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At least Rams are earning some respect

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  • At least Rams are earning some respect

    At least Rams are earning some respect

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]By Bernie Miklasz

    The Rams appear to be making progress. It just depends on how you choose to measure them. Are they winning games? No. And Sunday's 28-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints dropped the home team to 1-8 on the season. If your gauge is checking the standings, then rage on. You won't be happy with the Rams.

    And I'm not saying you should be pleased. But I suppose I'm taking a real-world view of the season. During training camp, all you had to do was look at the laughably skeletal roster and see the flames of salary-cap hell to realize that the Rams were in for a brutal beatdown in 2009. And no short cuts, Scotch tape or spin could fix it.

    For realists, this was most certainly going to be a season of suffering. And it is. But as the season goes on, I'm finding a few things to like.

    I've had fun watching most of the Rams' recent games. Sunday's upset bid against the undefeated Saints was an enjoyable event. And the local TV ratings for Rams games have been strong, so I suspect that others share my sentiment. The Rams have actually provided some entertainment as of late, and that's a change.

    I realize that's inadequate for the angry and disillusioned among us. Again, no problem. If the only thing that matters to you is victory, then stock up on the Tums and swallow them a whole roll at a time, because your stomach is going to be burning for a while. The Rams still have a long way to go.

    This franchise is in the reconstruction mode, and the Rams are building one block at a time. But they seem to be improving.

    "Based on what happened out there today, I'd say yeah," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I'd like to watch the film first. I'm sure there are enough things in there that will be disappointing, that we could have done better. But I'm hoping and I'm quite certain there will be a lot of things that we'll say, 'Hey, we've gotten better here, we've gotten there.' I just think the character in that locker room is what allows what happened today to happen."

    Honest, I thought the Rams were going to lose Sunday's game by three touchdowns or more. I didn't see how they could match up with the swashbuckling Saints, who lead the NFL in points and yards and interceptions. I thought it would be about 40-10 in the fourth quarter, and we'd get a chance to see former Mizzou quarterback Chase Daniel get some clock for the Saints.

    Against those Las Vegas odds, the Rams made a game out of it. They had the ball on the New Orleans 37-yard line in the final minute with a chance to win.

    And if the Rams had a quarterback capable of calmly directing a two-minute offense and making the big plays necessary to pull out an improbable triumph, they probably would have snatched the thing. Instead, Marc Bulger kept wasting precious time with inexplicable dump-off throws to Steven Jackson. And so the Saints survived and won. But I think they were surprised that they had a duel on their hands.

    "Credit St. Louis," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I thought they played, and are playing, better football. I told Steve (Spagnuolo) after the game that they are playing with a ton of energy."

    With Jackson (131 yards rushing) bowling the Saints over, the Rams played to a 14-14 standoff in the first half. They promptly gave up a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, but recovered from that lightning strike. The Rams later fell behind 28-17 and picked themselves up again.

    "It looked like we were going to start to pull away," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said. "But the Rams hung in there. They made some plays when they had to, and you've got to give them credit for fighting all the way to the end."

    It helped that the Rams have upgraded at wide receiver. Rookie Brandon Gibson had an impressive day, with seven catches for 93 yards. Gibson made defenders miss, broke tackles and had plenty of yards after the catch which is rare in these parts.

    Gibson, acquired from Philadelphia in the Will Witherspoon trade, may be a piece for the future. And second-year wideout Donnie Avery showcased his talent by hooking up with Bulger for two TD passes. I just want to see signs of progress, and Gibson and Avery offered it at wide receiver.

    The Rams' defense gave up huge plays a 55-yard run by Reggie Bush, a 41-yard gallop by wideout Robert Meachem but the potent Saints offense scored only seven points in the second half. And we're talking about a New Orleans attack that went into the game leading the NFL in second-half points, 153.

    "We've stayed together and we've kept fighting hard, and that's a credit to our head coach," rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "He's really kept this team together."

    The Rams are losing, but at least they are losing with heart.

    (Go ahead and insert your cyncial response right here.)

    Trying hard doesn't warrant a celebratory parade. But if nothing else, the Rams are doing what they can to salvage some respect.

  • #2
    Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

    It helped that the Rams have upgraded at wide receiver. Rookie Brandon Gibson had an impressive day, with seven catches for 93 yards. Gibson made defenders miss, broke tackles and had plenty of yards after the catch which is rare in these parts.

    Gibson, acquired from Philadelphia in the Will Witherspoon trade, may be a piece for the future. And second-year wideout Donnie Avery showcased his talent by hooking up with Bulger for two TD passes. I just want to see signs of progress, and Gibson and Avery offered it at wide receiver.

    I like the sound of this! >8)

    GO RAMS!!


    • #3
      Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

      If you're unsure of our progression as a team, I hope you watched the Browns tonight.

