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  • Seattle test will tell us which way Rams are headed

    Seattle test will tell us which way Rams are headed


    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Friday, Oct. 08 2004

    The Rams got better last week. They ran the ball, they stopped the run, the
    covered kicks, they won a division game on the road . . . all in all, it was a
    splendid Sunday night in San Francisco.

    But now we’ll learn so much more about this team. Rams coach Mike Martz insists
    that the early turbulence was expected and that his team will continue
    improving as the season unfolds.

    The Seahawks will test that theory -- because they have all the tools to
    deliver the Rams a severe beating in Seattle.

    Here is what we’ll be looking for over in this corner of cyberspace:


    * Can the Rams really stop the run?

    The Seahawks will pound running back Shaun Alexander into Larry Marmie’s
    defensive unit, looking to set up play-action passing opportunities.

    The Rams got a handle on Kevan Barlow last Sunday in Frisco, but this will be a
    much greater challenge.

    “You need to try to keep their linemen off our linebackers with the defensive
    front,” Martz observed during his Wednesday news conference. “It’s like putting
    your finger in a leak in the dam, it will spring somewhere else.”

    Like with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is building on last season’s
    progress.

    “All of a sudden he is pulling the ball out of Alexander’s belly,” Martz said,
    “and throwing it down the field. That’s how they work.”


    * Can the Rams really establish the run?

    The Niners are nothing special on defense and Martz made the point of punishing
    them with Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson. Will he still favor the run this
    week if Seattle has early success stopping it?

    The Seahawks have the league’s third-ranked rush defense, so opening holes will
    be a chore -- especially with the Rams offensive line so banged up.

    We’ll all monitor the play-calling closely. If Mad Mike abandons the run, the
    Seahawks have the personnel to get after quarterback Marc Bulger while making
    it difficult to connect on deep passing strikes. The Seahawks have an excellent
    secondary.

    So far, former Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom has been everything Seahawks
    coach Mike Holmgren hoped for. So far, Seattle's defensive line has been very
    disruptive.

    “Our defensive line, I’m not saying I’m surprised, but they put it together
    nicely,” Holmgren told the St. Louis media during a conference call Wednesday.
    “We’re playing a lot of folks in there. We drafted (Marcus) Tubbs in the first
    round. He’s in there and he’s a rookie. And Rashard Moore is a young guy,
    second-year player in there, and I’m pleased with how the defensive line is
    playing. They set the table for the linebackers and secondary.”


    * Will Martz get Faulk out in space?

    The Seahawks linebackers aren’t great. If ever Martz was going to throw lots of
    passes to Faulk releasing from the backfield, this would be the game.

    Faulk looked more like his old self against the Niners last week. Now Martz has
    an opportunity to get him lots of touches in different ways.


    * Finally, will the Rams play a clean game?

    Last Sunday they played nearly mistake-free football, avoiding the sorts of
    penalties, turnovers and kick coverage gaffes that led to their 1-2 start.

    If the Rams make lots of mistakes at Seattle, they will get blown out. If they
    can minimize their mishaps, then they will give their playmakers the
    opportunity to take their shot.

    This matchup provides an excellent test. Just where are the Rams these days?
    Are they moving back into playoff contention or are they headed south, as so
    many naysayers believe?

    By the end of the weekend, we’ll have a much better read on this football team.

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Seattle test will tell us which way Rams are headed

    This place will go haywire no matter who wins this game. It's a very pivotal game early in the season, and, I also believe, will tell us where this Rams team is going.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Seattle test will tell us which way Rams are headed

      We'll be the best offense Seattle has faced to date. This game will not only save a lot about the Rams, but will also be the biggest test that the Seattle defense will have gone against thus far in the season. So we'll not only find out if the Rams are for real, but also if the Seahawks are.

      Comment

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      • RamWraith
        Seattle test will tell us which way Rams are headed
        by RamWraith
        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        10/08/2004


        The Rams got better last week. They ran the ball, they stopped the run, the covered kicks, they won a division game on the road . . . all in all, it was a splendid Sunday night in San Francisco.

        But now we'll learn so much more about this team. Rams coach Mike Martz insists that the early turbulence was expected and that his team will continue improving as the season unfolds.

        The Seahawks will test that theory -- because they have all the tools to deliver the Rams a severe beating in Seattle.

        Here is what we'll be looking for over in this corner of cyberspace:


        * Can the Rams really stop the run?

        The Seahawks will pound running back Shaun Alexander into Larry Marmie's defensive unit, looking to set up play-action passing opportunities.

        The Rams got a handle on Kevan Barlow last Sunday in Frisco, but this will be a much greater challenge.

        "You need to try to keep their linemen off our linebackers with the defensive front," Martz observed during his Wednesday news conference. "It's like putting your finger in a leak in the dam, it will spring somewhere else."

        Like with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is building on last season's progress.

        "All of a sudden he is pulling the ball out of Alexander's belly," Martz said, "and throwing it down the field. That's how they work."


        * Can the Rams really establish the run?

        The Niners are nothing special on defense and Martz made the point of punishing them with Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson. Will he still favor the run this week if Seattle has early success stopping it?

        The Seahawks have the league's third-ranked rush defense, so opening holes will be a chore -- especially with the Rams offensive line so banged up.

        We'll all monitor the play-calling closely. If Mad Mike abandons the run, the Seahawks have the personnel to get after quarterback Marc Bulger while making it difficult to connect on deep passing strikes. The Seahawks have an excellent secondary.

        So far, former Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom has been everything Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren hoped for. So far, Seattle's defensive line has been very disruptive.

