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  • Rams Team report

    Kyle Boller is expected to be the Rams' starting quarterback for Sunday's game in San Francisco.
    Marc Bulger, who injured his shoulder in Sunday's loss to Green Bay, did not practice again Friday.

    Bulger said midweek that his shoulder hasn't gotten worse, "which is good," but also admitted it wasn't noticeably better. Mobility with his arm, and having the ability to make throws, will be the issue more so than pain since he said, "I've played frequently with pain."

    Boller, who went to school at the University of California, is relishing the chance to start Sunday. He also is glad to be taking snaps with the first unit, which is something he didn't do last week, before being called on to play when Bulger was hurt at the end of the first quarter.

    Asked about being comfortable running the offense, he said, "With me, when you don't take very many reps in practice, I could sit there and say that a certain play I have a five-step drop and actually going out there and not having taken a rep of it, I might take an extra two by accident. It is those little things, the details of fine-tuning everything to where, if I take that five-step and get it out of my hand, it might have been the difference in me putting the ball in front of the guy or behind the guy. It is little things like that that really will make a big difference.

    "I don't think it is really unfamiliarity; it is just a matter of taking the details and fine-tuning everything, making sure we are sharp. If it is supposed to be a 14-yard comeback, run it at 14 yards. It is not like a guy forgets that it was a 14-yard comeback, it is just things like that. If I've got to take a five-step drop, take a five-step drop; don't take a seven-step drop. If it is three-hitch and three-plant, do your three-plant. It is just little things like that."

    As to whether there will be aspects of the offense designed if he plays, Boller said, "No, I don't think there are certain plays that he (Bulger) has, that I have. We are just trying to operate this offense; it is still new to us. It is going to be a growing process but I think that we are making strides. I know after watching the tape there is a lot of work that we can go out there and help ourselves with to score more points."

    Boller has a rep of starting cold and then settling down. Against the Packers, he was wild high on his first two passes, then got on a roll and that led to two touchdowns. He hopes to start strong against the *****.

    "It is frustrating to me because I could literally throw those with my eyes closed," he said of the incompletions against Green Bay. "Just bad technique; I will hit those next time. I am not worried about that. Looking back, just a couple of fundamental things, just going through and completing the ball.

    "Every offense is different. You might run one route with a seven-step and another team might run it with a five-step. This offense is all about timing; it is all about timing."

    SERIES HISTORY: 119th regular-season meeting. Rams lead the series, 60-56-2. The ***** won both games last season, and defeated the Rams 35-16 in the game played in San Francisco.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —LB David Vobora, who started the first three games of the season on the strong side, suffered a concussion Sunday against Green Bay and was to take some tests Tuesday to see if he was healthy enough to play. It didn't matter.

    The NFL lowered the hammer on Vobora Tuesday, suspending him for four games for violating the league policy on performance enhancing substances. Vobora will be eligible to return to the roster Oct. 26, the day after the Rams' game against the Colts.

    According to Marc Lillibridge, one of the agents that represents Vobora, the positive test was triggered by a tainted supplement.

    "In no way has David ever used an illegal substance," Lillibridge told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He took a supplement that was tainted. A highly respected toxicologist has proven this to be the case. David did everything by the book in regards to investigating this supplement before he began using this product."

    The NFL has a hot line that players can call to find out if a supplement is OK to use. The NFL also has a program that certifies supplements, but the one Vobora took was not certified. Lillibridge said Vobora contacted the hotline, and none of the ingredients listed was banned.

    Said Lillibridge, "We're in the process of suing the company that manufactures this tainted product. It's a product a lot of players use."

    Lillibridge also said he sent samples to a toxicologist of two supplements Vobora used. One was fine, but the other included a banned substance.

    He concluded, "We took the appeal process as far as we could take it."

    As it relates to his concussion, Vobora was hit in the head on a kickoff return in the third quarter but continued playing until near the halfway point of the fourth quarter.

    When Vobora repeatedly asked some teammates about his assignments, he said, "They grabbed the trainers, and started asking me questions. The only thing I remember is going out of the tunnel when they turned off all the lights and we had the fog and stuff. Going home, going out to dinner with some teammates, I don't remember any of that."

    —QB Kyle Boller got in front of RB Steven Jackson to block on a running play Sunday against Green Bay and was asked about it afterward.

    Said Boller, "It looked good (on tape). I love doing that kind of stuff and to be able to kind of spring Steven Jackson out a little bit more gets me into the game."

    Asked if he was reminded there was only one other quarterback available, Boller said, "The one guy that did remind me was Keith Null (third quarterback). He said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I am playing football man.' "

    As for whether any coaches told him to be careful, Boller said, "No, no. The coaches just tell me to play. That is my nature. I like doing that kind of stuff. I think guys like it. I am an upbeat guy; I used to play linebacker when I was a kid so it is my time to take it out on them. Instead of being hit all the time, you get to actually hit them."

