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Rams Team Report

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  • Rams Team Report

    There's no question the Rams' offense is built around running back Steven Jackson.
    As Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said before last week's game, "They have one of the best backs in the business. The guy at Minnesota (Adrian Peterson) is off the chart. I put Jackson just right underneath him. He is big, strong and fast and he can go the distance every time he touches the football. If the hole is not there inside, he will bounce it outside. He can catch passes out of the backfield. I think this guy is a home-run hitting type of back."

    The Rams need Jackson to start hitting more home runs, starting with Sunday's home opener against Green Bay.

    In two games so far, Jackson has 171 yards on 33 carries, a 5.2-yard average per attempt. His total rushing yards projects to 1,368 yards for the season. Those are excellent numbers.

    However, they are also somewhat misleading. Jackson had a long run of 22 yards in Week 1 and 58 in Week 2. Those are the home runs the team wants him to hit. The problem is that too many of his other carries weren't productive.

    Jackson's 31 other attempts totaled just 91 yards for a 2.9-yard average. Against Seattle, 11 of Jackson's 16 carries were for three yards or less and 10 gained two yards or less. Against Washington, eight attempts were for three yards or less and six of those were either zero (five) or minus-1 (1).

    When those plays occur on first down, it often results in long-yardage situations on second and third down.

    Against Seattle, he had 19 yards on eight first-down attempts. Against Washington it was 10 carries for 25 yards on first down with four no-yardage attempts and one for minus-1. However, he did have runs of 6, 6 and 5 on his final three first-down runs, so not giving up on trying also has to be avoided.

    Because the Rams' passing game is suspect, defenses will routinely play eight men in the box.

    After the Seattle game, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said, "There were eight down there quite a bit. With a running back like we have, I think that's something we're going to see."

    Jackson understands it, too. "That's just going to be my mindset for all 16 games that we have. I anticipate for the rest of the year that defenses are going to put eight men in the box because we're just so young at the wide receiver position."

    Said tight end Randy McMichael, "I mean, right now he's our best football player on offense. A lot of teams know that, and they want to take him away. We've got to find a way as receivers and tight ends to make plays.

    "And even if they do have eight-man fronts, we need to get seven guys (blocked), and let Steven make the one guy miss. It's all about just staying on your man a little bit longer and helping 'Jack' find somewhere to run."

    SERIES HISTORY: 89th meeting. Rams lead, 45-41-2. The teams have alternated victories in the last four games, with Green Bay winning the most recent, 33-14 in St. Louis in 2007.


    It isn't often that NFL executives strongly react publicly to things said in the media, whether it be local or national.

    Thursday, Rams' general manager Billy Devaney did just that in response to comments made on ESPN Radio by analyst Mark Schlereth.

    Talking about the Rams, Schlereth opined that the Rams were the worst team in the NFL and were poor on both offense and defense. Schlereth then said of the Rams "they're not competing," and claimed the organization was in "shambles."

    Devaney, who was named general manager late in the 2008 season, and has been part of a massive overhaul of the team's football operations, held back nothing when he appeared on WXOS radio, the station that airs ESPN radio and that is also the team's radio rights holder.

    Said Devaney, "I'll be honest, I've got to take a deep breath, because that really pisses me off. When he says something like we're not competing, how the hell does he know? I guarantee you he hasn't watched one of our games. You can say we had a stinker in Seattle and we made a ton of mistakes. And that's fine. But to say we're not competing is totally asinine."

    Devaney added, "It frosts me. It just ticks me off a little bit. We're fighting our guts out there. If you want to say we're no good right now, I don't have a problem with that. But don't question our heart. Don't question our competitiveness. I've been in places where after your team loses a game, and the players get on the plane to fly home, you can't tell if they won or lost."

    Noting how disappointed the players were after last week's 9-7 loss to Washington, Devaney said it was apparent how much they hated losing.

    "It was staggering," he said. "Don't say we're in shambles. We've gone to great lengths to improve the attitude and bring in the right kind of players in here. To our players' credit, they do have heart."

    "We're 0-2. We've got to eat everything right now ... all we can do is win some games and change people's minds about us."

    Newly arrived WR Danny Amendola not only worked as a kick returner in his first practice with the Rams, but he also participated as a receiver with the first unit.

