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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, 11:17 AM
  • RamWraith
    Player Quotes
    by RamWraith
    Thursday, September 9, 2004

    QB Marc Bulger

    (On opening weekend)
    “It’s always a lot more exciting when it counts, and especially when you know you have a good team. So we’re excited in here. Arizona, obviously, spent their whole offseason game planning for us, and likewise. So it’s anybody’s game, this first game, because you don’t know what people are going to do. It’s exciting. I’m probably just as excited as everyone else in here. It’s not a playoff game, but it counts. They all count from here on in. You only have 16 opportunities, and I think we understand, and I understand the magnitude of each game.”

    (On how much of the offense was held back in the preseason)
    “Our game plans are pretty minimal in the preseason. Our main thing is game planning. We don’t do any of that in the preseason, so now Coach Martz can get real creative and we can start to find different ways to get the ball to different guys. That’s what’s fun about this offense.”

    (On preparing for the Cardinals)
    “In the NFL, week to week, every defense is so different that guys that have played before and been around, it’s all a refresher. But it’s tough, because it’s the first game of the year and you don’t really have film.”

    (On having OT Orlando Pace back)
    “It’s good to have Orlando back. It was weird going into the huddle and not seeing him in there. It would be like going in there and not seeing Marshall (Faulk), Isaac (Bruce), or Torry (Holt), guys you just assume that would be in there. So having him at practice on Monday was good. You never worry about Orlando, he’s going to do his job. He came back in good shape. And I think that is why (the holdout situation) was not an issue, with the players at least. We weren’t worried that when he came back he would be in shape. It feels more natural with him in there. No disrespect to the other guys, but it’s just his position with the Rams.”

    (On his confidence)
    “Last year I had the same approach (as this year). I play the way I do regardless of the play before, the series before, or the season before. I’m not going to change that. It’s nice to have the whole preseason, but I never change the way I play.”

    DT Tyoka Jackson

    (On defensive coordinator Larry Marmie coaching against his former team)
    “This is our first game, so it’s a big game for our whole team. He hasn’t brought anything personal into it. He’s a Ram. I don’t think he’s even worried about all of the subplots. In the first game, you have so much excitement that we have enough motivation. We are just so focused on trying to get a win against Arizona, get off to a 1-0 start, and defend our home turf, that we have enough things to be motivated by. Knowing coach Marmie, it’s not even about him. He’s so unselfish that he just wants to get a win for the Rams.”

    (On if coach Marmie’s familiarity with the Arizona...
    -09-09-2004, 04:28 AM
  • 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, 04:30 AM
  • RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    by RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    Friday, October 22, 2004

    (Injury Update)
    “It looks like Travis Fisher will practice this week. We’ll get him into the mix. Jimmy Kennedy will practice to some extent. We’ll see how he is out there on the field. He has conditioned and ran real well over the past week or two. We’ll give him some individual drills to see where he is, and measure his progress by how sore he is tomorrow. Other than that, we are in pretty good shape. Jeff Wilkins is nursing a sore ankle from an ankle sprain. We won’t know for a few days what we will do. It’ll come down to the wire on Sunday to see how he is. Tyoka still remains questionable with that hamstring. He’s not quite there yet, so we have a couple of days to see (where he is). We are starting to get people back , which is always a good thing.”

    (On Miami)
    “This is a short week and we head to Miami. This defense, a week ago, was the number one rated defense in the National Football League, and now they are two or four. But whatever it is, they are very substantial on defense, like they always are. Offensively, they have struggled somewhat. They have a lot of injuries, but they have moved the ball well enough to score points and win.”

    (On the difficulties of finding a kicker at this point of the season)
    “I think it’s all relative to what he has been doing. When we worked (Jeff Chandler) out, he was fine. I’m just going to make the assumption that he is ready to go if we need him.”

    (On getting Jimmy Kennedy and Travis Fisher back)
    “We were starting to wear down on the defensive line, with Tyoka out, and particularly on the inside having Jimmy (Kennedy) back, I mean that is a big man. If he can pick up where he left off, so to speak, which will be hard to do. I don’t know when he will be back, completely, but I’m really excited about his attitude and his approach to getting back here as fast as he can. In terms of (Travis) Fisher, he was playing so well when he broke his arm, that we feel he is a top-flight corner. And it looks like he should be ready to go, which will help us tremendously in the secondary.”

    (On Travis Fisher’s play before he was injured)
    “When he broke his arm in that preseason game against Kansas City, he was playing as well as he’s ever played. To have three corners like we have healthy, that’s quite an advantage. Most teams have two really outstanding corners, and with him, we feel like we have three substantial starters and we’re excited about that.”

    (On the Dolphins)
    “A few years ago we were sitting in here at 0-5. The Oakland Raiders came in here, and they were the best team in the National Football League at the time. They led the league in both offense and defense, they led the league in both categories. We played them and we beat them handily. You just don’t know. There are no breathers in this league. It just doesn’t exist. This will be...
    -10-23-2004, 01:53 AM
  • 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, 09:30 PM