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Cards Have Task Of Slowing Rams Offensive Attack

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  • Cards Have Task Of Slowing Rams Offensive Attack

    Cards Have Task Of Slowing Rams Offensive Attack The St. Louis Rams were once heralded as the "Greatest Show on Turf," and while the passing game garnered most of the attention during the Rams Super Bowl run, the Rams were also very effective at running the ball. That production drastically dropped last year when the Rams took a dive to 30th in rushing offense and 28th in yards per carry.

    It has been a focus point for Rams Head Coach Mike Martz this off-season, and something he tried to establish this preseason with the Rams finishing with 480 yards rushing.

    “I really felt like we needed to run the ball well in the preseason and I think in the last few preseason games particularly we were able to accomplish that and you need to be able to do that obviously to win,” stated Martz. “I think when you can run the ball because you want to, or throw the ball because you want to, you are good in the offensive line and that is what we have to establish.”

    If the Rams makeshift offensive line can hold up, the Rams still have the weapons to be explosive.

    “They are still there,” observed Cards Head Coach Dennis Green. “They really are. (Marc) Bulger can make big plays if he has time to throw. Isaac Bruce is in his 12th year but he looks like those young guys. Torry Holt has emerged. (Marshall) Faulk looked good in the preseason. They drafted (Steven) Jackson and were so strong they were able to trade Lamar Gordon. I think they still have a lot of weapons.”

    Holt’s 117 catches led the NFL last season and he, Bruce, and tight end Cam Cleeland, paired with the depth at running back, will challenge the Cards secondary.

    “They have so many threats on offense that it is hard to focus on just one aspect of the game,” said Cardinals safety Ifeanyi Ohalete. “You’ve got to be able to shut down both the run and the pass. I still think they lean more towards pass first, but we’ve definitely got to shut down the run first and foremost and keep them off the field.”

    With Duane Starks healthy and David Macklin in the lineup this year, Green thinks his corners can match the speed of the Rams receivers, but the Cards pass rush must also get

    “It is going to be at a premium to get pressure on Bulger and try to confuse him,” said defensive end Bertrand Berry. “We can’t line up and give him the same look every time and we just have to disrupt his timing because they are very much a timing offense.”

    Green’s success in Minnesota and San Francisco centered around having the kind of high-powered threatening offenses that the Rams currently pose, and he said the only way to truly stop those type of offenses is by keeping them off the field.

    “They make big plays, maybe better than anybody in football,” said Green. “So, you have to keep them on the sidelines by having your own offensive productivity. You have to be in a position where you can move the ball offensively, be patient, make some big plays and get in position to score. We had some preseason games where we showed signs of being able to get first downs. A lot of first downs are good for us, bad for St. Louis because they want to get on the field and get going right away. Anytime you can cool their heels, it is to your advantage.”

    First-round draft choice Larry Fitzgerald said the Rams aren’t the only team who can take advantage of the fast playing surface in the dome.

    “We feel like we have great team speed as well. We will both be playing on a fast surface and we can match speed with speed. There are going to be a lot of big plays made and hopefully we make more than they do.”

    Although the Rams closed out the 2003 season with a perfect record at home, Fitzgerald believes the Cards can come out with a victory on Sunday.

    “We have a great game plan,” claimed Fitzgerald. “We have players who can go out there and execute. Anybody can be beat any Sunday. We’ve just got to be 11 guys working as one and we’ll be fine.”

    Practice Notes

    Only linebacker Ray Thompson (knee) did not practice on Thursday morning. Green reiterated that James Darling will start on Sunday, and that linebacker LeVar Woods will start ahead of rookie Karlos Dansby.

    “If there is one guy who I think is all-football, and again a free agent who has had to battle his way up, and he’s a very tough football player,” said Green on Woods. “He’s very intense. He’s big. He’s very angular and very fast. He is very physical and he can hit and he’s tough and if we had 53 guys with the attitude of LeVar Woods, then you wouldn’t be doubting that we’ll be a playoff team.”

    With only the first half hour of practice open to media, nobody but the players and coaches got to see a spectacular catch that rookie Larry Fitzgerald made during the morning workout, but thankfully Coach Green shared.

