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Rams Team Report - Nov 10

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  • Rams Team Report - Nov 10

    Rams Team Report
    Yahoo! Sports - Nov 10, 1:40 am EST


    INSIDE SLANT


    As the Rams begin the second half of their first season under coach Steve Spagnuolo with a record of 1-7, no one knows how many wins will occur in the final eight games. Certainly, Spagnuolo was hopeful of having more than one when the team hit its bye.

    But he hasn't strayed from his consistent approach, which is to stress team first, one game at a time, and remain as positive as possible with his message. That can be tough when losses mount up, but Spagnuolo has apparently achieved it so far.

    He admitted, "I have had my moments (of frustration). But I think there's a professional way to do it. I think everybody in this business should be respected for the jobs they have. I think any business is about respecting each other. I don't see any reason to go off the cuff. I keep that to myself. Part of what we talk about as a team is being a poised team. You can't be a poised team if the head coach isn't poised."

    Said safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "Being a guy who has been here with the Rams now going for five years, some of the younger guys and some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here, and that's going to carry over throughout the locker room so you just build a team that is really focused on one goal and one purpose and being one."

    A head coach has to have credibility, and that can be difficult for a first-timer. It surely helped Spagnuolo that he was an assistant coach for 10 seasons under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Tom Coughlin with the Giants.

    "I think that he would even admit that we bought into his system," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We know it's going to be successful; it's just a matter of bearing with it. Once we start getting those wins, it will start to pay off. It's a winning formula. He's been with the Giants and Philadelphia. It's not always easy, but I think that the older guys around here know that it is a winning formula. We've all bought into it."

    Spagnuolo likes what he has seen, especially the absence of sulking players, or those who start pointing fingers at others.

    Said Spagnuolo, "To me, that's a credit to the players. It is easy in this business to venture somewhere else, especially when you don't have a lot of success. That's why I keep going back to and keep saying that I love the group down there, the character, the commitment, the loyalty, because if you have those things, eventually that will be the reason why you win. It won't be about coaches or trick plays. It will be because what your core of players is made of. That will be the reason why we win."

    Expounding on that point, Spagnuolo said he gets impressions from a lot of the little things that are still important in terms of the progress the team is making.

    "I usually gauge it off of the feel of practice," Spagnuolo said. "Is the effort still there? Are we still practicing fast? Are guys on time? The little things that people would probably overlook, I look at them all the time. This team hasn't cut corners, hasn't looked for easy ways out. When you do that, it tells me they are still hungry to get things done and as long as we stay hungry, we have a chance."

    Running back Steven Jackson could easily be one of the most frustrated by the losing. He has his yards but only one touchdown. Losing can take a toll on any player. But Jackson, while emerging as a leader, hails the leadership of his head coach.

    "He's a great leader," Jackson said. "He's making sure that no one drifts away from what we're trying to turn around here. We knew going into the season that we were going to have our hands full. It's a new scheme on both sides of the ball. It's a lot of new faces in the locker room. Coach has really done a great job of making sure that we are all on the same page; that's the first thing. He's giving everyone a vision, getting everyone going in the right direction. I think we have that."


    NOTES. QUOTES

    --cbs

    reported Sunday that Texas banking mogul Gerald J. Ford is interested in buying the Rams. According to Forbes, Ford was ranked No. 289 as the wealthiest Americans with a worth of $1.35 billon. That was as of September.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo spends a lot of time at Rams Park. In fact, he admitted to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he sleeps on an inflatable bed in his office at least one night a week.

    Asking what nights he stays at Rams Park, Spagnuolo said, "Usually Monday and Tuesday. Every once in a while Wednesday, but I try not to do that because I like seeing my wife. I try every week to get home on Monday. Tuesday's a given that I'm sleeping here."

    Noting the commute from his home, Spagnuolo said, "It's 25 minutes. It's not bad. But you go 25 here, 25 back. And when I go home, I can't go right to bed, so that's another 30 minutes. So it ends up being an hour-and-a-half of lost sleep, whereas if I can just stay here—bang. You get an extra hour-and-a-half (sleep). Toward the end of the week, it adds up."

    Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole has seen progress in his unit as it has learned a new system.

    "I think we are close," Flajole said. "Now again, every week we come out here, we are not where we want to be yet. That is obvious, but I think from a mental standpoint when you see our guys do certain things, you kind of say, 'Well, we didn't quite get that right last week or the weeks before, but we got it right now.' I see a natural progression, which is encouraging. We've just got to continue to keep on that track and keep improving as the weeks go along."

    Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur hasn't had much to work with in the receiver group, and there have been struggles in the passing game. But he still believes there has been improvement, although noting the main problem.

    "We need to score points, and that is the focus," Shurmur said. "We found a way to drive the football. We are eliminating some of the mistakes we made earlier in the year, and now we just have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone. There is no magic formula other than we just have to be better at what we do."


    STRATEGY & PERSONNEL

    The Rams practiced with 52 players Monday following the release last Thursday of S Anthony Smith. A 53rd player likely will be on the field for Wednesday's practice. Smith was claimed by both Jacksonville and Green Bay, and he was awarded to the Jaguars.

    Player Notes

    RG Richie Incognito rode the bike during practice Monday and appears questionable for Sunday's game against New Orleans. Incognito suffered a foot injury on Oct. 25 against the Colts, and he is no longer in need of the walking boot he was wearing.

    WR/KR Danny Amendola returned to practice Monday and said he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered Nov. 1 against Detroit.

    DE C.J. Ah You did most of the work in practice Monday as he recovers from an ankle injury.

    WR Ruvell Martin practiced Monday, but he still has the upper portion of his left leg wrapped to protect his hamstring.

    CB Ron Bartell said his leg felt better because of the days off for the bye, but he's still not 100 percent from a quad injury that has affected his
    performance.

    Report Card After Eight Games

    Passing Offense:

    D—A young and inexperienced receiving corps has contributed to a conservative passing attack. With WR Laurent Robinson lost early in the season, there have been no consistent receivers. Keenan Burton is the team leader with a mere 25 catches, and he's averaged just 10.1 yards a reception. QBs Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller have passer ratings under 70, completion percentages of 57 percent or lower than an average per attempt of less than 5.70. Three of the five receivers currently on the roster—Danny Amendola, Ruvell Martin and Brandon Gibson—weren't with the team in training camp. Only Amendola, with 15, has caught a pass. TEs Randy McMichael and Daniel Fells have been inconsistent catching the ball, although Fells has three touchdowns, one on a fake field goal.

    Rushing Offense:

    B-plus—Defenses have stacked the box, but that hasn't stopped RB Steven Jackson from totaling 784 yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Of course, he has the team's only rushing touchdown of the season, the game-winner against Detroit. No backup of top quality has emerged. Kenneth Darby is second on the team with 57 yards on 11 attempts.

    Pass Defense:

    C—For the most part, the pass defense has been solid, although there hasn't been much of a pass rush. A large part of that has been the Rams have never had a two-possession lead in any game, so obvious passing situations haven't occurred very much. Opponents have completed 63.7 percent of their passes with a 91.9 passer rating.

    Rush Defense:

    B-minus—There have been some individual breakdowns at times, but overall the run defense has improved. Opponents are averaging 4.2 yards per rush, and an aggressive defense has cut down on the big plays.

    Special Teams:

    B—Amendola has given a lift to the return game, averaging 24.0 yards on kickoffs and 8.5 on punts. The coverage has been solid (22.7 on kickoffs, 6.1 on punts). P Donnie Jones remains one of the best in the league with a 46.0-yard average and 41.3 net. He has also placed 15 of 43 punts inside the 20. After a rocky start, PK Josh Brown has made seven of 10 field-goal attempts and two of three from 50 yards or farther.

