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Rams Team Report - October 14

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  • Rams Team Report - October 14

    INSIDE SLANT

    In 1983, the Rams set a franchise record with 24 lost fumbles. If the current Rams don't find a way to correct their chronic case of butter-fingers, that record will be shattered.

    Through five games, the Rams lead the NFL with nine lost fumbles, a figure that projects to 29 for the season. Twenty-six NFL teams have four lost fumbles or less. The only teams with more than four are Oakland (eight), Jacksonville and Tennessee (six), and Buffalo and Carolina (five).

    Not coincidentally, the six teams with five or more including the Rams have a combined record of 5-24.

    The Rams are also tied for the league lead with Washington for total fumbles with 12, although the Redskins have lost just four. Only the Rams (12/9), Oakland (11/8), Tennessee (9/6), Jacksonville (8/6), Buffalo (8/5), Denver (7/4), Cleveland 6/4) and San Diego (5/3) have lost more than half of their fumbles.

    At minus-7 (12 turnovers, five takeaways), the Rams have the second-worst turnover ratio in the league. Only Carolina is worse at minus-9. Since the Rams had three takeaways in the first quarter of the season opener, they have just two takeaways in the next 19 quarters.

    Compounding the problem is the usual negative results of their own miscues. Of the 12 turnovers, six have resulted in touchdowns, with four scored on the turnover in the last two games. Adding in two field goals, 48 of the 146 points against have been the result of turnovers.

    Meanwhile, four turnovers have come in the red zone from the opponent's 5-yard line or closer.

    Numerous players have shared in the malaise. Wide receiver Donnie Avery has lost two fumbles, one at the 5-yard line when the Rams were set to take a fourth-quarter lead at Washington. Quarterback Kyle Boller has lost two fumbles, with quarterback Marc Bulger, running back Steven Jackson, tight end Daniel Fells, wide receiver Danny Amendola and cornerback Quincy Butler also losing fumbles. Butler's came on a punt, when the ball hit his foot, bounced into the end zone and was recovered by the ***** for a touchdown.

    Said coach Steve Spagnuolo, "It's a ball security thing. We're preaching it all the time. It'll get solved. It's funny they're all a different way. If you think back, they're all different. But it's the same result.

    "I don't know if we can emphasize it more. We will continue to emphasize it. (But) we can't turn the ball over; that's been our Achilles heel now."

    Added defensive end Leonard Little, "The only thing separating us from winning games is mistakes. We all know what the problem is."

    SERIES HISTORY: 3rd meeting. Rams lead the series, 2-0, playing in 1996 and 2005. Both previous games have been played in St. Louis and won by three points.

    NOTES & QUOTES

    QB Marc Bulger practiced with the first unit Wednesday and will start Sunday against Jacksonville.

    Bulger said there are "no side effects" from his brief time on the field last week against Minnesota, and added, "The true test will come this week. But every day, it's getting better and today showed I can function in a game."

    He completed all seven of his passes for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings, but Bulger admitted that means little.

    "We were getting beat so bad, so I won't hang my hat on that. It won't have an impact on this week. Every week is different."

    Bulger missed two starts because of a bruised rotator cuff.

    LT Alex Barron turned in an impressive performance against Minnesota after being benched the week before for lining up off the line of scrimmage.

    Six days after DE Jared Allen had 4.5 sacks against Green Bay, Allen had none in his matchup with Barron.

    Said coach Steve Spagnuolo, "I thought he did a really good job. I thought Alex had one of his better games against we all know a legitimate player, a real good player. But again, as a group I thought the offensive line did a pretty good job."

    Barron said he got no added motivation by facing Allen or from the benching.

    "You've got to be motivated every week, no matter who you're going against," he said. "A different week is a different challenge."

    The passing game took some deep shots against Minnesota and part of the reason is tied to the improved protection from the offensive line. After several years of ever-changing parts, virtually the same line has started all five games. The only switch from opening day has been Adam Goldberg for rookie Jason Smith at right tackle after Smith injured his knee against Washington.

    But that was hardly a change because Goldberg played there with the first unit for most of the preseason.

    More downfield throws might be added with the return this week of WR Tim Carter, who had been released in the cutdown to 53 players.

    "I stayed in pretty good shape," Carter said. "Hopefully my retention of the offense is pretty good. They've got some new stuff in there. I'm looking at that and picking it up."


    By The Numbers:

    10/19/2008—The last date the Rams won a game, a 34-14 win over Dallas. Sunday's game is 10/18, and the Rams enter the game with a 15-game losing streak.


    Quote To Note:

    "This is a complicated defense, and it's been amazing to see him pick things up so fast. He's our quarterback. He gets us lined up, makes the calls, handles all the checks. He's going to be a great player for a long time."

    —DE Leonard Little on rookie MLB James Laurinaitis.

    STRATEGY & PERSONNEL

    Player Notes

    QB Marc Bulger took all the snaps with the first unit Wednesday and will start Sunday against Jacksonville.