    When coach Steve Spagnuolo was asked about Boller's block, he said, "I am going to have him change his shoulder pads, instead of having those. (But) that's Kyle and it says a lot about him. I'd like him to be careful."

    —When SS James Butler suffered a knee injury on the second play of the game for the Rams' defense Sunday, it left only safeties Oshiomogho Atogwe and Craig Dahl on the roster because Antonio Smith and David Roach were inactive.

    Dahl came in for Butler, and led the defense with 11 tackles. Dahl was with the Giants in 2007 and 2008 when Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator.

    He played nine games with two starts, but suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee and then missed the entire 2008 season because of an injury to his right knee. Dahl signed with the Rams in the offseason, but missed the first two games of the season because of a hamstring issue.

    With Butler out at least two weeks and perhaps four, Dahl is slated to start this week against San Francisco.

    Said Spagnuolo, "It was nice to know that you could put a guy in there with limited reps. He made some plays for us."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 358-160 — The accumulated total the Rams have been outscored by in their NFL-longest 13-game losing streak. In those games, the Rams have scored 20 or more points twice; they have allowed 30 or more points six times and they have lost games by at least 19 points seven times.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have a lovely wife who cooks good food and I've got good people around me. I just try and move onto the next game. I know that sounds cliche but it's like I told the team this morning: if we were 3-0 I'd be saying the same thing, that 'Hey it is time to get ready for San Francisco, look at the film, get it out of the way, and move on.' That would be a whole other challenge, but it still comes back to the same thing; you get rid of this on Monday by two or three o'clock and away you go onto the next game." — Coach Steve Spagnuolo, asked how he keeps his sanity after losing the first three games of the season.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    There was more roster roulette this week. In addition to the suspension of LB David Vobora, the Rams released DT Hollis Thomas and placed WR Laurent Robinson on injured reserve, officially ending his season.

    WR Nate Jones, DT Leger Douzable and LB Dominic Douglas were promoted from the practice squad, while DT Marlon Favorite, WR Sean Walker and LBs Justin Roland and Jay Moore were added to the practice squad.

    With strong-side LB David Vobora suspended four games, Paris Lenon and Larry Grant are vying for the starting spot. The absence of WR Laurent Robinson could result in Ruvell Martin seeing his first action with the Rams.

    The Rams want to get a look at Douzable inside, which is what led to the release of Thomas.


    PLAYER NOTES

    —QB Marc Bulger (right shoulder) did not participate in practice again Friday and is listed as questionable. Kyle Boller is expected to start.

    —QB Kyle Boller took all the reps with the first team on Friday and is expected to start Sunday will Marc Bulger (shoulder) listed as questionable.

    —T Alex Barron (thigh) is listed as probable after taking part in limited practice Friday.

    —OL John Greco worked at left tackle this week with Alex Barron on the sideline because of a thigh injury.

    —LB Paris Lenon, who was signed on Sept. 16, did some work with the first unit at strong-side linebacker Wednesday, sharing time with Larry Grant.

    —LB Larry Grant did some work with the first unit at strong-side linebacker Wednesday, sharing time with Paris Lenon.

    —S James Butler (knee) was ruled on after not practicing Friday.

    —OT Jason Smith (knee) did not practice Friday and is listed as doubtful.

    GAME PLAN: With Kyle Boller expected to start at quarterback Sunday, the Rams will look to still run the ball with Steven Jackson. But the key will be whether Boller can have consistent accuracy with a receiving corps that is seriously shorthanded.

    Defensively, the Rams will have to take advantage of RB Frank Gore not being available, and keep QB Shaun Hill from hitting big plays in the passing game.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams RB Steven Jackson vs. ***** LB Patrick Willis. Willis has the ability to blow up plays, so the Rams' offense will have to find a way to get Jackson yards and avoid Willis.

    Rams DLE Leonard Little vs. ***** RT Adam Snyder. Little had his first two sacks of the season against Green Bay, and he has the ability to win the matchup against Snyder. The question is whether the ***** will provide help for Snyder to slow down Little.

    INJURY IMPACT: With WR Laurent Robinson out for the season, the Rams' pass-catching corps consists of Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Danny Amendola, Ruvell Martin and Nate Jones. Avery has to find a way to relax, step up and make plays to take some of the defensive pressure off Steven Jackson.
    :ramlogo:

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  • eldfan
    Bulger may play Sunday
    by eldfan
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/01/2009

    It was feared that the shoulder injury Rams quarterback Marc Bulger suffered Sunday would end his season. Now, it's possible he might not even miss a game.

    Possible, but far from probable.

