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  • Rams Find Daylight

    Rams find daylight

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/02/2009

    DETROIT As with many things in the game of football, timing is everything when it comes to the celebratory Gatorade shower.

    "It's got to be perfect," defensive tackle Leger Douzable said. "It can't be too early, 'cause he'll see you. If it's too late, he might be already on the field."

    But like so many things this season for the woebegone Rams, it didn't come easy. When Douzable and safety James Butler both former Giants who were with coach Steve Spagnuolo in New York found the orange Gatorade bucket, it was ... empty.

    "So we had to put water in, get the ice," Butler said. "We had to do all that."


    But they did it, and so did the Rams.

    After 17 consecutive losses, over 378 days, St. Louis' long gridiron nightmare is over. Steven Jackson's 25-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 38 seconds to play gave the Rams their first victory of the season, 17-10, and their first victory since Oct. 19, 2008.

    As he got on the Ford Field elevator for the ride down to the victorious Rams locker room, general manager Billy Devaney grinned and said, tongue in cheek, "I'm going to Disney World."

    As she left the victorious locker room, Lucia Rodriguez daughter of the late Georgia Frontiere and one of the team's three owners smiled and said, "I'm thrilled. Hopefully, the spell is broken."

    Inside the locker room, tight end Randy McMichael presented a game ball to Spagnuolo, who was still wet from the improvised "Gatorade" shower.

    "It was an honor to be able to deliver him the game ball with his first win in the National Football League," McMichael said. "And I know for a fact it won't be his last. I told him how much we appreciated that with all the stuff we've been through, all the support that he's given all of us. You could see the emotion that was in him."

    For once, Spagnuolo didn't try to hide those feelings in his comments to the media.

    "It's special," he said. "I know I'll remember it for a long time. What makes it most special is the people that it happened with. This is a special group of guys. They've been through a lot, especially the guys that have been around. They never quit, they bought in, stayed with it. Never leaned the other way. ... I feel proud to be part of that group."

    It may have been a warm and fuzzy postgame locker room, but that wasn't the case late last week at Rams Park. As reported Sunday by the Post-Dispatch, Spagnuolo closed the doors to the media for the final plays of Friday's practice because he wanted to chew out the team in private.

    Team sources said the topic was intensity, effort, playing hard or lack thereof. It was a distinct change of course for a coach who always tries to be positive.

    "But at some point you've got to put your foot down," fullback Mike Karney said. "And he did that. I think our team responded well offensively, defensively and special teams."

    "He just put the onus on us," defensive end Leonard Little said. "Somebody has to step up; more people have to step up for us to win. Today, a lot of people stepped up."

    None more than Jackson, who rushed for a season-high 149 yards and finally got to "roll the dice" his signature TD celebration with his first touchdown of the season. Jackson entered the game as the NFL's leader in yards gained after contact with 384. He added to that total on nearly every carry Sunday at Ford Field.

    On at least two carries, no fewer than five Lions defenders got at least a hand on him. Whatever was in his way, Jackson was going to try to knock out of his way. On one occasion, it happened to be umpire Bill Schuster, who got bulldozed by Jackson.

    "Steve was a man the whole game," Little said.

    "Best running back in football, without a doubt," McMichael said. "We call him 'The Beast.' "

    Obviously, Jackson got a lot of help up front, from a revamped offensive line that featured Adam Goldberg at right guard in place of the injured Richie Incognito, and rookie Jason Smith at right tackle making just his third NFL start. And from Karney at fullback.

    And from Mark Setterstrom, who came off the bench in the second half once left guard Jacob Bell left with a blow to the head and a probable concussion.

    "When Jacob got dinged we had to put another guy (Setterstrom) in there, but they didn't seem to skip a beat," Spagnuolo said. "Steven stayed effective."

    With the score tied 10-10 and overtime looming, the tight ends got into the act. McMichael and Daniel Fells lined up side by side on the right side and sealed off the perimeter to give Jackson some running room on his game-winning run.

    "That was especially special because it was him, and the way he did it," Spagnuolo said. "That's Steven. Breaking all those tackles, and busting into the open. He was determined to get into the end zone. That's what he's all about."

