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Long Keeps Working To Bag A Sack

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  • Long Keeps Working To Bag A Sack

    Long keeps working to bag a sack

    Rams fans, Chris Long feels your pain.

    Although the former No. 2 overall draft pick has the most tackles — 18 — among the Rams' defensive linemen, Long has yet to record a sack after bagging four last year as a rookie. So, he understands when criticism is directed his way.

    "Part of that is very valid," Long said. "It's our job, and as an individual, I have to get more pressure on the quarterback. ... But I've got to be patient. I'm 24 years old. I'm going to work as hard as I can and try to earn what I've been given here."

    Long, a University of Virginia product, was given a six-year, $56.5 million contract that included $29 million in guaranteed funds last year. Living up to those kinds of numbers is difficult; still, Long realizes that a few sacks would help. "You can get close a lot, but you really want to get there," he said. "And that'll come. I'm going to keep the faith and try to improve."

    At least he played a leading role in one of the Rams' four sacks Sunday in the 35-0 loss at San Francisco. Early in the second quarter, Long flushed ***** quarterback Shaun Hill out of the pocket and directly into the path of linebacker Larry Grant, who drilled him for a 6-yard loss.

    "It's frustrating, but I'm playing a lot better," Long said. "If you look at my tape this year and last year, it's night and day."

    The biggest difference is the 6-foot-3, 276-pounder's effectiveness against the run. Overall, the Rams have been considerably stouter in that area, permitting 4.1 yards a rush vs. 4.9 last season, when they finished 29th in the 32-team NFL.

    Further improvement there would produce additional long-yardage situations. "Then we all get more opportunities" to drop the quarterback, Long noted.

    After starting all 16 games at right end last year, Long hasn't been in the opening lineup yet this year. Leonard Little and James Hall have been the starters, although Long estimates he's getting "about the same" number of snaps each game as last season. The three rotate, with Long working on both sides and occasionally on the inside.

    "I'm getting 45, 50 snaps a game," he said. "The way I look at it is, we have a lot of good d-linemen, and I'm playing behind a great player. I've learned a lot from James, and I'll continue to do that."

    Long's next shot at a sack, as well as the Rams' next chance at reversing their misfortunes, comes Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. They'll take a 14-game losing streak against unbeaten Minnesota and quarterback Brett Favre, who turns 40 on Saturday. "It's unbelievable," Long said. "The guy's 40 and he's slinging it around like he's 23, 24 years old. It's fun to watch him play."


    Despite the tough times, coach Steve Spagnuolo continues to be pleased with his team's attitude and effort. "To the credit of this football team and these guys, they come out and practice" hard, he said after Wednesday's two-hour workout.


    This week's captains are guard Richie Incognito (offense), tackle Clifton Ryan (defense) and Kenneth Darby (special teams). ... Rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis has a team-high 38 tackles.

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  • eldfan
    Rams' Long stays positive despi
    by eldfan
    Rams' Long stays positive despi

    By Jim Thomas

    When the Rams' snapped their 17-game losing streak last Sunday in Detroit, it wasn't the only dubious streak to end that day at Ford Field.

    Rams defensive end Chris Long had gone 16 consecutive games without a sack before dropping Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for a four-yard loss in the third quarter.

    "It's a big weight (lifted), I'm not going to lie," Long said. "It's just crazy to go through seven games with zero sacks (this season). It just doesn't make sense. You're playing better ball than last year and you've got less sacks."

    Long was almost sheepish talking about the sack, because it wouldn't have been his had not teammate Clifton Ryan whiffed on tackling Stafford after busting through the line.

    "Cliff made a really nice rush, and I was just able to clean it up," Long said. "There's been times when people clean up my trash, so that's the way it goes."

    Long had come close on a few occasions, and there have been a couple of times this season when his pressure flushed the quarterback into the waiting arms of a teammate.

    Such was the case against San Francisco, when linebacker Larry Grant registered his first NFL sack because pressure by Long forced the quarterback in his direction.

    "Nobody cares when you're getting close," Long said. "They care about the stats. And then you get one, and you're like, 'OK, so now it'll happen more.' It is important just to get the pressure off you, and just start playing."

    Although it's nice to end the streak, one sack obviously isn't enough. Especially when you're the No. 2 overall pick in the draft — as was the case with Long in 2008. Particularly when one of the stated reasons for picking Long over defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was Long's ability to rush the passer.

    For a while during Long's rookie season, all was well. A two-sack outing against New England on Oct. 26, 2008, gave Long four for the season. He appeared well on his way to an eight-to-10 sack season.

    As fate would have it, that Patriots game marked the start of the Rams' 17-game losing streak.

    For Long, he wouldn't get another sack for an entire calendar year. But if Long has been frustrated during the drought, it hasn't shown in his effort or attitude.

