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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Where have these Rams been all year?

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/12/2007


    NEW ORLEANS — Can we see some IDs?

    We'll need to verify this with two forms of identification.

    Who were these people in the Rams uniform?

    Sunday at the Louisiana Superdome, the Rams produced a blast from the past, a three-hour reprisal of the "Greatest Show" era. It was reminiscent of a time when the coach called daring plays, a Pro Bowl quarterback zipped precision passes to graceful receivers, and an undersized defense buzzed with energy. Advertisement

    For the first time during this tortuous season, the Rams were all of those things, and more. Rams coaches had the smartest strategy and clearly won the battle of the game plans. The brash Rams players played with an air of confidence, overwhelmed their stunned opponent and silenced a disbelieving crowd.

    For the visiting team in New Orleans, it was Fat Tuesday on a Sunday afternoon. In a sharp, stinging performance, the Rams slapped the Saints around in a 37-29 victory. Forget the misleading final score; this was no contest.

    The Rams led 34-7 before the Saints realized they'd been duped by an apparent case of identity theft.

    After all, the Saints were expecting the 0-8 Lambs.

    Instead, the Saints walked into a scene from the "Black Sheep," a quirky 2006 horror film about a bunch of genetically mutated sheep that turn into vicious beasts.

    "That 0-8 team was hungry," Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said.

    What are we to make of this unexpected feeding frenzy?

    Depends on your perspective.

    Cynics will scoff and fret that the Rams — 1-8 and poised to make it 2-8 when they visit San Francisco — will screw up their draft position for 2008. And indeed, winless Miami now has the inside track for the first overall pick. And the haters will stress over this reality: The Rams are only two or three happy Sundays from saving coach Scott Linehan's job for next season. Linehan needs only three or four victories to be removed from the list of endangered coaches.

    Dick Vermeil went 9-23 in his first two seasons (1997-98) as Rams coach. Linehan (9-16) matched Vermeil's two-season total with Sunday's surprise, and Linehan still has seven games left on the schedule.

    Then again, Rams president John Shaw could be wondering: Where has this been all season?

    This ramrod at New Orleans dismissed all of the excuses about how it's impossible to win with a badly wounded offensive line. The Rams had multiple mystery guests manning the O-line against the Saints and still rolled up 409 yards, 37 points and a 62 percent third-down conversion rate while controlling the clock.

    The attitude certainly was different. The Rams came out in full-attack mode on both sides of the ball.

    "No question," Linehan said. "There's probably a lot to be said about playing loose, even though you've got to be pretty tight mentally. Arthur Ashe once said the greatest competitor is physically loose and mentally tight. I think that's the way we played."

    Fiery defensive coordinator Jim Haslett exacted revenge on the team that fired him by confounding the Saints with a special blitz package. On some passing downs the Mad Haz shifted middle linebacker Will Witherspoon to the edge to rush quarterback Drew Brees. Haslett was brilliant in this one. I just wish we had seen this more aggressive side of Haslett sooner, and I hope he stays with it. The defensive players thrived on the Haslett bravado.

    Likewise, the Rams turned it loose on offense. Linehan called some deeper patterns; wideouts Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt ran free and wild and appeared to be five years younger. Charged-up quarterback Marc Bulger was quick to deliver his decisive throws.

    Bulger sizzled, connecting on 27 of 33 passes.

    Must be his improved health.

    "I think it was just improved play," Linehan said.

    By an entire team.

    The Rams played at a higher emotional level than we've seen all season. By winning, they proved that they should be better than 1-8. Even with all of the injuries, the Rams should be hanging around at 4-5, 5-4. This result, while undoubtedly a welcome relief for the coaches and players, raised even more questions about this strange Rams season.


  2. #2
    bruce4life's Avatar
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    strange is the correct word to describe it.... this indeed has been a very strange year...

  3. #3
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/12/2007


    NEW ORLEANS —

    Sunday at the Louisiana Superdome, the Rams produced a blast from the past, a three-hour reprisal of the "Greatest Show" era. It was reminiscent of a time when the coach called daring plays, a Pro Bowl quarterback zipped precision passes to graceful receivers, and an undersized defense buzzed with energy. Advertisement

    For the first time during this tortuous season, the Rams were all of those things, and more. Rams coaches had the smartest strategy and clearly won the battle of the game plans. The brash Rams players played with an air of confidence, overwhelmed their stunned opponent and silenced a disbelieving crowd.

