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  • Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Rams Recap: Makeshift line and Chandler hold up well
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    08/11/2004

    As dress rehearsals go, Thursday night's exhibition with the Chicago Bears was fairly productive.

    The Rams got plenty done during their 13-10 preseason overtime loss to the penalty-prone Bears at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Youngsters Andy King and Scott Tercero got to take their bows with the first-team offense during the pre-game introductions. Then they held up admirably at left guard and right tackle, respectively, despite their inexperience.

    The makeshift offensive line allowed only one sack, on a linebacker blitz, until well into the third quarter. Under the circumstances, that is not bad.

    The front defensive seven had an excellent surge for most of the game, despite the constant rotation of personnel. Captain Tyoka Jackson spent a great deal of time in the Bears backfield.

    Back-up quarterback Chris Chandler didn't always look sharp up at Macomb, Ill. -- but he was most impressive during his first Rams game in a long, long time. He looked surprisingly nimble in the pocket during his first-half appearance and made accurate throws all over the field.

    Here is what else caught our eyes:


    THE GOOD

    * With the Bears in scoring position, we loved the way cornerback Kevin Garrett smothered receiver Marty Booker on a corner route into the end zone. That Rex Grossman pass landed harmlessly out of bounds.

    * Rams quarterback Marc Bulger appeared to be in midseason form when he found receiver Isaac Bruce for 19- and 24-yard passes on back-to-back plays. He also threw a nice third-down strike to receiver Dane Looker, good for 13 yards along the right sideline and a first down.

    * On their first defensive sequence, the Rams applied decent pass pressure but didn't get results. But on the first play on of the second sequence, veteran Jackson burst in and dumped Jonathan Quinn.

    * The assault continued with defensive ends Leonard Little and Bryce Fisher arriving simultaneously to sack Quinn.

    * Receiver Shaun McDonald reminded us why the Rams liked him so much last summer; he snagged a Chandler pass while slicing right to left through the Bears secondary. He turned on his jets and turned that into a 40-yard gain.

    * Chandler showed his veteran poise to throw his first Rams touchdown pass in some time. He looked left and found nothing, then rolled back right and flipped a pass to fullback Joey Goodspeed -- who released into the right flat for a 13-yard TD reception.

    That capped an impressive 86-yard scoring drive engineered by Chandler. Maybe he does have a little bit left in that 900-year-old body.

    * Nice pass, nice catch -- rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker gunned a nice throw down the middle to tight end Mike Brake.

    * Defensive end candidate Erik Flowers turned some coaching heads by sacking Quinn early in the third quarter. (He added another sack in the fourth quarter, just before the two-minute warning.)

    * Rookie running back Steven Jackson got ample work in relief of starter Arlen Harris, carrying 15 times for 73 yards. (Marshall Faulk spent the game encased in bubble wrap.) Jackson broke an 18-yard gain through the line that nearly went for much more. He ran inside and outside with authority.

    * The highlight of the game was McDonald's zig-zagging touchdown punt return . . . which was called back due to an illegal block by Dusty McGorty. But what a dazzling effort!

    * Smoker fired a 20-yard pass to Kevin Curtis on one third-down play, then completed a pinpoint pass to Looker to move the Rams into scoring position. Unfortunately, Looker then coughed up a fumble . . . and there went the chance to surge ahead.


    THE BAD

    * The eager Rams defense got caught over-pursuing a Thomas Jones sweep during the game's first drive. As a result, Jones reversed his field and picked up 26 yards on a third-and-one play. That big play led to a field goal and a quick 3-0 Chicago lead.

    * The Rams reached the red zone on their first possession, but fell prey to a Bears blitz on a third-and-goal play at the Chicago 4. Bears middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer walked through the middle of the line and dumped Bulger, forcing the Rams to settle for a game-tying field goal.

    * The Rams defense didn't need to lose linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa to a sprained ankle early in this preseason game.

    * That over-pursuit cost the Rams, as receiver Bobby Wade gained 25 yards on an end-around play.

    * Linebacker Trev Faulk got flagged for holding on a punt return, a mistake that pinned the Rams back on their 14-yard line.

    * In the final minute of the first half, fill-in left tackle Grant Williams got busted for holding -- wiping out a big play and compromising his team's chance of scoring one more first-half touchdown.

    * Chandler's one interception came when receiver Kevin Curtis let cornerback Eric Kelly wrestle the ball away from him.

