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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Losses Leave Rams Feeling Sick

    Monday, December 26, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Not long after Saturdayís loss to the *****, another in a string of bad losses for the Rams, middle linebacker Trev Faulk felt ill.

    Not physically ill in the way that teammate Steven Jackson Ė who had spent most of the previous night in the emergency room hooked up to IVs felt Ė but the kind of sick that twists your stomach in knots. The kind of ill you might feel after taking a hard shot to the stomach time and again.

    ďIím very very sick right now,Ē Faulk said. ďThat was a tough one man.Ē

    Of course, Faulk could just as easily have been talking about the flu that has been going around the team all season, a flu bug that he claims he might have started. That flu hasnít affected the team nearly as much as some of the other epidemics going around the Ramsí locker room, though.

    The worst of those sicknesses is the continued inability to win. There are many sub-illnesses that have contributed to that, but there is nothing worse than losing.

    The Ramsí loss to the ***** was their fourth in a row and completed a season sweep for lowly San Francisco, which has two of its three wins on the year against St. Louis. It also ensured that the Rams will have a losing record at home for the first time since 1998.

    ďAny loss you have hurts you to the core,Ē interim coach Joe Vitt said. ďI donít care if you are playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, we prepared all week long to win and when you donít win you feel terrible. I donít go back in the archives and I donít look at the won loss record and I donít look at since 98 (or) who has done what as motivation. Itís a loss. We lost today in a game we wanted to win and a game we prepared for and it didnít work out. Iíll take the blame for it. Itís on me. All that other stuff, no. You think Iíll lose more sleep because it hasnít been since 98? Itís a loss. A loss is a loss.Ē

    And, in the Ramsí case, Saturdayís loss was like so many others. The same old problems continued to be the same old problems. The same mental gaffes continued to be the same mental gaffes.

    Heading the list of the critical errors plaguing the team was, you guessed it, missed tackles.

    Although there isnít a stat for that category, the Rams certainly are at or near the top of the league. When the Rams werenít missing tackles, as they did time and again on Frank Goreís game-winning 30-yard touchdown run and various other plays, they simply werenít in position to make the tackle.

    Take the gameís first play from scrimmage as an example. Someone named Maurice Hicks took the opening handoff and raced untouched and unencumbered for 73 yards before scoring. He could have kept running Forrest Gump-style for another 1,000 miles had he wanted to.

    While the defensive line had one of its better games, it didnít get much help from the back seven. According to Vitt, no group was guiltier of those miscues than the safeties.

    ďIn the National Football League, there are a lot of teams that the safeties are the leading tacklers on their football team and that is why we call them safeties,Ē Vitt said. ďThey have got to be good tacklers and at times, we can tackle and do tackle. Other times, it is just bad. That is just like someone trying to be a journalist and you have to teach them how to write. They are supposed to know how to write. If you are a defensive football player you are supposed to know how to tackle and if you canít, you are in the wrong profession.Ē

    The coaching staff took some steps earlier in the month to work on tackling, even going to pads late in the season for practice to try to right the ship. But those efforts have been in vain as it seems once again there is no accountability for the missed tackles.

    So, if putting pads on doesnít work and devoting extra time to fundamentals doesnít work, how does something that should be so normal to do become such a difficult task?

    ďI have no idea,Ē Faulk said. ďThat is kind of like the million dollar question. We always end up giving up one big play where someone might not have been exactly where they were supposed to be. The defense is supposed to rally around and make a play so there is not a big crisis. We have been allowing too many big plays in critical situations.Ē

    But, as everyone knows, football is a team sport and bad losses and performances can never be pinned on one side of the coin. The Ramsí offense played better against the ***** as quarterback Jamie Martin threw for 354 yards and a touchdown. But, if the Rams arenít making a mental error with some penalty, they continue to turn the ball over regularly.

    While the penalties were down against San Francisco (the Rams had four infractions, losing 24 yards), they lost the turnover battle once again. And it isnít just turnovers in general, but the timing of those miscues that have hurt the Rams.

    In the season opener against the *****, Marc Bulger was intercepted in San Francisco territory on the Ramsí final possession to seal the win for the *****. Martinís second interception of the game came on a deflected pass on the Ramsí final possession Saturday to seal the latest loss. Even his first pick was caught by the ***** in their own end zone.
    Compounding matters further was the Ramsí inability to get any semblance of a running game going. Once again, any efforts to pound the ball on the ground were put to bed by a lack of running room for Jackson and Marshall Faulk.

    Those two combined for 33 yards on 19 carries, less than 2 yards per attempt.

    ďOur run game, I think we need to evaluate what we are doing,Ē Vitt said. ďWe are still not running the ball like we would like to do it.Ē

    Things were so bad for the running game that Martin had the dayís longest carry, a 9-yard pick up early in the game.

    After the game, Vitt called the performance the ďsame old story,Ē with the Rams making the same mistakes time and again. Mercifully, the season will come to an end next week with a New Yearís Day game in Dallas.

    Although that game, like the rest of the games in the past month, will have no meaning to the Rams, Faulk said he will still prepare hard and hopes his teammates will do the same.

    ďItís very very disappointing, but itís one of those situations where you just have to deal with it and continue to try to work,Ē Faulk said. ďWe have one game left and itís not going to salvage the season or anything like that but we are still going to try to go out and prepare for this last one to go get one in Dallas.Ē

    At least then, Faulk could relieve some of that sickness thatís going around.

  2. #2
    OldRamsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Losses Leave Rams Feeling Sick

    I think its plane to see they are mentally beaten team the vets are tired of trying to carry the team and the rookies dont have a clue to what to due ,They got their a$$ kicked all over th NFL , We really do need a change so they can believe in each and the team as hole we need some one to come in and teach them kick a$$ hard nose football...
    Last edited by OldRamsfan; -12-27-2005 at 12:35 AM.

  3. #3
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Losses Leave Rams Feeling Sick

    I'm still not over that *&^%$# game. I can't believe they lost to those #%$&^*** twice! This is one of the most horrific Ram teams I've seen in a long time. I can't even remember the mid 90's teams being this bad.
    I just don't know what to make of this franchise. I hope they do some deep soul searching during the off season.

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  4. #4
    Tony Soprano Guest

    Re: Losses Leave Rams Feeling Sick

    The frustrating part is that so many of the problems plaguing the Rams are nothing new.

    We've had problems RUNNING for some time - way too long. We have NOT been a good inside rushing team for years.. The runs we did get (seems like a long time ago) were setup when Defenses we backed off and focused on stopping our Potent passing game.

    Our Run Defense was our Single number ONE priority last off-season and we are right back at square one.

    This team is just begging to be rebuilt. They are crying out
    "Somebody STOP ME"



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