Rams Keep Effort Up
Rams Keep Effort Up
Monday, December 21, 2009
By Nick Wagoner
As the ball came shooting out of the hands of Houston running back Arian Foster following a 13-yard catch and run, the eyes of rookie Rams defensive tackle Darell Scott immediately got large.
It was as though Scott was about to sit down to a big meal, which, coincidentally, was something he’d been physically unable to do even had he wanted to in the days leading up to Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Texans.
Scott reacted immediately and hauled all of his 6’3, 312 pound frame as fast as it could go from near the line of scrimmage the 20 or so yards required to pounce on the ball.
Ultimately, Scott fell on it at the Rams’ 8 but the fact that Scott was well enough to chase it down at all was nothing short of a testament to the effort these Rams are still putting in despite the 1-13 record attached to their name.
“You talk about an effort play from a game that I don’t know if he even ate anything the three days before it,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “That was a pretty good indicator of what those guys have inside of them.”
Effort doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot in the NFL. In fact, it’s probably the minimum requirement for what it takes to win an NFL game. Most teams that find themselves playing into January start with effort as the baseline and build from there.
As with most things in life, when something goes wrong, the easy thing to do is give up, regardless of how well compensated you are or whatever prestige might go with a particular endeavor.
For the Rams, that opportunity to call it a day has presented itself time and again this season. Yet, for many reasons, they have refused to pack it in and go quietly into the offseason.
“That’s what I expressed to them in the locker room,” Spagnuolo said. “That means a great deal to me, the staff. I know it’s not easy especially for the vets. It’s not an easy thing to go through, not for any of us and yet they are able to dust themselves off, come back to work on Wednesday and get ready to play a game.”
While that hard work and effort has amounted to just one win and a whole lot of respect from Spagnuolo for the players, those efforts aren’t going completely unnoticed around the world of football.
CBS analyst and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the Rams: “The Rams are playing hard every week, and that is a reflection of their coach. I've been watching film on them and they are playing hard. As coaches, we are judged on wins and losses, but at this time of year, you're tired and beat up, and if a team is still putting out a good effort it's a tribute to their coach.”
Or this excerpt from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column on cnnsi.com: “I love how hard the Rams are playing. Sign of respect for Steve Spagnuolo.”
Of the 14 games the Rams have played in 2009, never was there a more likely time for them to pack it up and call it a season than Sunday against Houston.
Consider the following: entering Sunday’s game against the Texans, the Rams had 10 players on injured reserve, three normal starters on the pregame inactive list including the team’s top passer and pass rusher as well as the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft.
Further, the Rams entered the game coming off a 47-7 loss to Tennessee the previous week with a rookie quarterback who had just thrown five interceptions.
And oh by the way, the Rams actually had to cancel their Thursday practice after confirmed cases of swine flu hit the team and at least six players came down with flu-like symptoms.
All of that said, and logic says Spagnuolo should have expected the Rams to come out with little passion, right?
“No, only because the team has proven it to us week in, week out as a staff,” Spagnuolo said. “When all of those distractions were thrown in there, I wasn’t sure how that was going to play. Guys were ill, and when you are in the middle of it you just go on to the next day but if you really think back at it, you talk about health, energy levels being down.
“I was proud of the resolve, effort and fight in our football team.”
When the record is what it is, that’s not a familiar refrain that anybody wants to hear. Make no mistake, though, it’s not one that Spagnuolo wants to keep repeating, either.
“I will follow up and say that we are in no way satisfied with that,” Spagnuolo said. “We are not here for that. We are here to win football games. Our hunger to win is still there. That will never change.”
With two games left in the season, including a road trip to NFC West Division champion Arizona this week, Spagnuolo has enough of a sample size to know his team won’t look away now and stop working toward another victory.
For the first time all season, Spagnuolo even openly admitted to looking for two wins in the final two games which is only a revelation because he is constantly so adamant about only looking at the next game.
“It’s two NFC West opponents which I think is important going forward,” Spagnuolo said with a laugh. “We can only focus on one at a time. You did, you got it out of me.
“We have another one to play and we hope we get the same kind of effort. Again, we are not here for effort, we are here to try to win the game so we are not going to be satisfied with that knowing that the only way to win is to have that (effort).”
Re: Rams Keep Effort Up
Playing on a one win team under a rookie headoach. A headcoach that made alot of unpopular roster moves last offseason and even during the season. As a player they have to give it all. That's if they want to have a job with the St. Louis RAMS next season.
Re: Rams Keep Effort Up
Thats true, he is not afraid to cut someone loose.