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  • BEER
    replied
    Re: Wherever Rams go, frustration goes along

    Gives me hope.

    Leave a comment:


  • eldfan
    started a topic Wherever Rams go, frustration goes along

    Wherever Rams go, frustration goes along

    Wherever Rams go, frustration goes along
    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    [More columns]By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/19/2009

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Every Sunday afternoon, each room feels the same. From San Francisco to Seattle, Washington to Glendale, Atlanta to Foxborough or the swamps of the Jersey Meadowlands, it has turned into a solemn football caravan. So many interchangeable, frustrated Rams players moving from town to town, stadium to stadium, searching for victory, but somehow always ending up in another nondescript locker room like this one, fruitlessly trying to rehash the bitter angst of 365 days of winless Rams football.

    "It's just so frustrating," said Will Witherspoon.

    He was trying to get dressed, but it looked like he was being tortured.

    The battered and bruised Rams linebacker, who has been on board through 16 consecutive games without victory, gingerly tried to slip on his slacks.

    He groaned.

    He tried to put on his dress shirt.

    He winced.

    What hurts, he was asked.

    "My hip ... my back ... everything," he said with no exaggeration.

    Then Witherspoon tried to

    explain how bad it felt to be a part of this 16-game losing skid, the longest current streak in pro football, the one that has been strung out for exactly one full calendar year. He was asked what it felt like to be witness to — and a participant in — a string of losing football that has lasted the equivalent of a full NFL season.

    Zero and 16.

    And that may have been the greatest pain of all.

    "I don't really listen to all of that," said Witherspoon, still wincing as he slowly buttoned his shirt. "I don't deal with 0-16. Last season is last season. I don't think about all of that. All I know is where we are right now."

    And where exactly is that?

    "That's 0-6," he said.

    On Sunday on the grass carpet inside this legendary old football barn formerly known as the Gator Bowl, the winless Rams came just about as close as they could to proving that they aren't what their record says they are. They played the struggling Jaguars mostly on even terms, leading for long stretches of this contest, and flirting tantalizingly close to getting off this losing skid. But of course, by the time the game ended the Rams had lost again, this time stretching out the agony of defeat into sudden-death overtime before falling 23-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    "We're not 0-16," Witherspoon repeated. "We're 0-6. This is where we are. But if you look at this team, if you look at anyone in this locker room, that's not who we believe we are. We think we're better than that. We definitely know we're better than that. We're guys that work hard week in and week out and we believe that we can get the job done."

    He paused for a moment to tuck in his shirt, and he winced again.

    "We're on the verge," Witherspoon said.

    For most of the game, it really did feel like this was going to be the day that the losing ended. But by the end of the afternoon, it was just another painful step added to this torturous parade of losing that has endured since the Rams last tasted victory Oct. 19, 2008 at home against the Dallas Cowboys.

    With a little less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, defensive end Leonard Little leaped into the air, snatched the football out of Jacksonville tailback Greg Jones' hands, then galloped down the sideline with the football tucked in his padded mitts. Five yards from the end zone, Little went airborne, diving at the orange pylon.

    Touchdown St. Louis, and just like that, the Rams were ahead 17-13.

    And just like that, hope hung over the old Gator Bowl like a billowing cloud.

    "When Leonard scores that touchdown, I was thinking, 'Wow, these are the things that usually happen to us," said guard Richie Incognito, who was watching the play develop from the far sidelines. "It's usually the other team that intercepts the ball and goes into the end zone. But this time, it was us. It was Leonard running in for the score, and now I'm thinking, 'Holy crap! We're going to win this ballgame.'"

    But there's a very good reason the Rams haven't won a football game in 365 days. One of the reasons they lose is because at the end of regulation, the Rams' defense had NFL neophytes named Leger Douzable, C.J. Ah You, David Roach and Bradley Fletcher rotating on and off the field, and proven veterans like Witherspoon, Ron Bartell and James Hall on the sidelines with various injuries.

    And so almost at will, the Jags got the kickoff and marched right back up the field to retake the lead. And even when the Rams came right back to send it into overtime, the moment Bartell called "tails" and the coin came up "heads," you knew exactly how this would ultimately play out.

    Other guys always win. Rams always lose.

    Yet even though the losing didn't end Sunday, I won't spend much time second-guessing whether when trailing 20-17 near the end of regulation, Steve Spagnuolo should have called for the offense to take one shot into the end zone with the ball on the Jacksonville 9-yard line and only seven seconds on the clock.

