effort he gives on every play, be it in practice or a game. And for all of those outside expectations, nobody sets the bar high for Chris Long than Chris Long himself.

    “I’ve always had high expectations around me but that’s good,” Long said. “I just do what I can in that respect to please the people around me. But at the end of the day, are you comfortable with your effort? Are you comfortable with what you are doing for your team or the way you are viewed as a teammate? These are all really important things and those are the No. 1 things for me.”

    And that’s no joking matter.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -11-20-2010 at 02:21 AM.


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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    What a bust.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
    The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
    I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
    The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
    I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
    Why cant it be that Rivers had a bad day because he faced the rams Defense.

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Actually I found it hilarious.

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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
    The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
    I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
    The crack pipe is always half empty for you,huh?

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    The crack pipe is always half empty for you,huh?
    OH, YOU'RE a Riot! TWO shows nightly, Right?
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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    OH, YOU'RE a Riot! TWO shows nightly, Right?
    Oh...you wanted a serious answer ? My bad....

    Long is tied with guys like Jared Allen & Mario Williams in the stats so far. He has sacks in four straight games & leads the team in QB hits & hurries.Name the DE in his draft class you'd rather have right now? Especially taking into account the motor, work ethic,durability, and , according to this article, great teammate skills that have been critical in molding this DL into a whole that is greater than the sum of its motley parts, for sure.

    Yes, he still has upside, one would hope, but being disappointed in Long is either sour grapes or typically provocative contrariness,imo, & unsubstantiated by this asinine argument that he hasn't sacked QBs whose teams The Rams haven't played. And why not name the OTs he hasn't beaten? All of those guys can & have been sacked this year & probably by lesser players than Long when their pro has been beaten/broken down.They are not protected by forcefields.

    The difference maker thing is equally silly,imo. Take Long away from The Rams & see how well that D stands up in any game without his multifaceted contributions.
    Plenty of other defensive players that I'd classify as having fallen short of expectations before Chris Long. Grant,for eg, and Darell Scott.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -11-21-2010 at 06:16 AM.

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    What is wrong with you all? Our D is as good as anyones out there. Has anyone noticed we are just 3 wins below the best team in the league? As for Long, he is doing great things out there. Nuff Said.

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Remember, Long has been facing double teams for most of the season, sometimes even triple teams.

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    Oh...you wanted a serious answer ? My bad....

    Long is tied with guys like Jared Allen & Mario Williams in the stats so far. He has sacks in four straight games & leads the team in QB hits & hurries.Name the DE in his draft class you'd rather have right now? Especially taking into account the motor, work ethic,durability, and , according to this article, great teammate skills that have been critical in molding this DL into a whole that is greater than the sum of its motley parts, for sure.

    Yes, he still has upside, one would hope, but being disappointed in Long is either sour grapes or typically provocative contrariness,imo, & unsubstantiated by this asinine argument that he hasn't sacked QBs whose teams The Rams haven't played. And why not name the OTs he hasn't beaten? All of those guys can & have been sacked this year & probably by lesser players than Long when their pro has been beaten/broken down.They are not protected by forcefields.

    The difference maker thing is equally silly,imo. Take Long away from The Rams & see how well that D stands up in any game without his multifaceted contributions.
    Plenty of other defensive players that I'd classify as having fallen short of expectations before Chris Long. Grant,for eg, and Darell Scott.
    'Silly', 'Asinine'....Why so Hostile? Btw, I'm not disappointed in C Long, he's decent. Just a matter of opinions.... Try not to get Bent out of shape over ones assessments.
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    'Silly', 'Asinine'....Why so Hostile? Btw, I'm not disappointed in C Long, he's decent. Just a matter of opinions.... Try not to get Bent out of shape over ones assessments.
    It's because your assessment is fairly poor. Do you even watch the games? Or do you just see the number in Long's sack column?

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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    It's because your assessment is fairly poor. Do you even watch the games? Or do you just see the number in Long's sack column?
    C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
    Yep, he's a strong run defender, effective and improving at rushing the passer, and he has the ability to drop pass and defend the pass ...

    You sidestepped the question. Do you watch the games?

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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
    Chris needs 3.5 sacks to match Howie's total for his first three years in the league. Considering the relative strengths of the team Chris has worked with (the early 80s Raiders were dominant on both sides of the ball before he got there & won the SB in Howie's 3rd year), I think that's remarkable.

    Define what these expectations are that you think he has failed to meet, considering the team situation. Or do you really believe that individual players achieve their stats in a vacuum?

    If you don't understand why kvetching vaguely about a failure to meet high pick expectations is such an irritating wet blanket, please let me know what the expected numbers for a #2 picked DE should be.

    And for the record, the hostility is towards the nonsensical arguments, not you.I don't really know how to explain any more clearly than I did why I felt those arguments made no sense so we'll just have to leave it there if you have nothing of substance to offer in rebuttal.

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