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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams know they need to improve

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/16/2008

    Preseason or not, the Rams laid an egg last Saturday in Tennessee.

    Preseason or not, the Rams don't want to lay another tonight when the San Diego Chargers come calling at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "We've got a great challenge ahead of us," coach Scott Linehan said Friday afternoon after a team walk-through. "We've got a great opponent coming in. ... You know what kind of year they had last year. So I'm really interested to see how we perform."

    It shouldn't be tough to improve on the Tennessee game, because the Rams didn't exactly set the bar high last week in Nashville. The first-team offense went without a touchdown. The defense yielded a whopping 340 yards rushing.

    And despite stressing the importance of better second-half performances, Linehan watched his team get outscored 14-0 in the second half, with Tennessee threatening another score before Titans coach Jeff Fisher called three kneel-downs in the closing moments.

    As much as anything, the continuation of those second-half woes rankled Linehan.

    "If it kills me, we're going to figure out a way to be much, much better than that in that area," Linehan said. "We'll continue to search for whatever it's going to take to get there."

    Obviously, the Rams need to "get there" on a couple of other fronts as well.

    "Even if it is preseason, nobody should get 300 yards (rushing) on you, whether it's the first team, second team, or third team," defensive back Ron Bartell said. "You want to have that confidence that you can stop the run. I think this weekend, we'll do a better job of that, especially with our younger guys."

    At least the Rams won't have to contend with LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers' all-world running back won't play tonight. In fact, for the third consecutive August, he won't play at all in the preseason.

    In addition, Chargers Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates remains on the physically unable to perform list with a toe injury. And the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that quarterback Philip Rivers also will sit out tonight's game, although he is not injured.

    None of which really matters to the Rams. Even if the Chargers trot out their junior varsity, the Rams need to block better, tackle better, execute better.

    "The approach we're taking now is we don't care who plays," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We've got to play better as a defense, so we can help this team out.

    "We've got to come together as a unit and play pretty good."

    Rams starters on both sides of the ball are expected to play the entire first half.

    In comparison, about half the San Diego starters will be held out of the game, for one reason or another. But when you're coming off a 3-13 season like the Rams, you have to approach the preseason differently from an established team such as the Chargers, who reached the AFC championship game last season.

    "I just want to win," Little said. "No matter what it takes, or what happens, I just want to win the game, and hopefully that'll carry over to the (regular) season and we'll win a lot of games."

    All that being said, Linehan grew testy at least by his standards when quizzed about his team's lack of success in the preseason opener.

    "Right now, it's probably not fair to judge the football team, or the NFL, based on one preseason game," Linehan said. "Everybody's kind of trying to find out what's going on with their teams, and evaluating their rosters.

    "The Indianapolis Colts have lost like 90 percent of their preseason games, and played pretty good in the regular season. We'd like to go out and perform with the units that are going to play and perform at a high level. So that's our goal, and we want to win the game."

    When asked if he wanted to see a crisper performance on offense, there was more testiness from Linehan.

    "Yeah, I'd like to score on every drive," he said, with a touch of sarcasm. "A touchdown. And go three-and-out on every defensive drive. And make every kick. That is our goal going into the game."

    Once again, the St. Louis offense will be hindered by the absence of holdout running back Steven Jackson. Starting center Brett Romberg is expected to miss the contest because of a broken hand. And wide receiver Torry Holt may be rested because of tightness in his back.

    The preseason debut of rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery also might wait another week. Avery returned to practice this week after being sidelined with a stress fracture in his pelvic bone. But Linehan said it will be a game day decision as to whether Avery plays.


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    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams know they need to improve

    quote[All that being said, Linehan grew testy at least by his standards when quizzed about his team's lack of success in the preseason opener.

    "Right now, it's probably not fair to judge the football team, or the NFL, based on one preseason game," Linehan said. "Everybody's kind of trying to find out what's going on with their teams, and evaluating their rosters.

    "The Indianapolis Colts have lost like 90 percent of their preseason games, and played pretty good in the regular season. We'd like to go out and perform with the units that are going to play and perform at a high level. So that's our goal, and we want to win the game."

    When asked if he wanted to see a crisper performance on offense, there was more testiness from Linehan.

    "Yeah, I'd like to score on every drive," he said, with a touch of sarcasm. "A touchdown. And go three-and-out on every defensive drive. And make every kick. That is our goal going into the game."

    Hum sound like he is feeling some pressure.
    :ramlogo:

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