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Packers give the Rams extra motivation

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  • Packers give the Rams extra motivation

    By Jim Thomas
    Sunday, Dec. 16 2007

    For the past couple of months, the Rams have been under the radar, out of sight
    and basically out of mind in NFL circles. That's what happens when you open the
    season with eight straight losses.

    On Sunday, the Rams play somebody from the other side of the tracks. For only
    the second time since October, the Rams play a team with a winning record. And
    it's not just any team. It's the Green Bay Packers, arguably the most storied
    franchise in NFL history.

    At 11-2, Green Bay can clinch a first-round bye with a victory, coupled with a
    Seattle loss (or tie) at Carolina. A Green Bay tie and a Seattle loss also does
    the trick.

    The incomparable Brett Favre, at age 38, can surpass one of the NFL's biggest
    passing milestones if he throws for 184 yards Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
    That total will allow Favre to break Dan Marino's record for career passing
    yards, set at 61,361.

    Even at age 33 and in his 12th NFL season, defensive tackle La'Roi Glover
    admits to being a bit more energized than usual because of the caliber of the

    "The motivation is there because of who Brett Favre is and the things he's been
    able to accomplish in the NFL," Glover said. "So it's going to be a little
    heightened excitement."

    But it's not as if the Rams are going to seek out Favre's autograph during TV

    "He's a quarterback who is good at what he does," running back Steven Jackson
    said. "But you can't get caught up in that. We are playing the Green Bay
    Packers. If you are in awe of who you're playing, then that's a loss already.
    We have to go out and take care of business."

    As for Favre's pending record, which can be achieved at the Rams' expense with
    that modest total of 184 yards?

    "I'm not worried about Brett Favre setting any type of records," cornerback Ron
    Bartell said. "I'm worried about getting the win. He's set so many records in
    his career, who cares about if he passes for 180 yards? I just want to get a

    For the Rams, 3-10 and officially out of playoff consideration, getting a
    victory will be no mean feat. Not only are the Packers ranked No. 3 in the NFL
    in total offense, they come to St. Louis with the league's ninth-ranked
    defense. With a special teams unit that ranks in the top 10 in most major
    categories, the Packers have few soft spots.

    "They can run the ball. They've got, to me, the greatest passer that's ever
    played the game," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "And they've got
    great receivers. So we have our work cut out for us."

    But Haslett added, "We'll have something for them, and we'll be competitive
    against them."

    On defense, the Packers have what Jackson said might be the best front seven
    the Rams have faced all season. Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk are quick,
    free-flowing linebackers. Up front, the Packers have a big run stopper in
    former Ram Ryan Pickett, and pass rushers who seem to come from all directions.

    At left end, Pro Bowler Aaron Kampman has 11 sacks. (He's questionable with a
    back injury.) At right end, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has 9 1/2 sacks. And then
    there's 313-pound defensive tackle Corey Williams, with his seven sacks up the

    So with quarterback Marc Bulger attempting to come back after missing the past
    two games with a concussion, how do the Rams prevent Green Bay from storming
    the gates?

    "We have to be able to run the football," coach Scott Linehan said. "Our
    challenge is to be able to have a very efficient and effective run game. ...
    We'll set up a lot of what we want to do in the pass game off what we do in the

    If that's the case, the Rams will have a chance to pull off a huge upset. The
    Packers normally don't do much defensively in terms of blitzes or trying to
    confuse an offense. If that's how it plays out Sunday, it will help the Rams'
    patchwork offensive line.

    In addition, wide receiver Torry Holt said Bulger looked healthy and fresh all
    week in practice throwing the football.

    "I thought his reads were great," Holt said. "If we can keep him off his back
    as much as we can, and allow him to set his feet and make his throws, that
    could make (it) a good day for us."

    The Rams can only hope.

