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  • Rams Facing Big Shortage

    Rams facing big shortage
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/28/2009

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo cringed when considering the possibility that five of his 11 starters on offense could be watching from the sideline Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "Well, when you list it like that ... " Spagnuolo said before reverting quickly to the company line.

    "In this league, you've got to step in there and play," he said. "All teams have injuries. We just line up and play the game."

    Still, the Rams' odds of knocking off Seattle certainly would be enhanced if quarterback Marc Bulger (leg), guard Richie Incognito (foot), running back Steven Jackson (back spasms), fullback Mike Karney (neck) and tackle Jason Smith (concussion) were on the field for the noon kickoff.
    Bulger and Smith definitely won't suit up. Kyle Boller takes over for Bulger with the first team. Adam Goldberg slides from right guard into Smith's spot at right tackle, with Mark Setterstrom expected to move in at right guard.

    Setterstrom, who hasn't started a game since the third week of the 2007 season, had "a solid week" of practice with the first team, Spagnuolo reported.

    Incognito, Jackson and Karney were listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. In NFL parlance, that means they have a 50-50 chance of playing.

    Jackson, the NFL's second-leading rusher, missed a third consecutive day of practice, although he did some individual work with the trainers on the sideline. Spagnuolo said he hoped to reach a decision on Jackson's availability today but conceded he might wait until Sunday morning.

    "I trust Steven and what he can tell me. I think he'll be truthful," Spagnuolo said. "The competitive juices come out. But I think he's been in the league long enough that he knows he doesn't want to hurt the team, yet he wants to be out there to help the team."

    Spagnuolo indicated that despite missing the entire week of practice, Jackson could step in on game day without a glitch. Jackson, who said earlier in the week that he expected to play Sunday, was unavailable to reporters Friday.

    If Jackson were unable to play, Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado would be the primary ball-carriers. Rookie Chris Ogbonnaya, a seventh-round draftee who has spent the season on the practice squad, could be promoted to the 45-man game-day roster.

    "They just told me to prepare, be ready just in case they need me," said Ogbonnaya, who took some reps with the first unit this week. "Whatever happens, happens. I'll just stay patient, stay positive."

    BLACKED OUT

    For just the seventh time since the Rams moved here in 1995, a home game will be blacked out locally. Several thousand tickets remained unsold for Sunday's contest as of late Friday. Normally, teams must fulfill sellout requirements 72 hours before kickoff for a game to be televised locally. But that deadline often is extended automatically on holiday weeks. The Rams' first five home games this year were sellouts.

    RAM-BLINGS

    The Rams haven't defeated the Seahawks since their playoff victory in Seattle in 2004, a string of nine losses that includes a 28-0 thumping in this year's season opener. ... The Seahawks are playing their third road game in as many weeks, following losses at Arizona (31-20) and Minnesota (35-9).

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Ready For Home Debut
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams Ready for Home Debut
    Thursday, August 20, 2009


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo wasn’t fazed by returning to his old stomping grounds at Giants Stadium for last week’s preseason opener against the Jets.

    Spagnuolo likely won’t react much different on Friday night when he and the new look Rams make their debut in front of the home fans at the likewise new look Edward Jones Dome against Atlanta.

    In the days leading up to the opener in New York, Spagnuolo insisted that he wouldn’t let any lingering emotion of his former employer take over. He acknowledged that he would think for a brief moment about his time with the Giants but then it was all Rams.

    This time, though, Spagnuolo fessed up to being at least a little excited to be in front of a friendly crowd for the first time as a head coach.

    “It is because it is St. Louis and I appreciate the fans and every body here,” Spagnuolo said. “I think there are great sports fans here but once the game kicks off – I will always say this to the players – it is really what happens between the white lines. Now it is certainly always nice to have the support but the game is played on the field and I hope the guys will focus on that and hopefully we can do good enough things that there will be a lot of cheering.”

    Should the Rams find a way to repeat what they did last week against the Jets, the blue and gold faithful in attendance should have plenty of opportunities to cheer. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of areas in which Spagnuolo and his staff would like to see improvement this week against the Falcons.

    Spagnuolo said Wednesday that he expects to get the top units about a half of work on each side with some room in there for substitutions. Running back Steven Jackson, for example, isn’t likely to play all of that time though the amount of plays for those units is more important to Spagnuolo than the actual game time played.