    To me, the only thing worse than losing in overtime would have been to lose it right there on a needless gamble. When you haven't won a football game in a calendar year, how bad would it have felt if in going for a victory in regulation something went awry?

    Do I have to remind you that the injury-depleted receiving corps left Bulger with only three healthy receivers — the spectacularly undecorated trio of Danny Amendola, Tim Carter and Keenan Burton — at the end of the game?

    With all the odd things that have happened to the Rams over the course of this 16-game losing streak, did you really want to tempt fate with that gamble? Not me. Unless Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce in their primes were suiting up again, the right move for the talent-depleted Rams was to go for the tie, which Spagnuolo did, and take your chances in overtime.

    Ultimately, the results ended up the same as they've been every Sunday since last Oct. 19. But now when you look across the rest of the NFL landscape and see that the winless Tennessee Titans were getting drubbed 59-0, at least there is some fleeting solace that it's a lot better here than over there. While some sorry, no-account teams are tumbling deeper into the abyss, the Rams really do seem to be showing signs that they're getting closer to winning.

    "You can taste it," Incognito said as he started to walk out of the locker room. "The wins are going to come. We've gone from just kind of meandering in the streets (last year) to getting to the doorstep in the preseason. And now we've walked up to the doorstep and we're knocking on the door."

    Now all we want to know is, when is someone going to open the door and let them in?

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Burwell: Rams Get Reacquainted With Winning
    by r8rh8rmike
    Burwell: Rams get reacquainted with winning

    BY BRYAN BURWELL
    Monday, September 27, 2010

    At long last this was a real feel-good story, not another maddening spin in the three-year cycle of loser's laments. There were no frustrating explanations, no grim postmortems, no clinical autopsies of another defeat. Inside the Rams' locker room in the depths of the Edward Jones Dome early Sunday evening, sweat-soaked grown men sat in front of their locker stalls, weary, bloodied and bruised - some with their legs propped up on crutches, others with various body parts swaddled in miles of tape and pounds of ice packs - every last one of them laughing and joking like little kids at recess.

    There were Steven Jackson and Mike Karney, both of them covered in red welts, but neither of them feeling any noticeable pain.

    "You could shoot me right now and I wouldn't care," Jackson cackled. "I honestly don't think I would feel a thing."

    This was coming from a man who had abruptly left the game in the first half after the Washington defense treated him like a brittle wishbone on Thanksgiving, yanking Jackson's arms and legs in about six different directions and forcing the big running back to the sidelines with a damaged groin muscle for the second half.

    But at this delirious moment, it didn't matter because Jackson and the rest of his Rams teammates were swept up in a strange case of total recall.

    Get this, people: The Rams finally remembered how to win.

    At the end of a rather impressive 30-16 dismantling of the Redskins on Sunday, your previously woebegone Rams - losers at home for two miserable, frustrating years - were getting reacquainted with that winning sensation and loving every minute of it.

    So how do you behave when you finally get off a two-year schneid?

    A little goofy. A little joyful. A little introspective. But mostly just happy as all get-out. After two ghastly years of Groundhog Day-like repetition, the Rams finally tossed aside a nightmarish 14-game home losing streak and did what good teams do when it's time to win a football game.

    "We just finished," said cornerback Ron Bartell. "We didn't shoot ourselves in the foot. We didn't make stupid plays. The first two games we had interceptions that slipped through our hands. Today, we make the interceptions and win the game."

    This time, instead of having an itemized list of self-destructive plays to rehash, the Rams could stand in front of a room full of reporters and recount the smart plays, the go-for-the-throat instances where the veteran Washington team pushed up on the previously skittish kids from St. Louis and the kids finally knew how to push back.

    When Jackson went down late in the second quarter with the Rams clinging to a 14-13 lead, you could feel the life...
    -09-27-2010, 11:01 AM
  • Nick
    Burwell: Rams didn't look half bad this time
    by Nick
    Burwell: Rams didn't look half bad this time
    BY BRYAN BURWELL | Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 2:00 am

    At the end of the game, the paying customers were still on their feet, still lingering at their seats as the Rams raced off the field. And for a change, this was no bile-spitting, expletive-blurting, crazed, depressed or hostile mob of unsatisfied customers who bothered to hang around until the bitter end only to empty their spleens with a barrage of vulgarity that would make a sailor blush.