    * The Rams didn't exactly defend the "Hail Mary" pass at the end of regulation play. Jamin Elliott got his hands on the ball in the end zone after time ran out, but he couldn't reel it in. Bat the ball down, fellas!


    THE UGLY

    * Smoker took a quick drop to his own goal line with 49 seconds left in regulation play and fired the ball out to the right flat – right to Bears linebacker Joe Odom. Alas, Odom dropped the gift or else he would have walked into the end zone with the game-winning score.

    * The game was marred by 31 penalties -- 19 by the Bears for a total of 160 yards. Yikes!

    * Somewhere, Bobby April flinched. The Bears won the overtime coin toss, then Ahmad Merritt rambled 87 yards with the kickoff to set up Chicago's game-winning field goal.

    So new Rams special teams coach Mike Stock will go back to the drawing board . . .

  • #2
    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Nice to see the the front D appling pressure.....maybe Flowers might pull through, did Hargrove play???

    It's early but I'm excited about Macdonald, Curtis and Jackson, like to see what the young man can do behind Pace or Turley ( nice to see him turn up for the game )......

    heh guys it's great to read about some footie :redface:

    steve :ramlogo:
    "The breakfast Club":helmet:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

      * With the Bears in scoring position, we loved the way cornerback Kevin Garrett smothered receiver Marty Booker on a corner route into the end zone. That Rex Grossman pass landed harmlessly out of bounds.

      I'm telling you, Garrett is going to come up big this year at key spots.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

        Overall I think there were some positives about last nights game.One is that we have a decent back-up QB in Chandler.Another is McDonald.If this kid stays healthy,dare I say that we have possibly found a replacement for Az Hakim???Our run defense still needs work,but I think we knew that our Run D is gonna be a work in progress.And I have to wonder if the young punter can beat out the old punter???The kid was constantly pinning the Bears back deep in their own territory.What is that young punters name by the way????All in all I'm just glad that football has finally begun!

        Oh yeah!!And It looks like Jackson is the real deal!!!
        ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

          Originally posted by Aries51
          What is that young punters name by the way????
          Jesse Nicassio.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

            Thanks Jake!!!For the life of me,I couldnt remember his name this morning.
            ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

              Originally posted by Evil Disco Man
              Jesse Nicassio.
              How ironic. Two weeks ago, didn't we cut this guy for 2 or 3 hours? Now he's pushing Landetta. You gotta love preseason.
              * Linebacker Trev Faulk got flagged for holding on a punt return, a mistake that pinned the Rams back on their 14-yard line.
              which was called back due to an illegal block by Dusty McGorty.
              fill-in left tackle Grant Williams got busted for holding
              Smoker took a quick drop to his own goal line with 49 seconds left in regulation play and fired the ball out to the right flat – right to Bears linebacker Joe Odom.
              All of these are rookie and/or preseason mistakes that can be worked out. I'm excited. I think these guys are going to make some noise. Let's get to the season.
              Youngsters Andy King and Scott Tercero got to take their bows with the first-team offense during the pre-game introductions. Then they held up admirably at left guard and right tackle, respectively, despite their inexperience.
              The best news of the night, IMO.
              The more things change, the more they stay the same.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

                Originally posted by HUbison
                All of these are rookie and/or preseason mistakes that can be worked out. I'm excited. I think these guys are going to make some noise. Let's get to the season.
                Not to mention Dwight Anderson's illegal contact on 3rd and 27 and his block in the back on McDonald's punt return.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

                  Is there a punter controversy? Can we magnify it into more than it is? Is it better to punt for distance or accuracy? Do we need experience or a combination of placement, distance, and high time?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

                    Do either of them spend time after practices and games signing autographs? You know, this causes a disruption in the team. Any religeous differences? Never mind, we don't even want to go there...

                    I heard they need a kicker in NY...
                    This space for rent...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

                      I am, without a doubt, a Landettarian.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

                        Originally posted by AvengerRam
                        I am, without a doubt, a Landettarian.
                        On behalf of Nicassiolians world-wide, I'm offended. :tongue:
                        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                        Comment

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                        • Nick
                          Bears finish with flurry
                          by Nick
                          Bears finish with flurry
                          By Jim Thomas
                          Of the Post-Dispatch
                          08/12/2004

                          Mike Martz isn't one of these coaches who thinks NFL exhibition games are meaningless, or that the final score doesn't matter.

