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Thread: Rams Team Report - Nov 10
Rams Team Report - Nov 10
Rams Team Report
Yahoo! Sports - Nov 10, 1:40 am EST
As the Rams begin the second half of their first season under coach Steve Spagnuolo with a record of 1-7, no one knows how many wins will occur in the final eight games. Certainly, Spagnuolo was hopeful of having more than one when the team hit its bye.
But he hasn't strayed from his consistent approach, which is to stress team first, one game at a time, and remain as positive as possible with his message. That can be tough when losses mount up, but Spagnuolo has apparently achieved it so far.
He admitted, "I have had my moments (of frustration). But I think there's a professional way to do it. I think everybody in this business should be respected for the jobs they have. I think any business is about respecting each other. I don't see any reason to go off the cuff. I keep that to myself. Part of what we talk about as a team is being a poised team. You can't be a poised team if the head coach isn't poised."
Said safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "Being a guy who has been here with the Rams now going for five years, some of the younger guys and some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here, and that's going to carry over throughout the locker room so you just build a team that is really focused on one goal and one purpose and being one."
A head coach has to have credibility, and that can be difficult for a first-timer. It surely helped Spagnuolo that he was an assistant coach for 10 seasons under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Tom Coughlin with the Giants.
"I think that he would even admit that we bought into his system," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We know it's going to be successful; it's just a matter of bearing with it. Once we start getting those wins, it will start to pay off. It's a winning formula. He's been with the Giants and Philadelphia. It's not always easy, but I think that the older guys around here know that it is a winning formula. We've all bought into it."
Spagnuolo likes what he has seen, especially the absence of sulking players, or those who start pointing fingers at others.
Said Spagnuolo, "To me, that's a credit to the players. It is easy in this business to venture somewhere else, especially when you don't have a lot of success. That's why I keep going back to and keep saying that I love the group down there, the character, the commitment, the loyalty, because if you have those things, eventually that will be the reason why you win. It won't be about coaches or trick plays. It will be because what your core of players is made of. That will be the reason why we win."
Expounding on that point, Spagnuolo said he gets impressions from a lot of the little things that are still important in terms of the progress the team is making.
"I usually gauge it off of the feel of practice," Spagnuolo said. "Is the effort still there? Are we still practicing fast? Are guys on time? The little things that people would probably overlook, I look at them all the time. This team hasn't cut corners, hasn't looked for easy ways out. When you do that, it tells me they are still hungry to get things done and as long as we stay hungry, we have a chance."
Running back Steven Jackson could easily be one of the most frustrated by the losing. He has his yards but only one touchdown. Losing can take a toll on any player. But Jackson, while emerging as a leader, hails the leadership of his head coach.
"He's a great leader," Jackson said. "He's making sure that no one drifts away from what we're trying to turn around here. We knew going into the season that we were going to have our hands full. It's a new scheme on both sides of the ball. It's a lot of new faces in the locker room. Coach has really done a great job of making sure that we are all on the same page; that's the first thing. He's giving everyone a vision, getting everyone going in the right direction. I think we have that."
reported Sunday that Texas banking mogul Gerald J. Ford is interested in buying the Rams. According to Forbes, Ford was ranked No. 289 as the wealthiest Americans with a worth of $1.35 billon. That was as of September.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo spends a lot of time at Rams Park. In fact, he admitted to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he sleeps on an inflatable bed in his office at least one night a week.
Asking what nights he stays at Rams Park, Spagnuolo said, "Usually Monday and Tuesday. Every once in a while Wednesday, but I try not to do that because I like seeing my wife. I try every week to get home on Monday. Tuesday's a given that I'm sleeping here."
Noting the commute from his home, Spagnuolo said, "It's 25 minutes. It's not bad. But you go 25 here, 25 back. And when I go home, I can't go right to bed, so that's another 30 minutes. So it ends up being an hour-and-a-half of lost sleep, whereas if I can just stay here—bang. You get an extra hour-and-a-half (sleep). Toward the end of the week, it adds up."
Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole has seen progress in his unit as it has learned a new system.
"I think we are close," Flajole said. "Now again, every week we come out here, we are not where we want to be yet. That is obvious, but I think from a mental standpoint when you see our guys do certain things, you kind of say, 'Well, we didn't quite get that right last week or the weeks before, but we got it right now.' I see a natural progression, which is encouraging. We've just got to continue to keep on that track and keep improving as the weeks go along."
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur hasn't had much to work with in the receiver group, and there have been struggles in the passing game. But he still believes there has been improvement, although noting the main problem.
"We need to score points, and that is the focus," Shurmur said. "We found a way to drive the football. We are eliminating some of the mistakes we made earlier in the year, and now we just have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone. There is no magic formula other than we just have to be better at what we do."
STRATEGY & PERSONNEL
The Rams practiced with 52 players Monday following the release last Thursday of S Anthony Smith. A 53rd player likely will be on the field for Wednesday's practice. Smith was claimed by both Jacksonville and Green Bay, and he was awarded to the Jaguars.
RG Richie Incognito rode the bike during practice Monday and appears questionable for Sunday's game against New Orleans. Incognito suffered a foot injury on Oct. 25 against the Colts, and he is no longer in need of the walking boot he was wearing.
WR/KR Danny Amendola returned to practice Monday and said he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered Nov. 1 against Detroit.
DE C.J. Ah You did most of the work in practice Monday as he recovers from an ankle injury.
WR Ruvell Martin practiced Monday, but he still has the upper portion of his left leg wrapped to protect his hamstring.
CB Ron Bartell said his leg felt better because of the days off for the bye, but he's still not 100 percent from a quad injury that has affected his
Report Card After Eight Games
D—A young and inexperienced receiving corps has contributed to a conservative passing attack. With WR Laurent Robinson lost early in the season, there have been no consistent receivers. Keenan Burton is the team leader with a mere 25 catches, and he's averaged just 10.1 yards a reception. QBs Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller have passer ratings under 70, completion percentages of 57 percent or lower than an average per attempt of less than 5.70. Three of the five receivers currently on the roster—Danny Amendola, Ruvell Martin and Brandon Gibson—weren't with the team in training camp. Only Amendola, with 15, has caught a pass. TEs Randy McMichael and Daniel Fells have been inconsistent catching the ball, although Fells has three touchdowns, one on a fake field goal.
B-plus—Defenses have stacked the box, but that hasn't stopped RB Steven Jackson from totaling 784 yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Of course, he has the team's only rushing touchdown of the season, the game-winner against Detroit. No backup of top quality has emerged. Kenneth Darby is second on the team with 57 yards on 11 attempts.
C—For the most part, the pass defense has been solid, although there hasn't been much of a pass rush. A large part of that has been the Rams have never had a two-possession lead in any game, so obvious passing situations haven't occurred very much. Opponents have completed 63.7 percent of their passes with a 91.9 passer rating.
B-minus—There have been some individual breakdowns at times, but overall the run defense has improved. Opponents are averaging 4.2 yards per rush, and an aggressive defense has cut down on the big plays.
B—Amendola has given a lift to the return game, averaging 24.0 yards on kickoffs and 8.5 on punts. The coverage has been solid (22.7 on kickoffs, 6.1 on punts). P Donnie Jones remains one of the best in the league with a 46.0-yard average and 41.3 net. He has also placed 15 of 43 punts inside the 20. After a rocky start, PK Josh Brown has made seven of 10 field-goal attempts and two of three from 50 yards or farther.
B—On a young staff that is learning, the coaches have done the best possible job with the talent on hand. Most important, head coach Steve Spagnuolo has his players buying in to his team-first mantra, which has kept them practicing and playing hard despite winning just one of eight games.
Re: Rams Team Report - Nov 10WR/KR Danny Amendola returned to practice Monday and said he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered Nov. 1 against Detroit.
CB Ron Bartell said his leg felt better because of the days off for the bye, but he's still not 100 percent from a quad injury that has affected his performance.
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