    QB Kyle Boller passed his baseline test Tuesday after suffering a mild concussion Sunday against Minnesota. Boller split snaps with Keith Null with the scout team in practice Wednesday. Boller will have another baseline test Friday.

    OT Jason Smith took some limited reps at right tackle with the first unit Wednesday while taking all the snaps at left tackle with the scout team. Smith would likely need to take a lot more snaps Thursday if he were to start Sunday. Smith started the first two games of the season, but hasn't played since injuring his knee late in the first half of the Week 2 game against Washington.

    WR Ruvell Martin was limited Wednesday and mostly rode the bike on the side as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

    S James Butler participated in limited reps with the scout team in practice Wednesday. Butler has been out since suffering a knee injury on the second play of the Week 3 game against Green Bay.

    CB Justin King practiced on a limited basis Wednesday because of a knee injury, but still has a good chance of playing this week against Jacksonville.

    S Anthony Smith had an MRI for an Achilles injury, but nothing serious was discovered. Smith did limited work in practice Wednesday.

    DT Gary Gibson underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken ankle, and has been placed on injured reserve.

    Game Plan:

    The plan remains simple for the Rams: Hold onto the football. That's basic football. Running behind Steven Jackson will always be the team's biggest priority, but stretching the field will also be the goal with Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton becoming more of a factor. It's also possible WR Tim Carter could provide a deep threat.

    Defensively, the obvious goal is to limit RB Maurice Jones-Drew and stop the Jaguars on third down. If the Rams are able to play a "clean" game as they did in a Week-2 9-7 road loss to Washington, they have a chance.

    Matchups To Watch:

    Rams RB Steven Jackson vs. Jaguars MLB Justin Durant. The Rams' interior line will try to open holes for Jackson, who hopes he can strike for some big plays against the Jacksonville defense.

    Rams WRs Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton vs. Jaguars CBs Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis. The Jaguars rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing a 69.9 percent completion rate. Avery and Burton have begun to make plays, so if the line can give QB Marc Bulger time, he could pick apart the Jacksonville secondary.

    Injury Impact:

    SS Craig Dahl has played well replacing the injured James Butler (knee), so Butler likely won't be rushed back. It is more likely he will play the following week against the Colts … OT Jason Smith (knee) is itching to get back in the lineup, but the Rams' line has now started four consecutive games together.
    Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -10-15-2009, 10:18 PM. Reason: Sloppy posting.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Team Report - October 14

    One, it's good to see that the line has been able to start gelling and has some experience together for the first time in years. That will eventually start paying dividends.

    Two, Little's absolutely right about turnovers being the only thing keeping us from winning. The Green Bay game was decided early because of turnovers, that's the only reason. We'd have won at Washington if we hadn't turned the ball over. We hold onto the ball this weekend and we come away with a victory, simple as that. Hopefully the defense helps and takes the ball away a couple times as well.
    I believe!:ram:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams Team Report - October 14

      Rams WRs Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton vs. Jaguars CBs Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis. The Jaguars rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing a 69.9 percent completion rate. Avery and Burton have begun to make plays, so if the line can give QB Marc Bulger time, he could pick apart the Jacksonville secondary.
      Are the stars aligning on Sunday for us??

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams Team Report - October 14

        Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
        Are the stars aligning on Sunday for us??
        It sure would be nice if they do, they have been out of alignment for us for much too long :helmet:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams Team Report - October 14

          Compounding the problem is the usual negative results of their own miscues. Of the 12 turnovers, six have resulted in touchdowns, with four scored on the turnover in the last two games. Adding in two field goals, 48 of the 146 points against have been the result of turnovers.

          Meanwhile, four turnovers have come in the red zone from the opponent's 5-yard line or closer.
          Wow, that is tough to read. We give up 48 points and take between 12 to 28 points off our own board. Golly, fellas, that particular wound has GOT to be sewn up. We're currently sitting at a -112 point dif; a full 41 points worse than the 31st ranked Raiders. Just correcting these errors moves that point dif. to somewhere in the -40s. Still ain't great, but at least puts us closer to the rest of the world.
          The more things change, the more they stay the same.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rams Team Report - October 14

            This season has been a real tester mentally for both the players and the coache's,
            Call me stupid if you want but I think its a good thing at the moment. Realisticly we were never making the play-offs, so as gut wrenching as its been this season, I believe this is best way forward in weeding out the good from the bad?
            Remember Scott Linehan's first season when the Rams finished strong, this giving the old regime a mis-interpretation of the team they were. Which in turn, brought the team spiralling out of control.
            I know we have a long way to go but at least we know where we stand??

            Comment

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            • eldfan
              A new low for rams
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              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."

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              "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.

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            • Nick
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              by Nick
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              SAN FRANCISCO — The formula for victory couldn't have been more clear-cut for
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              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
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              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
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              "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.
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              any better at the quarter pole of the 2009 season.

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              -10-05-2009, 08:35 AM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause
              by r8rh8rmike
              Mentally, Rams are a lost cause

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              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.

