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  • Battered Rams are eager to show they're not that bad

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Aug. 26 2004

    Sixteen days from now, the Rams will be doing this for real. So it's time. Time
    for the first-string offense to score a touchdown. It has yet to do so this
    preseason.

    Time for the defense to come up with a turnover. It has yet to do so this
    preseason - first-string, second-string, or any-string.

    Time for the Rams to start sharpening their focus and honing their craft.
    Because the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Arizona is right around the
    corner.

    "At this point, we need to come together as a team," coach Mike Martz said.
    "We've spent a lot of time here looking at these players."

    As individuals. But tonight against the visiting Washington Redskins, Martz
    says: "I want the (starters) to be sharp. When the first group's in there, I
    just want them to compete, and be sharp, and perform well."

    In other words, do everything they didn't do in Monday's 24-7 embarrassment at
    Kansas City. What went wrong against the Chiefs? A lot, according to Martz:

    "We made an inordinate amount of mental mistakes. ...

    "We didn't play with the enthusiasm and the pizzazz that we would expect us to.
    ...

    "We were disjointed. The calls didn't come in right. It looked like our first
    day of practice."

    Which is no way to be less than three weeks from opening day.

    "So we have to iron it out quick," offensive guard Chris Dishman said. "And I
    think we will."

    There's plenty to be ironed out, especially on offense in terms of pass
    protection, blitz pickup, and hot reads. On Monday, Kansas City blitzed 11
    times in the first half. The Chiefs sent seven pass rushers three times, and
    six pass rushers on four occasions. On three blitzes, they sent both safeties
    at quarterback Marc Bulger.

    "Washington is going to come in with a similar defense," to Kansas City, Bulger
    said. "With a lot of pressure, and it will be another good test."

    It's a test the Rams' offense failed against Kansas City - and not just the
    offensive line.

    "We as an offense, as a whole, probably could've given it a better effort,"
    running back Marshall Faulk said. "But we didn't. Thank God, it's the preseason
    and we get to work on it."

    Because of a quirky preseason schedule, the Rams get to work on it right away.
    Just four days after the Chiefs debacle, the Redskins come calling at 7 tonight
    at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Most NFL players need a day or two just to recover from the normal aches and
    pains of a game. This week, Rams players had Tuesday off, then had lighter than
    normal practices Wednesday and Thursday. And now, another game.

    "It'll be tough for them," Martz said.

    Most of the starters played the entire first half against Kansas City; and
    they'll be asked to do the same against Washington. But many of the team's
    skill position players were in for only one series against Chicago in the
    preseason opener Aug. 12. So they need the work.

    "We have faith in each other in the locker room right now, and we are not
    panicking by any stretch of the imagination," Bulger said. "We need to get
    better, and we know that will come. We are going to work to get it done sooner
    rather than later."

    Martz spent only two hours last week game-planning the Chiefs, a fraction of
    what he would do for a regular-season game. Given the short work week, it's
    doubtful he did more for Washington.

    The Rams didn't even watch the Kansas City game film as a team, although some
    players did so Tuesday on their own. There was simply no time. Instead,
    position coaches left comments on grade sheets for the players to examine. All
    things considered, maybe that was a good thing. Why dwell on a nightmare?

    "Winning is a habit," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said after the Chiefs
    game. "Good habits are formed on the practice field and in preseason games. And
    losing and bad habits are formed the same way.

    "We can't afford to play like that. That's just not who we are. ... We won't
    put on a performance like that again in front of our fans. That's unacceptable.
    It won't happen again

  • #2
    Re: Battered Rams are eager to show they're not that bad

    This is encouraging to read. I would be really happy to see the starting offense go all the way down the field and punch it in. Anything less and I'm really starting to get concerned.