    Yes, the green but growing young Rams had lost the season opener to the visiting Arizona Cardinals, but since they had actually given these folks — more than 52,000 of them — something entertaining to talk about, the spectators lingered to cheer, not to curse. No one should have left the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday giddy about the ultimate result of the day — Cardinals 17, Rams 13 — but the paying customers could leave the premises satisfied that they had seen a good and entertaining show.

    We're not passing out "atta boys" or gold stars for effort like this was some Little League frivolity. This is still the NFL, where they are paid to play, and winning is the ultimate measure of satisfaction. But when you have been as bad as the Rams have been for such a long time, satisfaction is a relative thing. Satisfaction comes in small steps, not giant leaps. So on this Sunday in the Dome, that satisfaction was measured by an honest to goodness sense that even in defeat, people could walk away without that same old sick and depressing feeling in their guts that their favorite team was an incompetent and hopeless mess.

    Come on, admit it. The Rams didn't look half bad, did they?

    Having been up close and personal for far too many of these hideous, gawdawful nightmares of the past when the Rams always looked outgunned and outmanned, it was a treat to see that this 2010 team doesn't look like a welcome mat anymore.

    I don't know how many football games the Rams will win this season, but they do look capable of winning football games in the National Football League again, and when was the last time you could say that?

    They played the Arizona Cardinals, defending NFC West champs, on even terms right down to the last seconds. And it won't be the last game they play this close. That is the way you mark the improvement of the Rams at this stage. You mark it by noticing signs that they have upgraded, lifted themselves up from the status of NFL laughingstock to a team that has a decent chance on any particular Sunday to find a way to football games again.

    This looks like something positive is happening.

    "We believe now," defensive end Chris Long said, echoing a comment I heard throughout every corner of the locker room on Sunday. "We believe we can win now. Now, as a ballplayer, you gotta believe anyway. But there's...
    -09-13-2010, 06:33 AM
  • Nick
    [PD]: Ultimately, Rams must look in mirror
    by Nick
    Ultimately, Rams must look in mirror
    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Oct. 16 2006

    As the first wave of reporters came streaming into the chaotic Rams locker room late Sunday afternoon, any number of players were still trying to figure out what had happened to them in the final exasperating seconds on the Edward Jones Dome turf. Big Todd Steussie stepped over empty equipment bags, wads of ankle tape and sweat-soaked shoulder pads, stirring up heated debate and utter confusion about a controversial last-second call that led to Seattle's 30-28 victory.

    "I don't get it," said the giant offensive lineman, standing in front of a group of linebackers.

    "It makes no sense," he said, now huddled with a few fellow offensive linemen.

    "How does this rule work?" he said as he towered over a new audience of scribbling sportswriters.

    Everywhere inside the Rams' quarters, there were angry men like Steussie sorting through the various stages of a painful, self-destructive defeat. If you listened for a few minutes, you could hear things move swiftly from denial to anger, from anger to rationalization and from rationalization to depression.

    At first they wanted to cling to the idea that referee Ed Hochuli and his gang that occasionally couldn't see straight had conspired to do in the Rams with all those ill-timed penalty flags that went flying around most of the game. But ultimately, what finally dawned on them was the acceptance that ultimately this defeat had to go under the heading of self-inflicted wound.

    Tailback Steven Jackson said, "And now we have a bye (week) so we have two weeks to sit on this."

    That should give them ample time to glean every bit of frustrating and promising detail from this football game. We've watched six games turn out just like this, where the Rams battled right down to the last tick of the clock, giving us exciting finishes, hair-pulling anxiety, but most of all surprising evidence that they're capable of being a lot better than anyone could have imagined.

    The Rams are 4-2 as they head into their mini-vacation, and have shown an impressive resiliency. We seem to watch them every week make another improbable play that puts them in position to win ballgames, and that's the sort of trait that eventually breeds championship-caliber clubs by the end of the season.

    On Sunday, defensive end Leonard Little forced another game-altering fumble late in the fourth quarter, and forced thousands of spectators who prematurely started for the exits to return to their seats to witness this week's particular flair for the dramatic. With less than two minutes to go, the Rams produced that unlikely miracle comeback when Torry Holt flew under a perfectly thrown bomb from Marc Bulger, juggled it with one hand, hauled it in and raced...
    -10-15-2006, 09:55 PM
  • eldfan
    Silver linings can't disperse the cloud over St. Louis Rams
    by eldfan
    Silver linings can't disperse the cloud over St. Louis Rams

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    [More columns]By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/12/2009

    As the worst week in St. Louis sports recent memory was mercifully coming to an end, inside the morgue-like locker room in the depths of the Edward Jones Dome, dutiful locker room attendants quietly scurried about gathering up the remnants of another lost sports day. They stuffed soiled uniforms into laundry bags, scooped up the tattered shreds of discarded athletic tape, then carefully attempted to restore some order to a place that appeared to have been swept up by a chaotic storm.

