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    Stopping the run is Job One ... by Chris Draft ...

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    For the Rams' D, stopping the run is Job One
    November 29, 2007

    Chris Draft

    Rams linebacker Chris Draft, in his 10th NFL season, is writing an online column for Sporting News.

    The Seahawks game last week was a tough one.

    As a team, we had talked about the second half of the year being a new season for us. And by winning our first two games over the Saints and *****, it was like, "All right, after going 0-8, we really have a chance to go 8-0."

    We had the chance to keep working toward that goal, and then we gave the game away. That's probably what was the most deflating thing about our loss to Seattle on Sunday. Don't get me wrong: Seattle definitely made their plays, and you can't take anything away from them. But we had plenty of opportunities to win that game, and we just didn't do it.

    On that fourth-and-goal play at the end of the game, the biggest thing I remember from our sideline was people were immediately asking, "Do we go for two?" That's how sure guys were that we'd punch it in. But you've got to make the plays to get there, and we didn't quite do that.

    That goes for the whole game. The fumbled snap on fourth-and-goal may stand out to people because it happened so late in the game, but if we hadn't given up the kickoff return touchdown earlier in the game, we wouldn't have ended up in that situation to begin with. It wasn't just about the last play.

    Still, there are some real good things we can take away from the Seahawks loss. Our offense orchestrated that two-minute drive to put us in position to win the game. We jumped out early and capitalized on some turnovers. And on defense, we were getting sacks and pressures, making plays. There was a lot of good stuff; it just wasn't enough to win.

    As a defense, the No. 1 goal is always to stop the run. Even against a team like Seattle, who we knew wanted to throw the ball a little more, you can't let them start running. But against a team like Atlanta, it's an even greater priority, because the strength of the Falcons' offense is Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood. Jerious has got some speed on him and is a good young running back.

    One thing about Warrick is he's a lot tougher than most people think. He's a small guy, not real tall or big, but man, is he tough. People have tried to doubt him all throughout his career, questioning whether he could make it as an every-down back. There was a time when they were talking about replacing him with T.J. Duckett as the starter. But he kept on working. And in the past few years, he's really been able to show people that yes, he can do it, turning in some of his best seasons.

    I played with the Falcons for five seasons, so there's most definitely a little extra motivation for me heading into this game. I don't think that will play into it as much this week, though. It's important. But the biggest thing is, we just need to get that win.

    Other notes:

    People have been talking some about the comment Steven Jackson made after our game, about needing to change the music up in the Dome to liven up the atmosphere. As players, we do notice the music, and it's one of those things that helps you going for the game. Almost every player has their song that gets them in the right mood, and there's nothing like hearing it in the stadium.

    One of the best songs, which you'd never think of as a football song, is Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." Oh man. I'm telling you, when you turn that song up in a football stadium, it's one of the best pregame songs. It starts out real slow, and it's kind of eerie. A lot of players might not know the song by name, but if you play it for them, they're like, "Oh, yeah, I like that song."

    I found out the news about Sean Taylor's death from watching TV. I was just leaving the team facility on our off-day when I heard the news. I don't even know what to say. Obviously, he was one of the most talented football players out there. But regardless of who you are, to have your life taken in your home, man, it's just such an unfortunate, sad situation. And as a teammate, or as a friend or family member, nothing prepares you for that.

  2. #2
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    Re: Stopping the run is Job One ... by Chris Draft ...

    When Joey Harrington is the starting QB, stopping the run is indeed job one.

  3. #3
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping the run is Job One ... by Chris Draft ...

    And the Atlanta receivers can't catch for Vick or Joey, so yes indeed. Maybe it's a good thing we're playing our run-stuffing line this week.

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