  • #2
    Re: Rams Find Daylight

    Great read Jim Thomas!!!! Always nice to hear some inside scoop.
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    • #3
      Re: Rams Find Daylight

      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
      Rams find daylight

      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      11/02/2009


      But like so many things this season for the woebegone Rams, it didn't come easy. When Douzable and safety James Butler both former Giants who were with coach Steve Spagnuolo in New York found the orange Gatorade bucket, it was ... empty.
      First thought when i saw him get the shower was "Wow that thing didnt have alot in it." Cool to see douzable in a play also

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams Find Daylight

        Haha i like the improvised gatorade shower, it would have been rubbish if they hadnt been able to give him one.

        Im also liking these young guys we are finding from nowhere that are coming in and contributing. Leger Douzable and LaJuan Ramsey are getting good penetration lining up alongside Cliff Ryan, and it will be interesting to see if they stick around once Gary Gibson and Adam Carriker come back from injury.
        @EssexRam_

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        • eldfan
          Rams Team Report
          by eldfan
          Rams tight end Randy McMichael has a simple way of describing running back Steven Jackson.
          Said McMichael, "We call him 'The Beast.'" He added, "Best running back in football, without a doubt."

          It was hard to debate that Sunday. Jackson accounted for 166 yards of total offense, 46 percent of the team's 362-yard total, and many of the yards came on sheer will and determination. For the game, Jackson rushed for 149 yards on 22 carries and added 17 receiving yards. His 25-yard touchdown run that won the game Sunday against the Lions was his and team's first rushing touchdown of the season.

          "Steve was a man the whole game," defensive end Leonard Little said.

          Talking about the run that won the game, center Jason Brown said, after blocking a lineman to the ground, "You look up and you see No. 39 getting smaller and smaller. And you say, 'Thank you ... thank you so much.'

          "One guy can't take him down; he's a horse ... a stallion."

          Jackson knocked over defenders, dragged them for extra yards, and even bowled over an official on a 17-yard that came one play before the touchdown.

          Of the touchdown, Jackson said, "Man, that run felt really good. We knew that ... whoever had the ball last was going to have a pretty good chance of driving the ball and putting the game away. We really felt like it was our time to take over."

          Said tight end Daniel Fells, "It couldn't happen to a better guy. Steven is the rock of this team. We all look up to him."

          Added coach Steve Spagnuolo, "That was especially special because it was him and the way he did it ... that's Steven. Just the way the run (went), breaking all those tackles and busting into the open; he was determined to get into the end zone, and that's what he's all about."

          After the same offensive line started five consecutive games, right tackle Adam Goldberg slid to his left for the game against the Lions because right guard Richie Incognito was sidelined with a foot injury. Rookie Jason Smith returned for his first start at right tackle since injuring his knee in Week 2 against Washington.

          Then, in the second half Sunday, left guard Jacob Bell left the game with an apparent concussion and was replaced by Mark Setterstrom.

          Said Spagnuolo, "That's a credit to the coaches. Steve Loney and Art (Valero), they do a great job with the O-line, and when Jacob got dinged we've got to put another guy in there, but they didn't seem to skip a beat. Steven stayed effective; that's the confidence that Steven has in the O-line. Anytime you take a backup and put him in the game where he hasn't had all the reps during practice, I think the coaches deserve some credit.

          "That means they're coaching, not just the starting five, they're getting everybody ready and every...
          -11-03-2009, 08:00 PM
        • eldfan
          Rams still trying to get over hump
          by eldfan
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/24/2009 By Jim Thomas

          The Rams lost in overtime at Jacksonville, won at Detroit and had the ball at the end against New Orleans and Arizona with a chance to win or force overtime. The only blowout over the last six Sundays has been the 42-6 loss Oct. 25 against an Indianapolis team that remains unbeaten four weeks later.

          But on a weekend when two of the NFL's lesser lights, Kansas City and Oakland, sprung upsets over playoff contenders, the Rams could only come close once again in a 21-13 loss Sunday to Arizona.

          "There's going to be a point when this team is going to get over that (hump)," defensive end Leonard Little said. "It's going to happen."
          But when?

          "We've got to pick up our learning curve because there's only six weeks left in the season," defensive tackle Clifton Ryan said. "We don't want to be sitting here at Week 15, Week 16, talking about turning the corner. We've got to turn it now. From top to bottom, from 1 down to 53 (on the roster), we've got to turn the corner."

