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Rams Not Concerned With Scenarios
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
By Nick Wagoner
In a wild and wacky NFC, the playoff picture is about as murky and fuzzy as ever. In a year where almost every team in the conference remains in contention (at least mathematically), the Rams still fit in the mix of teams fighting for their playoff lives in the final two games.
After last week’s convincing win against Oakland, the Rams improved to 6-8 and kept their lingering hopes alive for another week at least. This week, St. Louis takes on Washington, a team with a 5-9 record and one of the few that has been officially eliminated.
While the Rams don’t have total control of their playoff fate (they actually need quite a bit of help to make it), the only way they can be knocked from the list of contenders this weekend is by losing to the Redskins.
At this point, figuring out just how to get in the playoffs is almost an exercise in futility and one that coach Scott Linehan isn’t willing to visit just yet.
“Actually, I think that the scenarios become appropriate going into the last game,” Linehan said. “There are a number of things that could happen that would be out of our control, the only thing we can control is our performance. I know it’s a pretty easy thing to say, but if we don’t win this game the scenarios don’t matter.”
The scenarios for the Rams at this point are pretty much too complicated to figure out anyway so it makes sense that Linehan and Co. are going to focus on the task at hand. As it stands, there are 10 NFC teams lumped in a group with a record between 6-8 and 8-6. Some of those teams will fall out of the mix because they play each other and others could improve because of relatively easy schedules.
After St. Louis hosts Washington this weekend, it will travel to Minnesota for a meeting with the 6-8 Vikings. Minnesota plays 6-8 Green Bay this weekend and is changing to rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
On the surface, it would seem the Rams are in good position to at least hold up their end of the bargain by winning their final two games.
For now, that is all Linehan and the Rams are focusing on.
“The best way for us to control that is to play well in our last home game, win the game, and we know that it will take care of itself, or not,” Linehan said. “There are still going to be some things out of our control going into the last game. If we take care of business this week then we can visit some of those scenarios going into the last game.”
BIG C BACK IN TOWN: Offensive lineman Claude Terrell is expected to return to St. Louis as early as today. His return might not be as exciting as anticipated though, considering his absence since training camp.
Linehan excused Terrell from rehabilitating his injured wrist in St. Louis to allow Terrell to return to Texas to have surgery on the wrist and work on it there. The Rams have had some contact with Terrell since his departure, but the guard never had the surgery.
Now, they have asked Terrell to return to St. Louis to get things straightened out and convince him to have the surgery.
“He was supposed to have it,” Linehan said. “You can’t make a person have surgery. He just opted not to. Now he is in the same spot he was in when he left. Hopefully we can push those buttons and get it done.”
Generally, Linehan prefers injured players to stay in St. Louis to rehabilitate injuries. Cornerback Travis Fisher, tackle Orlando Pace and center Andy McCollum are among the players who have stayed in St. Louis after suffering season-ending injuries.
But because of the disagreement on when, where and if Terrell should have the surgery, Linehan excused him.
“It does complicate a person’s ability to play this game and stay in this profession,” Linehan said. “If he doesn’t get it done, it will be highly unlikely he’ll be able to play.”
It is expected that once Terrell has the surgery it will be about three to four months of recovery time for him. So, if he had it in the coming weeks, he would likely miss some of the offseason weightlifting program.
Meanwhile, the Rams have developed Mark Setterstrom and Richie Incognito at guard and Terrell has fallen behind the learning curve.
“I think it puts him way behind,” Linehan said. “It’s certainly something we don’t recommend. I don’t know why, but there was just a lack of mutual understanding of what was best.”
VICTOR’S RETURN: Rookie defensive end Victor Adeyanju had hoped to be back in time for a return against the Bears on Monday Night Football. Only a couple of weeks removed from a broken forearm, Adeyanju’s outlook for that game might have been a tad optimistic.
As it turned out, it was. Adeyanju was unable to suit up for that game and wasn’t healthy enough to make it back last week against the Raiders. But this week, now that Adeyanju is properly removed from the injury, there is a good chance he could be active this weekend against Washington.
“(He) did quite a bit more work today,” Linehan said. “He is getting closer. We will make the decision by Friday but it looks pretty encouraging he will be up this week.”
HARRIS HELPS OUT: When the Rams brought in running back Kay Jay Harris, they hoped that he would be able to contribute on special teams right away even if it meant the only time he would help on offense was in an emergency.
Harris got off to a solid start, but had the disappointment of missing a key tackle opportunity against Seattle on Nov. 12. That turned into a touchdown for the Seahawks’ Nate Burleson.
But instead of letting that get him down, Harris has used it as motivation and has been one of the players consistently down the field in special teams coverage. Against Oakland last week, he was everywhere on coverage units and came up with a couple of stops.
“I think he had his best game,” Linehan said. “Like any young player and the rest of us, has probably had some ups and downs lately, but he really made a big improvement in his impact that he had on our special teams yesterday for sure.”
LINE STANDS STILL: The Rams have spent a good portion of this season reshuffling their offensive line. With injuries to Orlando Pace, Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman, it has been out of necessity.
Although Timmerman’s rib injury has improved some, his status for this week remains in doubt. Timmerman did do some limited contact work on Wednesday, but remains questionable on the injury report. Even if healthy, Linehan has made it clear he would like to see what he has with his three young linemen on the interior can do if given some continuity.
So, more than likely, the Rams will play against the Redskins this weekend with the same offensive line as the one they had last week. That means Mark Setterstrom at left guard, Brett Romberg at center and Richie Incognito at right guard with Todd Steussie and Alex Barron at the tackle spots.
INJURY REPORT: In addition to Timmerman and Adeyanju, the Rams injury report includes safety Jerome Carter, offensive lineman Richie Incognito, linebacker Will Witherspoon, punter Matt Turk, running back Stephen Davis and fullback Paul Smith.
Carter’s ankle has been improving, but it’s unknown when he will return.
“I think it’s better,” Linehan said. “I don’t know how much closer he is to getting the lineup.”
Carter is questionable. Smith, meanwhile, is almost certain not to be back this week as he recovers from stingers in his neck and a bulging disc. He is doubtful.
Witherspoon is the only addition to the report from earlier in the week. He has a bone bruise on his knee and is attempting to play through it. His repetitions were limited in practice.
Incognito has a toe sprain, but played through it and missed no repetitions in practice. Davis had an x ray on his hand and it came back negative. Turk has a stiff neck, but is fine.
Re: Rams Not Concerned With Scenarios
Just go out and WIN and let the chips fall where they may.