      Case closed.


      • #4
        Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

        Originally posted by shower beers View Post
        If you're unsure of our progression as a team, I hope you watched the Browns tonight.

        Case closed.
        Yeah the Browns organization is ugly all the way down to the janitor! Excellent point Beers, the Rams game was a real, professional, competitive game. This is something we have been waiting for quite some time. I am really looking forward to the Cardinals matchup!
        "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

        Jack Youngblood


        • #5
          Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

          Originally posted by shower beers View Post
          If you're unsure of our progression as a team, I hope you watched the Browns tonight.

          Case closed.
          I feel sorry for their fans...that Monday night performance was horrendous.
          As for our Rams ... I have to admit I thought the Saints were going to crush us. Playoff hopeful teams BEWARE Rams are going to play spoiler for the rest of the year GO Rams!!! ( RAM IT !!! LOL )


          • #6
            Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

            For the first time I heard an ESPN announcer say something positive about the Rams. Chris Berman said, "The Rams played 'em tough!"
            I was over-joyed.


            • #7
              Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

              Originally posted by shower beers View Post
              If you're unsure of our progression as a team, I hope you watched the Browns tonight.

              Case closed.
              If fans haven't noticed progression of the Rams, they aren't watching them either.


              • #8
                Re: At least Rams are earning some respect

                As a Giants fan, I can tell you guys that you are so lucky to have Spags.
                You held the Saints to 28 points with a bunch of unknown players on defense. Meanwhile, the same Giants defense Spags was coaching last season gave up that many points to the Saints in a half! Damn I miss him!


                Related Topics


                • eldfan
                  Rams lack the gift of grab
                  by eldfan
                  By Jim Thomas
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                  These are the games players dream about, especially players on a young, victory-starved team like the Rams.

                  "Coming into this game, not a lot of people gave us a chance to even hang around in this game," running back Steven Jackson said.

                  Truth be told, why should they?
                  The Rams had played two unbeaten teams previously at home this season Minnesota and Indianapolis and lost by a combined score of 80-16. Why should Sunday be any different against a New Orleans team on pace to become the highest-scoring squad in NFL history?

                  Well, it was. On Sunday, the Rams became the first team in league history to play three straight home games against unbeaten teams. They came close to making more history with what would've been a staggering upset.

                  But Marc Bulger's Hail Mary pass as time expired fell to the turf incomplete. And the Rams fell 28-23 to the still unbeaten Saints (9-0).

                  "Anybody who was watching this game in the country, I'm sure they couldn't turn away from the television," center Jason Brown said. "It's not one of those games where you can say, 'Oh, the Saints have this,' because we challenged them the entire game.

                  "That's all you can ask for, coming down to the last two minutes, knowing that you score, and you're in a winnable situation. You can't ask for more."

                  Well, actually, you could've asked for six more points.

                  "You want to come out with the win," said Jackson, who with 26 carries for 131 yards topped 100 yards for the third

                  consecutive game. "You want to be in here jumping and celebrating."

                  But there was no joy in the home-team locker room at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams (1-8) actually outgained the Saints' No. 1-ranked offense, 434 yards to 420. Bulger finished with a better passer rating than the great Drew Brees 93.5 to 89.1.

                  The Rams also won the time of possession by four minutes, and were plus 2 in takeaway-giveaway differential.

                  So a lot went right for St. Louis. But not in the opening 11 seconds of the second half. Just when it seemed safe to FINALLY say that the long-suffering Rams coverage units had gotten over the hump, Courtney Roby changed all that with a ridiculously easy 97-yard yard kickoff return for a touchdown, snapping a 14-14 tie.

                  Roby took the kick from Josh Brown, headed quickly up the left sideline and was touched barely by only Brown en route to the end zone.

                  "That kickoff return, it's just the spark they needed coming out in the second half," said Bulger, who threw for a season-high 298 yards and two touchdowns.

                  The Rams had not given up a kickoff return longer than 33 yards all season, and ranked a respectable 13th in the league...
                  -11-16-2009, 01:21 PM
                • MFranke
                  RamView, 11/15/2009: Saints 28, Rams 23 (Long)
                  by MFranke
                  RamView, November 15, 2009
                  From Row HH
                  (Report and opinions from the game.)
                  Game #9: Saints 28, Rams 23

                  The winning streak may be over, but after coming within a play of pulling off the biggest upset of the season, the Rams can still hold their heads high. They're on course to winning this kind of game before too long.

