By Bill Coats
Tuesday, Nov. 06 2007

With the pall of 0-8 hanging over them, Rams players wasted no time scurrying
out of town for their bye week. Even St. Louisan Brandon Williams bolted for
the West Coast.

"I went back out there to pack up some more of my stuff and bring some things
home," said Williams, a return specialist who started the season with the San
Francisco *****. "I just kind of relaxed, took in the weather and saw some

Linebacker Brandon Chillar visited his parents in Southern California and
"caught up on my sleep." Offensive lineman Andy McCollum took his family to a
Gulf Coast beach where "nobody even asked me about football." Tight end Randy
McMichael returned to his native Georgia; his number 5 was retired Friday night
at Peach County High.

"It was fun to go back home, back to the roots and just get a chance to see
where you come from," McMichael said. "Even though you're 0-8, people there
still love you."

On Monday, though, it was back to business. And nobody loves a winless team.

"You don't want to have a season with no wins; that's unthinkable," Williams
said. "That's only been done one time, and we don't want to be the second team
to do it. That's our motivation."

Actually, no NFL team has finished 0-16. Tampa Bay went 0-14 in 1976, its first
year in the league. The Rams get their first second-half chance to avoid such
ignominy on Sunday at New Orleans.

"This is a whole new season to me, and this is Game 1 coming up," cornerback
Tye Hill said. Coach Scott Linehan stressed that looking back at the first half
is pointless and that only the next eight games matter now.

"That's our approach," he said. "I think everybody definitely has a new focus,
and it has to be the only way we look at it. There's no other way."

Running back Steven Jackson (back) is expected to be ready for the Saints, and
center Brett Romberg (ankle) has a chance, too. Several Rams indicated that
their mental health also was improved after the break.

"I think it showed" at practice Monday, McCollum said. "People came back with a
fresh attitude and real good pep. Hopefully we'll carry that over to this

Added McMichael: "It felt great to get away from it, but I couldn't wait to get
back. ... I just go at it like every day is a one-day season, and go out there
and have a good time. No matter what the situation, you've got to have fun. And
I think once you start dwelling (on adversity), the game's not fun anymore. So
I'm going to go out there, have fun and try to make it as fun as I can for all
my teammates. ...

"This is our job, and we're blessed and privileged to be able to play this
game. It doesn't really matter what the record is, you don't throw the towel

That isn't an option, echoed McCollum. "I don't think anyone here has given
up," he said. "More than anything in the world, this team needs a win. We get
that and we'll see what happens from there."


Free agent Hanik Milligan has been added to the roster, replacing fellow safety
Bhawoh Jue. Milligan, 6 feet 3 and 200 pounds, is a fifth-year veteran who made
the Pro Bowl in 2005 as a special-teams player with San Diego. He was with
Arizona in '06 but was cut near the end of training camp this past summer. ...
Linehan still is looking for help on the offensive line. He indicated that
rookie center-guard Dustin Fry could be promoted from the practice squad later
this week. Fry is a fifth-round draft pick out of Clemson. ... Street free
agent Matt Tarullo, an offensive guard from Syracuse, visited Rams Park on