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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Young Rams want to stick it out

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/10/2010


    Last offseason, free agent cornerback Ron Bartell re-signed with the Rams in part because he wanted to help with the turnaround of a once-proud franchise. In so doing, he passed on a chance to join the New Orleans Saints.

    Less than a year later, the Saints are 13-3 and have the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Rams are 1-15 and have the No. 1 pick in the draft.

    "When I re-signed, I knew it wasn't going to be an overnight thing," Bartell said. "I got into it for the long haul. So I knew it was going to take time. ... We still have the right people in place. I totally, firmly believe that. I think I made the best decision for me. I still think we can get this thing turned around."

    Maybe so, but the last thing Bartell and his teammates expected was 1-15.

    "It was extremely difficult," Bartell said. "With all the changes we made, you definitely didn't see that coming. But it is what it is. We put ourselves in this position. The only thing we can do now is move forward."

    Nobody expected miracles in 2009. But with a new front office, a new head coach, and massive roster changes, nobody expected fewer victories than 2008 a 2-14 season that saw Scott Linehan fired after just four games and interim head coach Jim Haslett shown the door after finishing the year with 10 consecutive losses.

    The new head coach, Steve Spagnuolo, insists a foundation for success was laid emphasizing "team," hard work, and optimism for better days ahead. General manager Billy Devaney insists there are fewer holes on the roster than a year ago, although he concedes plenty of work remains to be done.

    But after all was said and done, the 2009 team was worse than the '08 version, which lost four of its last five contests by four points or less. And it's debatable whether the Rams are any closer to being playoff competitive in the near future.

    An optimist might say the Rams knowingly took their lumps in '09 while scorching the roster of older, declining veterans; getting the team's salary cap situation back on solid footing; and giving loads of younger players valuable playing experience.

    A pessimist might say that the franchise remains stuck in the muck at the bottom of the standings. That the Rams have a glaring lack of playmakers. And that it's debatable how much better many of the youngsters will get in another season or two.

    "I think we have a lot of talent on this team," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "That if you look at a lot of the games this year, they could've gone other ways. I think we have great coaches. Another year together, it's going to be something good. There's definitely a lot of competitiveness in this group."

    As Laurinaitis sees it, 2009 was a year of learning, a year of resiliency, a year of coping with defeat.

    "It's very easy to play 100 percent when you're winning, and things are rolling, and the crowd's into it, and stuff like that," he said. "But when you're down and things get out of control, that's when it's very easy to pack it in. I think I learned a lot about myself this year. I've never been put in that (losing) situation except for a few times in college. You can tell who really cares by who really keeps trying in those moments."

    By all accounts, it's a good locker room, underscoring Spagnuolo's attempts at team building.

    "It was a pleasure playing with these guys," said defensive end James Hall, a veteran of 10 NFL seasons the past three with the Rams. "Each locker room is different. And I've been in some bad ones. I've been in some good ones. So you try to stay with the good ones."

    Bartell said: "We have a good mix of young guys that are willing to learn, and veterans that are willing to lead. Not a lot of egos. Everybody's playing for the same goal. We didn't accomplish that, of course, but I think in the end we all just stuck together."

    Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan doesn't think the Rams are that far away, citing a corps of young veterans such as Bartell, center Jason Brown, offensive tackle Alex Barron, defensive end Chris Long, and safeties James Butler and Oshiomogho Atogwe. Plus newcomers Laurinaitis and offensive tackle Jason Smith.

    "I think we're a couple additions away in my opinion," Ryan said.

    With a little more seasoning, some luck with injuries, and more expertise at finishing out close games, Ryan feels the victory total could mount considerably next season.

    "If you look across the league, most of these playoff teams are very experienced teams and have been together for quite some time," Ryan said. "That's why I hope they can keep all of us together in this system under this coaching staff. So we can grow and keep getting the morale and the camaraderie up, so we can do something special around here. Because the city deserves it. The fans deserve it. And most of all, the players deserve it."

    Easier said than done, according to running back Steven Jackson.

    "We have a lot of work to get done," Jackson said. "We have a lot of things that need to get turned around. ... Something has to turn. What we've done this year is not enough. We've got to work harder."


  2. #2
    FestusRam's Avatar
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    IMO injuries and inexperience is what hurt us the most last year.

    I know injuries happen on every team but it seemed like half the Rams starters were injured at some point in the year for a long period of time, if not season ending.

