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Thread: St. Louis Rams Team Report
St. Louis Rams Team Report
This week's trade for wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has a chance to be a defining one for the organization.
One scenario has Lloyd making a major impact on the Rams in the final 11 weeks of the season and then staying joined at the hip with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels by signing a new contract.
Scenario No. 2 has that same impact occurring, but Lloyd signing elsewhere. If that happens, the Rams would likely receive a compensatory pick in 2013 commensurate with what they gave up to get him. However, Lloyd leaving doesn't appear likely considering how much McDaniels has meant to his career. The Rams made the deal not only hoping he gives a charge to a 0-5 team, but with the thought of having him be a key component beyond 2011.
Lloyd has consistently credited McDaniels for his phenomenal numbers in 2010. When asked after the 2010 season how much credit McDaniels should receive, he said, "All of it. He provided the right environment for me to thrive in. He gave me confidence and most importantly he gave me opportunity. With this offense, it allowed Kyle (Orton) to be able to throw the ball like he could throw the ball and have the confidence to do it. Josh was the sole provider of that confidence and opportunity for both of us."
Of course, the worst-case scenario is that Lloyd bombs, but that seems unlikely. He is motivated knowing that this will be a chance for a nice payday, as well as believing he can be a positive influence on the team's incredibly young receivers.
"I think it's a good situation for both sides," he told the Denver Post before leaving Denver. "(The Broncos) have an opportunity to take a look at their young guys, see what direction they want to go in. And I get to go into a system where they pass the ball more. I think it's a win-win situation for me because I get to go in and try to establish myself in a leadership role. It's a role I'm ready for at my age and my career. I think I'm mature enough to handle a leadership role because that was a role I was developing in Denver.
"That's something I'm most excited about, being able to go to a young team with a lot of talent that's ready to be molded and shown how to be professionals in this league. And I'm willing to embrace that. I'm at the age, time in my career and stage of my life where I'm ready to do that."
Mike Klis of the Denver Post wrote about Lloyd, "When Brandon Lloyd flies to St. Louis this afternoon, he will take with him his magical hands, surreal leaping and body-twisting athleticism, and the biggest laugh ever heard in an NFL locker room."
When it was mentioned that the pick the Rams will give the Broncos increases to a fifth-round choice if he catches 30 passes in the final 11 games, Lloyd broke into his "trademark guffaw," according to Klis, and said, "Hopefully I get that for them in two games."
And Lloyd was honest enough to admit that his contract was one aspect of why the trade occurred. The Broncos offered him a two-year extension before the lockout, but he believed he deserved more.
"I'm not going to completely dismiss that," Lloyd said of the contract issue. "But No. 1 was how I was being used on the field. No. 2 was the contract. I wanted to be appreciated, and the way teams show their appreciation to a player in this business is to pay them accordingly.
"Obviously (money) matters. But I want to play where my skill set can reach the best of my abilities."
The potential impact on the team's young receivers can't be underestimated, especially from a player that has had success in McDaniels' system.
Consider that the Rams' pass-catching corps includes three rookies (Austin Pettis, Greg Salas and tight end Lance Kendricks), two second-year players (Danario Alexander and tight end Mike Hoomanawanui) and one third-year player (Brandon Gibson). All, of course, are in their first season in the system and did not have an offseason to begin learning it.
Also realize that Lloyd didn't have instant success with McDaniels. He was signed by the Broncos on June 15, 2009, too late for OTAs, and was inactive for the first 14 games. He did show a sign of things to come in the final two games of that season, catching eight passes for 117 yards (14.6-yard average) with a long of 44.
"I've got to be honest with you; he's one of the most talented players I've played with," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said after the trade.
SERIES HISTORY: 22nd regular-season meeting. Rams lead series, 11-10. The teams have split eight post-season games. In the last 10 games, dating back to 1984, each team has alternated victories, with the Rams winning the most recent game played in 2008.
—QB Sam Bradford not only didn't practice Wednesday, but he wasn't even watching. Bradford was in the facility getting treatment and keeping his leg elevated. Bradford sustained a high ankle sprain against Green Bay on Sunday.
He said he feels better than he did Sunday, and would do everything he could to be able to play Sunday against Dallas. Bradford said he is icing the ankle and icing it often.
"I have a Gatorade cooler at home now filled with ice that I pretty much stick my foot in any time I'm at home now," he said.
When Bradford sustained a finger injury in the season opener, he wore a glove to help it heal. Asked if he's wearing anything now like a sock, Bradford smiled and said, "It's not a sock, I guess, because they can do it with normal stim pads. I think (I'm) now experienced about modality of treatment that we have in that training room."
Meanwhile, backup A.J. Feeley took snaps with the first team. When asked about preparing as if he's going to start, he said, "I think you have to. As a backup quarterback, that's the nature of the game where you have to go into the game, even when you're not getting reps, as you're going to be the guy, because in the flash of a moment, one play, you can go in and play.
"My mindset doesn't change. Maybe the sense of urgency does and the fact that I'm getting reps out here and the likelihood of me playing is probably a little stronger than it was."
Asked about Bradford, Feeley said, "The kid's pretty tough. It wouldn't surprise me if he comes back and is ready to play on Sunday. He's a tough kid and he wants to play and he wants to take this team on his back and that's the way it should be."