  • #2
    Re: Packers give the Rams extra motivation

    They better be pumped, it is on national TV, and I don't want to be too embarassed.
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


    • #3
      Re: Packers give the Rams extra motivation

      Bulger must go to Holt early and often. Bulger has the weapons besides Holt, use 'em! (Bruce, Bennett, McMichael, Leonard, etc.)
      The only way to have an efficient and effective run game is to shoot Jackson quickly between the tackles, straight ahead, going north & south, instead of east & west. No dancing!
      everyone must stepup their game against the Packers! The O-Line, Special Teams unit, the Defense, Kicking game..... Everthing has to click, Today!
      Good Luck to Head Coach Scott Thomas Linehan, no doubt his biggest coaching challenge to date, hopefully he can inspire the extra motivation and lead the Rams to victory. GO RAMS!


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      • RamWraith
        Rams, Packers trying to find new identities on offense
        by RamWraith
        By Chris Jenkins

        GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Brett Favre is dinking and dunking, and the St. Louis Rams are suddenly worried about the running game and turnovers.

        Who are these guys, anyway?

        There has been plenty of talk about finding new offensive identities in St. Louis and Green Bay this year, as two new coaches try to break their teams' old habits.

        So far, it seems like Rams coach Scott Linehan is closer than Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

        The Rams (3-1) no longer consider themselves the "Greatest Show on Turf," veering away from former coach Mike Martz's go-for-broke passing game.

        Instead, Linehan has emphasized running the ball with Steven Jackson and protecting quarterback Marc Bulger.

        That, plus an aggressive defense, has the Rams tied with Seattle for first place in the NFC West -- something Linehan doesn't really want to think about for now.

        "Teams that get ahead of themselves usually pay for it," Linehan said. "I think it'd be a big mistake if you took into account what your record is or the circumstance of that game, because every week you throw the records out in the NFL."

        Bulger said life under Linehan is a bigger change than he thought it would be. And it's taking the Rams a while to adjust to the new offense; they scored 20 points or fewer in their first three games, but scored 41 in a victory over the Lions last week.

        "We're definitely not the same identity," Bulger said. "We used to have just kept winging it and throwing it -- maybe turn it over, but keep winging it. We've switched it to more ball-control. You kind of do wonder what the new coach is going to be like, but I think he's done a good job of trying to make it like a hybrid, a little bit of the old mixed with some of his things."

        But Linehan doesn't want people to think the Rams have given up their lust for big plays.

        "I think a little bit of a misnomer is that we're not aggressive," Linehan said. "I think we're still trying to be fairly aggressive in our approach."

        The Rams didn't have a receiver gain more than 100 yards in their first two games, but Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce both went for 100 yards or more against Detroit.

        "We knew we were close and it wasn't time to panic," Bulger said. "Fortunately, we're starting to know our blocking assignments, I'm throwing more accurately, and we're running better routes. Maybe it's all just coming together now."

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      • RamWraith
        Unlevel Playing Field: Field position, fan support help Packers
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Monday, Dec. 17 2007

        For nearly three quarters, the St. Louis game plan worked effectively and the
        Rams stuck with it. They established Steven Jackson and the running game early,
        and took their shots with Marc Bulger in the passing game.

        Through three quarters, the Rams had a 2-to-1 edge in possession time and had
        outgained Brett Favre and the potent Green Bay offense by nearly 100 yards.
        Yet, when the Rams looked up at the scoreboard at the Edward Jones Dome aka
        Lambeau Field South they trailed by two touchdowns.

        How did this happen?

        Well, some gridiron historians refer to football as the "100-yard war." On
        Sunday, it became more like a "50-yard skirmish" for the Packers. Thanks in
        large part to lousy special teams play, the average starting point for the
        Packers' drives was their 48-yard line.

        Of Green Bay's 12 offensive series, six started in St. Louis territory. Three
        others started at the Packers' 40, 44 and 48-yard lines.

        "I just know when we're on offense and we hit the 50, it's kind of like you're
        going downhill," Bulger said.

        The Packers were going downhill all afternoon, like a sled on the snow at Art
        Hill. Of the 53 offensive plays by Green Bay, 41 began in St. Louis territory.

