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  • 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
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