    Coaching:

    B—On a young staff that is learning, the coaches have done the best possible job with the talent on hand. Most important, head coach Steve Spagnuolo has his players buying in to his team-first mantra, which has kept them practicing and playing hard despite winning just one of eight games.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Team Report - Nov 10

    Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

    reported Sunday that Texas banking mogul Gerald J. Ford is interested in buying the Rams. According to Forbes, Ford was ranked No. 289 as the wealthiest Americans with a worth of $1.35 billon. That was as of September.
    The richer the better, especially if there is no cap. What I want in an owner is a rich person who lets smart football people spend his money without little input from him.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams Team Report - Nov 10

      WR/KR Danny Amendola returned to practice Monday and said he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered Nov. 1 against Detroit.
      This is what I wanted to hear. Great news for the return game as well as the receiving corps.

      CB Ron Bartell said his leg felt better because of the days off for the bye, but he's still not 100 percent from a quad injury that has affected his performance.
      This worries me.

      Comment

      Related Topics

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      • eldfan
        Rams report /notes, quotes
        by eldfan
        From USA TODAY


        The injury bug has also spread to the team's coaches.
        Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole, who was walking gingerly when he spoke to the media, injured his groin in a drill.
        He said, "I was trying to be a young guy and help on the pass drill and I realized I'm an old guy. I pulled my groin. I was like a linebacker and I was trying to show the safety where the 'backer would be. Let me tell you, my youthful indiscretion got the best of me. I realized I've got to be in better shape.
        "James Laurinaitis has got nothing to worry about."


        —The Rams won't be changing their schemes during their bye week. They won't be making any drastic changes.
        What they will be doing is examining closely what they are at this point. Many teams around the NFL are trying to figure that out right now, while establishing a personality.
        Aside from playing bad football during the first four games of the season, this Rams team doesn't have an identity.
        From an explosive beginning when running back Steven Jackson scored on a 47-yard run on the first offensive play of the season, the offense has quickly degenerated into a dysfunctional mess that was fueled by the injury Jackson sustained on that run and the loss of wide receiver Danny Amendola, quarterback Sam Bradford's security blanket, also in that first game.
        The coaching staff wasted no time Monday beginning the self-scouting process that could also include some soul-searching. Players practiced Tuesday and Wednesday, but most of the coach's time will be spent being realistic assessing the talent on hand and figuring out the best way of utilizing it when the season resumes with an Oct. 16 game in Green Bay.
        As coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "You never know when you get the schedule at the beginning of the year if the bye week comes at a good time. In this particular case I think it does."
        It wasn't difficult for Spagnuolo to list what will be scrutinized closely.
        "Certainly protections, certainly third down on both sides, certainly the run fronts on offense. These are the things that just stick out," he said. "You guys can probably list another five or six of them, but we'll look at them all. And the thing you do have to be careful with, with that, and I've learned this over the years, is you can't go searching for things that are not there.
        "And you can't knee-jerk react to things that you find, because in a lot of instances, it just comes back to fundamentals. I know that's not the glorious answer that you want, but a lot of times that's what it comes down to."
        Fundamentals like catching the ball, blocking somebody, lining up correctly or not starting too soon have been lacking. Games can change when a team is simply opportunistic and fundamentally sound.
        "I think some of that is, we're living through some growing pains...
        -10-06-2011, 09:51 PM
      • Alec22
        Rams Staying the Course
        by Alec22
        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        By his own admission Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo can often have the sound of a broken record.

        Each week, win or lose, rain or snow, no matter the circumstance, Spagnuolo squares his jaw, focuses on the task at hand and approaches every game the same way.

        More than halfway into his rookie season as a head coach, Spagnuolo has never strayed from the team-first ethos he installed from the day he arrived in St. Louis way back in January.

        In the face of plenty of adversity, Spagnuolo has uttered nary a discouraging word and anyone looking for a full-throated, raging outburst should look elsewhere. And a little prosperity hasn’t had the opposite effect, either as Spagnuolo hasn’t come close to any type of braggadocio.

        “I have had my moments (of frustration),” Spagnuolo said. “But I think there’s a professional way to do it. I think everybody in this business should be respected for the jobs they have. I think any business is about respecting each other. I don’t see any reason to go off the cuff. I keep that to myself. Part of what we talk about as a team is being a poised team. You can’t be a poised team if the head coach isn’t poised.”

