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  • Sloppy play drops sharply

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Oct. 05 2004

    By shoring up three areas of vulnerability, the Rams cruised to just their
    third win at San Francisco since 1990.

    The Niners defeated the visiting Rams 37-13 in 2002 and 30-10 last season, so
    Sunday night's 24-14 victory was especially sweet. Defensive end Leonard
    Little, who had seven tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and three hits on
    quarterback Tim Rattay, said the intensity of the rivalry with the ***** "is
    still there. There's a lot of spirited hitting when have you two rivals like
    the ***** and the Rams. We won (Sunday), but we have no illusions: We know
    they'll be tough when we play them again," on Dec. 5 at the Edward Jones Dome.

    First on the Rams' to-do list, though, is getting back into solid contention in
    the NFC West. They will take a 2-2 record to Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks,
    who had a bye, lead the division at 3-0.

    The Rams' chances surely will be enhanced if they can continue some tendencies
    that surfaced at Monster Park: stop the run, win the turnover competition and
    cut back on penalties.

    After yielding an average of 164.7 rushing yards a game in their first three
    outings, the Rams limited San Francisco to 58 yards on 19 carries. The *****
    picked up only 3.1 yards a carry, compared with the 5.4 combined by Arizona,
    Atlanta and New Orleans.

    "It's hard to explain why we had troubles before, but we did better,"
    linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "We can only hope that this is just the
    start."

    The Rams entered Sunday's game as the NFL's only team without a takeaway. They
    were minus-6 in that department. But Little recovered a fumble and cornerback
    Jerametrius Butler intercepted a pass, and the offense converted those into 10
    points. The Rams committed no turnovers of their own. "It makes a lot of
    difference," Butler said. "We could've had some interceptions the first three
    games, but it felt awful good" to get the first one.

    In the first three games, the Rams averaged almost 10 penalties, for an average
    assessment of nearly 72 yards. They were flagged five times vs. the Niners, for
    43 yards.

    "We played disciplined football," coach Mike Martz said at his Monday news
    conference. "We're getting better, we really are."

    Team honors Coady for emergency start

    Utilityman Rich Coady was called to emergency duty again, as Adam Archuleta's
    sore back and tight hamstring restricted him to passing-down situations. Coady
    started at Archuleta's strong safety spot a week after filling in for Aeneas
    Williams, temporarily moved to cornerback, at free safety.

    "Adam didn't practice all week, and it would be unusual for us to play anyone,
    no matter who they are, if they hadn't practiced all week," Martz said. "His
    back is still a concern, and it has limited him. I'm not sure what his status
    will be for next week."

    Coady was named the team's defensive player of the week after getting 10
    tackles, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit.

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  • RamWraith
    Versatile Coady proves valuable for defense
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    10/07/2004


    Two decades ago, the Cardinals had a "secret weapon" in Jose Oquendo, so dubbed by broadcaster Mike Shannon for his ability to fill in effectively at several positions. Now the Rams have their own version.

    Utilityman Rich Coady will make his third start in a row Sunday when the Rams (2-2) travel to Seattle to face the NFC West-leading Seahawks (3-0). For the second week in succession, he'll replace ailing Adam Archuleta (back) at strong safety. Two weeks ago, Coady filled in at free safety for Aeneas Williams, who made a one-week return to cornerback.

    "We're fortunate to have" Coady, coach Mike Martz said. "This is a message to all the other players. It's like Marc Bulger: He's the third quarterback (in 2002), and all of a sudden by midseason he's starting. Those guys, when they weren't playing, they weren't wasting time."

    Coady, a Texas A&M product who had a total of six starts in his five previous NFL seasons, gets most of his playing time with the Rams as an extra defensive back in the nickel and dime alignments. But he said he's learned to gear his readiness for all possibilities.

    "Every week I go in and I prepare like I'm going to start. I go through the film like I'm going to start," he explained. "So whether the coach tells me that I'm going to start on Monday for the following Sunday's game or five minutes before the game, it's not going to change how I prepare."

    Whatever system he uses, it seems to work: Coady was named the Rams' defensive player of the week after collecting 10 tackles, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit in Sunday's 24-14 victory in San Francisco.

    "I think everyone on defense played well. And when you get all 11 guys playing well, it makes it easier," Coady said. "A lot of the stuff that I did well was a direct result of everyone else being in their gap and doing what they were supposed to do."

    The task looming for the Rams this week should be considerably stiffer. Whereas the winless ***** are near the bottom of the league in several statistical categories, Seattle is hovering near the top, particularly on defense. The Seahawks are No. 1 in total defense (242.3 yards a game) and scoring defense (4.3 points). Plus, they're rested after a bye week.

    "When you watch them on film, they really play mistake-free football," Coady said. "They don't turn the ball over, they don't have assignment gaps, they're not giving up free sacks, they're not running the wrong routes. ... You don't go 3-0 in this league unless you're doing something right, and they're doing everything right."

