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  • Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

    Mentally, Rams are a lost cause

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    10/04/2009

    The Rams have enough physical ability to win a few National Football League games this season. Really, they do.

    But mentally . . . well, let’s just say the Rams appear to be a lost cause.

    Football is a game of myriad details and techniques -– there isn’t one of them that the Rams can’t screw up. When they take the field, they are one giant mistake waiting to happen.

    They made one blunder after another, turning a low-scoring defensive struggle into a dispiriting 35-0 loss at San Francisco.

    In this game, they were flagged 10 times for 73 yards. Coach Steve Spagnuolo noted that the team earned just one penalty in 210 practice plays this week -– and then failed to carry it over to the game.

    “We have to play disciplined,” Spagnuolo told the Rams Radio Network after the game. “We have to keep working at it.”

    Quarterback Kyle Boller threw an interception that resulted in a TD. He also muffed a handoff exchange, resulting in another ***** TD.

    “It is hard to overcome turnovers and giving them points,” Spagnuolo surmised.

    The Rams (0-4) took another huge step backward while losing for the 31st time in 36 games. Whatever progress made in Week 2 is long forgotten now.

    In their last six quarters, opponents have outscored the Rams 49-3. Forty-nine to three! The Rams have been shut out twice in four games.

    Their defense held the ***** to 229 yards. San Francisco converted just four of 13 third-down plays. But the Rams offense gained just 177 yards and never even reached the red zone in this game.

    Spagnuolo doesn’t want to talk about the past. But the Rams seem intent on reliving their last two season collapses no matter how many incumbent players are run off.

    Let us review the gaffes they committed Sunday:

    * The Rams opened the game with Danny Amendola’s 91-yard kickoff return. But . . . blocker Anthony Smith got flagged for holding, bringing the ball all the way back to the Rams 22.

    * The Rams earned back-to-back offensive penalties in the first quarter, a holding penalty on tight end Daniel Fells and a five-yard call for having 12 men in the huddle.

    * Cornerback Jonathan Wade prolonged a ***** drive by earning a pass interference penalty while trying to cover Josh Morgan.

    * The Rams' punt coverage team accidentally kicked the ball into its own end zone. Quincy Butler got to the loose ball first, but failed to scoop it up on the fly. Then the ***** swarm arrived and fell on the ball for a touchdown. That was the only score of the first half.

    * Alex Barron destroyed a scoring drive by failing to line up correctly. His five-yard penalty for being behind the line of scrimmage negated a timely blitz-beating completion to Amendola, a play that would have put the Rams in prime scoring position. Spagnuolo benched Barron in the second half.

    * With the Rams trying to run one more play in the first half, Donnie Avery got flagged for an illegal shift penalty. That resulting clock run-off ended the half.

    * The Rams defense should have earned a quick stop to open the second half, but a pass interference penalty gave San Francisco a third-down conversion. Here is what was especially galling about this play: Rams defensive end James Hall hit the arm of ***** quarterback Shaun Hill on that play, causing the ball to flutter far short of the target.

    * Fill-in left tackle John Greco got downfield too soon and got whistled for being an ineligible receiver. That penalty negated a completion to Steven Jackson, one that would have moved the chains.

    * Trying to make something happen, Boller scrambled right, then tried to throw the ball back across the field. Linebacker Patrick Willis was just waiting for that. He easily picked off that ill-advised pass and returned it for a touchdown.

    * On a Kenneth Darby kickoff return that only reached the 15-yard line, tight end Billy Bajema committed an illegal block. That moved the Rams back to their 7-yard-line.

    * A Harry High School offensive play gave the ***** another easy touchdown. Boller faked one end-around handoff, then tried to give the ball to receiver Danny Amendola as the second end-around. The pint-sized Amendola didn't get the handoff cleanly, then Manny Lawson crushed him to make sure the ball came out. ***** defensive end Ray McDonald scooped up the loose ball and scored, so San Francisco had a 35-0 lead.

    These were just some of the highlights (lowlights) of this team’s poor football acumen and apparent lack of focus. There were plenty of missed blocks, blown tackles and misfired passes to go around.

    Until the Rams get their heads in the game, they aren’t going to win one.