    And as for Martz not game planning the skins....no way, after the beating they took from the Chiefs, Martz NEEDS to game plan them to get his team a "W" and instill some confidence in them. Winning breeds winning, and it works the other way too if your losing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Battered Rams are eager to show they're not that bad

      Originally posted by RamWraith(Jim Thomas)
      "Winning is a habit," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said after the Chiefs game. "Good habits are formed on the practice field and in preseason games. And losing and bad habits are formed the same way. We can't afford to play like that. That's just not who we are. ... We won't put on a performance like that again in front of our fans. That's unacceptable. It won't happen again.
      Last year I questioned his endorsement as a captain. This year a statement like this serves to satisfy me that he knows something about invective. The next question will be whether he can translate that sendiment into a cult following. Is this all he will have to say to inspire the troops into lock step? We will see what we will see.

      Comment

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      • Nick
        Battered Rams are eager to show they're not that bad
        by Nick
        Battered Rams are eager to show they're not that bad
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Thursday, Aug. 26 2004

        Sixteen days from now, the Rams will be doing this for real. So it's time. Time for the first-string offense to score a touchdown. It has yet to do so this preseason.

        Time for the defense to come up with a turnover. It has yet to do so this preseason - first-string, second-string, or any-string.

        Time for the Rams to start sharpening their focus and honing their craft. Because the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Arizona is right around the corner.

        "At this point, we need to come together as a team," coach Mike Martz said. "We've spent a lot of time here looking at these players."

        As individuals. But tonight against the visiting Washington Redskins, Martz says: "I want the (starters) to be sharp. When the first group's in there, I just want them to compete, and be sharp, and perform well."

        In other words, do everything they didn't do in Monday's 24-7 embarrassment at Kansas City. What went wrong against the Chiefs? A lot, according to Martz:

        "We made an inordinate amount of mental mistakes. ...

        "We didn't play with the enthusiasm and the pizzazz that we would expect us to. ...

        "We were disjointed. The calls didn't come in right. It looked like our first day of practice."

        Which is no way to be less than three weeks from opening day.

        "So we have to iron it out quick," offensive guard Chris Dishman said. "And I think we will."

        There's plenty to be ironed out, especially on offense in terms of pass protection, blitz pickup, and hot reads. On Monday, Kansas City blitzed 11 times in the first half. The Chiefs sent seven pass rushers three times, and six pass rushers on four occasions. On three blitzes, they sent both safeties at quarterback Marc Bulger.

        "Washington is going to come in with a similar defense," to Kansas City, Bulger said. "With a lot of pressure, and it will be another good test."

        It's a test the Rams' offense failed against Kansas City - and not just the offensive line.

        "We as an offense, as a whole, probably could've given it a better effort," running back Marshall Faulk said. "But we didn't. Thank God, it's the preseason and we get to work on it."

        Because of a quirky preseason schedule, the Rams get to work on it right away. Just four days after the Chiefs debacle, the Redskins come calling at 7 tonight at the Edward Jones Dome.

        Most NFL players need a day or two just to recover from the normal aches and pains of a game. This week, Rams players had Tuesday off, then had lighter than normal practices Wednesday and Thursday....
        -08-27-2004, 12:06 AM
      • RamWraith
        Rams' goal vs. Chiefs: Stay healthy, claim Cup
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        09/01/2005


        Nothing is so meaningless for many, but so meaningful for the few, as the final game of the preseason.

        Coaches always pull back on playing their starters, not wanting to risk injury so close to the regular season. This is particularly true for the Rams because they will be playing their second game in 96 hours tonight, when they close out the preseason against Kansas City at the Edward Jones Dome.

        "It's tough, coming off a game like that this soon," Martz said.

        According to Martz, it could have been worse.

        "Originally, they had this as a Thursday game," he said. "Can you imagine that? I think playing a Monday night game in the third preseason game is very difficult to do."

        The Rams had only two practices this week, neither of which was in full pads. Thursday's workout lasted only about 70 minutes.

        "You have to take care of them in that respect," Martz said.

        Martz will take the prudent approach into tonight's game with the Chiefs as well. If the starters didn't look so sharp in Monday's 37-13 victory in Detroit, he might be tempted to play them longer.