    "And that's a credit to Chris," Rams defensive line coach Brendan Daly said. "He comes to work every day, he battles. He's done the things we've asked him to do. From a developmental standpoint, he's been through two defensive schemes here over the course of two years. And we've asked him to do a number of things."

    Included in his altered role under a new staff has been coming off the bench...
    -11-08-2009, 01:48 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Long Working To Bag Sacks
    by r8rh8rmike
    Long Working To Bag Sacks
    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Nobody places higher expectations on Chris Long than Long himself.

    Sure, there is a certain amount of inherent pressure that goes with being the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. And there’s even more when you are the son of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long.

    Chris Long has never let any of that get to him, though. That’s why, now five games into his second season in the league, Long is focusing on nothing but doing all of the little things that can help make him a better player and in turn make the Rams a better team.

    “My role is my role no matter what it is,” Long said. “Spags dictates that role. I am open to embrace any role.”

    So far in 2009, Long has been asked to embrace plenty. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo asks a lot of his defensive linemen, regularly asking them to move around, drop into coverage and react to various offensive packages at the drop of a hat.

    It’s all designed to make his linemen more versatile and effective. So far, it’s worked out pretty well for Long. In five games, Long has racked up 22 tackles, tied for most among defensive linemen and tied for fourth on the team in that category.

    Long has been instrumental in a greatly improved run defense that only seems to get better with each passing week.

    “He is solid,” Spagnuolo said. “He is like a lot of those defensive linemen. They are playing together as a group. There are some things we are going to change along the way, by that I mean scheme-wise, that I think will help him out but we are not at that point yet.”

    After a solid rookie campaign in which Long flashed his immense potential but by his own account didn’t play to the level he believed he was capable of, Long like the rest of the defense was asked to learn an entirely new system.

    For as hard as it is to learn any NFL defense and adjust to the nuances of playing at the game’s highest level, the educational curve only gets sharper when Spagnuolo is involved.

    In each of the five games, Long has come in a rotation behind veterans James Hall and Leonard Little at defensive end. But that doesn’t mean Long isn’t getting a starter’s repetitions.

    In total, Long is still get the bulk of the work and he’s playing around 45 or 50 snaps every game. The only difference is he’s doing it in a variety of places.
    That means he will alternately sub in for Hall or Little regardless of sides for the majority of his work. But Long can also be seen standing up over an interior offensive lineman in certain packages or even dropping back into coverage like a linebacker in others.

    “It’s cool because the more you can do, in the future when I am asked to do anything, I can always embrace a different role,” Long said....
    -10-14-2009, 11:05 PM
  • Azul e Oro
    Long's ascent no laughing matter
    by Azul e Oro
    Wagoner/Rams site

    Through nine games in the 2010 NFL season, the Rams sit tied for first in the NFL in sacks with 28.

    Considering the pedigree of coach Steve Spagnuolo and his reputation for generating pass rush as a coordinator in New York, that stat in itself might not be too surprising. As the resident expert on the subject, Spagnuolo offers a pretty reasonable explanation for his team’s success bringing down the quarterback.

    “To me sacks always come back to 80 percent want (to),” Spagnuolo said. “You can draw up all different kinds of things and so that comes back to the players. We have some guys that can find their way to the quarterback and get it done.”

    Of course, desire and effort are a big part of rushing the passer but if you ask the assembled, diverse collection of players providing most of that pressure, you’ll find there’s another extremely important ingredient to successfully creating havoc for opposing quarterbacks.

    “We have a lot of different personalities,” end C.J. Ah You said. “You’ve got to have fun and we have a great group of core guys and some young guys. Everyone is cracking jokes and just trying to keep it fun. When you have fun, you play a lot better.”

    It’s no coincidence that the player who is perhaps having the most success of the Rams’ pass rushers is also the one who keeps the jokes coming on a regular basis.
    Now in his third season in the league, defensive end Chris Long is fulfilling the monumental expectations that go with being the son of a Hall of Famer and the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
    On the field, Long has developed into a devastating, relentless pass rusher who spends nearly as much time in an opposing backfield as the quarterback. He’s posted 5.5 sacks, including at least one in each of the past four games. He also leads the Rams in quarterback hits (14) and pressures (13).

    “It’s been fun to watch him develop,” veteran defensive end and noted Long mentor James Hall said. “I would say since the first game against Arizona he did some things that I noticed that I am impressed with. It’s just fun to see him develop week in and week out. It’s fun watching him just developing his own style of rushing the passer and having success.”

    Off the field, it’s Long who has taken it upon himself to keep his teammates loose with well executed jokes and pranks in the right situations.
    Long’s propensity for keeping the mood light is limited to when he deems the situation to be appropriate. But he also does not discriminate in his targets.
    Veteran tackle Fred Robbins has been on the receiving end of a number of those jokes as has Ah You, who is Long’s roommate on the road.