        "You're not going to beat a good football team like (Green Bay) doing that,"
        coach Scott Linehan said.

        Given such a lopsided edge in field position, it's almost surprising that the
        final score wasn't more lopsided than Green Bay 33, Rams 14.

        "They have only two losses for a reason," Bulger said. "They're a good team.
        They made us play with that field position."

        And made them pay because of that field position. Green Bay's victory coupled
        with Seattle's loss to Carolina clinched a first-round playoff bye for the
        Packers (12-2).

        On a day when Favre eclipsed Dan Marino's NFL record for career passing yards,
        it seemed as if all of Green Bay was on hand. With Rams fans continuing to bail
        on their 3-11 team, thousands of "lower bowl" tickets belonging to Rams
        season-ticket holders ended up in the hands of Packers fans.

        Green and gold were the colors of the day. Cheeseheads everywhere. Dozens of
        pro-Packers signs throughout the stadium. There was no way to know officially,
        but it looked as if there were more Packers fans than Rams fans in attendance.

        "It was a joke," Jackson said. "It's as simple as that. The whole (lower) level
        was Green Bay Packers. We allowed them to put up signs. It's a joke."

        "That was the worst, as far as the other team's fans,"...
        -12-17-2007, 05:23 AM
      • RamWraith
        Say, 'Cheese': Packers-Rams 5 Things To Watch
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas

        Fabulous Favre

        There was a time when Brett Favre struggled indoors. Like the NFC playoff game in St. Louis six years ago, when he was intercepted six times by the Rams. Two of those six interceptions were returned for a touchdown by Aeneas Williams. But those days are gone. In four indoor games over the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Favre has posted a passer rating over 100 each time. He has 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in those contests. Under second-year head coach Mike McCarthy, Favre has been given more freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage and seemingly has learned to reign himself in when it comes to throwing careless passes. Almost no one blitzes him these days because he gets the ball out so quickly. At age 38, Favre doesn't run much any more, but he can still escape the rush. So he's as tough as ever to beat, particularly with an improved running game and a top 10 defense on his side.

        "His is sort of revived," Rams defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "Now, with the sort of resurgence of a running game, it takes a lot of pressure off of Brett. He doesn't have to be the guy every single play, every single quarter, every single series. ... He's got a good supporting cast now."

        On the receiving end

        The Packers don't have any household names among their wide receiver corps, but they have put together one of the best and deepest pass-catching units in the NFL. The Packers are five deep, and will go "five wides" with an empty backfield 10-12 times a game. Don't be surprised if the Packers go "empty" more frequently against St. Louis in an effort to gain a matchup edge. The Rams are thin at cornerback following Tye Hill's season-ending wrist surgery. Donald Driver, with a team-high 73 catches, is the Packers' top interior receiver. He's used in the slot and is willing to take the pounding going over the middle. Greg Jennings, with his 11 touchdown catches in 11 games, is silky smooth, can adjust to the ball, and gets deep despite a lack of burning speed. Rookie James Jones, a third-rounder from San Jose State, is a power player (6-1, 207) with 43 catches. Veteran Koren Robinson has 13 catches in six games since returning from an alcohol-related suspension, and also returns kickoffs. Ruvell Martin has excellent size (6-4, 210) and has three touchdowns.

        "They're all pretty good," Rams cornerback Ron Bartell said. "They're capable of making big plays. The one thing about them, they're great at run after the catch. We're going to have to do a good job tackling."

        The Packers lead the NFL in yards after the catch (1,851).

        Ryan's song

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      • DJRamFan
        [Packers] Packers relish Rams' visit
        by DJRamFan
        AP Sports Writer
        GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers finally have the St. Louis Rams right where they want them: at Lambeau Field, on grass, in freezing weather.

        Forgive Brett Favre if he's not jumping for joy.

        "Well, I would much rather play them here than at their place. We haven't had much success at their place, and there's no guarantee that we will here," Favre said. "I think it's going to be a very difficult game. Either way. Here or there."

