Monday, December 26, 2005
- First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got everything they wanted. In spite of all of the problems with the Rams, I am looking forward to spending New Year's Eve (and my birthday) in Dallas. Here's hoping the Rams make a New Year's resolution to tackle better.
- Joe Vitt has been extremely hard on himself this week and in retrospect on the season. Has he made some errors along the way? Absolutely. But there isn't a coach in the league that doesn't make mistakes and none of them started their jobs under the circumstances that Vitt did. He has handled himself well in almost every situation. It's funny he says the hardest part of moving into the head coaching role was learning to deal with the media every day because he has been very good at that part of the job, earning the respect of many for his blunt, straightforward approach. None of the "Jersey Joe" tough guy stuff is an act, he is who he is and he should be commended for staying loyal to this team and working hard every week.
- I'm not sure how much longer Marshall Faulk wants to play, but watching the video montage of Faulk near the end of Saturday's game made me appreciate what he did for this city and this franchise. There's no doubt that this year has been hard on Faulk, but it's clear he can still play this game if he wants to. For about three years, Faulk was the most dominant player in football and the guy that I believe made the Rams offense go. Whatever path he chooses, he should be lauded for what he did for the Rams on and off the field.
- Obviously, the defensive performance this season hasn't been what it could or should have been, but this is a team game. When a team loses, nobody is free of guilt. Some teams find new ways to win or lose a game every week. It's strange to watch a team have the same old problems every week. The tackling looked worse on film than it did in person, which is saying something.
- Jimmy Kennedy showed some real guts playing through a hernia. He had an MRI on Friday that revealed he has a hernia and he still played in Saturday's game. I'm not sure how long he has had it, but it might have been lingering all year. I don't care what anyone says, I'm not ready to write Kennedy off yet. He was outstanding in the preseason, has dealt with injuries and hasn't really been given a chance to perform. Most players don't fully blossom until year three and with injuries, Kennedy hasn't been in the league that long yet.
- It's amazing to watch a running game that was so good against Jacksonville and New Orleans without the starting quarterback struggle like it has in recent weeks. Maybe Steven Jackson deserves some of the blame, but it's not fair to heap all of it on him. Where are the running lanes? I don't see any and there certainly wasn't anywhere for Jackson to go on that fourth-and-1 play in the fourth quarter. Jackson still has a bright future.
- Mentioned this after the game, but it's good to see progress from Anthony Hargrove. You can tell by watching that he really loves the game and he wants to be good, he just needs to refine the mental aspects of playing end. He's showed signs of taking the next step in the past two weeks, including a nice outing only a day after being sick in the hospital.
- Leonard Little is still one of the league's best defensive ends. He was flying around the field Saturday and when he teams aren't throwing a tackle, a fullback, a tight end, a waterboy and a sumo wrestler at him, he does pretty much whatever he wants.