    “Larry had a catch today and one of the players said to me, ‘How’s that rust Coach?’ It was a one-handed catch that he caught full stride, and he just caught it and kept running for a touchdown. It was pretty amazing.”

    Quote of the Day

    “It is like going down a dark alley,” Green explained of the getting his players to know they can compete with anyone. “If I can convince you that there is nothing down there you can’t handle, you wouldn’t be afraid to go down that alley. There is no boogie man down there. There are 16 teams and they are all just like you. They may have won more games than you in the last three years, and they can play, but it is not like they have talent that you don’t have.”

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Cards Ready To Head to St. Louis
    by RamDez
    Cards Ready To Head to St. Louis The Arizona Cardinals have lost the last 13 games on the road and they are heading into one of the most difficult places to play at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, where the Rams have won their last 14 straight home games.

    Despite the Cards lethargic road performances in previous years, Head Coach Dennis Green said he actually prefers going on the road.

    “Your advantage can be that from 10:30 on we are thinking about playing the St. Louis Rams. The St. Louis Rams, from about 8’o clock at night are thinking about playing the Arizona Cardinals. When we go and check through security, from that point on, we are not going unless we are going to play the St. Louis Rams. You can gain an edge because you have more focus and a sense of purpose.”

    “You have to be able to be relaxed and take on the mindset that everyone is against you. They’ve got a great crowd, a very noisy crowd and they’ve had success. They bring the pomp and pageantry like nowhere else and you have to say hey that is good, and you have to play 60 minutes.”

    To prepare for some of the expected crowd noise, the Cards blasted loud music during Friday morning’s practice.

    After spending two years with ESPN, Green is also looking forward to the excitement of Sunday’s game.

    “I’ve done a lot of television in my days but I’ve done a lot of coaching and whether I was 31-years old at Northwestern or now at this stage, it is exciting and what is happening now, things are taking shape. I said a week ago, ‘Not Ready.’ I thought we’d be ready Thursday and we were right on time. We’ve come together as a team and that is exciting.”

    Likewise, 15-year veteran running back Emmitt Smith stated that there is nothing else like opening day.

    “Fifteen of them and it is always special when you train for six to seven months, and now this is your reward, making the ball club, and having a chance to play on opening day, it is special,” shared Smith.

    Green said all preseason that the offense will show a lot more once the regular season kicks off, and Smith and the rest of the players are curious to see how that plays out.

    “I am very curious, in a good sense, because I’m excited because the things I’ve seen happening throughout this team have been very positive,” said Smith.

    If the Cards have any advantage at all, it could be the element of surprise. Although Rams Head Coach Mike Martz has played against Green before, with Green running a vanilla offense this preseason, the Rams really don’t have much tape to study of what the Cards may run.

    “You have to go back and look at what Denny has done offensively through the years and he’s always been very explosive and put points up obviously and very productive,” said Martz. “He’ll know how to use them to their fullest. Defensively and offensively, we are not really sure what they...
    -09-11-2004, 12:17 PM
  • Barry Waller
    Thursday Quotes From Rams Park
    by Barry Waller
    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    (Opening statement)

    “We had one player that was absent today. It’s not an excused absence. As soon as I get to the bottom of why first, make sure everything is okay with Tony—Hargrove that is obviously, then I’ll comment on it. He was not at practice today. For what reason I do not know to be honest with you. Orlando [Pace] did participate on a very limited basis today, but looks and feels a lot better. A little more encouraging. We’ll probably upgrade him to questionable at this point just based on dramatic improvement from how he felt yesterday to today.”

    (On the results from Pace’s neuro tests)

    “We’re doing them tomorrow. That’s all part of it. We’ll do them tomorrow, sometime in the afternoon. It’s a precautionary thing, but you’ve certainly got to do it.”

    (On staff members contacting Hargrove)

    “Yes, several people. No success at this point. Hopefully we will get some kind of contact before the end of the day. First of all we’ve got to make sure everything’s okay, and then find out certainly why he would not be here.”

    (On if Hargrove was expecting a child)

    “I’m not aware of that. I’m really not so I couldn’t comment on it.”

    (On if Hargrove will be available to play on Sunday)

    “Too early. As soon as I do get in touch with him I will comment on his status for Sunday.”