  • #2
    Re: Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

    That's what we need to work on. Get your damn head in the game! Start cutting pay and benching players who can't make things happen. I'm glad that Barron got benched. That'll show him, but we have to warn the entire team.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

      Good point Mooselini. I think the coaching staf needs to step up and be more assertive. Fumbles, missed blocking assignments, stupid penalties, inexcusable plays, should all result in time on the BENCH. I think overall the morale from last year's terrible season is still lingering in the locker room. I think in all our games so far, we have just gotten screwed over by unfortunate events that have just plumeted our hopes at winning those games. For example, the called back TD we got right before half against the Seahags that resulted in a TD for them. Also, the muffed punt for a TD that the whiner's got right before the half to take the lead. Our defense has also made great plays only to be killed by a 3-and-out by our offense. Ughhhh so much improvement needed its not even funny

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

        Interceptions and fumbles are going to happen just hopefully not to often. However all the penalties are a total lack of discipline. Spags has got to come down harder on these players and I don't care who it is that's the offender.
        Letting Pace and Holt go may have hurt our team from a leadership perspective more than even Spags anticipated.
        sigpic :ram::helmet:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

          Well, Mr. Gordon, you have managed to make me just as mad at you as I am at Bernie. Your attitude and name calling will not bring anything positive. Kicking people while they are down is not the answer. It only makes things worse.
          sigpicThis is for Randy! GO BRM!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause

            All this stuff is mental mistakes that is why it is so sick to watch the rams right now

            Comment

            Related Topics

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            • eldfan
              A new low for rams
              by eldfan
              The formula for victory couldn't have been more clear-cut for the Rams entering Sunday's game at Candlestick Park. Against a San Francisco squad that featured a snarling defense, but a pedestrian offense, the surest path to an upset victory was to minimize mistakes, take care of the football and don't give up anything cheap.

              Alas, the Rams did just the opposite. On a day when the defense played spirited football and Steven Jackson ran as hard as humanly possible, the Rams gift-wrapped three touchdowns for the ***** and seemingly made more mistakes than humanly possible.

              The result was another sobering dose of humiliation, a 35-0 shellacking that left the Rams at 0-4 this season and extended their franchise-record losing streak to 14 games. The Rams have been outscored by an astounding 108-24 this season. They are as painful to watch as ever. Yes, the defense is more competitive, but that's more than negated by an offense that isn't — Jackson's work notwithstanding.

              There was no fire and brimstone from coach Steve Spagnuolo after the loss. No calling out of players. Just lots of disappointment.

              "I am disappointed in the loss," Spagnuolo said. "I'm disappointed in how it happened. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to play a better football game — that the score was what it was. I'm not discouraged, just disappointed in the way it went."

              Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has played some of his best football the past two weeks, made an unusual postgame plea.

              "I'm asking our fans to be patient," Ryan said. "I'm asking you guys in the media to be patient. We can't turn it around overnight. It's going to be a work in progress.

              "When the Rams first got here they won the Super Bowl and went to two Super Bowls — a lot of success in their first 10 years. I think our fans and the media got real spoiled.

              "But we're going to get it back because we've got a lot of young guys dedicated to getting this show back on the road, and getting this franchise back to being one of the top franchises in this league."

              As sincere as Ryan's comments were, patience is in short supply in Rams Nation. This franchise has lost 31 of its past 36 games, and despite an offseason in which the mantra seemingly was blow it all up, things don't seem to be getting any better at the quarter pole of the 2009 season.

              "It hurts me, and it hurts all these guys to lose 14 straight," Ryan said. "Because we work real hard and we take pride in the product we put on the field. I don't want you guys to think that this is not important to us. It's very important to us. We're hurting inside.

              "We deserve so much more, as a team, as a city, and as a franchise. Because we put a lot of hard work and dedication into playing each and every Sunday."

              ...
              -10-05-2009, 05:50 AM
            • Nick
              Rams fall to San Francisco *****
              by Nick
              Rams fall to San Francisco *****
              By Jim Thomas
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              Monday, Oct. 05 2009

              SAN FRANCISCO — The formula for victory couldn't have been more clear-cut for
              the Rams entering Sunday's game at Candlestick Park. Against a San Francisco
              squad that featured a snarling defense, but a pedestrian offense, the surest
              path to an upset victory was to minimize mistakes, take care of the football
              and don't give up anything cheap.

              Alas, the Rams did just the opposite. On a day when the defense played spirited
              football and Steven Jackson ran as hard as humanly possible, the Rams
              gift-wrapped three touchdowns for the ***** and seemingly made more mistakes
              than humanly possible.

              The result was another sobering dose of humiliation, a 35-0 shellacking that
              left the Rams at 0-4 this season and extended their franchise-record losing
              streak to 14 games. The Rams have been outscored by an astounding 108-24 this
              season. They are as painful to watch as ever. Yes, the defense is more
              competitive, but that's more than negated by an offense that isn't — Jackson's
              work notwithstanding.

              There was no fire and brimstone from coach Steve Spagnuolo after the loss. No
              calling out of players. Just lots of disappointment.

              "I am disappointed in the loss," Spagnuolo said. "I'm disappointed in how it
              happened. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to play a better football game
              — that the score was what it was. I'm not discouraged, just disappointed in the
              way it went."

              Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has played some of his best football the
              past two weeks, made an unusual postgame plea.

              "I'm asking our fans to be patient," Ryan said. "I'm asking you guys in the
              media to be patient. We can't turn it around overnight. It's going to be a work
              in progress.

              "When the Rams first got here they won the Super Bowl and went to two Super
              Bowls — a lot of success in their first 10 years. I think our fans and the
              media got real spoiled.

              "But we're going to get it back because we've got a lot of young guys dedicated
              to getting this show back on the road, and getting this franchise back to being
              one of the top franchises in this league."

              As sincere as Ryan's comments were, patience is in short supply in Rams Nation.
              This franchise has lost 31 of its past 36 games, and despite an offseason in
              which the mantra seemingly was blow it all up, things don't seem to be getting
              any better at the quarter pole of the 2009 season.

              "It hurts me, and it hurts all these guys to lose 14 straight," Ryan said.
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              -10-05-2009, 08:35 AM
            • MFranke
              RamView, 10/4/2009: ***** 35, Rams 0 (Long)
              by MFranke
              RamView, October 4, 2009
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              (Report and opinions on the game.)
              Game #4: ***** 35, Rams 0

              Erasing any doubt they are the NFL's worst team, the epically inept Ram offense and bumbling special teams handed the ***** THREE touchdowns today en route to a truly embarrassing loss, extending the franchise's losing streaks to 14 overall, 12 in the NFC West. Even the SCLSU Mud Dogs never looked this bad.

              * QB: That crashing sound you heard was the Kyle Boller bandwagon going into a ditch, after a Rams season-low 13-24-108 today for a 48.6 passer rating. It wasn't for lack of a good start. He beat a blitz and hit Donnie Avery for 21, and later hit Daniel Fells for 18, to set up a FG attempt in the 1st. His best play of the day may have been a 3rd-and-5 throw to Randy McMichael late in the 1st half. Ray McDonald had jumped offside and was bearing down on him, but a very composed Boller hit the TE for 8 and the first down across midfield. Boller deserves credit for hanging in tough and taking quite a few shots. One thing that hurt his game today was that the ***** shut down his scrambling lanes. And Boller suffered from plenty of what's been sinking the Ram offense all season. He got little help from his offensive line or the running game. Decent offensive gains were erased by penalties. There's nothing Boller could do about special teams gaffes or crappy play-calling or lousy blitz pickups. And it's doubtful he could have done anyfthing about Patrick Willis' two perfectly-timed blitzes for sacks. Other downs saw him with sufficient time to throw, but lack of an open receiver led to a throwaway. Pressing to make a play despite these problems in the 3rd, Boller committed a grave error. Rolling right, he committed the cardinal sin of throwing back across his body and back to the middle of the field. Thinking he had Keenan Burton open, Boller hit Willis instead, for a 49er pick-six that broke open the dam, 21-0. Possibly Burton should have done a better job coming to the ball, but that's a throw a QB of Boller's experience should be smarter than to try. Though Boller may have been the problem on that play, it's hard to argue he was the main problem with the Ram offense today. He made most of the plays that were there for him to make. There just weren't that many to make. It doesn't matter much if it's him, or Marc Bulger, or Keith Null, or Brock Berlin, or Norm van Brocklin, who takes snaps for this offense right now. It doesn't look equipped or even designed to do anything other than blow up on the launching pad.

              * RB: Ineffective day for Steven Jackson, 23-79 rushing, just 3-6 receiving, with a third of his rushing yards coming after the ***** were already up 35-0. Jackson got some decent run blocking in the first half. Opening play of the game, Randy McMichael and Mike Karney give him a massive gap on the right side, but he can’t hit it and only gains a yard. A variety of Jackson’s...
              -10-05-2009, 01:28 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Where's The Rams Coaching Staff's Fire?
              by r8rh8rmike
              12.09.2009 4:30 pm
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              **DISCLAIMER: I KNOW STEVE SPAGNUOLO AND HIS COORDINATORS ARE ROOKIES AT THEIR POSITIONS. I ABSOLUTELY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY BELIEVE THAT SPAGNUOLO HAS DONE GOOD THINGS FOR THE RAMS, PARTICULARLY IN HELPING THE TEAM CONTINUE TO WORK HARD AND PLAY HARD DURING A DIFFICULT SEASON, AND IN STABILIZING THE ONCE DYSFUNCTIONAL ATMOSPHERE AT RAMS PARK. THE RAMS ARE LACKING IN TALENT, SPAGNUOLO AND HIS STAFF DESERVE MORE THAN ONE SEASON TO UNDO THE MESS THAT IS RECENT RAMS FOOTBALL, AND GIVEN THAT TIME, THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO ACHIEVE SOME GOOD THINGS.**

              There. I’ll put that out there first, because it’s true, and because I know that those points are bound to be made in response to what I say next.

