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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    BY JIM THOMAS Wednesday, September 22, 2010 12:05 am

    As the preseason wound down and the regular season approached, more than one Rams player talked about having a belief that the 2010 squad would be better. Not a "hope" but a sincere "belief."

    It was a belief fueled by several things. A second year in the defensive system. A new quarterback (Sam Bradford) who had some sizzle to his game. A healthy Steven Jackson. And success moving the football and stopping the run in the preseason, particularly in the last two exhibition games.

    But two games into the regular season, the Rams are in an all-too-familiar position, namely the bottom of the NFC West standings. Their games against Arizona and Oakland were close and hard-fought. But still losses.

    Has the team's 0-2 start already chipped away at any "belief?" Granted, the 12 rookies on the current roster had nothing to do with what happened in 2009, '08, and '07. But for the veterans, it still adds up to 44 losses in 50 games since the start of '07. For those players, how soon do they start falling into a here we go again mentality?

    "It's a persistent uphill battle," left guard Jacob Bell said. "It's one of those things where you see looks in guys' eyes, and you tell 'em, 'Hey, snap out of it.' You see a guy putting his head down, 'Pick your head up.'

    "It's just little things. Because when the little things start compiling, it turns into a problem, then you've got guys talking negative and acting negative. And you don't want to panic. I mean, you've got a lot of football left. It doesn't get any easier."

    Two winnable games have been lost. And this is supposed to be the softer part of the schedule.

    "These are ugly losses," Bell said. "But we are a better team than how we played (Sunday), I'll tell you that."

    The toughest opponents are yet to come, including San Diego (Oct. 17), Atlanta (Nov. 21) and New Orleans (Dec. 12). Even Washington, Sunday's opponent at 3:05 p.m. in the Edward Jones Dome, probably represents a step up in class from Arizona and Oakland.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo will be curious to see how his team responds today when the practice week begins after Tuesday's day off for players.

    "You trust the guys we have," Spagnuolo said. "I talk to them a lot about that. We think we have some character leaders and some guys that have enough inner drive that they're still hungry for a win.

    "We also realize that this is way early in the season. Nobody wants to start out 0-2. But all it takes is one game to start the recovery. So we focus on the next one and hope that's the one that gets it rolling. I'm always interested in how they come into work on Wednesday."

    Two losses, however tough to take, aren't going to change the approach or attitude, according to cornerback Ron Bartell.

    "The losses hurt, but I think this team one thing about this team we'll be able to bounce back," Bartell said.

    Bell concurred. "How many wins did we have last year one win?" he said. "We're a different team. I think we're a lot better than we've been the past couple years. We've just got to keep trying to prove that. Keep working.

    "We keep getting in these close games, it comes down to one guy making a play in the game. You might have the worst game in your life ... you might give up three sacks in a game. But that last drive, if you don't give up a sack and it's a touchdown (and you win the game), you're happy. So you can't get down. You've got to keep pushing. It's just the second game. I'm still optimistic."

    In the big picture, continuing to come close isn't going to put fans back in the Edward Jones Dome. The best way to sell tickets and energize a fan base is winning, and the Rams have squandered two opportunities to do so in two Sundays. Even a rookie knows that.

    "Both the first two weeks, there were a lot of things that we did to really hurt ourselves," Bradford said. "I think that's just part of this league you can't make those mistakes. You can't take points off the board when you have 'em. You've got to play a full game if you want to win."

    Even though a lot of things went wrong Sunday, the Rams were in a position to win. Hold a team to 16 points, and you should win most of the time.

    "When you're able to keep an offense out of the end zone like our defense did, you have to be able to find a way kick, crawl, scratch, whatever it is you've got to find a way to win the game," Jackson said. "You kind of have to start emphasizing being able to finish drives, finish games. Continue to try to establish your running game. We've got to take care of the ball. So as an offense, as an offensive captain, I have to make sure that we take care of the little things."

    Or else this season will be finished even though it has barely started.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: 'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    Our 2010 RAMS are definitely better than the 2009 version. We are starting to see better drafts and the experience these youngs guys are getting is priceless!

  3. #3
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    Re: 'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Our 2010 RAMS are definitely better than the 2009 version. We are starting to see better drafts and the experience these youngs guys are getting is priceless!
    I agree. I actually cannot wait until the next draft... I am just hoping we snatch up A.J Green and our offense will look really set/sharp for years!

  4. #4
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: 'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    I agree. I actually cannot wait until the next draft... I am just hoping we snatch up A.J Green and our offense will look really set/sharp for years!
    I assume Shurmur is fired in this scenario, because otherwise adding "playmakers" is pointless.

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: 'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    "These are ugly losses," Bell said. "But we are a better team than how we played (Sunday), I'll tell you that."
    I don't want you to tell me. I want you to show me.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  6. #6
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: 'Ugly start' tests the resolve of the St. Louis Rams ..

    Show Me! Are you for Missouri?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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