    Also, im excited to see an offense that should be in tune knowing they had last year to learn the play book thoroughly.

    I see last year as a year to gel and now we need to add on some more play makers and make things happen.

  3. #3
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    53 playing for one....one win.

    I see very few positions that I think should be secure. Longsnapper (if we resign him), OJ (if we resign him), Laurinitis, the person that polishes the Lombardi at Rams Park, and the people that sell the Gameday Program at each game.

    Who should actually go? Whoever let London Fletcher leave, the Rams Marketing department who comes up with those slogans, offensive line coach, whoever decided to lower the lights for the retirment of Deacon Jones' number, ....hell, I don't have all night to finish the list....

  4. #4
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Well, this is something that I have experience with. My high school football team. We had a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. We got absolutely killed every game in that year. We literally lost every game. But we grew together, we learned together and we worked together for years. By my junior year, we were one of the better teams.

    I am going with the optimistic mindset this article illustrated. After all the roster shaking, who really expected this club to be that competative? Then all the injuries? not a shot in hell. But they took their lumps, their losses.

    I think Clifton Ryan is right in this article, it almost seems as if we are a couple pieces away, on both sides of the ball that is. I have confidence in the receiving group. The defense is really improving. These guys lost a few games within a couple points. With a few more talented players, and our guys now developing, we may be able to squeak a win with those close ones.

    The future is bright. Out with the old, in with the new. That's the philosophy we have going, and I like it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

  5. #5
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    The attitude and comments are all upbeat and positive, which is a tribute to Spags and the players he and Billy Devaney have tried to put on the roster. That's all good and well, and I'm certainly glad to hear them, but eventually their hard work and positive thinking has got to bear fruit in the form of wins.

  6. #6
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan doesn't think the Rams are that far away, citing a corps of young veterans such as Bartell, center Jason Brown, offensive tackle Alex Barron, defensive end Chris Long, and safeties James Butler and Oshiomogho Atogwe. Plus newcomers Laurinaitis and offensive tackle Jason Smith.
    I find it fascinating that Ryan thinks that Alex is one of the building blocks.
    :ramlogo:

  7. #7
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    What's that saying? " two steps back to make to take one step forward"?

    Well we've been back peddling long enough.

    2006- (8-8)
    2007- (3-13)
    2008- (2-14)
    2009- (1-15)

    We can only go 1 more step backwards. That better not happen!

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!!

  8. #8
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    I find it fascinating that Ryan thinks that Alex is one of the building blocks.
    I'm not Barron is not a bad offensive lineman and one of the few durable ones we have.
    Just Fix It

  9. #9
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Well, this is something that I have experience with. My high school football team. We had a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. We got absolutely killed every game in that year. We literally lost every game. But we grew together, we learned together and we worked together for years. By my junior year, we were one of the better teams.

    I am going with the optimistic mindset this article illustrated. After all the roster shaking, who really expected this club to be that competative? Then all the injuries? not a shot in hell. But they took their lumps, their losses.

    I think Clifton Ryan is right in this article, it almost seems as if we are a couple pieces away, on both sides of the ball that is. I have confidence in the receiving group. The defense is really improving. These guys lost a few games within a couple points. With a few more talented players, and our guys now developing, we may be able to squeak a win with those close ones.

    The future is bright. Out with the old, in with the new. That's the philosophy we have going, and I like it.

    How many years have we been hearing that?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    How many years have we been hearing that?
    Uh... whle under the current combo of GM and HC?

    I believe that would be one year.

    I don't put much stock in, or take comfort from, players mouthing cliched positive platitudes,either. I'm sure you'd hear pretty much the same thing from players/coaches/FO folks on any team in any year that was struggling.

    I'm pinning my hopes on a personal judgement that we finally have those two critical positions at the top of the organization properly filled. That has not been true for many years & it left a mess that will take more than one year in which everything that could go wrong outside of their control did; injuries, financial restraints, & strength of schedule for them or any draft crop/FA additions to fix.

    One thing that should to a great extent be under Spags' control at which I think he failed abysmally & has been under-discussed was onfield discipline; far too many penalties that were the result of a lack of mental discipline.

    I think we need to face the fact that the talent deficit will be impossible to eradicate in one more off season but fewer penalties could significantly help The Rams become at least respectable in the short run.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -01-12-2010 at 12:17 AM.

  11. #11
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    Uh... whle under the current combo of GM and HC?

    I believe that would be one year.