                          "I'd like to win every one of them, guys," Martz told reporters earlier in the week in Macomb, Ill. "I think every coach does, but with the guys that you're playing ... we still need to look at some players. But it's still very competitive. In the middle of the game, I'm not thinking about this being a preseason game. Trust me."

                          What Martz got instead, was a head coach's nightmare - exhibition overtime. And a preseason loss. Despite outplaying Chicago for most of the first three quarters Thursday night, the Bears scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to send the game into overtime tied 10-10.

                          At least it was a short overtime. Ahmad Merritt returned the overtime kickoff 87 yards to the Rams' 7. New Bears coach Lovie Smith immediately sent out Paul Edinger to kick a 25-yard field goal, giving Chicago a 13-10 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

                          The offensive highlights for St. Louis included an eight-for-nine passing performance by No. 2 quarterback Chris Chandler, four catches for 73 yards by wide receiver Shaun McDonald, and 15 carries for 73 yards by Steven Jackson through three quarters.

                          Defensively, the Rams got two sacks from Erik Flowers in the second half. Flowers got the second sack after temporarily leaving the game when he was literally squashed on a pass rush by Bears 370-pound offensive tackle Aaron Gibson. The Rams generally got a good pass rush. In the secondary, second-year man Kevin Garrett played tight coverage.

                          Marc Bulger played one series, completing three of six passes for 57 yards on a 64-yard field-goal drive. Chandler took over and led the Rams on a four-play, 86-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. McDonald caught a 40-yard pass on the drive - the night's longest gain.

                          Chandler and the Rams were moving into field-goal range in the final minute of the first half. But Bears cornerback Eric Kelly wrestled the ball away from Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis for an interception with 25 seconds to play, ending the drive at the St. Louis 35.

                          For more than three quarters, the highlight for the Bears was their opening drive, which featured some impressive running by offseason acquisition Thomas Jones. Jones had carries of 17 and 26 yards on the drive. The 26-yarder came on a third-and-one play to the right. The Rams appeared to have the play stuffed, but Jones cut back to his left where there was no backside help by the over-pursuing defense.

                          That play carried to the St. Louis 25. Four plays later, the Bears were in the end zone on a 10-yard pass from Rex Grossman to fullback Bryan Johnson. But the play was nullified by a holding penalty against...
                          -08-13-2004, 01:15 AM
                        • Nick
                          Bears Defeat Rams 13-10 in Overtime
                          by Nick
                          Bears Defeat Rams 13-10 in Overtime
                          R.B. FALLSTROM
                          Associated Press

                          ST. LOUIS - Lovie Smith's head coaching debut, and his homecoming, was a bit on the sloppy side.

                          The Chicago Bears overcame 19 penalties for 160 yards in their preseason opener, a 13-10 overtime victory over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. The opening drive was short-circuited by four penalties and the Bears had been hit for 105 yards by halftime.

                          Ahmad Merritt returned the overtime kickoff 87 yards to the 7 to set up Paul Edinger's 25-yard winning field goal on the next play.

                          Smith was the defensive coordinator the last three years for the Rams, helping them reach the Super Bowl in 2001, and received a nice ovation during pregame introductions. He was hired by the Bears in January to replace Dick Jauron following a 7-9 season.

                          Penalties were not a problem last year for the Bears, who averaged 50 yards in calls per game.

                          The Rams also stumbled with 12 penalties for 80 yards. Plus they had the only two turnovers, including a fumble after a reception by Dane Looker with 2:30 left in regulation to give the Bears the ball at the Chicago 29.

                          There were five penalties on the Bears' tying drive, four against Chicago. The drive was capped by a 1-yard pass from backup Jonathan Quinn to Gabe Reid with 10:04 to go. So the Bears actually gained 118 yards on the 88-yard, 10-play drive.

                          The Rams were without Marshall Faulk, who rarely plays until late in the preseason, and offensive tackles Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley. Pace is a contract holdout and Turley hasn't practiced since Aug. 1 due to a herniated disc in his surgically repaired back, although he attended the game in street clothes.

                          St. Louis' makeshift line, a concern heading into the game, did a good job in pass protection and Marc Bulger was hit only twice. He was sacked once, by Hunter Hillenmeyer, to force Jeff Wilkins' field goal on the last play of the first quarter. A third line starter, guard Adam Timmerman, started despite being bothered by a stinger in his neck and shoulder in recent days.

                          The teams met on the field for the fourth time in eight days. The Bears traveled to Macomb, Ill., the Rams' training camp site, last week for three days of joint practices and a scrimmage.