    Amendola spent the 2008 season on the Cowboys' practice squad, but was then signed to Philadelphia's practice squad on Jan. 7. He worked with the scout team for the Eagles' final two playoff games, where Pat Shurmur was the quarterbacks coach. Shurmur is now the Rams' offensive coordinator.

    The day after the Eagles lost to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game, Amendola signed a 20009 contract with Philadelphia.

    The Rams' offense is exactly the same as Philadelphia, with the same language.

    "I'm hoping I can help the Rams get better," he said. "I'm thrilled. I've been wanting this my whole life. I know I'm not the biggest, strongest or fastest player, but I know I can make plays."

    The plan is for Amendola to return both kickoffs and punts Sunday against Green Bay.

    In 2007, when Steve Spagnuolo took over as the Giants' defensive coordinator, the team started the season 0-2, and the defense allowed 80 total points in those games.

    Spagnuolo preached staying the course, and a win followed the next week. By the end of the season, the Giants were Super Bowl champs.

    Rams safety James Butler was part of that Giants' team, and recalls the third-game victory that got the ball rolling.

    "It definitely was something where you look back and say that was a good momentum (builder) for our defense," Butler said. "But we were building from Day One. And just because we didn't do it that first game, or even halfway through the second game, it finally started clicking."

    The first two weeks of the season have obviously shown that no one is safe on the team's roster. The latest move was the release of wide receiver Derek Stanley and the addition of wide receiver Danny Amendola off Philadelphia's practice squad. The plan is for Amendola to return kickoffs and punts Sunday against Green Bay.

    Linebacker Paris Lenon, who was signed last Wednesday (Sept. 16), was active for Sunday's game against Washington. Defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey, claimed off waivers from Tennessee at the cutdown to 53 players, was on the field for eight plays against the Redskins and had two tackles. Look for him to play more and more each week.

    Defensive end Victor Adeyanju has not been active for each of the first two games.

    Here are the remaining players from the team's drafts starting in 2003:

    2003: None.

    2004: RB Steven Jackson

    2005: OT Alex Barron, CB Ron Bartell, S Oshiomogho Atogwe, OG Richie Incognito

    2006: DE Victor Adeyanju, C/G Mark Setterstrom

    2007: DT Adam Carriker (injured reserve), CB Jonathan Wade, NT Clifton Ryan

    2008: DE Chris Long, WR Donnie Avery, OG John Greco, CB Justin King, WR Keenan Burton, LB Chris Chamberlain, LB David Vobora.

    Of the 73 players on the active roster, injured reserve or practice squad at the end of the 2008 season, only 32 players are currently on the 53-man roster. Two - defensive tackle Adam Carriker and safety Eric Bassey - are on injured reserve.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 2 Number of home games the Rams have won over the last two seasons. The victories were over Dallas (NFC East) and Atlanta (NFC South). Sunday's opponent (Green Bay) is from the NFC North.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can tell you this right now: I am not playing right now for the next year or the year after. I will answer that one that way. I think it goes hand-in-hand. I mean, we are always going to try to win football games; that is not going to change and we are going to do whatever we can. People are going to be in there that ... the 11 people we think are our best chance to help us win and along the way, we will be evaluating guys." Coach Steve Spagnuolo, asked if this season is more about learning about his players than winning.



    C Jason Brown (knee), who was officially listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday although taking virtually all of the snaps, fully participated Thursday and is expected to start Sunday against Green Bay.

    RT Jason Smith (knee) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday and will likely be listed as out on Friday. Adam Goldberg is his replacement.

    S Craig Dahl (hamstring) participated fully in practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Dahl missed the first two games of the season.

    S David Roach (groin) was limited in practice Wednesday, but had full participation Thursday.

    CB Bradley Fletcher, the team's third-round draft pick, has been playing as the nickel back and looks to have moved ahead of Justin King on the depth chart.

    OL Adam Goldberg, named the team's offensive captain for the week, worked with the first unit at right tackle Wednesday and is expected to start there Sunday against Green Bay.

    DT LaJuan Ramsey is getting more and more reps in practice, and will likely have his plays increase from the eight he participated in last week.

    GAME PLAN: Not much changes in the Rams' plan each week. They have run only 107 plays the first two weeks and have just 27 first downs. The plan is for RB Steven Jackson to have more success on early downs, and for the passing game to get more production from WR Donnie Avery and TE Randy McMichael.

