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Rams Team Report - Nov 10

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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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