        That might be, but he tied an NFL playoff record by throwing six interceptions at St. Louis 22 months ago, then broke his right thumb there last year.

        The desperate Rams (5-5), who have lost three of four games, face the surging Packers (6-4), winners of five straight, on Monday night in a crucial game for two teams hoping to display some playoff pedigree in the jumbled NFC.

        The Packers are banged up in both backfields, which might very well negate any home-field advantage _ something that sure was missing the last time they played at home on a Monday night, a 48-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 11.

        "We'd like to erase that memory with a special Monday night performance and get rid of some of those ghosts we have from earlier in the season," Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman said.

        The problems with the Rams go back to Jan. 20, 2002, when Favre threw those half-dozen interceptions in a 28-point playoff loss.

        In October 2003, Favre broke his right thumb in a loss at St. Louis. Because he decided to play the rest of the season with a splint instead of having season-ending surgery, he kept alive his consecutive starts streak, which will reach 200 in the regular season Monday night, 219 counting the playoffs.

        Few teams have had Favre's number like the Rams, who capitalized on 12 Packers turnovers to outscore Green Bay 79-41 in their last two meetings.

        So the Packers have been looking forward to this night ever since the schedule came out.

        "They're a different team, as everyone knows, indoors," safety Darren Sharper said. "The fact that we have them at home hopefully will play into our favor. But we're just happy to see them because they put a whooping on us last year and we'd like to get a little payback."

        Payback? Guard Mark Tauscher is thinking more along the lines of a setback.

        "You can't do anything about what happened last year, or the year before," he said. "But we can give them a big setback and knock them off here and really give ourselves a big boost because anytime you struggle against somebody and then you get over that hump, that's big emotionally."

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      • RamWraith
        Still a long way to go for 3-1 Rams
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Sunday, Oct. 08 2006

        GREEN BAY, WIS. There is a part of the Rams' psyche that takes great pride in
        the team's 3-1 start and its share of first place in the NFC West.

        "No one outside of this place was expecting that out of us, so it's a good
        feeling right now," tight end Joe Klopfenstein said.

        "Everyone had us finishing third or fourth in our division, stuff like that,"
        defensive end Leonard Little added.

        But then reality, and common sense, kicks in.

        "We're excited," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "But at the same time it's too
        early in the season. ... So we can't get complacent, or say we're a great
        football team. We're only 25-percent done (with the season), and we have the
        hard part of our schedule coming up. And it's not going to be easy this week
        either up in Green Bay."

        And why should it? Nothing has come easy for the Rams this season. All four
        contests have been one-possession games, with the trailing team at least in
        position to tie in the closing minutes.

        "Every team in the league right now has one or two plays that make a difference
        in the game," Bulger said. "There's no sure things every week in the NFL."

        The Rams are living proof. Conventional wisdom has held in only one of their
        games so far: holding serve at home last week against Detroit. They were
        expected to lose against Denver and Arizona, but won. Somehow, they found a way
        to lose, for the third straight time over two seasons, to the inferior San
        Francisco ***** in Week 2.

        "You don't want to get greedy and wish you were 4-0, but you watch the *****
        get killed every week. ... " Bulger said. "But we have been fortunate in a
        couple of situations."

        Yeah, like the back-to-back fumbled snaps by Bulger and Kurt Warner at Arizona.
        Or the pass interference call that was waved off last week against the Lions.
        So the Rams should be anything but complacent heading into Sunday's game
        against the 1-3 Packers.

        "They have a lot of weapons," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "They have a
        pretty darn good scheme. They have a coach who knows kind of what we like to
        do. It's a situation where if you go up there sleeping, or you take them
        lightly, you'll get your head beat in. So we can't let that happen."

        The Packers have a Pro Bowl running back in Ahman Green, and a Pro Bowl wide
        receiver in Donald Driver. (Driver may not play due to injury.) And there's
        also the matter of the legendary quarterback (Brett Favre), and the legendary
        venue (Lambeau Field).

        -10-08-2006, 03:32 AM