    (On if he knows who would take Hargrove’s place)

    “No. Victor [Adeyanju] and Brandon [Green] certainly worked a lot in certain packages that we use. Brandon’s real familiar in really all the end positions, but we’ll…”

    (On Pace having any symptoms)

    “He said he felt better. I think his symptoms are…I don’t think he’s symptomatic now which is why I think it’s encouraging. I think he just feels better. He said he hasn’t been experiencing any discomfort at this point. Again, we’re being cautious on that.”

    (On if Adam Goldberg would fill in for Pace)

    “I don’t know yet. I really don’t because he hasn’t practiced enough to make that decision.”

    (On being pleased with RB Steven Jackson’s performances)

    “I’m pleased with that and I’m pleased with his ball security. He’s got I think two straight games in the twenties, which is a good number for him. People have been going after that ball pretty good and so far so good, knock on wood. That’s been a big emphasis certainly for our offense. He’s been the main ball carrier and he’s done a nice job with that, as well as coming up with some nice runs in the last two games.”

    (On Jackson getting stronger as the game...
    -09-21-2006, 10:30 PM
  • RamWraith
    Coach / players--Sept. 20
    by RamWraith
    Head Coach Scott Linehan
    September 20

    (Opening Statement and Injury Report) “Pisa’s (Tinoisamoa) elbow is getting better. He’s still going to be listed as questionable. He worked some things on a limited basis in a red jersey on the field. We’re obviously keeping Orlando (Pace) out. He’s doubtful at this point. He didn’t get any practice today. We’ll evaluate him and due a psych test on him tomorrow and make the evaluation then, exactly whether he’ll be ready for this weekend.”

    (On T Orlando Pace’s recovery) “I asked him how he felt and he said he felt better. He’s feeling better everyday. I think he’s still feeling it a little bit. That’s got to be a good thing that he says he’s feeling better.”

    (On not being surprised if LB Pisa Tinoisamoa is ready to play on Sunday) “That would be standard for Pisa. That’s just the way he thinks and that’s why he has a good chance of playing this weekend.”

    (On players taking time off to recover from injury) “It helps, but I prefer that guys practice. If he can get something done Friday, we won’t do anything tomorrow. If he could get something done Friday, that would make us feel better. I’m more concerned with the fact that he is 100 percent. The plan is secondary to making sure he’s okay.”

    (On the idea of putting T Alex Barron on the left side of the offensive line) “That’s because he’s been on the right side here. We’ve had to move enough and we want to try to keep things as stable as we can with (Todd) Steussie at left (Tackle). Adam (Goldberg) has played a lot of guard. He started quite a few games at Minnesota last year at guard. That would be our contingency plan right now.”

    (On Barron’s progression) “I think he’s playing pretty good. I think he’s doing the things you want to improve on from your first year to your second. His run-blocking is better. I think he’s a very good pass protector. When we have both him and Orlando (Pace) healthy I think that’s going to be very positive for us. He’s progressing very well. He’s made a lot of improvement from his rookie year.”

    (On G Adam Goldberg’s performance) “I think he did fine. With very limited time here, I think he’s very familiar with a lot of the things we’re doing, terminology wise. He worked our offense two years ago and was basically working a new system. Just getting the reps up a little bit was some of it. Just like everybody, he had a couple of errors in the game, but he’s a good player and I’m glad we have him.”

    (On determining Pace’s status) “I’m optimistic. They are guys that have played a lot. Those two guys on the left side have played a lot more football in the NFL than Richie (Incognito). Anytime you have to re-shuffle things it’s not easy, but these guys are pros and having a week to prepare will certainly give us a better chance to have more success.”

    (On C Richie Incognito’s...
    -09-21-2006, 05:30 AM
  • RamWraith
    Coach Scott Linehan Wednesday, November 29, 2006
    by RamWraith
    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    (Opening statement)
    “The injury report is quite a bit more extensive this week than any other week. You all know Victor’s (Adeyanju) out probably the next two to three games, at the soonest, the second to last game he might have a chance to be up. Isaiah’s (Kacyvenski) out. We’ll evaluate him at the end of the week, and see his status for the next games coming up. Richie Incognito’s foot is actually nothing that showed up on the MRI, so it’s kind of a pain tolerance thing. He should be fine. Had actually very little problem with it in practice today. Marc Bulger’s got some ribs, but once he gets loosened up he’s fine. Paul Smith looked pretty good today with his hamstring, so he looks like he has a real good chance to be up. We’re a little more banged up than we’ve been. Had to limit a number of players today in practice at times so we can get the good guys through the game on Sunday. Got to manage that. That time of year.”