    "It'd have to be a major improvement," Bulger said Wednesday. "It's tough to judge. It's easier with a bone; you know exactly how long it's going to be to heal again. With muscles, it's a little bit more difficult."

    Bulger's injury has been diagnosed as a bruised rotator cuff. He didn't practice Wednesday but might try to toss a few passes today.

    "When he comes in in the morning, we'll decide whether he should try to throw," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    X-rays of Bulger's right (throwing) shoulder were sent to Dr. James Andrews, the noted sports orthopedist, for a second opinion. "It's not a reflection on anyone, just another set of eyes," Bulger said.

    Mobility of the joint, not discomfort, is the main issue, he explained.

    "I get to a certain point when I'm getting my arm back to throw, and it doesn't allow me to go back any further," Bulger said. "It's not just a pain thing or I'd be in there."

    While Bulger heals, Kyle Boller is working with the first-team offense as the Rams prepare for Sunday's game in San Francisco. Boller, who entered early in the second quarter Sunday and threw two touchdown passes in the 36-17 loss to Green Bay, is operating in limbo until Bulger's status is determined.

    "I haven't been told that I'm the guy," Boller said. "I'm just going to go out there and take the reps (at practice). If Marc can't go, then I'll make sure that I'm ready to step in and take over."

    Still, Bulger concedes nothing.

    "I'm trying to get healthy as quick as I can," he said. "I'm going to do what's smart for the team. But if I can practice this week, then definitely I'll go."

    INJURY UPDATES

    Safety James Butler and tackle Jason Smith, each with a knee injury, also sat out practice. Spagnuolo has ruled out having Butler play Sunday. Smith did some individual work on the side; he is questionable for the game.

    Cornerback Ron Bartell (thigh) and tackle Alex Barron (thigh) were limited.

    ROSTER CHANGES

    The 53-man roster was filled Wednesday with the promotions of linebacker Dominic Douglas and defensive tackle Leger Douzable from the practice squad. Wide receiver Nate Jones had been moved up earlier.

    Those spots were created Tuesday when linebacker David Vobora received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, wide receiver Laurent Robinson (leg) was placed on injured reserve, and defensive...
    -10-01-2009, 08:28 AM
  • 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, 05:50 PM
  • eldfan
    Winless Rams having trouble with mistakes
    by eldfan
    By R.B. FALLSTROM
    AP Sports Writer

    ST. LOUIS — Marc Bulger is expected to start this week for
    the St. Louis Rams, whether or not backup Kyle Boller gets
    cleared from a mild concussion.

    Whoever’s taking the snaps on Sunday at Jacksonville, the larger
    problem is cutting down on the epidemic of mistakes that are
    dragging down a winless, rebuilding team that has little margin
    for error.

    The Rams (0-5) committed four turnovers in Sunday’s 38-10 loss
    to the Vikings, three of them inside the Minnesota 10, and have
    totaled 10 giveaways the last three weeks.

    “Right now I think that’s the only thing that’s separating us
    from winning games,” defensive end Leonard Little said Monday.
    “The mistakes we’ve been making, it’s something we’ve got to
    correct.

    “We always correct them in practice but in the games it seems
    like everything falls apart for us.”

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo said at his weekly day-after news
    conference that it was “correction day.”

    Every Monday, it seems.

    “The ball slips out of your hand, you miss a routine handoff,
    those are tough things to explain,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll hone
    in on them, get better at them and move on.”

    The Rams (0-5) had a 400-377 edge in total yards over unbeaten
    Minnesota (5-0) and rolled up 27 first downs. Boller and Bulger
    were a combined 27 for 38 for 297 yards with one touchdown and
    an interception, and the offensive line limited the dangerous
    Vikings pass rush to two sacks.

    The giveaways negated those numbers, in a big way.

    Jared Allen had a 52-yard fumble return for touchdown after the
    ball somehow slipped out of Boller’s hand as he dropped back for
    a screen pass. Boller and Steven Jackson didn’t connect on a
    handoff from the Vikings 1. Tight end Daniel Fells tried to back
    into the end zone after a catch and got stripped. Boller threw
    an interception in the end zone.

    That was more than enough to ensure the Rams’ 15th straight
    loss, the longest slump in the NFL. They’ve been outscored by a
    whopping 146-34 on the season.

    Jackson took the hit for the fumble, although it officially went
    to Boller.

    “It really hurt the team and our momentum, and I think after
    that we just snowballed downwards,” Jackson said. “We just have
    to get over this spell of turnovers.”