    Groce is ready

    With the Rams short of defensive backs Sunday, the temptation to rush cornerback DeJuan Groce...
    -10-08-2004, 07:05 PM
  • Nick
    Defense turns up intensity
    by Nick
    Defense turns up intensity
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Dec. 05 2004

    San Francisco running back Kevan Barlow had slipped through a small opening on
    the left side when Rams linebacker Robert Thomas roared in from his right. A
    split- second later, Barlow lay flat on the Edward Jones Dome turf, the victim
    of a ferocious blast that not only sent Thomas' teammates into an
    adrenaline-fueled frenzy but also epitomized the Rams' newfound intensity on
    defense.

    "I enjoyed that," defensive end Tyoka Jackson said, adding that Thomas was
    "coming off an (ankle) injury, and he's had a tough time of it. It was great to
    see that guy get an opportunity to do something that fired the whole defense
    up. We need more of that."

    Although first-year defensive coordinator Larry Marmie has preached
    aggressiveness since training camp, the Rams have been slow to adapt. Often
    appearing tentative and confused, they were ranked 28th in the 32-team NFL in
    total defense - 31st vs. the run.
    Yet on Sunday, this beleaguered group limited the ***** to a pair of field
    goals in a crucial 16-6 victory that kept the Rams' playoff hopes percolating.
    San Francisco (1-11) hardly qualifies as an offensive juggernaut. Still, the
    Rams (6-6) displayed assertiveness, coordination and enthusiasm that has been
    missing all season.

    "It just shows that we definitely have it in us," Thomas said.

    Coach Mike Martz noted that at long last, the players' adjustment to Marmie's
    system is beginning to smooth out. "They were where they were supposed to be,
    and they were confident," Martz said. "I'm very happy with their effort and the
    fact that there were few, if any, mental errors. The progress was significant,
    and the intensity level was pretty obvious."

    Outside linebacker Tommy Polley, who lost his starting job in the preseason and
    has struggled throughout the year, suddenly was everywhere: Press-box
    statistics credited Polley with a team-high eight tackles, and he also was
    effective shadowing Eric Johnson, the *****' prolific tight end. Johnson had 10
    catches earlier this season against the Rams; on Sunday, he mustered only two.

    The Rams yielded 160 total yards, their lowest total in more than three years
    and less than half their average (364.0) for 2004. Barlow and his running mates
    had 63 rushing yards on 27 carries, a meager 2.3 yards per attempt. Quarterback
    Tim Rattay produced just 97 passing yards, and he was sacked four times.

    "Finally ... that's what we're looking for," strong safety Adam Archuleta said.
    "This game is about confidence, and when you have...
    -12-06-2004, 12:11 AM
  • Nick
    Rams Inside Slant
    by Nick
    Inside Slant

    The unit has been maligned throughout the early stages of the season. The rankings don't lie; the Rams' defense is at the bottom of the NFL in yardage allowed: 28th overall, 28th against the pass and 29th against the run.

    But it was the defense that kept the Rams in the game against Seattle, allowing the offense to hit some big plays and win in overtime. It was the defense, after being gashed for 306 yards at halftime, that allowed only 85 yards in the second half and just 44 after running back Shaun Alexander ran for 41 yards on Seattle's first play of the third quarter. Of those 44 yards, 14 were on a scramble by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

    "None of this is possible without the terrific effort by our defense in the second half," coach Mike Martz said. "We throw an interception on the sideline, give them great field position, and we hold them to a field goal. That wins the game for us ... that clearly wins the game for us."

    Martz was referring to a Marc Bulger interception as the fourth quarter began. The Seahawks started on the Rams' 40-yard line but later were stopped at the 16, and a field goal gave them a 27-10 lead. From that point on, Seattle ran eight plays and gained 11 yards. The Rams never forced a takeaway, but they made plays when that had to.

    "The three-and-outs (were important)," Martz said. "That third and one at the end of the game and they don't get it. The intensity really picked up in the second half. The fight that's in this group is incredible."

    "This team never gave up," defensive end Leonard Little said. "Coach Martz has talked about resolve all year and we showed that today. We knew if we made plays on defense and get the offense the ball that we could score points and get back into the game. That's just what we did."

    What has also been talked about is limiting big plays. It sounds insane to say the Rams defense actually didn't play that badly in the first half, but it's not far from the truth.

    Of the Seahawks' 306 yards on 44 plays in the first half, 165 yards came on just six plays. Do the math, and you see that Seattle gained just 141 yards on 38 plays in the rest of the half, or 3.7 yards per play.

    Taking it further, running back Shaun Alexander had 98 yards on 14 attempts at halftime, 65 coming on three attempts. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had passed for 188 yards on 15 completions, with 100 yards gained on three of those passes.

    For the game, Alexander rushed for 150 yards on 23 carries, and 95 were on three rushes. He averaged less than three yards a pop on his other 20 runs.

