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St Louis Rams Team Report

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  • St Louis Rams Team Report

    When you are the coach of a team that is 0-2, has lost 12 consecutive games and is 5-29 since the start of the 2007 season, fragile can be the psyche.
    It's why coach Steve Spagnuolo is trying to stay consistent, and emphasizing the positive as the Rams prepare for their home opener Sunday against Green Bay.

    While noting the fact that the offense had three possessions of 10 plays or more and the defense prevented the Redskins from scoring touchdowns on four trips to the red zone, Spagnuolo acknowledged, "We have a lot to work on. As I told the team, I'm disappointed, but not discouraged. We have to continue to emphasize the details, because this loss came down to the details."

    Yes, the Rams had those three possessions that totaled 33 plays. But they managed just one touchdown, and there were only 17 plays on their other five possessions.

    Yes, the Rams stopped the Redskins in the red zone, but four of Washington's possessions lasted 55 plays, gained 302 yards and took 27:04 off the clock. Overall, the Redskins ran 70 plays to the Rams' 50 and had the ball for 34:53.

    Spagnuolo added, "There's no moral victories in this league. But I'm mostly disappointed in the fact that we've got a football team that works their butts off, and they haven't had a chance to feel victory yet. We've got a long ways to go here.

    "It is a cliche that you take one or two plays out of a game and the outcome changes. But in this particular (game), that would be true. Because there were certain plays in there that if they went differently, we might be on the other end of the win-loss column."

    Two of the plays were a fumble by Donnie Avery at the Washington 5-yard line in the fourth quarter that stopped a drive, and a sack of quarterback Jason Campbell on which he barely got out of the end zone.

    Said Avery, "I was just trying to get more yards. I was trying to get YAC (yards after the catch) on the play, and ended up fumbling. I let the team down."

    Adam Goldberg, who replaced rookie Jason Smith at right tackle in the first half after Smith injured his knee, said, "We know as a team we have to tidy things up and go out and get it done. We all feel this way. It's time to get it done and go out and get a W."

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —Quarterback Marc Bulger received treatment after the Washington game for a sore back that was the result of a three-yard run in the second half. Bulger went into a slide, but that didn't stop two Redskins players from hitting him. Bulger wasn't pleased that a penalty wasn't called on the play. The Rams called time out to allow Bulger to recover, and during the break, he made his point to referee Jerome Boger.

    After the game, Bulger said, "I think my thoughts were obvious. But I don't want to go back and re-hash it."

    Early in the game with his second completion, Bulger became the club's all-time leader in completions. Currently, he has 1,861 to Jim Everett's 1,847.

    —The defense did not allow a touchdown, the first time that's happened since a Nov. 18, 2007 13-9 win in San Francisco.

    "There certainly are no moral victories," safety James Butler said. "But iron out some details on third down and we'll be a whole lot better."

    Added cornerback Ron Bartell, "It's a new defense for us. We're learning, and we're getting better every week. But we're going to have to overcome those small (errors), because they're killing us."

    Offensively, however, the seven points in the first two games of a season is the lowest ever for a Rams team.

    —C Jason Brown noted during the week the biggest improvement offensive lines make is from Week 1 to Week 2. Following Sunday's game, Brown said, "We definitely did a lot better this week than we did last week. ... We're going to get better. It's still early in the season. It's still early with our offense, and there's tons of room for improvement."

    Brown also realizes providing bulletin-board material for an opponent is unnecessary.

    During training camp, Brown talked about Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, and said, "I'm so glad we're playing Washington early in the year because it's going to be hot and ... he's going to get fatigued. He just falls down to the ground ... giving the guy on the sidelines enough time to mosey on out there so (Haynesworth) can get up, go to the sidelines, catch a breather, get something to drink, and then he comes right back out."

    After Sunday's game, Brown approached Haynesworth in the middle of the field. Said Brown, "I apologized. He and I have played against each other several times, and he knows that no matter what I say, I respect him. And I know that he respects me. We shook hands."

    As for doing any more talking, Brown said. "The thing to do is talk with your pads. I was humbled today, and I'm going to stay humbled."

    —RT Jason Smith and C Jason Brown each suffered knee injuries Sunday against Washington.

    Smith is considered doubtful for Sunday's home opener against Green Bay, while Brown is said to be day-to-day. Smith suffered what is being called a strained knee, with no surgery required. He said he hopes to make more progress in the next two days and possibly practice Wednesday. That seems unlikely. The expectations are he will miss one or two games, and be replaced by Adam Goldberg.

    Brown said he has never missed a practice or game in his career and has every intention of playing this week.

    "I'll be out there Wednesday (at practice) and see what happens," he said.