          On paper, there may be no better opportunity than this Sunday's game against Seattle. Yes, the Seahawks have won nine straight against the Rams, including a 28-0 whitewash on opening day of this season. But they've lost seven of nine since that contest and come to town with a 3-7 record.

          "There's a silver lining to everything," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I think the team is getting to the point where we're in those games."

          After a horrendous first half Sunday, the Rams were able to make it a one-possession game. Apparently there was more to their second-half revival than just the absence of Kurt Warner in the Arizona lineup.

          "I liked the way the team was a halftime," Spagnuolo said. "I liked the way we came out, the fact that we got ourselves back in the football game. ... All that's good. We need to continue to do that, and like I told the team (Monday) morning, we've got to get the football right. We've got to get the football things, the details, so that all these little things that keep coming up that lead to us not being ahead, or not winning the game, are erased."

          Things got intense in the Rams' locker room at halftime, with the team trailing 21-3. Little and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe got vocal, challenging the team and each other to pick up their play.

          "It was an intense thing because we're not playing like we're capable of playing and everybody knows that," Little said. "It was like a sense of urgency that went on at that time. It happens that way in football because guys want to win. And guys want to be able to compete with the upper-echelon teams. In the second quarter, we really didn't. They had their way with us a little bit."

          At least two Rams,...
          -11-24-2009, 07:59 AM
        • r8rh8rmike
          A New Rams PLan
          by r8rh8rmike
          A new Rams plan

          By Jim Thomas
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          08/30/2009

          One of the first things you notice on the practice field is the ever-present pencil. It's resting on Steve Spagnuolo's ear. Or in his hand.

          He'll squat like a catcher at home plate and start scribbling while a drill takes place 10 feet away at Rams Park.

          He's used the same kind of Papermate pencil for the last decade. You know, the plastic ones where you turn the end to get the lead out. Spagnuolo uses it on the football field to help his players get the lead out.

          What's he writing about?

          "I actually don't (know)," safety James Butler said. "But I know when he gets up to speak to the team, he has a list of notes. So I don't know if he's writing down in practice what's going on or what. But he's always writing down notes."

          And then there are the practice "props."

          The long plastic strip that's placed at the line of scrimmage, with the letters T-G-C-G-T on it. (As in tackle, guard, center, etc.)

          The red cones placed several yards behind the line of scrimmage. (Players not involved in the play must stay behind the cones.)

          The footballs with the tips painted white. (It's to get defensive backs in the habit of catching the ball at the tips.)

          The "beeper box," which goes off when the quarterback has held the ball too long during 7-on-7 passing drills. (It can be calibrated for 3-step, 5-step and 7-step drops.)

          You look at all this, and you wonder if Spagnuolo was the type of kid who took a lot of notes, kept his room clean, made his bed.

          "I probably would say yeah," Spagnuolo said, flashing a "you got me" look at the questioner. "I was actually one of those people that went to class. I can't sit here and say I didn't go. I did. And I always took notes. If I didn't take good notes, I wasn't going to do good. Because I had to study. I wasn't a natural learner."

          The bed making?

          "I don't know why I remember this," Spagnuolo said. "(Maybe) because my mother used to say it to people. I made my bed every day till I got to be like 15 or 16 whatever that age is (for teenage rebellion). And then all of a sudden I became not quite as consistent."

          So yes, Spagnuolo always had a clean room.

          "I don't know, I operate a little bit better that way," he said.

          IT'S IN THE DETAILS

          Now, at age 49, Spagnuolo is trying to make the Rams operate a lot better as a rookie NFL head coach. The task is daunting to say the least. This is a franchise that hasn't been in the playoffs since 2004, hasn't had a winning season since 2003, and has lost 27 of its last 32 games.

          As he tries to lay the foundation...
          -08-30-2009, 03:11 PM
        • mikhal5569
          Probably The Best Article I've Read All Year
          by mikhal5569
          Spagnuolo has Rams on right track.