    “We’ll say the first and second quarter,” Spagnuolo said. “If the number of reps gets too high maybe that will change but that will be the approach.”

    Of course, the first units will look a little different considering the events of the past week. Fans and coaches will almost certainly get a look at four players who either didn’t play or didn’t appear with the first unit last week.

    Left guard Jacob Bell suffered a concussion in the preseason opener and isn’t likely to play. Quarterback Marc Bulger is out with a broken right pinkie and tackle Alex Barron isn’t likely to play with swelling in his knee.

    That leaves opportunities for John Greco and Mark Setterstrom at guard, rookie Jason Smith at right tackle (with Adam Goldberg moving to the left side) and Kyle Boller stepping in for Bulger at quarterback.

    Fortunately for the Rams, none...
    -08-21-2009, 02:35 PM
  • eldfan
    St. Louis Rams' Jackson's leadership touches Spagnuolo
    by eldfan
    St. Louis Rams' Jackson's leadership touches Spagnuolo
    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/02/2009

    Even with an 0-3 start, Steven Jackson ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (288) and fifth in yards from scrimmage (349). But coach Steve Spagnuolo is just as impressed with what he has seen from the Rams running back from a leadership standpoint.

    "I've seen nothing but great things," Spagnuolo said. "I'm going to tell you what, his greatness in that regard — in the leadership regard — is shining right now when it's not the best of times and the results haven't been what we want. ... There was something that he did that just meant the world to me, and I appreciate him and how he is going about things right now."

    Despite some prodding by the media, Spagnuolo wouldn't elaborate. It was later learned that following Sunday's 36-17 loss to Green Bay, Jackson went into the head coach's "office" in the locker room area at the Edward Jones Dome and met with Spagnuolo. Whether it was words of encouragement from Jackson, or a promise that things would get better, Spagnuolo was touched.

    The normally chatty Jackson clammed up when the subject was broached Thursday.

    "It was just something between Coach and myself," Jackson said.

    HOLLIS IS A PANTHER

    Just two days after being released by the Rams, veteran defensive tackle Hollis Thomas has signed with the Carolina Panthers.

    "The Rams said, 'bye,' and you guys said, 'hello.' It's no more cut and dry than that," Thomas told reporters Thursday in Charlotte. "I knew the head coach, Spags, from when I was in Philadelphia, and he said he needed to get some young guys playing and see what they had. So I understood. He said he wished I could have a three-week vacation and come back, but that's not the nature of the business."

    Thomas added, "I was in a situation where I got to go through training camp with St. Louis and see if I could still play a 3-technique. And I really can't. ... Those other guys were quicker than me."

    The 3-technique position requires more quickness and penetration skills than nose tackle, which is where the Panthers need his help. Thomas flashed his trademark humor when asked what he can bring to Carolina.

    "A little levity, a little thickness in the middle," he said. "Everybody wants to be focusing on the other fat guys; they'll focus on the new fat guy. It's like the first day of school. You don't want to wear the wrong outfit because you'll be the object of ridicule for the rest of the year."

    BULGER, SMITH OUT

    Once again, quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder) and right tackle Jason Smith (knee) did not practice Thursday. Both players did rehab work on the side. Bulger hasn't attempted to throw...
    -10-01-2009, 10:16 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Applauds Rams' Practice Habits
    by r8rh8rmike
    12.02.2009 3:57 pm
    Spagnuolo applauds Rams’ practice habits
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    Practice had wrapped up about 15 minutes earlier, but the indoor facility at Rams Park still was crowded with players.

    “Look at them,” St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I mean, practice is over and about half the team’s out there working. I think that says a lot. But I’ll tell you what, that’s typical of this group. They amaze me every week, going through what we’re going through, to come out and practice they way they do.”

    Despite their 1-10 record, dampened further by an dispiriting 27-17 loss to a flagging Seahawks outfit three days earlier at the Edward Jones Dome, Wednesday’s practice was uptempo and upbeat. “They came out with a little bit of energy and practiced pretty good,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a good thing to start the week.” (There are no practices on Mondays and Tuesdays.)

    Notes & quotes:

    *These players sat out Wednesday: QB Marc Bulger (leg), FB Mike Karney (neck), T Jason Smith (concussion), C Jason Brown (knee) and RB Steven Jackson (back). Spagnuolo said he was optimistic that Brown and Jackson could return Thursday.