    As soon as the team arrived home from Washington Sunday night, Brown began rehabbing in the team facility with quad extensions and some time in the cold tub.

    "He's a pro," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    PLAYER NOTES

    —RT Jason Smith won't need surgery for the left knee injury he suffered against Washington. Smith says he will try and practice Wednesday, but he is considered doubtful for Sunday's game against Green Bay and is expected to miss one or two games.

    —OL Adam Goldberg, who started games at four different positions last season, will start at right tackle if Jason Smith can't play Sunday. Goldberg replaced Smith in the first half of Sunday's game against Washington.

    —C Jason Brown is intent on playing this week after injuring his knee against Washington. Brown left the game for five plays and returned. He is said to be day-to-day, but Brown emphasized that he's never missed a practice or game in his college or pro career.

    —C Mark Setterstrom was in the game for five plays Sunday when Jason Brown left with a knee injury. It was the first regular-season game for Setterstrom since he suffered a knee injury in the third game of the 2007 season.

    —LT Alex Barron suffered a contusion to the thigh against Washington, but is expected to play this week.

    —CB Justin King has a sore hamstring, and it's unknown if the injury will affect any of his practice time this week.


    REPORT CARD VS. REDSKINS

    PASSING OFFENSE: C — Marc Bulger has his second consecutive game without an interception, and had his first touchdown of the season, a well-thrown 2-yard fade to WR Laurent Robinson. WR Keenan Burton had two catches for 38 yards, but WR Donnie Avery had just one catch for four yards, and he fumbled at the end of the play. In the team's short passing game, Bulger averaged just 8.3 yards per completion, and had a passer rating of 77.2.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus — RB Steven Jackson had a 104-yard day, but 58 came on one play and he averaged 3.1 yards on his other 16 carries. Five of his attempts were for zero yards with one of minus-1. There was more consistency in the second half to the running game.

    PASS DEFENSE: C-minus — The Rams kept the Redskins out of the end zone, but QB Jason Campbell completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 242 yards. For the second week, the Rams struggled against a good tight end, as Chris Colley had seven receptions for 83 yards.

    RUSH DEFENSE: B — Clinton Portis' long run of the day was 12, and he was limited to 79 yards on 19 carries. Of Washington's 125 rushing yards, 28 were by Campbell on scrambles.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — Nothing special. The coverage was fine, but the return game is poor. Derek Stanley totaled 13 yards on two punt returns, while the kickoff return game netted 55 yards on four attempts, a 13.8-yard average. The Rams had no field-goal attempts and Donnie Jones averaged 43.3 yards on four punts.

    COACHING: C-plus — Some decisions by coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff could be nit-picked, but he understands the reality of the situation. Asked about not being aggressive at the end of the first half when the Rams got the ball at their own 30 with 1:12 to play, Spagnuolo acknowledged, "I played it close to the vest." Expect more of the same, at least for a while.
    :ramlogo:

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Offensive Line Shows Improvement Against Redskins
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams' offensive line shows improvement against Redskins

    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/21/2009

    LANDOVER, Md. — In an odd scene Sunday in the visiting locker room at FedEx Field, veteran center Jason Brown was repenting previous sins in front of his locker while rookie tackle Jason Smith was repelling reporters' questions at his.

    Making it clear that he'd learned his lesson, Brown promised that his jaw-jacking days were over.

    "The thing to do is talk with your pads," Brown said after the Rams' 9-7 loss to the Washington Redskins. "I was humbled today, and I'm going to stay humbled."

    During training camp, Brown mocked Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, implying that the 6-foot-6, 350-pounder wilts during games.

    "I'm so glad we're playing Washington early in the year because it's going to be hot and ... he's going to get fatigued," Brown told WXOS (101.1 FM) radio in August. "He just falls down to the ground ... giving the guy on the sidelines enough time to mosey on out there so (Haynesworth) can get up, go to the sidelines, catch a breather, get something to drink, and then he comes right back out."

    The comments provided bulletin-board material for the Redskins, who dangled a seven-year, $100 million contract to sign Haynesworth in the offseason.

    Brown and Haynesworth met at midfield after the final whistle. "I apologized," Brown said. "He and I have played against each other several times, and he knows that no matter what I say, I respect him. And I know that he respects me. We shook hands."

    A more urgent issue for Brown is the knee injury he sustained Sunday. Although Brown missed only a handful of plays, ligament damage is suspected.

    Smith also went down with what is believed to be torn cartilage in his knee. He sat out the second half.

    Afterward, Smith refused to even acknowledge the injury. When first asked about it, the No. 2 overall selection in the draft replied: "I feel real bad I wasn't able to be with the guys on the field."