                          Backup Chris Chandler led the Rams to their only first-half score, a 13-yard pass to fullback Joey Goodspeed in the second quarter. Chandler was 8-for-9 for 108 yards in the second quarter, showing nimble feet on a couple of plays.

                          His lone incompletion came when Eric Kelly took the ball out of Kevin Curtis' arms for an interception to stop a drive deep in Chicago territory in the final minute of the first half.

                          Bulger played the first quarter and was 3-for-6 for 57 yards. Bears starter Rex Grossman also played one quarter and was 4-for-5 for...
                          -08-13-2004, 01:13 AM
                        • RamDez
                          RamView : From Row HH
                          by RamDez
                          Mike Franke

                          (Report and opinions from the game.)

                          Preseason Game #1: Bears 13, Rams 10 (OT)



                          More penalties than total points? Must be preseason! But hey, football is back. Hooray football!



                          Bright spots: Starting offensive and defensive lines looked better than expected.



                          Position by position:

                          * QB: Marc Bulger drove the Rams to their initial FG on 3-6-57 passing, the highlight pass a 14-yarder to Dane Looker between two defenders to convert a 3rd-and-12 from the Bear 26. The drive and Bulger's night ended with Marc getting swamped by a Bear blitz. Chris Chandler was close to perfect in relief, 8-9-108 and a TD to Joey Goodspeed. Chandler showed nice accuracy and surprisingly nimble feet, though both a 5-yard scramble on 4th-and-1 and a nice improvised rollout and zinger to Shaun McDonald for 21 were nullified by penalties on Goodspeed and Grant Williams. He scrambled some more on the Goodspeed TD, buying a lot of time before finding the fullback for the score. Chandler showed he can run this offense if needed, though he'll need to avoid dumb interceptions like the deep out intended for Kevin Curtis late in the 2nd. Gotta know after 17 years in the league that you can't force that throw, Chris. Or at least get some air under it. Jeff Smoker (7-14-81) had some expectable rookie moments, but showed he's good raw material. He did a lot of checking down, but also showed a good arm and hung tough in the pocket. (Hmm. Like the Rams' last QB from Michigan State.) Smoker, whose theme song is officially "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, showed great touch on a 24-yard completion to TE Mike Brake early in the 3rd, but he lamentably overthrew a wide open McDonald in the 4th, which probably would have led to a score. Trying to drive the Rams for a score with 1:04 left, he held the ball too long on first down and took a sack on his own 7. He followed that with a HORRIBLE forced pass in the flat that Chicago LB Joe Odom should have intercepted and returned for a score. Smoker's got some skills, and he's definitely got Mike Martz mad at him, so he's right on schedule as a Rams rookie QB.



                          * RB: Steven Jackson (15-73) got almost all of the work as Arlen Harris started but left early with an injury. (Here’s an SAT question for you: Arlen Harris is to Mike Martz as ? was to Dick Vermeil. Answer at end of column.) Radio said Jackson is still a little slow reading the defensive alignment before the snap, but he's fitting in nicely in the passing game, with four catches, and he made a sweet blitz pickup that belies his rookie status. As a runner, he's got explosiveness; he waits for his blocks; he can wiggle through a small hole and burst into the open, like on his long run of 18 in the 3rd; and he can take on tacklers. He didn't seem to have great speed to the outside, and he had footing problems a couple of times....
                          -08-13-2004, 02:46 PM
                        • RamDez
                          Rams reserves look sharp in scrimmage
                          by RamDez
                          Rams reserves look sharp in scrimmage
                          By Jim Thomas
                          Of the Post-Dispatch
                          08/07/2004





                          MACOMB, Ill. - The Rams have done this scrimmage thing six times now in their 10 preseasons in St. Louis.

                          They scrimmaged against Chicago in 1996, Indianapolis in '97, '98, and '99 and Tennessee in 2000. But they've probably never had a crisper, more efficient scrimmage on either side of the ball than Saturday's work against the Bears at Western Illinois University.

                          "We had a chance to look at a lot of guys on the roster and answer some questions about these guys," coach Mike Martz said. "Overall, I'm pleased with the effort and the execution in many areas of this football team."

                          On offense, the Rams moved 70 yards for touchdowns on their first and third series. Arlen Harris scored on a 1-yard run on the first series, with Chris Chandler at quarterback. On the third series, wide receiver Kevin Curtis scored on a 35-yard pass from rookie Jeff Smoker.