    Boller, starting for the second straight game in place of Bulger
    (shoulder), was injured early in the fourth quarter and will
    undergo testing Tuesday to determine his availability. Though
    Boller moved the offense, Spagnuolo said there’s no competition
    for the job and if Bulger’s OK he’ll be back as the starter.
    ...
    -10-13-2009, 11:46 AM
  • eldfan
    Rams Team Report
    by eldfan
    As the regular season begins, and with the division-rival Seattle Seahawks on the horizon, coach Steve Spagnuolo knows the team's 3-1 preseason record doesn't count for much.
    "I'm perfectly aware that all of this is a honeymoon period," he said. "The real challenge is upcoming.

    "It's nice to be 3-1 after the preseason, but like I told the players, the score counted when we played the games. It doesn't matter now. We're moving on. We came in and did what we thought as a group were the right things to do. But the real test is the regular season, winning and losing."

    Even though Spagnuolo realizes building this team's roster in his image is a work in progress, he does like the team's mindset so far.

    He said, "I think we've got a bunch of hungry guys. I think it's good to be hungry. It's a hungry football team that wants to be a team. We've talked a lot about it and I think the guys have embraced it. At least their actions and the attitudes and what comes out verbally says that to me. So if we can rally around that, that would be good."

    Asked what he expects from his team, Spagnuolo said, "In a nutshell, I want a focused, disciplined, tough football team. We have certain measurements that we have after games that measure that focus, discipline and toughness. I blurt them out after every game and let them know if we met them. I think the team is starting to embrace that, too. We talk about it all the time."

    "If you're a physically tough team, you're able to run the ball and stop the run."

    Said guard Richie Incognito, "That's the identity we're trying to create. Physical up front, and get the running game going ... The coaches are calling it up, dialing it up and they're keeping it coming. We're pumped up, we're excited."

    Former Rams coach Dick Vermeil would often say a coach "has to be believed to be heard." Spagnuolo sees a team that is listening and accepting leadership.

    "That means a great deal," he said. "I thanked them the other night (before the final preseason game). The night before the game for what they did. Back in the offseason program, right through training camp, it was a new training camp. It was a different hotel and we're here. New staff, new this or that, and they didn't skip a beat. They really bought into it."

    How much will the team improve from a two-win season? While Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney know there is a lot of work to do, they aren't willing to accept just minimal improvement.

    "I don't think anybody here is saying, 'Boy, if we just double our win total, we'll be happy about that,'" Devaney said. "If we win four games, then we still stink.

    "We're thinking we have a pretty good team. How fast it meshes and comes together, we're...
    -09-11-2009, 07:59 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    QB Decision May Be Needed
    by r8rh8rmike
    QB decision may be needed

    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/12/2009

    Concerning the quarterbacks, it could be an interesting week at Rams Park.

    Between Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, which — if either — will emerge as the healthiest? And which — if either — will be running the No. 1 unit when practice resumes Wednesday?

    The odds probably are with Bulger. Yet throughout the bulk of Sunday's 38-10 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Boller appeared to be pushing hard to hold on to the starting job he's had the past two weeks while Bulger recovers from an injured shoulder.

    That changed on the second play of the fourth quarter. Boller was clobbered by defensive end Ray Edwards just as he released a pass into the end zone. The ball was intercepted and Boller was shaken up.

    "I took a pretty good shot and I was a little fuzzy, a little dizzy," Boller said. "I don't think I was out completely ... (or) a hundred percent concussed."

    Still, he was dazed enough that coach Steve Spagnuolo turned to Bulger, who served as Boller's backup after suiting up as the No. 3 quarterback last week.

    "I don't think (playing) was the plan," said Bulger, who suffered a bruised rotator cuff Sept. 27 vs. Green Bay. "But when it happened to Kyle, we had to do it."

    Although he was going against Minnesota's defensive reserves with the Vikings cruising 24-3, Bulger came back with a bang: He hit on all seven of his passes for 88 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Donnie Avery, and compiled a "perfect" passer rating of 158.3.

    "I'm just glad we could go in and get some points and escape without hurting the shoulder again," said Bulger, who added that he believes he'll be sound enough to return to the lineup Sunday at Jacksonville.

    "It's getting close," he said. "I still need a little more velocity throwing the ball. You never know till you get hit, so we'll see. But ... I think I'll be ready to play the game next week."

    If asked, that is. Should Boller bounce back quickly, Spagnuolo might have a decision to make.

    Boller was at the helm most of the way as the Rams cobbled together their most productive offensive showing of the year. They rolled up 400 yards, including a season-high 278 through the air, against the NFL's 11th-ranked defense. Four turnovers, three inside the Vikings' 10-yard line, snuffed scoring chances.

    "Both quarterbacks looked really sharp," running back Steven Jackson said. "We were able to move the ball. We actually were able to stretch the field, and our receivers made plays."

    Boller wound up completing 20 of 31 passes for 209 yards, with the interception; his passer rating was 70.5. He also lost...
    -10-12-2009, 05:20 PM
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