    I don't put much stock in, or take comfort from, players mouthing cliched positive platitudes,either. I'm sure you'd hear pretty much the same thing from players/coaches/FO folks on any team in any year that was struggling.

    I'm pinning my hopes on a personal judgement that we finally have those two critical positions at the top of the organization properly filled. That has not been true for many years & it left a mess that will take more than one year in which everything that could go wrong outside of their control did; injuries, financial restraints, & strength of schedule for them or any draft crop/FA additions to fix.

    One thing that should to a great extent be under Spags' control at which I think he failed abysmally & has been under-discussed was onfield discipline; far too many penalties that were the result of a lack of mental discipline.

    I think we need to face the fact that the talent deficit will be impossible to eradicate in one more off season but fewer penalties could significantly help The Rams become at least respectable in the short run.

    Funny, I didn't see a discount on game tickets this year based on the HC, GM, etc. I am to the point where I have heard enough sunshine talk - I want to see results on the field. We suffered humiliating shutouts from the Whiners and the Shehawks.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Funny, I didn't see a discount on game tickets this year based on the HC, GM, etc. I am to the point where I have heard enough sunshine talk - I want to see results on the field. We suffered humiliating shutouts from the Whiners and the Shehawks.

    We will see improvement sir. We just need patience. And lots of it. Under this new regime, we knew it would take time to turn this thing around.

    I think we are on the right path. The on field product *SHOULD* be better than this year's.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Funny, I didn't see a discount on game tickets this year based on the HC, GM, etc. I am to the point where I have heard enough sunshine talk - I want to see results on the field. We suffered humiliating shutouts from the Whiners and the Shehawks.
    Not exactly loaded with detail about how you think The Rams could realistically change their losing ways more quickly, though, is it?

    Some pretty well-respected football guys like Holmgren see the HC/GM thing as THE critical first step towards fixing a mess that was years in the making & something so rare that achieving it should be a cause for celebration in & of itself.A number of franchises have seldom,if ever, even got that far. Apparently you don't.

    I think I'll go with Holmgren on that one. Sunshine-lovin' kool-aid guzzler that I am.

    You think there should have been more tangible results of a turnaround. I see the reasons why that didn't happen. We'll just have to disagree on that as well,methinks.

    It sounds to me like you'll be a miserable angry fan until The Rams win another SB .Personally , I'll enjoy the ride, however long it takes. Just glad that the train seems to have finally left the station.

    To each his own.

  14. #14
    TheRammer Guest

    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    One thing that should to a great extent be under Spags' control at which I think he failed abysmally & has been under-discussed was onfield discipline; far too many penalties that were the result of a lack of mental discipline.

    I think we need to face the fact that the talent deficit will be impossible to eradicate in one more off season but fewer penalties could significantly help The Rams become at least respectable in the short run.
    well we did get rid of cogs which will fix a big problem with that! lol

  15. #15
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Re: Young Rams Want To Stick It Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    Not exactly loaded with detail about how you think The Rams could realistically change their losing ways more quickly, though, is it?

    Some pretty well-respected football guys like Holmgren see the HC/GM thing as THE critical first step towards fixing a mess that was years in the making & something so rare that achieving it should be a cause for celebration in & of itself.A number of franchises have seldom,if ever, even got that far. Apparently you don't.

    I think I'll go with Holmgren on that one. Sunshine-lovin' kool-aid guzzler that I am.

    You think there should have been more tangible results of a turnaround. I see the reasons why that didn't happen. We'll just have to disagree on that as well,methinks.

    It sounds to me like you'll be a miserable angry fan until The Rams win another SB .Personally , I'll enjoy the ride, however long it takes. Just glad that the train seems to have finally left the station.

    To each his own.
    Great post. Half this site just doesn't get the fact that the most important thing to happen to this franchise in the last 40 years was getting rid of the blonde air-head, (whose husband # whatever actually scalped Rams SB tickets - can you believe that?!), and stooges #'s 2 and 3.

    '99 was lightning in a bottle, (by way of Vermiel and Martz as management had nothing to do with it), and they even managed to completely screw that up. My blood pressure goes up a bit every time I think about those clowns.

    Anyway, I'll have to continue to read the drivel from those who I'm fairly certain jumped on in '99, (as part of the instant gratification set), who again, just don't get it, and sigh and/or get po'd, but that's life.

    As for the Rams, they're doing it the right way, and I feel better about the team than anytime on the last 30 years.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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