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Looker tries to adjust to reduced playing time
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Nov. 13 2004
Dane Looker was one of the Rams' feel-good stories of 2003, emerging from deep
on the depth chart to claim the No. 3 job at wide receiver.
After catching 47 passes for 495 yards and three touchdowns, he seemed poised
to have a long and prosperous future in the Mike Martz offense. But midway
through the 2004 season, the sequel hasn't gone as planned.
Looker, 28, saw his playing time shrink markedly a few games into the season.
Then, he got hurt. On Sunday, he will miss his second consecutive game since
suffering an ankle sprain Oct. 24 against Miami.
Looker's ankle will improve. His playing time may not.
"I kind of expected" a reduced role, Looker said. "When you draft two talented
guys like that, you definitely want to give them an opportunity to get in there
and see what they can do."
That was a reference to 2003 draft picks Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis.
"Both of them have made big plays for us this year," Looker said. "You look at
the (Oct. 10) Seattle game - they both stepped up and made huge plays."
Curtis and McDonald both caught TD passes against the Seahawks that day, with
McDonald's the game winner in overtime. Looker had a big catch of his own that
day, a 16-yard reception that set up Wilkins' tying field goal to send the game
But Looker also has dropped a few passes, which may have opened the door for
Curtis and McDonald.
"It is frustrating to not be able to play as much as you would like to play,"
Looker said. "But if I just sit here and complain about it, and don't go out
there and give my all, then I'm not doing anything for the team or myself.
"I think Coach Martz knows I belong. I don't think it's a thing where he
believes that I'm not up to the challenge of playing that position."
Because of the ankle injury, it won't be this week against Looker's hometown
team, the Seahawks. He hopes to return Nov. 21 against Buffalo.
How it looked
to the Seahawks
Defensive back Tod McBride had a bird's-eye view of the Rams' dramatic 33-27
overtime victory over the Seahawks last month in Seattle. From the Seahawks'
McBride, who signed with St. Louis on Oct. 27, was playing for Seattle at the
time. He was one of the Seahawks' pregame inactives that day, and he watched
the game in street clothes on the Seattle sideline.
"The Rams showed a lot of heart that day," McBride said. "Seattle went into
halftime thinking, I guess, the game was won. Obviously, the Rams had something
else in mind. They kept fighting till the end. Perseverance pays off, and they
made it happen. They got the W.
"In this league, once you have that kind of cushion, you're really not supposed
The Rams trailed 24-7 at the half and rallied from a 27-10 deficit in the final
6 minutes of the fourth quarter.
"In Seattle, the fans that day by halftime kind of figured it was going to be a
win," McBride said. "A lot of the fans had started leaving by the third
quarter, figuring, 'OK, I saw what I needed to see. I'll see the rest of the
highlights on Sports Center, and make the game next week.' But those that did
leave, I'm sure they were shocked to find out."
McBride made his Rams debut last week against New England on special teams but
is listed as questionable this week with a strained hamstring.
The little picture
Watching game tape of the comeback in Seattle might have boosted the Rams'
sagging spirits during the week. But that's easier said than done, given the
way the Rams study game film.
"We watch cut-ups," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We'll watch third-and-long
(plays). We'll watch first and 10. You'll be in the fourth quarter one minute;
you'll be in the first quarter another minute. And you could be in the year
2000 a couple plays later. So it's kind of tough to get back into that game."
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