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Wins change the atmosphere around Rams ..
BY JIM THOMAS • Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:15 am
Forget the old "24-hour rule." Flush with another impressive Rams victory, offensive guard Adam Goldberg sounded like he needed only 24 minutes before moving onto the next game.
"I am ready for next Sunday," Goldberg said, just minutes after a 20-3 victory over Seattle. "This winning's addictive and you want to get to the next one."
That fever is spreading throughout the locker room.
"To have two wins in a row, it feels really good," running back Steven Jackson said. "I think you can see the confidence around here starting to brew. We're starting to believe in what's going on. The philosophy Coach has been talking about over the last two years, guys are really buying in."
And why is that belief there?
"Why shouldn't it be?" safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. "We put a lot of work in, and you've got to have faith in the work that you put in. You're working with a purpose and for a reason. It's coming to pass now."
Amazing what a couple of wins can do for a team's psyche, not to mention its position in the standings. Coach Steve Spagnuolo repeatedly tells his players to go out on Sunday expecting to win. And at least for the past two Sundays, that's what has happened.
"I think it's changed from Week 1 to now," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "You guys (reporters) have been in the locker room, I don't know if you guys see it. It's totally different.
"Coach Spags talks to us each week about going out there and expecting to win. I think we went into the past two weeks expecting to win, which is huge. Any time a team can take the field expecting — not hoping to win — I think it changes the entire way that you play a football game."
There was a lot of negative energy at Rams Park when Spagnuolo was hired nearly 21 months ago. A culture of losing. Perhaps the exorcism has taken place, and Spagnuolo has removed those demons.
"I don't think of it that way," he said. "I'm kind of focused on this week. This is just me. It's one-quarter of a season. I've been in it long enough to know, you know — everybody feels good today, but things change really quick."
So Spagnuolo is all about Detroit, this week's opponent at Ford Field. Be that as it may, the Rams are 2-2 and tied for the NFC West lead.
"The NFC West is wide open," wide receiver Brandon Gibson said. "So our biggest thing is coming out and expecting to win each and every game ... and try to get on top of this division."
Can the Rams, only two victories removed from a staggering 6-44 free-fall, realistically compete for the division title?
"I think so," Bradford said. "We're going to have to continue to improve. I think if we level off right now, it's going to be a long rest of the year. But I think if we continue on the track that we're on right now, and we continue to improve each week, then we definitely can compete in this division."
In most seasons for most teams, the annual challenge is to reach 10 victories to qualify for postseason play. But what some call the "race for 10" may only be the "race for eight." An 8-8 record may be good enough to win the division in what looks like an even weaker than usual NFC West.
• San Francisco, the consensus preseason favorite to win the division, has stumbled to an 0-4 start. Volatile coach Mike Singletary appears capable of blowing his top at any moment.
• In Arizona, life without Kurt Warner has been very taxing on the Cardinals, who also miss Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby. Warner's replacement, Derek Anderson, has the lowest passer rating in the NFL, and there's already talk of undrafted rookie Max Hall replacing him in the starting lineup.
• And in Seattle, there's already speculation about replacing three-time Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck with offseason pickup Charlie Whitehurst at QB. The Seahawks have played like parakeets on the road so far.
Tunnel vision and all, Spagnuolo doesn't deny that winning the West is a goal.
"The goal is always, the immediate goal always in every season ... is to win the division," Spagnuolo said. "We've got a long way to go before we do that. How do you do that? You take one week at a time. That's what we're going to do."
Because it's impossible to get to 10 victories, or even eight, before first getting to three victories.
Or as Goldberg cautions: "We haven't really achieved anything. We've won two games."
If the Rams lose Sunday against the Lions (0-4), who are winless but dangerous, they could just as easily start heading in the other direction. Two years ago, the Rams beat Washington and Dallas back-to-back under interim head coach Jim Haslett following Scott Linehan's firing.
It looked like the nightmare was over, but no. The Rams proceeded to close out the season with 10 consecutive losses. Exit Haslett, enter Spagnuolo. And Spagnuolo wants to make sure the team doesn't get self-satisfied after experiencing a little success.
"We talk about it all the time," Spagnuolo said. "It goes back to a lot of things we say — don't let a bad play or a good play affect the next play. Don't let the previous game affect the next game, all those things. Whether you win or lose on Sunday, Wednesday's exactly the same. That's how we've done it since we've gotten here."
Lose or (just recently) win.
Re: Wins change the atmosphere around Rams ..
There is a LOT of difference between going out there hoping to win and expecting to win.RnD
Re: Wins change the atmosphere around Rams ..
imagine if we didn't let the arizona and the oakland games get away from us... Sigh...
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