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Thread: Storm of change buffets the Rams
Storm of change buffets the Rams
By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Less than a week ago, Rams Park was one of the calmest, most serene headquarters in America. Second-year head coach Scott Linehan coach was confident of his team's talent and potential. The players were poised to go. Unlike the recent days of old, the place was clear of turmoil, front-office politics, or controversy.
And now, with the suddenness of a twister, developments at Rams Park are spinning out of control, reminiscent of the chaos we've been witnessing all season at Busch Stadium.
The Rams were pushed around in an embarrassing 27-13 opening-day loss to the Carolina Panthers, in a performance so dreadful that media and fans swarmed in their criticism of Linehan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
Cornerstone left tackle Orlando Pace suffered a season-ending injury in the Carolina game, and his loss threatens to unravel the O-line. A second Rams player, defensive tackle Claude Wroten, was suspended for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy and joins cornerback Fakhir Brown in the league's penalty box.
The Wroten suspension only reinforced the notion that the Rams' 2006 draft is shaping up as a bust, with multiple misfires in the second and third rounds. And it doesn't help the ledger when you take risks on a player (Wroten) with prior drug issues
Elsewhere in house, guard Claude Terrell was late for a meeting last week and wasn't allowed to suit up for the Carolina game. But the line is so unsettled, Terrell has been promoted to starter at right guard for Sunday's game against the visiting *****. From the first-team depth chart, only center Brett Romberg and left guard Mark Setterstrom will line up at their intended positions Sunday.
The team is shuffling the roster with several new additions over the last two days, and on Wednesday, Rams general manager Jay Zygmunt took ill and was rushed to the hospital. Zygmunt appears to be fine, but the scare became another story line in the escalating drama.
All of this commotion leads into what will likely be a season-altering game on Sunday at The Ed.
The Rams' hopes of making the playoffs could well be on the line come high noon Sunday against San Francisco.
Over the last five seasons, since the divisional realignment went into place, of the 60 NFL teams to have qualified for the playoffs, only four made it there after starting off 0-2.
And of the four of the 60 who survived, only one, the 2003 Philadelphia Eagles, reached the postseason after opening the regular season with two consecutive home losses. If the Rams lose Sunday, they'll have opened by going 0-2 at home and would have to overcome enormous odds to recover.
With six of their next eight on the road after Sunday, the Rams had better take care of business against the 'Niners.
Linehan lost credibility in the Carolina game because of his team's timid bearing. The Rams weren't fired up, they weren't flying around, the energy level was lacking, and after Carolina moved into the lead, Linehan's men backed down.
It's incomprehensible how a team that spent the offseason declaring its readiness as a playoff contender could be so unprepared. The Rams looked like campers sputtering in a meaningless preseason game.
Time to buckle up. Linehan and staff must show that they can motivate players, develop intelligent game plans, and make shrewd adjustments, because I don't know how many games the Rams can afford to spot their foes in the NFC West.
When the ***** beat Arizona on Monday night, they overcame mistakes in an ugly game by buzzing around and refusing to lose heart. And another NFC West contender, Seattle, opened the season by smacking Tampa Bay in the mouth.
The Rams have a myriad of problems, but should expect no sympathy from predators, especially the *****. If the Rams don't show a fiery degree of urgency Sunday, then the lights on the season could start to dim sooner than anyone thinks. It's early, yes. But it's already time to make a stand.
Re: Storm of change buffets the Rams
One can't really argue, per se, with anything he said, but he did seem to take a fairly negative and dramatic approach, like Pace, Cogs and Steussie are somebody's fault.
Simply put, Jackson equals his lost fumble total from all last year, and the timing on those could not have been worse, Bulger has what I hope is his worst game of the year, Smith gets a TD on an arguable offensive penalty, and O goes down.
The planets all lined up for this one, but not in our favor.
I'd be a lot more concerned if this wasn't our FIRST game - better now than at mid-season."the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".
Re: Storm of change buffets the Rams
The Rams better show the urgency of a playoff game against the Whiners. Even than were still not out of the woods with the Cards playing us the following week. Both games are MUST wins because after that the schedule gets ta lot tougher. Its time to see what this team is made of.
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