By Bernie Miklasz 09/15/2007 11:06 pm

The offensive line is messed up. The QB and RB are searching for the RustOleum. Tye Hill is out, so the secondary is short on viable cornerbacks. There are so many holes in the defense, George Hincapie could rush for 100 yards on his bicycle…and maybe even on a flat tire.

On the eve of only their second game of the season, the Rams already are in the full crisis mode. The San Francisco ***** are in town, trying to go 2-0 and put the Rams into an early box in the NFC West.

You know what?

Maybe this is just what the Rams need.

I’m not saying it’s their preference to have all of these injuries and NFL substance-abuse suspensions and all-purpose chaos.

But as they went into last week’s season-opener against Carolina, the Rams were casual, cavalier, and too cool for school. They assumed they’d flip a switch, turn on their emotion and energy, and routinely win a football game. Instead, they were bulldozed out of The ED in a 27-13 loss to the Panthers.

All week, the Rams have been flogged by fans and media. HC Scott Linehan and DC Jim Haslett have been under fire for their tactics and leadership. Few players have been spared of criticism. All of the preseason optimism has given way to second-week fatalism.

Well, the best competitors always respond well in these situations.

The desperation leads to hunger.

The toughest competitors LIKE being surrounded, with everything going wrong, and no apparent relief or solutions.

The greatest competitors live for these moments, when they get the chance to prove their worth and character and slience the hounds.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the Rams to show us something. Few here in STL or in their fan base in SoCal expect the Rams to win this game, or even be able to hang tough.

Upsetting the ***** would be a great way for the Rams to reverse their fortunes.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the Rams respond.