—Chris Chamberlain started at weak-side linebacker against the Packers, replacing Ben Leber, but coach Steve Spagnuolo said Leber's roster spot isn't in jeopardy.
"Ben is a good football player for us and we need him," Spagnuolo said. "But when it got down to it, we were going to play 'Chambo,' and we just thought special teams-wise we'd give Jabara Williams his chance to see what he could do."
—Although they were held scoreless against Green Bay, rookie WR Greg Salas and rookie TE Lance Kendricks combined for 12 catches for 148 yards, while WR Danario Alexander added 91 yards on six catches.
"Our young receivers responded to the challenge that was presented to them," RB Steven Jackson said. "(The Packers) have some very impressive DBs that they went against, and they showed that they have the ability to get open and catch the ball."
Salas had struggled in his first two games and was then inactive for two.
"I know he faced a lot of scrutiny for the Monday night game he had but he came back and showed he can play," Alexander said of Salas. "I feel like him being a rookie and just coming in camp there's a lot of things he had to learn. Once he got everything down, he just came out and played fast."
"Definitely," he said. "It was tough. It's definitely not the way you want to start anything by having drops and a big fumble on a punt return. But you have got to stay mentally tough and know that you're here for a reason and know you'll get another shot if you just keep pushing."
Salas said the bye week before last Sunday's game helped.
"You have always got to focus on the fundamentals, catching the ball as a receiver," he said. "That's what you do. You catch the ball. The bye week helped recharge, get our minds off of football for a while and then focus up and get back to work.
"I felt a little more comfortable. I was able to get some catches real quick to help get my confidence up and I was getting more comfortable as the game went along."
—WR Austin Pettis didn't have any receptions against Green Bay, but he fielded three punts cleanly after his adventures in the previous game against Washington when he was leveled on three punts where he elected not to signal for a fair catch.
He had one fair catch and returned two punts for 56 yards on a windy afternoon.
"Yeah, I'm just getting more games," Pettis said. "Every kick getting more experience under my belt, I'm getting more comfortable so it was a little different today with the wind. I was glad I was able to get a game with some wind. So I have come pretty far and hopefully I just continue to get better and better at that."
BY THE NUMBERS: 27-74 — The Rams' record since their last playoff appearance in 2008.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You keep grinding. Keep the faith. We know a lot of people outside the building won't have any faith but that's our job — to deal with those things and keep the faith and lean on each other. If we're a team, we're gonna have to come together and circle the wagons. We're going to go play a good team next week. It'll be another great opportunity. Hopefully, we'll play closer to perfect." — DE Chris Long on staying positive despite being winless in five games.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—WR Brandon Lloyd practiced for the first time with the Rams Wednesday after being acquired Monday in a trade from Denver. Lloyd attended high school in Kansas City and college at Illinois. Asked if it was good to be closer to home, he said, "Yeah, definitely good to be back closer to home. Most importantly good to be on a team which values my service and just excited to get out there."
—QB A.J. Feeley worked with the first team as Sam Bradford missed practice because of a high ankle sprain. Feeley hasn't started an NFL game since 2007 with Philadelphia.
—WR Kris Adams was signed to the practice squad. Adams was in training camp with the Bears and on Chicago's practice squad until Oct. 11.
—CB Nate Ness, who was added to the practice squad the week before, was released.
—QB Sam Bradford still has his left foot in a boot to protect a high ankle sprain suffered against Green Bay Sunday.
—OT Rodger Saffold, who bruised his fibula Sunday, practiced Wednesday and wasn't listed on the team's official injury report.
—RB Cadillac Williams, who bruised his thigh Sunday, practiced Wednesday and wasn't listed on the team's official injury report.
—DE C.J. Ah You, who had been practicing with his hand heavily wrapped because of wrist surgery, was held out of practice Wednesday. He had an infection after the pins were removed from the wrist last week.
—WR Mark Clayton, who is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, returned to practice Wednesday and the Rams now have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or keep him on PUP for the rest of the season. Said Clayton, "I feel pretty good about being able to play on Sunday."
—CB Marquis Johnson, who is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, returned to practice Wednesday and the Rams now have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or keep him on PUP for the rest of the season.
GAME PLAN: The Rams' defense held Green Bay to a season-low 24 points last week, but to have any chance of winning they will likely have to keep Dallas under 20. The Cowboys have scored 24 or more points three times, but scored 18 against Washington and 16 in Sunday's loss to New England.
Thus, the key will be to score at least 20, which has been a tall order for a team that has scored as total of 49 points (9.8 per game) in the first five games of the season. Dallas has allowed just 307.6 yards per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL, but they have allowed 121 points.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams OTs Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith vs. Cowboys LBs DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer — Ware (7.0) and Spencer (3.0) have combined for 10 of the team's 16 sacks, and will be coming after whoever quarterbacks the Rams. Bradford (21) and Feeley (1) have been sacked a total of 22 times in five games.
Rams secondary vs. Cowboys pass-catchers — This will be a key matchup for the Rams for the rest of the season because of the injuries they have experienced at cornerback. The secondary held up decently against Green Bay, but preventing big plays remains the biggest challenge.
Re: St. Louis Rams Team Report
I know it won't be easy but Dallas can be had. Their running game is weak....We should be able to force Romo to throw it alot. Am I smelling an UPSET SPECIAL?
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