    *Smith, who took a blow to the head Nov. 22 vs. the Cardinals and didn’t play vs. the Seahawks, won’t take another follow-up neuro exam “until he feels like he’s completely fine,” Spagnuolo said. “Obviously, he’s still feeling effects of it, so they’re just going to wait.”

    *LB James Laurinaitis has two sore shoulders, but he was a full participant Wednesday. “That’s life as a middle linebacker in the NFL,” Spagnuolo said.

    *G Richie Incognito, who has missed four games with a foot sprain, worked with the first-team offense and said that barring a setback, he expects to play Sunday in Chicago.

    *This week’s captains are QB Kyle Boller (offense), DE Leonard Little (defense) and LB David Vobora (special teams).
    -12-02-2009, 08:53 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Back Spasms Keep Jackson Out Of Practice
    by r8rh8rmike
    11.25.2009 2:18 pm
    Back spasms keep Jackson out of practice
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, the No. 2 rusher in the NFL, sat out practice Wednesday because he was suffering spasms in his lower back. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Jackson would be evaluated daily.

    “It’s day to day,” Jackson said. “Anyone that’s had any back problems knows that it’s just one of those things where you’ve got to wait it out. There’s really nothing you can do. I’ve spent countless hours (at Rams Park) since Sunday, trying to get it back together. Hopefully it’ll release a little bit and allow me to practice.”

    Jackson, who had a similar problem a couple of years ago, said he’s “expecting to play Sunday” when the Seahawks visit the Edward Jones Dome.

    Also skipping practice were fullback Mike Karney (neck), tackle Jason Smith (concussion), punter Donnie Jones (illness) and, of course, quarterback Marc Bulger (leg), who will be sidelined three to six weeks. Guard Richie Incognito (foot), who has missed three games, did some individual work.
    -11-25-2009, 11:49 PM
  • Nick
    Rams quarterback sees improvement in offensive line
    by Nick
    Rams quarterback sees improvement in offensive line
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Aug. 06 2009

    It's way too early to make an accurate evaluation, but a week into training
    camp, quarterback Marc Bulger likes what he has seen of the Rams' reconstructed
    offensive line.

    "They're definitely more physical," said Bulger, one of the NFL's most-sacked
    quarterbacks over the past few years. "I think they're taking a lot of pride in
    their pass-blocking. And if you watch our nine-on-seven drills and our live
    running, there's some holes there for Steven (Jackson) ... and Steven doesn't
    need much of a hole.

    "So it's going to create some matchups for Steven on not only linebackers, but
    if we can get him to the second level — on the safeties and the corners — we're
    going to be in really good shape."

    Bulger is receiving plenty of scrutiny as he prepares for what could be a
    make-or-break season with the Rams, and an improved offensive line would be a
    big boost for him. He insists that he's not feeling extra pressure, though.

    "I'm just concentrating on what I'm doing; there's nothing I can control except
    what I do," he said. "We have to win football games, and that's what everyone's
    goal is right now. ... We're just trying to turn this thing around and start
    winning games and have fun again. Everything else will take care of itself."

    HARD TO PLEASE

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo hasn't been particularly complimentary when asked to
    evaluate the practices. He conceded that he simply isn't easy to please.

    "I'm always going to want it better; that's just (me)," Spagnuolo said.
    "There's lulls in there, and one of the things we've talked about is, we want
    to be (advancing), and not going up and down. If we can get rid of some of the
    lulls, we'll be OK."

    As for the players' willingness, Spagnuolo offered high marks.

    "The attitude's been great," he said. "This group is a very competitive group;
    that's what we're kind of learning. That's a good thing. They want to compete,
    they want to get better, they want to be in those situations where it's tough
    on them.

    "You continue to think like that, I've got to believe it's going to help us."

    ROOKIE PROGRESS

    Second-round draft pick James Laurinaitis appears to be progressing at a
    slightly faster rate than first-rounder Jason Smith. Laurinaitis' time with the
    first unit at middle linebacker has been increasing steadily. Smith, stationed
    most often at right tackle, still is getting nearly all his reps with the No. 2
    offense.

    INJURY UPDATE
    ...
    -08-05-2009, 11:22 PM
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