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Still a long way to go for 3-1 Rams
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Oct. 08 2006
GREEN BAY, WIS. — There is a part of the Rams' psyche that takes great pride in
the team's 3-1 start and its share of first place in the NFC West.
"No one outside of this place was expecting that out of us, so it's a good
feeling right now," tight end Joe Klopfenstein said.
"Everyone had us finishing third or fourth in our division, stuff like that,"
defensive end Leonard Little added.
But then reality, and common sense, kicks in.
"We're excited," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "But at the same time it's too
early in the season. ... So we can't get complacent, or say we're a great
football team. We're only 25-percent done (with the season), and we have the
hard part of our schedule coming up. And it's not going to be easy this week
either up in Green Bay."
And why should it? Nothing has come easy for the Rams this season. All four
contests have been one-possession games, with the trailing team at least in
position to tie in the closing minutes.
"Every team in the league right now has one or two plays that make a difference
in the game," Bulger said. "There's no sure things every week in the NFL."
The Rams are living proof. Conventional wisdom has held in only one of their
games so far: holding serve at home last week against Detroit. They were
expected to lose against Denver and Arizona, but won. Somehow, they found a way
to lose, for the third straight time over two seasons, to the inferior San
Francisco ***** in Week 2.
"You don't want to get greedy and wish you were 4-0, but you watch the *****
get killed every week. ... " Bulger said. "But we have been fortunate in a
couple of situations."
Yeah, like the back-to-back fumbled snaps by Bulger and Kurt Warner at Arizona.
Or the pass interference call that was waved off last week against the Lions.
So the Rams should be anything but complacent heading into Sunday's game
against the 1-3 Packers.
"They have a lot of weapons," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "They have a
pretty darn good scheme. They have a coach who knows kind of what we like to
do. It's a situation where if you go up there sleeping, or you take them
lightly, you'll get your head beat in. So we can't let that happen."
The Packers have a Pro Bowl running back in Ahman Green, and a Pro Bowl wide
receiver in Donald Driver. (Driver may not play due to injury.) And there's
also the matter of the legendary quarterback (Brett Favre), and the legendary
venue (Lambeau Field).
"I think anybody who gets an opportunity to play there, you have to relish the
tradition of Lambeau," strong safety Corey Chavous said. "The championships.
There's a lot of folklore in the stadium, and you want to soak it up and enjoy
the experience, because you may not ever get back there again."
Particularly since the Rams and Packers play in different divisions. Sunday's
noon kickoff marks only the second visit to Lambeau for the Rams since 1997.
"It's a fun place to play," Glover said. "The atmosphere's almost like a
college atmosphere. Favre is Favre. No. 4's going to be there, slinging and
doing what he does."
He may be slinging against a secondary that's minus cornerback Fakhir Brown,
who was downgraded to questionable Friday because of an ankle injury. To date,
Brown has been a pleasant surprise with two interceptions, one sack, and
generally good coverage. Chavous calls him "one of the top corners in the
Without Brown, Favre might be "slinging" it against a secondary that includes
Ron Bartell in the nickel packages. The Rams might even dust the cobwebs off
forgotten man Jerametrius Butler.
In any event, new Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy shouldn't be surprised by
anything Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett sends his way. After all,
McCarthy was Haslett's offensive coordinator for five seasons in New Orleans.
Then again, Haslett should have a good handle on the West Coast passing scheme
that McCarthy has brought back to Green Bay.
"So the advantage is probably washed out based on the two of them knowing each
other pretty well," coach Scott Linehan said.
But the Rams should have a distinct advantage attacking the Green Bay pass
defense, particularly with left tackle Orlando Pace expected to be back in the
lineup after missing the Detroit game with a concussion.
The Packers rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, and have allowed 28
"explosive" pass plays (gains of 16 yards or more). After cutting former
first-round draft pick Ahmad Carroll, they will ask unproven Patrick Dendy, who
was on the practice squad a week ago, to help cover Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and
So the opportunity is definitely there for the Rams to walk out of Lambeau
Field with a 4-1 record, and the division lead all to themselves, heading into
an NFC West showdown with Seattle on Oct. 15.
"It'd be huge," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said.
Even in October.
Re: Still a long way to go for 3-1 Rams
The writer of this article makes it sound like the Rams have been lucky. Was it lucky when Bulger fumbled vs. the Cards ? If Bulger hadn't fumbled we wouldn't have needed the lucky fumble from our old friend Kurt Warner. He also refers to the interference penalty that was waved off (lucky?). The ball was tipped so there was no interference, the refs got it right(lucky?)
We are 3-1, got there a little differently than I expected. Beat the Broncos and lost to the Whiners, I thought that would have been the reverse. 3-1 making the big plays when needed. To me I don't see that we've been that lucky, just 3-1 good.:r