                          With Smoker at quarterback, the Rams moved 46 yards on their second series for what would have been a 41-yard field goal attempt.

                          Each team had a separate session for kicking field goals, but at predetermined spots on the field, and not based on what was happening from scrimmage.

                          On defense, the Rams posted three-and-outs on three of the Bears' five series, with linebacker Tommy Polley all over the field in the early going. Chicago scored its only TD of the day on its fourth series, with the Rams using primarily third- and fourth-stringers by then. It was the only time the Bears were even in field goal range all day.

                          "I liked what I saw," new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie said. "We would've felt better if they hadn't gotten the ball in the end zone. But it looked like there was some good hitting. It looked like our guys were in positions that they were supposed to be in for the most part. ... I'm not disappointed at all."

                          But don't start making those Super Bowl travel plans just yet. The Bears and Rams both rested many of their regulars. Only eight Rams players who figure to be starters on opening day started on Saturday, four on offense and four on defense.

                          Fifteen Rams were held out because of injuries, but many of those ailments were of the bump-and-bruise variety and wouldn't have kept players out of the lineup were it a regular-season game. Martz also decided to rest Marc Bulger, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt on offense, and Adam Archuleta and Aeneas Williams on defense. They were all healthy scratches.

                          So about all Saturday's get-together really showed is that the Rams' reserves were a little better and a little faster than Chicago's. But that didn't deter the overflow crowd of 14,000 at Hanson Field from adding a festive atmosphere to the scrimmage.

                          "It
                          ...
                          -08-08-2004, 01:01 AM
                        • RamDez
                          RamView, August 12, 2004
                          by RamDez
                          RamView, August 12, 2004

                          From Row HH

                          (Report and opinions from the game.)

                          Preseason Game #1: Bears 13, Rams 10 (OT)



                          More penalties than total points? Must be preseason! But hey, football is back. Hooray football!



                          Bright spots: Starting offensive and defensive lines looked better than expected.



                          Position by position:

                          * QB: Marc Bulger drove the Rams to their initial FG on 3-6-57 passing, the highlight pass a 14-yarder to Dane Looker between two defenders to convert a 3rd-and-12 from the Bear 26. The drive and Bulger's night ended with Marc getting swamped by a Bear blitz. Chris Chandler was close to perfect in relief, 8-9-108 and a TD to Joey Goodspeed. Chandler showed nice accuracy and surprisingly nimble feet, though both a 5-yard scramble on 4th-and-1 and a nice improvised rollout and zinger to Shaun McDonald for 21 were nullified by penalties on Goodspeed and Grant Williams. He scrambled some more on the Goodspeed TD, buying a lot of time before finding the fullback for the score. Chandler showed he can run this offense if needed, though he'll need to avoid dumb interceptions like the deep out intended for Kevin Curtis late in the 2nd. Gotta know after 17 years in the league that you can't force that throw, Chris. Or at least get some air under it. Jeff Smoker (7-14-81) had some expectable rookie moments, but showed he's good raw material. He did a lot of checking down, but also showed a good arm and hung tough in the pocket. (Hmm. Like the Rams' last QB from Michigan State.) Smoker, whose theme song is officially "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, showed great touch on a 24-yard completion to TE Mike Brake early in the 3rd, but he lamentably overthrew a wide open McDonald in the 4th, which probably would have led to a score. Trying to drive the Rams for a score with 1:04 left, he held the ball too long on first down and took a sack on his own 7. He followed that with a HORRIBLE forced pass in the flat that Chicago LB Joe Odom should have intercepted and returned for a score. Smoker's got some skills, and he's definitely got Mike Martz mad at him, so he's right on schedule as a Rams rookie QB.



                          * RB: Steven Jackson (15-73) got almost all of the work as Arlen Harris started but left early with an injury. (Here’s an SAT question for you: Arlen Harris is to Mike Martz as ? was to Dick Vermeil. Answer at end of column.) Radio said Jackson is still a little slow reading the defensive alignment before the snap, but he's fitting in nicely in the passing game, with four catches, and he made a sweet blitz pickup that belies his rookie status. As a runner, he's got explosiveness; he waits for his blocks; he can wiggle through a small hole and burst into the open, like on his long run of 18 in the 3rd; and he can take on tacklers. He didn't seem to have great speed to the outside,...
                          -08-13-2004, 11:44 AM
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