Rams Ready to go Retro
Friday, October 9, 2009
By Nick Wagoner
The last time Steve Spagnuolo saw the Rams in the blue and yellow uniforms they will wear this weekend against Minnesota, he was standing on the Philadelphia sideline as a defensive assistant.
The year was 1999 and the Rams were playing their final regular season game with homefield advantage already wrapped up and little on the line.
“I know it was at the end of the season,” Spagnuolo said. “Yeah we won the game and I remember I was very surprised that Kurt (Warner) was still in the game at the end. I remember they had a great year and they were hard to stop. They went on to win the whole thing. That was a good football team.”
Indeed, that football team was so good that it went on to become one of the most miraculous stories in league history as a team that just one year earlier went 4-12 became world champions in record-breaking fashion.
That was 10 years ago, for some it feels like forever ago and others see it as only yesterday. But the Rams will bring back a bit of the past on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams will wear the old yellow and blue uniforms with the navy and yellow helmets against the Vikings. It’s the first time the team has worn any type of “throwback” jersey since it moved to St. Louis in 1995.
Rams running back/resident fashion expert Steven Jackson is excited about the old school look.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Jackson said. “I’ve been wanting to wear those jerseys for quite some time now. You look around the league year after year and you see everyone wear their throwbacks and I was wondering will we ever get a chance to. It’s going to be special; I can’t wait to put mine on.”
As a big fan of the game’s history and especially the history of the Rams, Jackson can’t wait to put on the same uniform worn by Rams legends like Jack Youngblood and Eric Dickerson.
In fact, Jackson even “tweeted” this week seeking the input of his many Twitter followers on whether he should wear a neck roll much like Dickerson used to in an effort to complete the throwback look.
“I actually prefer that look,” Jackson said. “I like the yellow, I like that blue, the mixture of it. I enjoy it maybe because I don’t get to wear it every Sunday.”
Spagnuolo, as one would expect, doesn’t care much one way or the other what the uniforms look like as he prepares his team for the game.
“No real thoughts,” Spagnuolo said. “I will have to see when we pull them out if I recognize the difference in the colors. No real thoughts. You know me – it is not going to be the color of the jersey, it is going to be the guys playing in them.”
GETTING A CHANCE: Injuries have hit hard at the receiver position. Last week, those ailments created a chance for Nate Jones to get the call from the practice squad to the active roster.
Receiver Ruvell Martin (hamstring) is doubtful this week and Keenan Burton (hamstring) and Donnie Avery (hamstring) are questionable. Avery and Burton were limited in Friday’s practice but Spagnuolo remained confident they would be available.
This week, it could mean a chance for Jones to get his first NFL game action.
“Guys stick out at certain times when you are watching practice until I can get in and watch the film,” Spagnuolo said. “He has been here long enough and he knows the system, he knows where to line up; he knows which routes to run. All of those guys, anybody in that kind of situation needs an opportunity and when they get it, hopefully they grab it.”
BOUNCING BACK: Speaking of Avery, the Rams are hoping that his solid outing against the ***** last week means he’s ready for a break out.
Avery led the Rams in receiving against San Francisco, including a 22-yard catch and run in which he made some defenders miss and picked up a key first down.
“He did a nice job for us,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “We got him the ball, he found a way to break some tackles on a big third down catch, and then he was consistent in some other areas. Catches, at times, come in bunches and hopefully we will get him a bunch more.”
INJURY REPORT: In addition to Martin, safety Anthony Smith (Achilles) is also listed as doubtful for Sunday.
As expected, safety James Butler (knee) is out. Craig Dahl will start in his place at strong safety.
Joining Avery and Burton as questionable are quarterback Marc Bulger (right shoulder) and tackle Jason Smith (knee).
Spagnuolo said Bulger could be available as the backup to expected starter Kyle Boller.
“I think there is a chance of that by the way he was throwing today,” Spagnuolo said. “He just did some scout team things so he is not in there with the first group, not that he couldn’t do that. He knows the offense so that is a definite possibility.”
As for Smith, it doesn’t appear as though he’s ready to get back into the starting lineup but Spagnuolo said it’s possible he could be among the active linemen.
“Yeah, we will have seven or eight lineman up and we will juggle it however we have to but we keep our fingers crossed and have no set backs, maybe we can get him into the game,” Spagnuolo said.
Dahl (concussion) and cornerback Ron Bartell (thigh) made it through another day of practice OK and are listed as probable.