    (On CB Tye Hill’s condition)

    “Tye felt better today than he felt last Wednesday. We rotated his reps a little bit more than we did last Wednesday too, but he felt better than he did last Wednesday. It was never to a point where he couldn’t practice last week, he just never really got any better, and by Friday, it actually was starting to feel worse. Hopefully we can get through the week with a modified workload this week.”

    (On where LB Jamal Brooks fits in)

    “Right now he’s factored right in with the loss of Isaiah at this point. It made all the sense in the world to have him in special teams, and plus, he’s our backup “mike” linebacker now.”

    (On how Kacyvenski will be evaluated)

    “There’s just a psych testing, just to see that it’s all normal.”

    (On what’s considered “normal”)

    “I think there’s just normal levels, and there’s levels of concern. Not being a neurologist or any of that, I think it’s just if there’s anything abnormal, they want to make sure that it shows up more than just a couple days after the injury. He’s had a couple now, so we’re going to take it pretty slow.”

    (On how long Kacyvenski will be out)

    “It’s hard to predict when someone’s able to come back from having more than one concussion. We’ll take it very slow. There’s really no way to predict how soon he’ll be back to 100 percent.”

    (On testing Kacyvenski)

    “When you have one, you just have to keep track of it. If you don’t have a repeat, then it seems to be the best way to keep an eye on those. If you have another incident, now you start doing these testing…with Orlando’s (Pace) case, his was so severe, his symptoms were so severe afterwards, with the headaches and sleeplessness and all...
    -11-29-2006, 06:11 PM
  • RamWraith
    Coach Scott Linehan December, 1, 2006
    by RamWraith
    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    December, 1, 2006

    (Opening Statement and injury report)

    “Everything is set; I don’t think there are any changes on our injury report. Nobody got any worse and the same guys are still out and I think that everybody we expect will be up.”

    (On Cardinals RB Edgerrin James not getting many carries in last week’s game)

    “I think they’ve been in some of those weird games like we were in a couple of weeks ago. I think they certainly intended on running more last week. I know it looked like they checked out of a lot of runs and got behind. Not many teams have run the ball very well against Minnesota, so they went with the same plan a lot of people had been doing and threw the ball. He’s still very dangerous and he got into a pretty decent rhythm and ran the ball pretty well against us last time, so that’s really what we’re looking at.”

    (On G Adam Timmerman’s status)

    “I think he’s fine. I don’t think he feels any different than he did last week. I think yesterday’s day off helped him. He’s beat up a little bit, so he’s just going to have to get as well as he can and get as many snaps as he can on Sunday.”

    (On Adam Goldberg’s performance in last week’s game)

    “He played a long series and played well. That’s the natural spot for him on the right side. He’s played that primarily and most of his time was at right guard and tackle, so he looked very comfortable there when he played.”

    (On WR Willie Ponder returning kicks on Sunday)

    “Right now that’s the plan, to have him up and return unless something happens between now and Sunday as far as our depth. But I’d like to have him up.”

    (On University of Minnesota basketball coach Dan Monson’s resignation)

    “I did talk to him last night. I’m as always disappointed for anybody in this profession because I know how much time and energy people put into it. But sometimes things don’t work out. He did it right there. He went in and took over a program that was decimated by scandal and losing scholarships. He lost his two or three best players after their sophomore years and one after his freshman year. He had a hard road, but he battled and he’ll land on his feet. I told him just to be proud every time he sees the Gonzaga team playing well because he was the person that set that up. He’ll land on his feet and do a great job for whoever hires him.”

    (On his team’s readiness for Sunday’s game)

    “I think it’s very good. We’re certainly building off the momentum that we gained from the game last week, we’re excited to play at home again, and it’s certainly a big division game. There’s kind of a new life and new energy around here, so I’d be surprised if we didn’t play well on...
    -12-01-2006, 07:06 PM