    This was the Rams locker room on Sunday, but it didn't look all that much different than the Cardinals clubhouse one night earlier. After a wretched, seven-day "ohhhhh-fer" disaster that made its way from San Francisco to LA, hop-scotched over to Columbia, then raced through the streets of St. Louis, one losing locker room looked just like another one.

    But there was a noticeable difference.

    On Saturday evening, the Cardinals were lamenting the end of an unfulfilled title chase, explaining the consequences of being rudely swept out of the postseason. On Sunday afternoon, the Rams — stuck in a 15-game losing streak— were talking about the rather odd subject of progress.

    They had just lost their fifth game of the season to the Minnesota Vikings, 38-10, and yet ... yeah, believe it or not, they were talking about making progress.

    After spending the season's first month in a sleepy state, the winless Rams actually came alive offensively, racking up 400 yards of offense on one of the NFL's top teams, the unbeaten Vikings. They piled up 27 first downs. Steven Jackson outrushed the NFL's premier running back, Adrian Peterson (84 yards to 69). The QB tag team of Kyle Boller (209 yards) and Marc Bulger (88) had outgunned the indestructible living legend Brett Favre (232 yards).

    And they did this against a team most NFL wise guys believe could end up in the Super Bowl. But they still lost. And lost badly, actually; done in once again by the weekly dose of self-destructive turnovers, including three incredible gaffs inside the 10-yard line and four overall, short-circuiting a legitimate shot at pulling off an enormous upset.

    "Kind of the same story as the last four games," Jackson said. "Turnovers. Unfortunate turnovers at crucial times. That's what's holding this team back."

    Still carrying the NFL's longest current losing streak, unable to crack the end zone except once, despite four trips inside the red zone.

    But can you still call this progress nonetheless?

    "Of course it's progress," center Jason Brown said. "I know the scoreboard doesn't show it, but you had to watch the whole...
    -10-12-2009, 11:42 AM
  • Rampingitup
    Rams look to Rebound by Nick Wagoner
    by Rampingitup
    Rams Look to Rebound

    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
    Posted 15 hours ago


    Comments:12


    In a quiet and solemn locker room following Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo kept the message to his team as simple as possible.
    There was nothing profound there, no deep, introspective Sun-Tzu philosophical speech, no Lombardi-esque rah rah speech.
    No, it was a simple message delivered with the urgency that would be needed when your team just fell to 0-3 and you are doing your best to keep a season from slipping away.
    “I told the team when you get in a situation like this as a football team, all you worry about is winning a game,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s it. You don’t worry about stats or any of that stuff; you just worry about winning a game. This particular year the next team on the schedule is Washington so that’s what we’ll focus on.”
    In that message, Spagnuolo emphasized to his team that there is no reason to look at anything else right now. Three games into the season is way too soon to begin wondering about scenarios or playoff pictures or any of that kind of stuff.
    Anything beyond what happens this week is of little to no importance. The task right now at 0-3 is to fix the myriad mistakes that have plagued the Rams in the first three weeks and go back to work.
    As one of the team captains and the heart and soul of the team, running back Steven Jackson reiterated Spagnuolo’s message to his teammates and later to the media about focusing on the task at hand.
    “The season is not lost,” Jackson said. “First things first, we need to get a W. I wouldn’t lie to you. We definitely need to get a W and we need to get one fast. It’s not because of a lack of work ethic. I can rest assure you that. I give you my word as the captain of this team. Guys are working hard. To be competitive, you have to show up each and every Sunday, you have to do the little things right. You can’t continue to come in each game making mistakes in the red zone, making mistakes on special teams and different areas of the game, especially when you play good teams like we have these first three weeks.”

    Indeed, the Rams have faced three teams widely regarded to be among the league’s legitimate playoff contenders in the opening three weeks.
    In the first two weeks against the Eagles and Giants, the Rams suffered double digits...
    -09-27-2011, 07:02 AM
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