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    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams Aim for Fine Finish

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner

    Senior Writer



    By the time Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati had come to an end, the Rams were officially eliminated from playoff contention.



    Seattle clinched the NFC West Division and it became mathematically impossible for the Rams to reach the playoffs. Of course, it was pretty clear after a 0-8 start that it would be difficult to be in the postseason mix, but with that strong possibility becoming a reality, Rams coach Scott Linehan is doing his best to keep his team focused on finishing the season on a strong note.



    “We are playing for this year too because we want to finish the season off right; just like we talked about for our second half of the season that is still our focus,” Linehan said.



    The Rams finished last season with three consecutive wins and probably played their best football of the season in that trio of games. That team fell just short of the playoffs and had plenty to play for. This year’s edition will have to find other ways of motivation to close the season on a similar note.



    In the next 11 days, the Rams will play two games, probably against the best opponents on their schedule (with the exception of Dallas). This week, Green Bay, a team that will almost certainly be among the top two in the conference, comes to town for a tilt at the Edward Jones Dome. On Dec. 20, AFC powerhouse Pittsburgh comes to the Edward Jones Dome.



    While those games will certainly be tough tasks for the 3-10 Rams, there is a bit of opportunity to play the role of spoiler and dampen those teams’ playoff hopes or postseason positioning.



    “The spoiler part, I think that is like you said, there is some motivation there but I think it is more important to focus on getting our fourth win and creating some momentum for our football team,” Linehan said.



    Creating that momentum will be even more difficult given the talent of the teams coming to St. Louis in the next two weeks.



    Playing on short rest is difficult enough, but with a short week to get ready for Pittsburgh, the Rams are making plans now to attempt to prepare for both games.



    “You have to prepare your next opponent,” Linehan said. “That has to be your focus. Our focus right now is Green Bay, but you also have to know that you have a shortened week the next week, so you have to be prepared by the end of this week to at least have all the work done that you have to have done so that you’re not behind when you get ready for your next opponent. You have to condense what you would normally get in a full week.”



    Toward the end of this week, Linehan will delegate some responsibilities to assistant coaches to begin preparations for Pittsburgh. The staff will begin reviewing Steelers’ game film and breaking down the opponent.



    In the meantime, Linehan and Co. will be preparing for the Packers and doing his best to make sure his team stays motivated and continues to play hard even without the playoffs as a possibility.



    “I think any time you compete and play, especially at this level, I don’t think you need any more motivation than going out and doing your best,” Linehan said. “We are playing one of the best teams in the NFC this year that is playing really good football. Our motivation is to go improve our football team by playing a team like this and playing our best game. It is going to take one of our best games; one of our best efforts of this season to beat Green Bay, there is no question.”



    And considering the difficulty the team has had selling out games this season, finishing with a pair of wins at home could help go a long way toward showing improvement for that area next season.



    “You win two in a row at home, if we are able to do that then we can have the potential to win three in a row at home and finishing strong at home would really help us,” Linehan said.



    QB QUESTIONS: With quarterback Marc Bulger still recovering from a concussion, the Rams will go into this week once again unsure of who the starting signal caller will be against Green Bay.



    Bulger spoke with offensive coordinator Greg Olson on Monday afternoon and said he was feeling better. Bulger said Sunday that he anticipated practicing Wednesday and playing it by ear again this week.



    “It is now about how he feels,” Linehan said. “I think it is all going to be based on my interaction with him and his interaction with the doctor. If there is any kind of symptoms towards a concussion or something that is a residual from what he had then it is going to put some doubt as to whether he is going to be able to play. I am going to evaluate it as the week goes on. Based on what happened last week I think we have to be ready to make a decision or have an idea of what we are going to do Sunday based on how he feels during Wednesday’s practice.”



    Backup Gus Frerotte could return this week from a torn labrum and sprain in his right shoulder after throwing in a side session Monday morning. Linehan said that session gave a little hope for a potential Frerotte return though he didn’t do anything extensive.



    “He didn’t throw much, other than some intermediate routes – nothing real hard,” Linehan said. “He feels confident that he should be able to get a certain amount of work in this week. We’ll see how he gets through Wednesday.”

    Linehan does not want to get in another situation where a decision doesn’t come on a starter until Friday like last week. But the Rams will continue to carry four quarterbacks (with Brock Berlin and Todd Bouman the others) this week and prepare for any and all scenarios.



    “It’s not easy but it is the hand we are dealt here,” Linehan said. “I think we just do the best we can with it and plan now for an alternative if he is not ready and prepare for that. I think that is the way we have to approach the rest of the season.”



    INJURY REPORT: The rest of the injury report is fairly tame. It appears as though tackle Rob Petitti will be out again this week as he also continues to recover from a concussion.



    Returner Brandon Williams is working to return from an ankle injury and will likely get some work in practice this week.



    As for secondary coach Willy Robinson, who suffered a torn quadriceps in a freak accident during Sunday’s game, he is expected to have surgery Tuesday morning. Linehan said he expects Robinson to be back by Wednesday afternoon.



    “He’s in,” Linehan said. “Coaches are different than players. They’re always in.”


  2. #2
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
    RamFan_Til_I_Die is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Aim for Fine Finish

    As for secondary coach Willy Robinson, who suffered a torn quadriceps in a freak accident during Sunday’s game, he is expected to have surgery Tuesday morning.
    Wow even the coaches are getting freak injuries. Has the strength and conditioning coach been fired yet?

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