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

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

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              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.

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              Let us review the gaffes they committed Sunday:

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              * 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.

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              -10-05-2009, 07:22 PM
            • eldfan
              St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
              by eldfan
              St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
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              JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For a few brief moments Sunday afternoon, sunshine broke through the dark cloud that has been hovering over this franchise for a full calendar year.

              Rams defensive end Leonard Little pawed at the short pass in the flat intended for Jaguars fullback Greg Jones, and then got the football fully in his grasp. He sprinted to the end zone and dived in for a dramatic touchdown just before quarterback David Garrard could knock him out of bounds. Josh Brown's extra point gave the visitors a 17-13 lead with a mere 4 minutes 36 seconds to play at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

              "You're thinking, 'It's about time something good happened for us,'" tight end Randy McMichael said. "A guy like Leonard, who's out there sick and the oldest guy on this football team, and he just makes the biggest play of the year for us."

              Little's 36-yard interception return was the kind of play that can change a game, even change a season.

              But no. Not this time. Not this team. Little has been sick since Friday with strep throat. As for the Rams, they're sick and tired of losing.

              Despite leading for the first 3 1/2 quarters, and then regaining the lead on Little's first TD since 2004, the Rams couldn't seal the deal. Jacksonville's Josh Scobee kicked a 36-yard field goal 7 minutes into overtime, giving the Jaguars a 23-20 victory.

              "This one probably hurts more than any of them," McMichael said. "Not being able to close it out, that's the most disappointing thing."

              So the agony of defeats continues. Seasons change, coaches change, the result doesn't. The Rams are 0-6 this season. Overall, their franchise record and league-worst losing streak is at 16.

              Happy anniversary, Rams Nation. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the team's last victory — a 34-14 triumph over Dallas on Oct. 19, 2008.

              Obviously, rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo has been at the helm for only six of those losses, but even he is running out of things to say to his players.

              "I don't have any magical words," Spagnuolo said. "I just asked them to hang together, hang tough."

              Easier said than done after so many setbacks. And from Steven Jackson's vantage point, they all make you feel awful.

              "It don't matter how you lose a game," Jackson said. "It really doesn't make you feel any better. At least (not) for me. At the end of the day, we're 0-6. I can't say, 'We almost had that one, we're 0-5 1/2.' A loss is a loss."

              Things started out promisingly for the Rams. Marc Bulger, making his first start since suffering a shoulder injury Sept. 27 against Green Bay, went five for five on the opening drive,...
              -10-19-2009, 06:14 AM
            • eldfan
              Result that matters eludes Rams again
              by eldfan
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              09/21/2009

              LANDOVER, MD. — Progress? Yes. Results? Not quite. And that's what made Sunday's 9-7 loss to Washington all the more excruciating for coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams.

              "I'm very disappointed," Spagnuolo said. "There's no moral victories in this league. But I'm mostly disappointed in the fact that we've got a football team that works their butts off, and they haven't had a chance to feel victory yet. We've got a long ways to go here."

              Spagnuolo apparently was so disappointed that it took him nearly 25 minutes from the end of the game to address reporters. The NFL's so-called 10-minute cooling off period wasn't nearly enough for Spagnuolo to collect his thoughts after this setback.

              The Rams got 100 yards-plus rushing from Steven Jackson, achieving some degree of balance offensively. The defense was stellar in the red zone, limiting the Redskins to just three field goals in four trips inside the 20. Actually, all four of those red zone trips advanced inside the 10.

              And the Rams cut down significantly on their mistakes from the season-opening fiasco in Seattle. Trouble was, they still made enough Sunday to start 0-2 for the third consecutive season.

              "It is a cliché that you take one or two plays out of a game and the outcome changes," Spagnuolo said. "But in this particular (game), that would be true. Because there were certain plays in there that if they went differently, we might be on the other end of the win-loss column."

              The most obvious — and most costly — mistake happened early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 9-7, the Rams marched methodically from their 25 to the Washington 9, overcoming a false start penalty on tight end Daniel Fells and left tackle Alex Barron's second holding penalty of the day.

              On third-and-4 from the 9, quarterback Marc Bulger completed a pass to Donnie Avery for first-down yardage at the 5. But Avery was rocked by Redskins safety Chris Horton, the ball popped out, and Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers fell on the fumble.

              "I was just trying to get more yards," a disconsolate Avery said. "I was trying to get YAC (yards after contact) on the play, and ended up fumbling. I let the team down."

              Avery has been responsible for the only two Rams turnovers this season, losing a fumble on the opening kickoff return last week in Seattle.

              Even after Avery's miscue Sunday, the Rams' offense had two more possessions to take the lead. But the first series stalled at the Washington 41. On fourth-and-2, Spagnuolo sent out the punting unit, but then flanked punter Donnie Jones out to the left and lined Kenneth Darby behind center in a variation of the wildcat formation.

              However, this was no trick play. The Rams never intended to run the ball; their sole intention...
              -09-21-2009, 07:35 AM
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