                  * RB: Steven Jackson (26-131 rushing, 9-45 receiving) is that friend you'd call if you get your car stuck in a ditch, except I think Steven would just pick the car up with his bare hands and carry it back up to the road on his back. What a dominating performance today. 30 yards on his first official touch, knifing through the hole, faking out Tracy Porter, spinning off Usama Young's shoulder tackle. Steven had some moves today. He took a play-action pass for 13 after faking Scott Fujita out of his jock. Steven also had some POWER today. It took eight Saints to bring him down at the end of that play. Jackson was everywhere on the Rams' first TD drive: left for 14, up the middle for 8, right for 8... and then he had to save the drive single-handedly. Will Smith's sack of an indecisive Marc Bulger left the ball on the Saint 29 for the whole world to grab, but Jackson swooped in from ten yards away to secure it for the Rams, and Bulger threw a pretty TD pass the next play. Jackson ground out 26 yards up the middle on 3 carries before scoring his 2nd TD of the year from the 2 late in the half. An 8-yard run in the 3rd where he ran over poor teammate Brandon Gibson helped set up a FG, but the Saints successfully limited Jackson most of the 2nd half, holding him to 55 total yards. Bulger tried him a couple of times in the Rams' last attempt to win the game, but Jackson was drawing crowds and was held to short gains. We're seeing the height of what Steven Jackson can do. He can beat a bad team (Detroit) practically by himself. He can keep the Rams in the game with one of the league's best teams for at least a half. 39 is a rock-solid foundation. The Rams need to get enough good pieces around him.

                  * QB: Marc Bulger (26-40-298, 93.5 rating) had a blockbuster movie type of a game. Very good numbers, a few thrills, but you're left just a little wanting at the end. No doubt some were thinking of disaster movies after Usama Young, making it sound like the terrorists won, picked Bulger off in the end zone in the first. Keenan Burton (who blew out a knee on the play) was open for a split second, but Young played it perfectly and ultimately, Bulger tried to force a throw there he shouldn't have. The Rams drive into scoring position again in the 2nd, and aagh, it looks like another disaster when Bulger fails about three times to unload to Steven Jackson, gets sacked and fumbles. But after Jackson bails him out, Bulger steps up with a dead-perfect 29-yard pass to Donnie Avery, running a corner route to the left pylon, for a game-tying TD. Bulger scrambled around forever in the...
                  -11-16-2009, 01:40 PM
                • eldfan
                  St. Louis Rams Team Report 10/27/2011
                  by eldfan
                  USA TODY

                  The numbers are daunting. The Saints scored 62 points Sunday night in a win over the Colts, which is more than the total points the Rams have scored in six games.
                  In addition, the Saints have four receivers with more receiving yards than the 296 Danario Alexander has as St. Louis' team leader, and New Orleans has six receivers with more receptions than the 17 that Rams leader Brandon Gibson has. And Gibson was inactive last week following the arrival of Brandon Lloyd from Denver.

                  Want more? The Rams have scored five total touchdowns in six games, while Saints quarterback Drew Brees had five touchdown passes against the Colts.

                  The Saints are the Rams' opponent Sunday in the last of a seven-game stretch to start the season against teams that currently have a combined 28-16 record. After this game, the Rams' next six games are against teams with a combined record of 14-22.

                  Despite all that, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo remains focused on the task at hand, which is facing the Saints and their second-ranked offense that is averaging 467.1 yards per game.

                  Asked about being worried that his team's 0-6 record will snowball, Spagnuolo said, "I don't go there. I just got done telling the football team that ... and I know I've said it here before, too. In this business you've got to be very segmented. Just a different way of saying what I've been saying; it's 16 segments. Your thinking has to be that way.

                  "So, we're in the seventh segment, and we can't worry about the first six or what's after that. I mean, you just have to do it that way. I don't know any other way to do it, and I've said this before, if we were 6-0 and the record was different, Wednesday would be no different. The work we would be doing, it would feel a little bit different, but the work we have to do would be no different. It would be the same."

                  With injuries mounting, Spagnuolo was also asked about a "woe is me" mentality creeping into his team.

                  "These guys are professionals," he said. "The next guy steps up. The 'woe is me' might be the person that's hurt, and then he's just got to get in the training room and get healthy. But what that does is it just creates an opportunity for somebody else."

                  Still, four starters were injured in Sunday's game against Dallas: right tackle Jason Smith, wide receiver Alexander, linebacker Brady Poppinga and cornerback Justin King. On Wednesday, left tackle Rodger Saffold also wasn't able to practice because of illness.

                  Bryan Kehl, who had never played on the strong side in a regular-season game, replaced Poppinga. Josh Gordy, signed after the season started, replaced King in a depleted secondary.

                  In this situation, "next man up" creates matchup problems made worse when playing talent-rich teams like the Saints....
                  -10-27-2011, 06:09 AM
                • RamsFan16
                  RamsFan16's thoughts on the game.
                  by RamsFan16
                  Hello ClanRam family! I just wanted to congradulate the Rams on an absolutely great effort today on the Gridiron Battlefield. It's the first time in a long time that I was absolutely proud to be a Rams fan ( I always am proud, but even though we lost, I feel like we won ). We didn't get the win, but we got the next best thing... A chance to take down the best team in the NFC and possibly the NFL and came up a pass short. Anyways, let's get this ball rollin'!