              To repeat a familiar refrain, there has been a lot of talk lately, by me, by all the beat writers and the columnists, by the network commentators, the play-by-play men, and all the other talking heads, about the competitive fire of the Rams players. They still have it, everyone insists. In spite of the eleven losses and all the struggles, we’re still getting effort. We’re still getting intensity. We’re just not getting wins.

              Fair enough. Since being torched 42-6 by Indianapolis in week 7, only once has a game felt like it was never really within the Rams’ reach. That was last week against Seattle, and the Rams did show some measure of resiliency this week, playing a terrific game on special teams, holding the Chicago ground game to 3.2 yards per carry, and limiting the Bears’ offense to 248 total yards. The Rams have every reason to have checked out by now, but they’re still hanging around in these games. So, I’ll buy that the Rams players are still giving everything they’ve got.

              After watching Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Bears, I wonder if the Rams coaches are matching that fire.

              It’s an odd thing to question. Players usually reflect their coach’s mentality. And I’m not suggesting for a minute that that Rams’ coaches don’t to get off the snide as badly as the players do, or that they players aren’t inheriting that little bit of grittiness that’s allowing them to hang in these recent contests from their coaches, particularly Spagnuolo.

              But, I do feel like the coaches are lacking a winner’s mentality, especially when it comes to play-calling.

              The Bears game was the perfect example. Despite a game in which the offense produced no touchdowns and only 233 total yards, including an absolutely paltry 98 yards passing (Not even 100 yards! Wow!), this game was right there for the Rams the whole way. One big play might have been enough to tie this game and force overtime. Two big plays, and maybe the Rams leave the Windy City with their second victory.

              Instead, the Rams seemingly deny themselves the opportunity to make a big play by refusing to even test...
              -12-09-2009, 11:11 PM
            • MFranke
              RamView, 10/12/2009: Vikings 38, Rams 10 (Long)
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              RamView, October 11, 2009
              From Row HH
              (Report and opinions from the game.)
              Game #5: Vikings 38, Rams 10

              The baseball Cardinals bowed out of postseason after an abysmal lack of production in scoring opportunities, and today, the Rams topped that. Three turnovers inside the 10 were their undoing in a loss to the Vikings that should have been a lot closer. St. Louis has a bad sports hangover right now, and more hair of the dog isn't helping any.

              * QB: If Kyle Boller (20-31-209) could wave a magic wand and change a handful of plays, he would have won the starting job for the rest of the season today. One play he'd like to forget was his pratfall that turned the Rams' opening possession into a Vikings TD. He motioned to dump a screen pass over a madly-charging Kevin Williams' head and lost the ball on the way up in classic Football Follies fashion. And, of course, with the Rams' luck this year, the ball went to Jared Allen on a clean bounce, and he scooped and ran for a 52-yard TD. Boller perservered, though. He led the Rams on a 93-yard, 7˝-minute drive that started late in the 1st quarter. A 62-yard drive got the Rams inside the 10 late in the half. Boller led a 15-play, 72-yard, 6-minute drive late in the 3rd. From all that, you'd think the Rams would have come away with a lot of points. Plus, Boller had the screen pass working, was finding his tight ends, and was even getting the ball downfield successfully and stretching the defense. He did miss one big chance to make a play. 3rd-and-2 at the Viking 16 during the first drive, he rolls right and tucks and scrambles for a yard, missing Avery breaking open in the corner of the end zone on that side. Much of the time, though, the Rams looked opportunity right in the eye, and opportunity poked them the eye Three Stooges-style. The 1st-quarter drive ended when Boller and Steven Jackson blew a handoff at the one-yard line and Allen (again) recovered the fumble. Boller hit Daniel Fells at the 3 just before halftime only to see the young TE lose the ball. After nearly getting his head ripped off by Kevin Williams during the 3rd-quarter drive, Boller toughly hung in to finish it out. But Bennie Sapp made two plays to deny the Rams TDs. He broke up what would have been a 44-yard TD bomb to Keenan Burton down the sideline, and a few plays later, broke up what would have been a 9-yard TD pass to Donnie Avery. Boller's throws were perfect; sometimes, the defense just makes a play. But after that, Tyrell Johnson picked Boller off in a crowd in the end zone. Likely still feeling the effects of Williams' personal foul, Boller was done for the day. That brought Marc Bulger back to the field, and he put up impressive numbers in the 4th - 7-for-7 for 88 yards and a TD – though against a Minnesota D playing much softer than they were in Boller's three quarters, as their multi-touchdown lead dictated. Avery came back for an intentionally-underthrown 27-yard pass...
              -10-12-2009, 10:36 AM
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