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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' injuries have been too much to overcome

    By Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Tuesday, Dec. 14 2004

    During stretches of Sunday’s loss at Carolina, the Rams played without their
    defensive catalysts.

    Defensive end Leonard Little, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and cornerback Travis
    Fisher moved in and out of the fray due to injuries and illness.

    Safety Aeneas Williams bowed out, too, due to his lingering “stinger” injury.
    Of course, quarterback Marc Bulger and running backs Marshall Faulk and Steven
    Jackson were also sidelined by injuries.

    And would-be offensive line stalwarts Dave Wohlabaugh (center) and Kyle Turley
    (right tackle) haven’t been around all season, after failing to recover from
    off-season surgery.

    You add it all up and the Rams just didn’t have enough . . . which has become
    the story of their season.

    Certainly some individuals could have played much better this season,
    particularly among the defensive line, linebackers and safeties. Rams fans will
    always find plenty of reasons to second-guess coach Mike Martz, too, given his
    eccentricities.

    But in the final assessment, the Rams’ key injuries have been just too much to
    overcome.

    To wit:

    -- The offensive line has been in flux since training camp, since injuries to
    veteran back-ups Chris Dishman and Grant Williams, plus young reserve Scott
    Tercero, compounded the loss of Turley and Wohlabaugh.

    Sometimes the unit has held up. But at Carolina, Martz viewed its performance
    as embarrassing, noting that young right tackle Blaine Saipaia was the best of
    the five starters.

    -- The offensive and defensive leaders of this team, Faulk and Aeneas Williams,
    are no longer Pro Bowl-caliber players. Faulk looked like his old self in brief
    stretches this season, but a nagging knee injury has sent him to the sidelines.

    Williams’ “stinger” has rendered him ineffective all season. Why does he
    continue attempting to play?

    These two future Hall of Fame inductees have been the heart and soul of the
    Rams in recent seasons.

    -- By losing Bulger and Jackson as well, the Rams suddenly lacked their usual
    offensive firepower.

    “This is such an odd deal because offensively we have always been OK, sometimes
    good, but never been bad like that, and that really upsets me, as you can all
    imagine,” Martz said at his Monday news conference. “Yet these are all things
    that we can fix. We’ll just move on from there.”

    Arlen Harris gave the team a game performance at Carolina, but the pitiable
    Chandler threw six interceptions as Martz refused to scale back his game plan.

    “I have to do a better job with Chris,” Martz said. “That’s clearly a weakness
    right there. There are some things about his game that I was unclear about,
    like where he was, and that’s much better defined for me now.

    “It’s much easier for me to call a game and not put him under bad situations. I
    could help him a lot more, and we need to help him up front. We have to do a
    better job of protecting him.”

    -- Injuries kept the defense in flux as well. Safety Adam Archuleta,
    cornerbacks Fisher and DeJuan Groce, defensive linemen Jimmy Kennedy and Tyoka
    Jackson and linebackers Robert Thomas and Tommy Polley have all missed time
    and/or played hurt this season.

    So Martz has a good excuse why the Rams are threatening to miss the playoffs
    one season after a 12-4 finish. But he doesn’t want his team finding excuses
    not to win.

    “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you, you have to go get it done,” Martz said.
    “That’s what you’re here for. Find a way, and that has to be the motto, you
    just have to find a way to get it done. Fix what’s broke and move on. You have
    to have a short memory about this stuff, and not let yourself get beat down
    emotionally where you can’t pick yourself back up.

    “You have to keep fighting, and competing. That’s what we’re focusing on, and I
    don’t know any other way.”

    At least Martz is prepared to go down with a fight, which, unfortunately, is
    the best this depleted team can do.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams' injuries have been too much to overcome

    Pretty decent article, I think. Other teams have injuries, but I sincerely doubt there has been another team in this league that has been raped of players through injury like we have and has been more successful. The Panthers are an interesting example, but like us, are sitting at 6-8.
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  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams' injuries have been too much to overcome

    This might all be palatable if we didn't get punked by a team that lost twice, count 'em twice, to the whiners. NO EXCUSE.

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