                  - Steven Jackson, the guy is an obvious beast, wants to win and just dominates. Fans who always questioned his heart are currently feasting on crow week in, and week out ( Hopefully they don't grab the Swine Flu ). The best thing about this, is that he doesn't want to leave St. Louis, he sees what is going to be in St. Louis and that's great football, great RAMS FOOTBALL. He wants to be here when it happens and retire as a Ram, he wants to be a part of something special.

                  - The Offensive Line as a whole, they first half they did a great job, and the second half they did well too. They're really starting to gel and that's without Richie Incognito. I'm skeptical about bringing him back into the lineup, is that going to ruin chemistery? I don't know. But they're opening holes for Jackson and starting to protect Bulger really well.

                  - Mike Karney, the guys having a Pro Bowl season. Unfortunately he isn't the type of Fullback to get Touchdowns, receptions and yards. He's the type to knock you right in the mouth. He's blocking great for Jackson. The seal he had on Steven Jacksons touchdown was brilliant!

                  - Chris Long, the kids coming a long. A lot of second year NFL Players hit a slump, for whatever reason, I don't know why, but they do. He had another sack today on a great play where he got lower than the lineman, bullrushed and took down Brees. That's two games in a row with sacks. He did good in run support too. I know many will jump to conclusions, but many of the Saints long gains came on the right side of the Offensive Line, not Longs side. They Rams Run Defense was fairly stout on Long's side. He's going to be fine, he's having a good year.

                  - Brandon Gibson/Donnie Avery. Two young wide receivers, Gibson a rookie and Avery a second year guy battling injury. Gibson had 90 yards receiving today at his NFL Debut, making some damn nice grabs and making guys miss, and running superb routes. If he keeps that up... He's going to be "potentially" dangerous. Avery hauled in two touchdown passes by two beautifully ( yes, beautifully ) thrown passes by Marc Bulger. He's coming a long, I believe he'll finish the season strong.

                  - OJ Atogwe and James Butler, finally these guys make some plays. Two interceptions between them both and some nice plays and Touchdown saving plays. Great job boys!

                  - Marc Bulger, he did a damn nice job today. Made some nice plays, even scrambled for a...
                  -11-15-2009, 09:47 PM
                • r8rh8rmike
                  Rookie Is A Quick Study
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  Rookie is quick study
                  BY JIM THOMAS

                  As Brandon Gibson made one catch after another Sunday against New Orleans, the collective thought throughout Rams Nation must have gone something like this: "OK, now we know why they traded for this guy."

                  With fewer than a dozen practices under his belt since being acquired from Philadelphia in the Will Witherspoon trade, Gibson posted the most receptions (seven) for a Rams wide receiver and the most reception yards (93) for any Rams player this season.

                  Gibson, a rookie from Washington State, is the first to admit he was nervous against the Saints. At the same time, he exudes confidence, although not in a cocky way.

                  "Some people know what I'm capable of," Gibson said. "But there were probably a lot of people who haven't seen me play. I guess I kind of gave people a taste, and they're going to have high expectations. That's fine. I just want to go out there and be consistent, make sure I catch the ball and always attack and play at a high level."

                  Some of Gibson's new teammates saw something in him in just the first few weeks of practice. Left guard Jacob Bell, for example, said it was

                  obvious from the get-go that Gibson was a hungry player, and a player who had high expectations for himself.

                  "I think that started in Philadelphia," Gibson said. "Because when you go out there, you've got DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Kevin Curtis, Danny Amendola."

                  In short, the Eagles were stacked at wide receiver at the start of this season. (Amendola is now a Ram; Baskett is with Indianapolis.)

                  "We were out there, and we all were fighting (for playing time)," Gibson said. "We all wanted to get better. And you learn from situations like that. So practice is where it starts. You can set yourself apart in practice, and then it becomes easier in the games."

                  An Army brat, Gibson was born in Germany and then attended high school in Puyallup, Wash., the hometown of former Rams wideout Dane Looker. Gibson stayed in-state for college and by his junior season at Washington State had blossomed into an All-Pacific 10 Conference performer (and a third-team All-American) with a school-record 1,180 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

                  Gibson almost certainly would've been a first-day selection in the 2008 draft, but he decided to return for his senior season at Washington State.

                  "You're only a senior once," Gibson said. "Even though I had a big junior year, I was excited about coming back and thought that I could even get better. I didn't feel like I was ready to take my game to the NFL level."

                  But with a new head coach and a new offensive scheme, Gibson wasn't nearly as effective as a...
                  -11-18-2009, 04:01 PM