    For the visiting team in New Orleans, it was Fat Tuesday on a Sunday afternoon. In a sharp, stinging performance, the Rams slapped the Saints around in a 37-29 victory. Forget the misleading final score; this was no contest.

    Dick Vermeil went 9-23 in his first two seasons (1997-98) as Rams coach. Linehan (9-16) matched Vermeil's two-season total with Sunday's surprise, and Linehan still has seven games left on the schedule.
    So what do the members of SLOP have to say now?

    Linehan has 7 games left to better Vermeil's (Our SUPERBOWL WINNING HEADCOACH) record.

    AMEN

  4. #4
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    Be careful of comparing Linehan to Vermeil. Vermeil earned that extra year with his record in Philadelphia. Vermeil had already taken one team to a Super Bowl. Linehan hasn't earned next year on reputation but he may get a "pass" due to injuries.

  5. #5
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    Tx beat me to it. Vermiel had a proven track record (even if it was an old one). Linehan has no track record.

    That said, if Linehan is to be retained, I hope that, like Vermiel, he hires a dynamic and innovative OC for his third season (hey, I think I just started the GOOP - Greg Olson Opposition Party! )

  6. #6
    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    I don't know: "Strange" doesn't really seem to fit in my mind as the word to describe this season so far. It's the NFL and teams go up and down all the time. I propose we call this season: disastrously typical.

    I remember many Sunday's in the late '80's and early '90's where the Rams would exhibit these types of 'up and down' play. One Sunday, we'd have Flipper Anderson for 300 receiving yards. Another a few years later, Bettis rumbling through defenses, or Kevin Green is taking out opposition Qb's, or perhaps some fast white guy named Todd Kinchen electrifying our special teams. But for every one of those Sundays, there seemed to be twice as many bizarro Sundays where a completely different football team showed up.

    I wouldn't call this season strange as much as I would call it 'typical'. Rams (as long as i've been old enough to follow them) have always been up and down. Have we gotten so caught up in our own 'greatest show on turf' hype that we forget we were battling the bengals for the worst record in the 1990's by any other nfl team? That was only 8 seasons ago. AND, it took us the miracle '99-'00 year just to surpass them so that they would have the worst record of the decade instead of the Rams. Through all of that, it always seemed like Rams fans never knew which team would show up. The Rams consistently would handily take out a great team one week, only to get clobbered by a terrible team the next.

    don't forget, a few years ago, the Rams started out 0-5 or 0-6 and ended up routing the undefeated Raiders. Rams were down a lot that season too, with a few scattered games that exhibited offensive strength.

    I certainly don't mean to be dismissive to any previous comment- just wanted to put in my own cent's worth (and I'm sure that's all it's worth) that I feel this season is more typical of the Rams, than the whole Marshall Faulk years ever were.

    Sadly, this season just doesn't seem strange to me at all. Seeing my team on top of the NFC west for a few years, THAT was strange. lol

    Maybe my adolescent years as a Rams fan has inured me to losses more so than others. I'm just glad we got a W in the win column and I look forward to rooting on the Rams through many more years.

    By the way, I was at the home game against the ****** and I'm going to the game this weekend. Let there be revenge!

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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Where have these Rams been all year?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Tx beat me to it. Vermiel had a proven track record (even if it was an old one). Linehan has no track record.
    Adding to that you also have to look at the personnel Vermiel/Linehan started out with. We hadn't exactly been tearing it up with the guys we had prior to Vermiel's arrival - in fact prior to 1999 you have to go all the way back to 1989 to find a winning season on the books. We sucked all through the 1990's until Vermiel turned the ship around, it did take him a couple of years just like it took him a couple of years to turn other teams that he coached around (i.e the good track record that he had that helped him to stay despite not winning instantly) - but he turned a perennial loser into #1. On the contrary I felt that the Rams still had quite a few key pieces of the puzzle in place when Linehan took over, we weren't too far removed from division crowns and numerous playoffs appearences under Martz. We still had a good core of players when Linehan came aboard, so naturally the expectations were higher than when Vermiel arrived, that coupled with Vermiel's good track record from other HC gigs are some things that set these 2 situations apart I think. Ultimately it comes down to the simple question "Has Linehan done enough with what he had at his disposal?" and for me the answer is no and it's going to take a while to convince me otherwise.

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