    Defensively, where the Rams have just one sack after two games, they need to stop the run and create situations where the rush can be effective.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams DREs Chris Long and James Hall vs. Packers LT Daryn Colledge. Bengals DE Antwan Odom had five sacks last week, and Colledge struggled moving from left guard to tackle after Chad Clifton was injured. Clifton did not practice Wednesday, and the Rams must take advantage of a potentially shuffled Packers line.

    Rams WRs Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson and Keenan Burton vs. Packers safeties. Atari Bigby is out for Green Bay and Nick Collins is trying to recover from a chest injury suffered Sunday. The Packers cut Aaron Rouse Wednesday, leaving only Derrick Martin and new arrival Matt Giordano in the back end. Whether it's in the passing game or with Steven Jackson running, the Rams have to exploit Green Bay's potential weakness.

    INJURY IMPACT: The Rams could benefit from Adam Goldberg's experience, as he will likely play right tackle instead of rookie Jason Smith, who has a knee injury. Going against Green Bay's 3-4 defense, Goldberg's steady hand could come in handy.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Team Report

    I think B Devaney will do what it takes to give this team the glory it seeks and i don't think its gonna take too long for him to achieve his goals. It shows he cares and wants to right the ship. Players will want to play for any team if you got their backs. We'll make a run for something this year. Our 1st win comes this Sunday you'll see.


    • #3
      Re: Rams Team Report

      This article makes no sense to me. First of all, the author says Jackson "needs to start hitting more home runs" and then goes on to admit that Jackson's numbers look good but only because he's had some long runs (i.e. hit some "home runs"). So what exactly is your position, that Jackson needs to start making more big plays or that the only reason Jackson's numbers are good is because he's making big plays?

      It's a little confusing because he switches his argument mid-article from saying "Jackson needs to make more big plays" to "Jackson's numbers look good, but only because he had some big plays." But regardless, even this 2nd argument is confusing because 2.9 yards/carry is not bad if you exclude all 20 yard+ runs. I would be interested in seeing how many running backs average 3 yards+/carry if you exclude all their runs of 20 yards or longer.

      Just a weird series of arguments in my opinion.


      • #4
        Re: Rams Team Report

        MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams DREs Chris Long and James Hall vs. Packers LT Daryn Colledge. Bengals DE Antwan Odom had five sacks last week, and Colledge struggled moving from left guard to tackle after Chad Clifton was injured. Clifton did not practice Wednesday, and the Rams must take advantage of a potentially shuffled Packers line.
        Time for Long to step up this week and really make a statement and to show why he was picked 2nd overall last season.


        • #5
          Re: Rams Team Report

          Fletcher, Ramsey and Amendola are all looking to start making moves on the depth chart. That's great, get some playmakers out there!


          • #6
            Re: Rams Team Report

            Originally posted by Nick_Weasel View Post
            This article makes no sense to me. First of all, the author says Jackson "needs to start hitting more home runs" and then goes on to admit that Jackson's numbers look good but only because he's had some long runs (i.e. hit some "home runs"). So what exactly is your position, that Jackson needs to start making more big plays or that the only reason Jackson's numbers are good is because he's making big plays?

            It's a little confusing because he switches his argument mid-article from saying "Jackson needs to make more big plays" to "Jackson's numbers look good, but only because he had some big plays." But regardless, even this 2nd argument is confusing because 2.9 yards/carry is not bad if you exclude all 20 yard+ runs. I would be interested in seeing how many running backs average 3 yards+/carry if you exclude all their runs of 20 yards or longer.

            Just a weird series of arguments in my opinion.
            I agree 100%. That's a bad argument and point on his behalf. Jackson needs to be more consistent instead of more home runs. I'm not blaming Jackson because it's an overall production problem.


            Related Topics


            • 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
              Rams Team Report
              by eldfan
              USA TODAY

              After four days to get refreshed, the Rams returned to practice Monday tied for first place in the NFC West and ready to prepare for Sunday's showdown against the ***** in San Francisco.
              Seattle's loss to the Giants left the Seahawks and Rams tied with 4-4 records, although the Rams technically have the edge over Seattle because they won the one game played so far this season between the two teams.

              But the ***** are knocking on the door, despite their poor start to their season. The Rams are well aware that a San Francisco victory this week would move the ***** one game behind the Rams. Meanwhile, Seattle is at 3-5 Arizona this week.