          Don Banks. SI.com
          First-year Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has*team on right track - Don Banks - SI.com
          ST. LOUIS -- One of my favorite things to do on an NFL training camp tour is to visit a team that features a rookie head coach, as the Rams do this year after hiring ex-Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo this offseason. Though I'm usually blowing through camp in a day or so, you can often learn a lot from watching those early days of a new regime, seeing whether or not the veterans on that team are buying what the new guy is selling, and seeing a first-time coach in the process of finding out who he can and can't count on.
          True, trying to take an accurate temperature reading of an organization's new program after interviewing a handful of players for a matter of minutes is your basic snap judgment, writ large. It's far from foolproof. But sometimes it can be dead on.
          For example, after stops at both the Falcons and Ravens training camps last summer, I came away believing that rookie head coaches Mike Smith and John Harbaugh both had a pretty good handle on what it was going to take to turn Atlanta and Baltimore around, and that they had already put the wheels in motion. It's not that I saw 11-5 seasons coming for both, far from it. But I did see two teams that were in the process of fully buying into Smith and Harbaugh's approaches, and I sensed it would pay dividends at some point.
          In an inverse way, the same was true for the 2007 Falcons, who I also paid a camp visit to, in order to discover what the new Bobby Petrino era was all about in Atlanta. One day there and I had the feeling trouble was on way for the Birds that season, thanks largely to the degree of skepticism I heard coming from key Atlanta veterans. And you know how that story turned out: Petrino's rookie season was his only NFL season, as his 13-game tenure was a debacle of epic proportion.
          All that said, I'm ready to make the call that Spagnuolo seems like the right man for the job that faces his downtrodden Rams. While their NFL-worst 5-27 record the past two years breeds a certain amount of willingness to follow anyone with a plan, the Rams convinced me that Spagnuolo has been pitch perfect so far in his make-over efforts in St. Louis.
          "I was talking to someone in the locker room two days ago, and I said, 'He hasn't told us a lie yet,' '' Rams second-year defensive end Chris Long told me Thursday afternoon, after another two-a-day practice was in the books. "Everything he's said has been on point. I thought we bought into Spags the minute he walked in the door. I had never heard him talk or seen him before, but I knew where he had been, and that resume spoke for itself. On top of that, he's a man who treats people with respect, and when he speaks, guys listen and really embrace his notion of respecting team.''
          Watching Spagnuolo work a practice is like watching...
          -08-09-2009, 06:52 AM
        • eldfan
          Rams team report
          by eldfan
          USA TODAY

          In 2008, he tried to play with a quad injury in a key division game against Arizona. Last year, he played five of the final six games of the season with a herniated disk in his back and nerve pain in his leg even though the team had only one victory.
          Maybe it's no surprise then, that Rams running back Steven Jackson did everything he humanly could to be on the field Sunday for his team's game against the Seattle Seahawks despite the partially torn groin he had suffered the week before against the Washington Redskins.

          His team. Jackson is one of several veteran leaders on a very young football team, and as he peeled off three layers of protective padding following the surprisingly easy 20-3 win, he stated simply, "I was not able to run full speed. But as a leader, you can't preach one thing and do something else."

          What he did was gut out a 70-yard rushing effort, adding 54 receiving yards, the bulk of which came on a 49-yard run with a screen pass that led to a third-quarter touchdown and a 17-3 lead.

          Asked if the injury affected him, Jackson said, "Absolutely," then laughed and added, "Did you see that run?"

          He admitted to consciously thinking on that run not to try and run too fast and "overextend myself, taking smaller steps," minimizing the chance of aggravating the injury.

          But he simply wasn't going to miss this game.

          "I knew I had enough to give what coach would need out of me," Jackson said. "I wanted to come out and be a part of something. I felt that this team is going in the right direction, and I just wanted to be a part of it today.

          "It's been a long time 2004 (since beating Seattle). I know we have a philosophy around here that we don't look back. But sometimes you just can't help but think about some of the hardship that this organization has been through. For us to be able to get a win against Seattle at home, a divisional win, it means a lot to me. I think it means a lot to the guys that are in this locker room."

          During the week, Jackson did very little on the field. Off the field was another story. There was still a pocket of blood in his groin area on Thursday, "so there was quite a bit of swelling," he said. "Just continued to work hard. I would literally ... I would take a stim (muscle stimulation) machine home with me. I was doing acupuncture; I was doing everything. I was literally stimming myself at four in the morning trying to make sure that I could get whatever edge, whatever I could do to get back on the field. All I can say is, I just thank God it worked out."

          Then, there was the work of the training and medical staff to protect him as much as possible.

          "Look at all of this stuff that kept me together," he said after the game. "They got so many...
          -10-05-2010, 01:02 PM
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