    During the Oklahoma-Missouri football game on Oct. 23, Long attacked OU alum Ah You via Twitter saying on the social networking site that “my roommate CJ...
    -11-19-2010, 10:18 PM
  • ramsanddodgers
    Rams top pick Chris Long is showing he can play
    by ramsanddodgers
    Rams top pick Chris Long is showing he can play
    Long applied a lot of pressure in win over the Cowboys
    BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS -- Rookie defensive end Chris Long didn't have any sacks in the St. Louis Rams' 34-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but he came close several times.

    Long, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, was credited with five quarterback hits or pressures in the game.

    "I'd like to get there," Long said. "I'd be lying if I said that I wouldn't like to get there. That'll come. I'll be patient.

    Link: Rams blog: Steve Korte's Ramblings
    "I didn't expect to come in and set the league on fire just because I was a first-round pick. Some people do expect that. I just work my hardest every day just to help this team."

    Long has 30 tackles, second among the Rams' defensive linemen behind James Hall's 31 tackles, and two sacks this season.

    Long is 5.5 sacks behind his famous father Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long's total of 7.5 sacks as a rookie with the Oakland Raiders in 1981.

    Those 7.5 sacks are not reflected in Howie Long's career total of 84 sacks because sacks didn't become an official NFL statistic until 1982.

    Asked how many sacks his father had as a rookie, Long guessed three.

    Long said he talks with his father, who serves as a studio analyst for the Fox Network, every day.

    "We talk a lot," Long said. "Just imagine how much a kid talks to their parent anyway about whatever they're doing, and imagine if he played 13 years, he'd have some stuff to say.

    "He's done a good job, though, of giving me my space, and really it's just when I have questions. We talk every day just as father and son."

    Long said his father checks out the Rams games in the Fox Studio on Sundays. The two reviewed some game video during the bye week.

    "I came home for the bye week, we popped in the tape and just looked at some stuff," Long said. "It's more just to see how things are going. Obviously, this is a great coaching staff, so there is not much that I'm not hearing every day. I think sometimes that gets blown out of proportion, but he's there to help, though it's more on how to handle my business day-to-day than X's and O's."

    Like most rookies, Long struggled at first with the adjustment from college to the NFL. He had only four tackles and no sacks in three preseason games that he played in.

    With nine games under his belt counting the preseason, Long feels like he's starting to get acclimated to playing in the NFL.

    "You take some steps backwards sometimes, but overall you just get more and more comfortable," Long said. "Sometimes somebody can tell you something a thousand times,...
    -10-24-2008, 07:29 PM
  • RamWraith
    Long Learning Fast
    by RamWraith
    Thursday, November 6, 2008
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Not even a month into his NFL career, Chris Long had read the stories, heard the whispers and committed most of it to memory.

    Some decided to declare Long a bust before he ever played a regular season NFL snap, saying he was overwhelmed and overrated. Not worthy of the No. 2 pick, others declared.

    “I read everything and I pay attention to everything,” Long said. “Sometimes for motivation and just because I want to know.”

    Not that Long needs any additional motivation. The pressure of being the No. 2 pick and signing a contract that rewards you with almost $30 million in guaranteed money brings with it a certain amount of inherent strain anyway.

    “I’m motivated anyway,” Long said. “I was the No. 2 pick in the draft; I have found a reason to be pissed off every day.”

    Whatever it is that Long is doing to keep himself fired up to play in every practice and every game seems to be working.

    At the halfway point of his first NFL season, Long has proved many of the nay sayers wrong. Sure, the sample size of eight NFL games isn’t terribly large but the tape and the numbers certainly don’t lie.

    Through eight games, Long is first among rookie with four sacks and trails fellow end Leonard Little by just a half of a sack.

    “Sacks are hard to come by in this league,” Long said. “I am lucky to have four I think. I’m kind of surprised by it. I know how hard they are to come by and just to get pressure is good. You do want to finish off some plays.”

    But Long’s impact hasn’t been limited to the times he’s brought the quarterback down. In fact, coach Jim Haslett has said Long’s best performance came against Dallas on Oct. 19 when Long hit Cowboys quarterback Brad Johnson five times and didn’t have a sack.

    In addition to the four sacks, Long has racked up 39 tackles, eight quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery.

    While those numbers won’t have anyone confusing him for his father Howie, Long is certainly making more of an impact than the doubters had originally thought.

    “That’s why we drafted him with the second pick in the draft,” Little said. “People criticized that pick but once a player gets comfortable out there and knows what he’s doing and can play off instinct, he’s the type of player that can dominate a game. He’s getting real good. He’s a great asset to our defense.”

    Considering how far Long has come in one training camp and half of an NFL season, it’s perfectly reasonable to think that he’s only scratching the surface of the type of player he can become.

    By his own admission, Long was a bit overwhelmed by the transition from college to the NFL.

    During training camp, Long spent more time thinking on the field than reacting. That was only natural of course...
    -11-07-2008, 04:14 AM