    Pressed further, Smith said: "We didn't win the game, and obviously we've got to learn from our mistakes and get ready for our next opponent."

    Was Smith suggesting that he wasn't hurt? "Tomorrow we're going to come in and lift some weights, watch some film and get our mistakes corrected and get ready for next week's game," he said.

    Whether either or both can be ready when the Green Bay Packers show up at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday won't be known at least until after they have MRI exams today.

    Despite their problems, the offensive line rallied after a shaky start vs. the Redskins. Quarterback Marc Bulger was sacked once and slammed into several other times. But overall,...
    -09-21-2009, 03:17 PM
  • eldfan
    Rams Team Report
    by eldfan
    The biggest question following Sunday's 35-0 loss to San Francisco was the immediate future of left tackle Alex Barron. Entering the final year of his contract, Barron was moved from right tackle to left tackle this past offseason following the release of Orlando Pace. He stayed there after the Rams selected tackle Jason Smith with the second overall pick in the draft. Smith has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, but might be ready to return this week. The question was whether he will remain at right tackle or replace Barron, who was benched late in the first half against the *****. With the score 7-0, the Rams had moved from their own 27 to the San Francisco 36, where it was third-and-4 with 1:29 left in the half. Quarterback Kyle Boller connected with Danny Amendola on a 17-yard play to the 19-yard line. However, the play was negated by one of the team's 10 penalties. Barron was called for not lining up on the line of scrimmage. Barron was then replaced by John Greco, who played the remainder of the game. Greco had practiced at left tackle during the week while Barron missed time because of a thigh injury. Asked about the decision after the game, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "Well, again it's not a policy, that's not something that we're going to be doing here. Someone makes a mistake we're not yanking people out of here. I told the group I have a tremendous amount of confidence Alex Barron, I still do. I just felt that it was something we had to do at that particular point and it's over and done and we'll move on." Said Barron, "It was just a decision made by the coach, and that was that. You don't want to get pulled, but it happens." Barron refused to comment on whether the decision was justified, and when asked if he would be more motivated in practice this week, said, "You've got to be motivated anyway. We've got a game Sunday. We've got to play against a good team. Our focus is toward the Vikings." Greco, a third-round pick in 2008, started one game at guard as a rookie, and worked exclusively at guard during the offseason and training camp. He missed the first two games this season with a wrist injury, and began practicing at tackle after Smith suffered a knee injury in Week 2 because the team had no other tackles behind Barron and Adam Goldberg. "I wanted to show that I could play anywhere," he said. "I was kind of getting ready for it this week (in practice). I got an opportunity to get in there, and hopefully I did my job." Center Jason Brown had praise for the job Greco did. "John did a very good job out there; we're proud of him," Brown said. "We never like to call each other backup players; we like to say we have solid depth. Whenever a man goes down, the next guy called to duty has to come in and perform at a level that'll help us win the game. He did that today." Concluded Greco, "It felt good to get in, but I'm kind of sick about the loss."...
    -10-06-2009, 07:08 PM
  • eldfan
    Rams team report
    by eldfan
    USA TODAY


    The Rams have been in this familiar territory before, entering a practice week unsure whether running back Steven Jackson will be able to play or how well if he does.
    In 2007, he missed four games because of a groin injury. In 2008, he missed one game with a quad injury, returned too soon for a game against Arizona, then missed another three.

    Last season, Jackson emerged from a Nov. 22 game against Arizona with a back injury, and while he missed only one game (Dec. 27 at Arizona), he never practiced except for some brief walk-through plays in Friday practices.

    Now, it is more of the same after Jackson suffered a strained groin against Washington. He also practiced last week on a limited basis for two days because of a minor knee injury.

    Asked if he's optimistic about Jackson playing, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "I don't want to say one way or the other because you've really got to leave it up to the player in this situation. You're talking about a running back with a groin ... but Steven's a warrior. You almost have to pull him back because he'll want to go.

    "I've really got to trust the player and obviously Reggie (trainer Reggie Scott), who I've got a lot of trust in. What you don't want to do is get him out there too soon and set him back, because the whole goal will be to get him to the game on Sunday. It's just a matter of the treatments and making sure we don't make it any worse."

    Jackson was injured in the second quarter against the Redskins and missed the remainder of the game. In the second half, backups Kenneth Darby and rookie Keith Toston combined for 73 rushing yards, and Darby scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 12-yard run. At one point, Darby carried the ball on six consecutive plays. Toston was playing with a shoulder that was injured on a first-half special teams play.

    "Real solid," Spagnuolo said of their performance. "I thought they both ran really well. Again, you're talking about guys that haven't gotten a lot of reps in the course of the week. But I was impressed with Keith with the shoulder injury, and yet when you watched him run the football you wouldn't have thought his shoulder was hurting and we knew it was."