        But after the Rams' impressive performance at Ford Field, their goal is to play hard tonight, but leave healthy. And then get ready for San Francisco, the Rams' opponent in the regular-season opener Sept. 11.

        "If we had to play our starters, this would be brutal," Martz said. "Fortunately, we don't have to do that. I think we're far enough along as a team right now that we can take a look at all these other guys here.

        "I wouldn't expect that we'd play (the starters) much at all. They'll have to play some, obviously, but not much. We're going to be very selective in terms of who plays."

        The Rams did a fair amount of game-planning for Detroit last week, at least by preseason standards. But that wasn't the case for Kansas City in this extra-short work week.

        "We did nothing for Kansas City," Martz said. "Nothing. So whatever happens, happens. We just hope that (Rams players) can sort things out well enough, and so be it.

        "The Chiefs are enough like us on offense. Their running game's a little different. And defensively, they're a 4-3 defense. So coverages are relatively similar to us."

        With final cuts looming Sunday, the almost-annual Governor's Cup game does have importance to bubble players. Twelve more Rams must be cut to reach the 53-man roster limit, so for some, tonight might be their last crack at NFL football.

        "It's an important game for a lot of guys," Martz said. "They need to kind of define themselves in their role on this team this year. Or whether they'll be on this team."
        ...
        -09-02-2005, 05:26 AM
      • RamWraith
        The goal: no more disasters for Rams
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Wednesday, Sep. 01 2004

        OAKLAND, Calif. - Speaking for the defense, and the team's defensive leaders,
        Tyoka Jackson promised it wouldn't happen again. There would be no more
        debacles like the 24-7 pratfall in Kansas City on Aug. 23.

        And it didn't happen. The Rams came out four days later with an impressive
        defensive effort in a 28-3 victory over Washington.

        "We had a players-only (meeting) in our defensive room," Jackson said. "Aeneas
        (Williams) and Leonard (Little) made it be known how we're going to play this
        year. And it wasn't like (Kansas City)."

        Players-only meetings during the season are rare enough; players-only meetings
        in the preseason are almost unheard of. But Jackson and other defensive
        veterans felt the meeting was necessary to make sure evenings like Aug. 23
        don't occur again. At the meeting, the importance of getting mentally prepared
        to play - preseason or not - was stressed.

        "For some guys, it's tougher to get excited than others," Jackson said. "But
        like Aeneas said, whatever you do to get yourself ready, do it. If you like to
        jump around and scream, do that. If you like to put your headphones on, do
        that.

        "Because there's just not enough Sundays, and enough games, to go out there and
        play like we played against Kansas City. You only get so many opportunities."

        With that in mind, tonight marks the Rams' last opportunity to polish up their
        game in the preseason. And it's the last opportunity for numerous bubble
        players to impress the coaching staff.

        Momentum, even at this time of the year, can be important for a football team.
        The Rams would like nothing better than to finish the exhibition season 2-2
        with a victory over the Oakland Raiders at Network Associates Coliseum - aka
        the Black Hole. Kickoff is 9 p.m. St. Louis time.

        "Getting the Washington win was very important, because I think it's tough
        going through the whole preseason with no wins," offensive guard Adam Timmerman
        said. "And it was just more fun. You could tell. Guys seemed like they were
        having fun."

        Quarterback Marc Bulger said, "I know last week, it was definitely a different
        feeling coming in here (to work) after the game. You just have that momentum. A
        win would be nice. It's not going to be the end of the world if we don't. But
        for the younger guys, and even for some of the older guys, it's nice just to
        have that feeling going into the regular season."

        Plus, it will be an even longer flight back to St. Louis if the Rams don't play
        well.

        "You...
        -09-02-2004, 06:20 AM
      • RamWraith
        Martz taking no chances with starters
        by RamWraith
        Martz taking no chances with starters
        BY STEVE KORTE
        News-Democrat

        ST. LOUIS - Even with the Governor's Cup trophy at stake, the St. Louis Rams' preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at 7 p.m. today at the Edward Jones Dome will be the NFL equivalent of a junior varsity game.