              While coach Steve Spagnuolo has talked about the goal of winning the division before, he has also made sure to keep his team's eyes on the task at hand: the next game. That focus has helped the Rams bounce back from an 0-2 start to the season and beat Washington; rebound from a convincing loss in Detroit to defeat San Diego; and recover from a crushing last-second loss to Tampa Bay to beat Carolina.

              Says running back Steven Jackson about Spagnuolo, "I think in (his) leadership, we've learned how to deal with adversity in a manner that we don't panic. We kind of embrace it. We accept that things are going to happen, but we also know that it's also about the 53 guys with Rams helmets on who are going to change it. I think guys have really embraced that thought and philosophy."

              Added linebacker James Laurinaitis, "Team is a lot like the coach, a lot like Spags. He's a tough guy who preaches it all the time, playing hard, playing with passion, and that's what these guys do. There are a lot of guys in this locker room that care about this football team and this organization, and that's what they try to show every Sunday."

              The Rams have been able to stay competitive in games despite injuries that have cost units multiple lost players, like the secondary and receivers. Tight ends Billy Bajema and Michael Hoomanawanui missed a succession of games at the same time.

              The team could have felt "woe is me," especially when wide receiver Mark Clayton was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the Week 5 game against Detroit. Rookie Danario Alexander stepped in and had a huge game against San Diego the following week, only to reinjure his knee in practice two days prior to the Week 8 game against Carolina.

              Yet, younger players have stepped up and the team stayed together. Jackson points to a preseason game against New England in August when the Patriots kept their starters in the game well after the Rams' first-stringers had departed. St. Louis' backups went toe-to-toe with New England's starters and added to the Rams' lead.

              Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Coach just kept our young guys in there. The way our young guys handled them...
              -11-09-2010, 12:18 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report - Oct 29
              by r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report
              Yahoo! Sports - Oct 29, 2:56 am EDT

              INSIDE SLANT

              It surely hasn't been the start of his NFL head coaching career that Steve Spagnuolo envisioned.

              The Rams have lost their first seven games and now face for the second straight week a team coming off their bye. Last week, it was the 5-0 Colts at home, and this week it's the 1-5 Lions on the road.

              Teams playing after their bye have won 52.5 percent of the time since byes were added to the schedule in 1990.

              In addition, the way the schedule has worked for the Rams has had the better teams at home and the arguably more winnable games on the road. The current combined records of the home games -- Green Bay (4-2), Minnesota (6-1) and Indianapolis (6-0) -- is 16-3.

              Conversely, the total record for the road games -- Seattle (2-4), Washington (2-5), San Francisco (3-3) and Jacksonville (3-3) -- is 10-15.

              The trend continues this week with Detroit on the road and New Orleans (6-0) at home on Nov. 8 after the Rams' bye.

              By(e) the way, the Rams are one of only five teams that have two consecutive games against teams coming off their bye. They are one of only two teams that opened the season with two games on the road, and one of four teams that played four of their first six games on the road.

              When those numbers were presented to Spagnuolo on Monday, he smiled and said, "I appreciate all your info. It's enlightening in a way, but it doesn't change what we've got to do."

              He later added, "I don't get wrapped up in (scheduling). And I really learned that from (Philadelphia coach) Andy Reid. Andy had a unique way when the schedules came out ... there would always be positives about the way he looked at the schedule."

              Perhaps the only positive are the three straight home games in November after the bye, but the best the Rams will be then is 1-7.

              Asked if he gets advice from fans in emails or at the gas station, Spagnuolo said, "When you're winning, you get a lot of phone calls. When you're not, everybody is afraid (to call). But really that's when you want them. That's when you need them. It works the other way. I don't know why. I have some very good people that will hang in there. It's much appreciated. As long as I have my wife still on my side, I'll be OK."

              Spagnuolo has managed to maintain an even-keel attitude despite the gloom and doom, and seemingly has his players battling and not pointing fingers at each other.

              Said free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "We stay together. In tough times like this the only thing you can do is stay together and continue to press on forward and that's what we're going to do because we have guys of character in here. Things will turn around and that's what we're fighting for."

              Rookie middle...
              -10-29-2009, 04:50 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report - Nov 10
              by r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report
              Yahoo! Sports - Nov 10, 1:40 am EST

              INSIDE SLANT

              As the Rams begin the second half of their first season under coach Steve Spagnuolo with a record of 1-7, no one knows how many wins will occur in the final eight games. Certainly, Spagnuolo was hopeful of having more than one when the team hit its bye.