        Regardless of the record, if there’s one thing that has remained constant in this first year under Spagnuolo’s guidance it’s his and his team’s uncanny knack to remain unfazed by any possible distractions.

        Spagnuolo’s message reaches to the team, too. There have been no locker room or sideline blowups, only players staying relentlessly positive and focusing on the single goal of coming together as a team with the sole focus of finding ways to win football games.

        “Being a guy who has been here with the Rams now going for five years,” safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. “Some of the younger guys and some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here and that’s going to carry over throughout the locker room so you just build a team that is really focused on one goal and one purpose and being one.”

        BUYING IN

        At Spagnuolo’s initial news conference when he was introduced as the head coach, he made it clear the way he and general manager Billy Devaney wanted to build the team back into a winner.

        Topping the list was finding a way to build a team that was all about team. A team that would fill the locker room with players that care as much about the guy next to them as they do themselves.

        Spagnuolo put the Rams through a rigorous training camp that had them tackling in full pads from day one and continued to put the emphasis on building the team concept every day.

        It was easy enough for the players to buy into the system then because they knew Spagnuolo’s impressive resume coming from winning programs in Philadelphia and New York.

        “I think...
        -11-04-2009, 12:32 PM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Rams Focus On Staying United
        by r8rh8rmike
        Rams Focus on Staying United
        Monday, October 5, 2009


        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        As the clock wound down on the Rams’ loss to San Francisco on Sunday, running back Steven Jackson made it a point to provide some obvious leadership to his young teammates.

        No, Jackson didn’t return to the sideline yelling and screaming. He didn’t get a silly penalty to try to prove some sort of toughness, either.

        Instead, Jackson did what he always does. When the ball was handed to him, he ran as hard as he could. Regardless of the score, Jackson kept grinding away against a San Francisco defense that had fully committed to trying to slow him down.

        In the process, Jackson knowingly sent a message to his teammates that quitting is never an option.

        “That last drive I was able to be in, I just tried to run with a different determination, not to say that I was holding anything back, but you have got to understand that when you are down like we were you don’t give up,” Jackson said. “We are professional football players and we are expected to execute. We are going to lose battles out there but within those battles you cannot lose yourself in the game. We have to continue to fight no matter what the scoreboard says.”

        Now four games in to the 2009 season, the Rams have reached the quarter pole of the first season under coach Steve Spagnuolo.

        While that opening stretch hasn’t resulted yet in a victory, Spagnuolo and locker room leaders such as Jackson are doing everything they can to keep the ship headed in the right direction.

        For the league’s fourth-youngest team (average age of right around 26), the rebuilding process can be slow and painful. And when dealing with youth and inexperience, it’s imperative for the people who have been around – the veterans and the coaching staff – to keep hammering away at the details until they become second nature.

        It’s a painstaking process but it must be done. And though Spagnuolo can’t send any messages with his play on the field, it is his job to continue to take the temperature of his team and find ways to keep everyone’s head focused on moving on to the next step and not allowing any losses to fester.

        “I believe in this group,” Spagnuolo said. We can get out of this and work our way out of this. It’s going to take a lot of work. Nothing I am going to say is going to be different than what I have been saying all year long. Those games are done, we move on to Minnesota. We try to learn from it and we try to get better as a football team.”

        Indeed, Spagnuolo has been true to his message from day one, never altering the tone or even the volume of what he wants to convey to his team even in the face of adversity.

        Following Sunday’s loss to San Francisco in which many of the problems that have plagued the Rams in the...
        -10-05-2009, 08:32 PM
      • RockinRam
        Spagnuolo, Rams Expect More Than Just Average
        by RockinRam
        By Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

        Oct. 23--Every Wednesday when the Rams' practice week begins, coach Steve Spagnuolo strikes up a theme during the morning team meeting. This Wednesday, following the day's practice, Spagnuolo dropped it on the media almost casually.
        "I told the guys this morning we're 3-3, which means we're an average football team," Spagnuolo told reporters. "We're trying to get better -- 3-3 says average. Let me help you out with the injuries here ..."
        That's it? Your team registers a big victory, defeating four-time defending AFC West champion San Diego. And you tell them they're average?
        "I don't know what point he was trying to get across to the team by saying that we're average," running back Steven Jackson said. "But I do take this from the speech: We've put together two wins in a row before and we came out and laid an egg. Don't go and look at Tampa Bay as a gimme game. Go about it with the same approach that you prepared for the Chargers and other teams that you've played."