    Spagnuolo acknowledged that the play of Darby and Toston not only gives them confidence, but also the rest of the offense.

    "We want Steven out there all the time or as much as possible," Spagnuolo said. "But I think it's a boost for the offensive line and those young guys if we can still finish a game out like that, without really one of your best players."

    When it was noted that Jackson referred to the injury as a blessing in disguise because now other teams know the offense can move the ball without him, Spagnuolo laughed and said, "He's a deeper thinker than I am, because I'd rather...
    -09-29-2010, 04:40 PM
  • eldfan
    Result that matters eludes Rams again
    by eldfan
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/21/2009

    LANDOVER, MD. — Progress? Yes. Results? Not quite. And that's what made Sunday's 9-7 loss to Washington all the more excruciating for coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams.

    "I'm very disappointed," Spagnuolo said. "There's no moral victories in this league. But I'm mostly disappointed in the fact that we've got a football team that works their butts off, and they haven't had a chance to feel victory yet. We've got a long ways to go here."

    Spagnuolo apparently was so disappointed that it took him nearly 25 minutes from the end of the game to address reporters. The NFL's so-called 10-minute cooling off period wasn't nearly enough for Spagnuolo to collect his thoughts after this setback.

    The Rams got 100 yards-plus rushing from Steven Jackson, achieving some degree of balance offensively. The defense was stellar in the red zone, limiting the Redskins to just three field goals in four trips inside the 20. Actually, all four of those red zone trips advanced inside the 10.

    And the Rams cut down significantly on their mistakes from the season-opening fiasco in Seattle. Trouble was, they still made enough Sunday to start 0-2 for the third consecutive season.

    "It is a cliché that you take one or two plays out of a game and the outcome changes," Spagnuolo said. "But in this particular (game), that would be true. Because there were certain plays in there that if they went differently, we might be on the other end of the win-loss column."

    The most obvious — and most costly — mistake happened early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 9-7, the Rams marched methodically from their 25 to the Washington 9, overcoming a false start penalty on tight end Daniel Fells and left tackle Alex Barron's second holding penalty of the day.

    On third-and-4 from the 9, quarterback Marc Bulger completed a pass to Donnie Avery for first-down yardage at the 5. But Avery was rocked by Redskins safety Chris Horton, the ball popped out, and Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers fell on the fumble.

    "I was just trying to get more yards," a disconsolate Avery said. "I was trying to get YAC (yards after contact) on the play, and ended up fumbling. I let the team down."

    Avery has been responsible for the only two Rams turnovers this season, losing a fumble on the opening kickoff return last week in Seattle.

    Even after Avery's miscue Sunday, the Rams' offense had two more possessions to take the lead. But the first series stalled at the Washington 41. On fourth-and-2, Spagnuolo sent out the punting unit, but then flanked punter Donnie Jones out to the left and lined Kenneth Darby behind center in a variation of the wildcat formation.

    However, this was no trick play. The Rams never intended to run the ball; their sole intention...
    -09-21-2009, 07:35 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    C Brown Returns To Practice, As Promised
    by r8rh8rmike
    09.23.2009 4:14 pm
    C Brown returns to practice, as promised
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    Just as he’d promised, St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown practiced Wednesday despite suffering a sprained right knee Sunday vs. the Redskins. Brown, a fifth-year pro, never has missed a practice or a game in the NFL.

    Although he was listed on the injury report in the “limited participation” category, Brown — who also is nursing a sore ankle — appeared to take every snap with the first team.

    “When we got off the plane (Sunday night) and came over here on the bus, he went right into rehab, which I thought was pretty impressive,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He’s got a great desire. He was intent on getting back.”

    Notes & quotes:

    *With Jason Smith (knee) out, Adam Goldberg was with the first team at RT. He filled in there after Smith was injured late in the first half Sunday.

    *G John Greco (wrist), S Craig Dahl (hamstring) and S David Roach (groin) were limited. It appears as if Greco and Dahl might be ready for Sunday’s home opener after missing the first two games.

    *Newcomer Danny Amendola fielded punts and kickoffs, and also took a couple of reps with the “ones” at WR, where he got behind the defense and hauled in a deep pass from QB Marc Bulger. “He’s a littler guy, but he’s quick. He made a big play,” Bulger said. “He seems to pick things up quick, and he wants to be on the field. I think he’ll help us.”

    *This week’s captains are Goldberg (offense), S James Butler (defense) and LB Chris Chamberlain (special teams).

    All for now . . .
    -09-23-2009, 09:21 PM
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