        Don't expect either team to play its starters much more than a series or two.

        "We're going to protect our starters in this last preseason game," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "You have to. Only a fool wouldn't do that."

        The Rams' starting offensive line might see a little more action than the rest of the starters because Martz wants to give the unit, which was missing right guard Adam Timmerman and left guard Tom Nutten for the first two preseason games, some more time to jell.

        "To some extent, they still need to play a little bit," Martz said. "Our offensive lineman still haven't played long enough together to start the season. Adam still needs to play a good quarter probably."

        Rams right tackle Ryan Tucker, who played left guard throughout his previous six seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, was planning to play as much as the coaching staff allows.

        "I expect to play as long as possible," Tucker said. "If it's less, that's great. I'm preparing myself to play the whole game."

        Martz said the Rams will use the game to take a long look at some of the players trying to make the team's final 53-man roster.

        All NFL teams must trim their rosters from 65 players to 53 players by 3 p.m. Sunday.

        "This is a great opportunity for some of these guys who will make this team, and some that will not, to expose themselves to the whole National Football League, to have an opportunity to play, and fill out a resume, if you will," Martz said. "It's very important for these guys to play and play well."

        Some of the players in the spotlight will be tight end Jerome Collins, quarterback Jeff Smoker, running backs Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason, fullback Morgan Hedgecock, wide receiver Jeremy Carter and safeties Michael Stone and Oshiomogho Atogwe.

        The Rams (2-1) had their dress rehearsal for their Sept. 11 season opener against the San Francisco ***** on Monday night as they beat the Lions 37-13.

        The Rams had only two days of practice to get ready for their game against the Chiefs.

        "It is tough," Martz said. "They originally had this (game) as a Thursday game, can you imagine that? I think playing a Monday night game in the third preseason game is very difficult to do. You're at risk in that last game. You have fatigued guys, so you have to protect your starters."

        Martz said the Rams studied no game film of the Chiefs to get ready for the game.
        ...
        -09-02-2005, 11:31 AM
      • Nick
        Rams/Chiefs: Post-Game Impressions
        by Nick
        Some broad thoughts from tonight's third preseason game:



        Now, with all that said, here is why you shouldn't worry:

        November 5th

        What's important about November 5th, you say? Well, it's the date during the regular season when the Rams and Chiefs play for real. Obviously with a contest down the road, neither team is going to show very much of their hand. You couldn't expect the Rams to really dig deep into their playbook to try and help themselves into some more success on the field. So in that respect, a disappointing showing tonight is perhaps not quite so disappointing.

        But that being said, that doesn't excuse a lack of execution on what we did decide to show. While I certainly am no where near panicking between now and the regular season, I do feel the Rams need to show improvement in certain areas of their play if they want to at least be a competitive team this season.

        They need to do a better job in the trenches on both offense and defense, getting a more consistent push to control the line of scrimmage. Running the ball, our line looked anemic and could not give our backs any room to work on a regular basis. I don't care if you strapped a jetpack to Steven Jackson or Tony Fisher; they weren't going anywhere tonight.

        Also on the offensive side of the ball, Marc Bulger needs to work on getting into a better passing rhythm, some of which might be brought about by more consistent pass protection as well as a more expanded playbook. But for three games now we've watched Bulger throw high on his passes and generally look unsettled in this system. He spent five years in the complicated Martz attack offense, so I'm willing to give Marc some time to decompress and come back down to earth. Who knows how long that will take, but I personally hope it's sooner rather than later.

        On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams need to do a better job executing their blitzes. Travis Fisher really failed to finish his assignment on one tonight and it nearly resulted in a touchdown. It doesn't seem like our front four could get pressure on the Chiefs without the help of a blitz, so if we're going to take the chance and send extra men, we have to make sure it works. It won't always, but we have to try and minimize the times it doesn't. Because when you take a risk by blitzing, from time to time it's going to backfiire. I'd like to minimize those occasions.

        Feel free to add your own thoughts, or agree/disagree with mine....
        -08-26-2006, 10:42 PM
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