              But he hasn't strayed from his consistent approach, which is to stress team first, one game at a time, and remain as positive as possible with his message. That can be tough when losses mount up, but Spagnuolo has apparently achieved it so far.

              He admitted, "I have had my moments (of frustration). But I think there's a professional way to do it. I think everybody in this business should be respected for the jobs they have. I think any business is about respecting each other. I don't see any reason to go off the cuff. I keep that to myself. Part of what we talk about as a team is being a poised team. You can't be a poised team if the head coach isn't poised."

              Said safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "Being a guy who has been here with the Rams now going for five years, some of the younger guys and some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here, and that's going to carry over throughout the locker room so you just build a team that is really focused on one goal and one purpose and being one."

              A head coach has to have credibility, and that can be difficult for a first-timer. It surely helped Spagnuolo that he was an assistant coach for 10 seasons under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Tom Coughlin with the Giants.

              "I think that he would even admit that we bought into his system," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We know it's going to be successful; it's just a matter of bearing with it. Once we start getting those wins, it will start to pay off. It's a winning formula. He's been with the Giants and Philadelphia. It's not always easy, but I think that the older guys around here know that it is a winning formula. We've all bought into it."

              Spagnuolo likes what he has seen, especially the absence of sulking players, or those who start pointing fingers at others.

              Said Spagnuolo, "To me, that's a credit to the players. It is easy in this business to venture somewhere else, especially when you don't have a lot of success. That's why I keep going back to and keep saying that I love the group down there, the character, the commitment, the loyalty, because if you have those things, eventually that will be the reason why you win. It won't be about coaches or trick plays. It will be because what your core of players is made of. That will be the reason why we win."

              Expounding on that point, Spagnuolo said he gets impressions from a lot of the little things that are still important in terms of the...
              -11-11-2009, 03:42 PM
            • eldfan
              St Louis Rams Team Report
              by eldfan
              As the Rams prepare to play Washington Sunday, while trying to put last week's loss to Seattle behind them, they will go on the field again with a young linebacking corps that will try and find a way to support the run and prevent tight end Chris Cooley from making big plays.
              Against the Seahawks, the defense, and linebackers in particular, were generally solid against the run, except for a 62-yard run by Julius Jones that gave the Seahawks their final points. In addition, tight end John Carlson burned the Rams for two touchdowns, and his second score on a 38-yard play came immediately following a 33-yard pickup.

              "They did things we haven't seen before, and that hurt us," said second-year linebacker David Vobora. "We definitely have to do better this week."

              Vobora, a seventh-round pick in 2008, was making his first start on the strong side. He started one game at middle linebacker last season. Alongside him is rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.

              The veteran of the group, weak-side starter Will Witherspoon, said of his young cohorts, "I think they did well. There were a few bumps here and there, but that's the ebb and flow of the game. Every play, every snap means one more notch in their belts.

              "They learned some things, they got to see some things, and that's what's great about it. You can't ask them to do any more than that."

              Acknowledged Laurinaitis, "There were some ups and downs. They say the best improvement is from Week 1 to Week 2. It's important for us to keep our heads up, to learn from this, and keep that feeling of a loss right there and really work that much harder this week in practice."

              Laurinaitis accepted responsibility for Carlson's first touchdown, a play that began on the 1-yard line. Hooked by a play fake, he said, "I was being overly aggressive. You're down there on the 1-yard line and you're thinking, 'Let's go after it.' ... I'm definitely at fault for that."

              Asked about the rookie's play, coach Steve Spagnuolo said of Laurinaitis, "Overall he played a real productive game. That's what he is. He's a productive guy. If he continues to have that production, it's going to help the defense."

              SERIES HISTORY: 30th meeting. Redskins lead, 20-8-1. The Rams have won two consecutive games in the series, an overtime win in St. Louis in 2006 and a last-second 19-17 victory last year in Washington. The win in 2008 was in Jim Haslett's first game as the team's interim coach.

              NOTES, QUOTES

              One twist that coach Steve Spagnuolo has added to the team's schedule is a Monday corrections walk-through after watching tape of the previous day's game.

              Said safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "It's important to correct the mistakes from last game and the more times you walk through it and get visual reps at it, it...
              -09-17-2009, 08:36 AM