        Slowly but surely, Spagnuolo is trying to change how this team views itself and change its expectations. To wit, he didn't say a lot to the team in the locker room after that 20-17 victory over the Chargers. He didn't glow and gush about their effort, their progress, and that afternoon's achievement. It was more along the lines of: We expected to win, now on to Tampa Bay.
        "I think that just shows that the expectations around here have been set high," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "Obviously there have been some struggles in the past but there's no reason why this team can't have high expectations. He's right, 3-3 is an average team. We had a chance to win those first two games but we didn't, so we've got to continually get better and continue to set the bar high for ourselves."
        "We do not want to be average," center Jason Brown said. "Even though they're a few people out there that even if we finished out the season 8-8 would say, 'Oh yeah, they're rebuilding.' And give us a pat on the back for doing that."
        Actually, 8-8 would be quite an achievement considering the team's 1-15 mark a year ago and 6-42 ledger over the past three seasons. But Spagnuolo is pushing this team. He doesn't want it to settle; he doesn't want it to feel satisfied. Not in late October.
        "What he's trying to say is that regardless of how many games we've won (or lost) in the past, we're 3-3 right now," wide receiver Danny Amendola said. "And that's average. We didn't strive to be average. We're striving to be better than average. We're striving to be a great football team. And in order to get that we're going to have to win more games."
        The Rams were in a similar situation two weeks ago heading into Detroit. They had posted a couple of...
        -10-23-2010, 11:05 AM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Rams Keep Effort Up
        by r8rh8rmike
        Rams Keep Effort Up
        Monday, December 21, 2009


        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        As the ball came shooting out of the hands of Houston running back Arian Foster following a 13-yard catch and run, the eyes of rookie Rams defensive tackle Darell Scott immediately got large.

        It was as though Scott was about to sit down to a big meal, which, coincidentally, was something he’d been physically unable to do even had he wanted to in the days leading up to Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Texans.

        Scott reacted immediately and hauled all of his 6’3, 312 pound frame as fast as it could go from near the line of scrimmage the 20 or so yards required to pounce on the ball.

        Ultimately, Scott fell on it at the Rams’ 8 but the fact that Scott was well enough to chase it down at all was nothing short of a testament to the effort these Rams are still putting in despite the 1-13 record attached to their name.

        “You talk about an effort play from a game that I don’t know if he even ate anything the three days before it,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “That was a pretty good indicator of what those guys have inside of them.”

        Effort doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot in the NFL. In fact, it’s probably the minimum requirement for what it takes to win an NFL game. Most teams that find themselves playing into January start with effort as the baseline and build from there.

        As with most things in life, when something goes wrong, the easy thing to do is give up, regardless of how well compensated you are or whatever prestige might go with a particular endeavor.

        For the Rams, that opportunity to call it a day has presented itself time and again this season. Yet, for many reasons, they have refused to pack it in and go quietly into the offseason.

        “That’s what I expressed to them in the locker room,” Spagnuolo said. “That means a great deal to me, the staff. I know it’s not easy especially for the vets. It’s not an easy thing to go through, not for any of us and yet they are able to dust themselves off, come back to work on Wednesday and get ready to play a game.”

        While that hard work and effort has amounted to just one win and a whole lot of respect from Spagnuolo for the players, those efforts aren’t going completely unnoticed around the world of football.

        To wit:

        CBS analyst and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the Rams: “The Rams are playing hard every week, and that is a reflection of their coach. I've been watching film on them and they are playing hard. As coaches, we are judged on wins and losses, but at this time of year, you're tired and beat up, and if a team is still putting out a good effort it's a tribute to their coach.”

        Or this excerpt from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column on cnnsi.com: “I love...
        -12-22-2009, 07:23 PM
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