    But what happened in that game is nothing new. The Rams play a gap-control defense, and the problem of giving up big plays is nothing new for them. The only game where it hasn't been an issue was against...
    -10-14-2004, 05:03 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams defense shows continued improvement
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Dec. 12 2004

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Time after time, the weary Rams defenders were strapping
    their helmets on and heading back to the field.

    Quarterback Chris Chandler threw six interceptions, a career-high for the
    17-year NFL veteran, and Shaun McDonald muffed a punt, the Panthers recovering
    deep in Rams territory. Those miscues led to the Panthers running 70 plays to
    the Rams' 53, and building a whopping time-of-possession edge of more than 11
    minutes.

    Still, the Panthers had only a 19-yard advantage, 308 to 289, and mustered just
    4.4 yards per snap to the Rams' 5.5. That's because the defense held strong in
    the face of withering adversity.

    "I feel like we've morphed into the defense we'd hoped we would be," coach Mike
    Martz said. "I was very, very excited and pleased with the way they played
    after that initial quarter."

    The Panthers jumped out to a 14-0 lead, scoring after Chandler's first
    interception and then cobbling together their only march of notable length -
    nine plays, 69 yards, 4 1/2 minutes. The Panthers had racked up 124 total yards
    after the opening 15 minutes.

    Over the next three periods, they tacked on only 184 more and added only a pair
    of field goals. Carolina had averaged 344 yards per game previously in its
    winning streak, which has stretched to five games.

    A week ago, San Francisco had just 160 yards, the lowest total of the season by
    a Rams opponent. "We've gotten better," said cornerback Jerametrius Butler, who
    recorded his fifth interception of the season Sunday. "It took us a while to
    pick up the defense (Larry) Marmie brought in, but we're learning."

    Marmie, in his first season as defensive coordinator, runs essentially the same
    system as his predecessor, Lovie Smith. But Marmie's approach comes with
    different individual requirements, and Martz acknowledged recently that the
    Rams might have been too conservative in implementing the new package.

    Now, the unit seems to be jelling. But that's of little consequence as the team
    clings to fading playoff hopes, strong safety Adam Archuleta stressed.

    "What does it matter if you don't win?" he said. "The bottom line in this
    league is wins and losses. You could feel good about yourself all you want, but
    at the end of the day ... this is a game that we needed to win, and we didn't
    win it.

    "So, it really doesn't matter how we feel as far as what we did as a team. We
    didn't play well enough to win."

    Whining about the turnovers on offense isn't acceptable, linebacker Pisa
    Tinoisamoa...
    -12-13-2004, 05:39 AM
  • RamWraith
    Dome-ination:
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/25/2007

    Then: From 1999-2004, the Rams won 43 of 53 games at the Edward Jones Dome
    Now: Rams are winless at the dome this year and have lost 12 of their past 16

    Over a period of six seasons, from 1999 through their last playoff season 2004 the Rams won 43 of 53 home games.


    There was no tougher place to play in the National Football League. You could almost see defenders' knees buckle during pregame introductions as the Rams ran out to the guitar riffs of "Kashmir," the Led Zeppelin rock classic.

    They don't play that song any more at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams don't win there any more either at least not lately. Since the middle of the 2005 season, the Rams have lost 12 of 16 home contests.

    They are winless at home this season losing to Carolina, San Francisco, Arizona, and Cleveland. A loss Sunday against visiting Seattle would match the longest home losing streak for the Rams since the move to St. Louis in 1995. (Dick Vermeil's squad lost its last five home games of the '97 campaign.)

    No wonder the Rams have had trouble selling out the stadium lately. Of course, the Rams can begin to change all that, starting with Sunday's game against NFC West rival Seattle. A loss would eliminate the Rams from NFC West title consideration (though they would remain mathematically alive for a wild-card berth.)

    A win would extend Rams winning streak to three, no mean feat considering the team's franchise-worst 0-8 start. Just as importantly, it would be the first home victory for Rams fans since last Christmas Eve against Washington.

    "We definitely want to give that to them," linebacker Chris Draft said.

    In return, Draft is asking for a little help from the stands.

    "I asked the other day. I asked the fans for three false-start penalties," Draft said. "That means they've got to get loud. Seattle, you know, they've got their 12th Man. Last time we went there, they had Ichiro with a pink scarf on what was it, purple? getting the crowd up."

    Ichiro Suzuki, the Seattle Mariners' star outfielder, raised the "12th Man" flag at Qwest Field in pregame ceremonies, getting the crowd fired up for a 33-6 drubbing of the visiting Rams on Oct. 21.

    Draft doesn't want a "12th man" helping the Rams from the stands Sunday he wants about 65,000 men, women, and children.

    "If all St. Louis gets in that stadium, it's going to be deafening," Draft said. "I want three (false) starts. It can be more than that. But I want three false starts."

    Three or so Rams touchdowns wouldn't hurt either in a game that has met NFL sellout requirements, and will be televised locally (KTVI-Channel 2).

    "Home field is...
    -11-25-2007, 06:53 AM
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