        "Our defensive line, I'm not saying I'm surprised, but they put it together nicely," Holmgren told the St. Louis media during a conference call Wednesday. "We're playing a lot of folks in there. We drafted (Marcus) Tubbs in the first round. He's in there and he's a rookie. And Rashard Moore is a young guy, second-year player in there, and I'm pleased with how the defensive line is playing. They set the table for the linebackers and secondary."


        * Will Martz get Faulk out in...
        -10-08-2004, 07:06 PM
      • RamDez
        Seahawks' D gets first real test vs. Rams
        by RamDez
        Seahawks' D gets first real test vs. Rams
        Seattle gunning for 4-0 start, but St. Louis stands the way

        The Associated Press
        Oct. 9, 2004

        SEATTLE - Say what you want about Grant Wistrom’s big free agency deal. The Seattle Seahawks believe he’s earning his paycheck, plus this week they get part of the bonus back.


        Nobody on Seattle’s side has to block him.

        The high-energy defensive end switched teams in what is becoming one of the NFL’s freshest rivalries. Wistrom left St. Louis for a free agency offer that included a $14 million bonus.

        “We always had to account for Grant and he gave us the same sort of problems he creates now for other teams,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. “He’s just a good player and I’m glad he’s on our side now.”

        If Holmgren is happy now, he could be ecstatic by Sunday night.

        A victory would make the Seahawks (3-0) unbeaten through four games for the first time ever, extend Seattle’s home-field winning streak to 11 games and open an early but comfortable 2½-game lead in the NFC West.

        But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, not with the Rams (2-2) recovering after a slow start.

        Holmgren thinks the St. Louis defense remains formidable, even without Wistrom. The Rams have been slowed by injuries, but they still have Leonard Little, Adam Archuleta and Aeneas Williams.

        “It’s still a great defense even without Grant,” Seattle guard Steve Hutchinson said. “They’re a good unit. They play really good team defense.”

        And the offense?

        Marshall Faulk is coming off his 40th career 100-yard rushing game in last week’s 24-14 win at San Francisco, when Rams coach Mike Martz embraced what for him seemed an extraordinary run-first approach.

        “I don’t know why that’s such an issue,” Martz said. “I’ve always been pragmatic. I get in a game and I have an idea about what we want to do. If things don’t turn out well in an area, you change gears and move.”

        The offensive line, though, is coming together. Even better, Faulk catches an occasional breather — even if defenses don’t — because of promising rookie Steven Jackson.

        “Anybody who thinks Marshall Faulk has lost a step isn’t watching the same football,” Wistrom said. “He looks as quick as ever and now he’s got another running back who can come in and spell him, something he hasn’t really been afforded since he’s been in St. Louis.”

        Marc Bulger still has Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt running patterns. Orlando Pace is still taking up plenty of room at left tackle. In fact, he’ll match up with Wistrom for the first time at game speed.

        “They are a powerful offensive football team,” Holmgren said. “They have been and they are very, very capable still of lighting things up.”

        Can the same be said of the Seahawks?

        Seattle is coming off a bye week. Before...
        -10-10-2004, 01:08 AM
      • Nick
        Here's the Rams' to-do list for beating Seattle - PD
        by Nick
        Here's the Rams' to-do list for beating Seattle


        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        Monday, Jan. 03 2005

        A few weeks back, we figured the Rams would be packing up their stuff right
        about now. We figured the coaches would be turning the page on 2004 and
        starting preparations for 2005.

        Playoffs? After the injury-depleted Rams bottomed out at 6-8 with that horror
        show at Arizona, it was impossible to imagine this team in postseason play.

        But here they were Monday, busily preparing for Saturday’s game at Seattle. So
        what if they got in with an 8-8 record.

        “Once you get in, you’re in,” Rams coach Mike Martz said at his Monday news
        conference. “It’s how you’re playing right now. It’s just who is playing well
        now, not how you were playing in September or November or if you’re 15-1. It’s
        how you are playing right now. Right now.

        “If we can continue to grow like we have over the last few weeks, anything is
        possible.”

        Beating the Seahawks for a third time this season will be a chore. Here is
        their “to-do” list for the game:


        * Adapt to the environment:

        Sure, the Rams staged a heroic rally to beat the Seahawks the last time they
        played at Seattle. But under Martz, the Rams have been nearly unbeatable at
        home in the Dome and less than ordinary (2-6 this season) on the road.

        On the painted asphalt at The Ed, quarterback Marc Bulger has little trouble
        playing pitch and catch with his various targets. On the road, he’s mortal.

        Our suggestion: the Rams ought to be prepared to run, run and run some more at
        Seattle, just in case. Remember, they are unbeaten this season when they rush
        the ball 30 times or more in a game.


        * Shore up the offensive line play:

        The potential loss of left guard Tom Nutten is huge. He played very well
        against Philadelphia and early on against the Jets.

        Now the Rams advance with Blaine Saipaia at right tackle and, possibly, Larry
        Turner at left guard. This helps the team get a head start into the ’05 camp,
        since both youngsters figure prominently in the Rams future.

        But postseason play is a terrible time for on-the-job training. Martz raved
        about the interior pass blocking of his guards and center against the Jets, but
        Nutten is integral to that success.

        The Seahawks will try to pull some pranks on Turner if the kid is forced into
        action.


        * Bend less against the run:

        Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander ran wild on the Rams twice this season.
        Jets running back Curtis Martin ran wild on Sunday. So it’s no secret what
        Seattle will attempt...
        -01-03-2005, 09:37 PM
      • RamDez
        Rams want to show Seattle who is boss
        by RamDez
        Rams want to show Seattle who is boss
        By Jim Thomas

        Of the Post-Dispatch
        10/09/2004
        Leonard Little (above) says the Rams have been looking forward to the kind of test the Seattle Seahawks present.
        (Chris Lee/P-D)








        SEATTLE - Almost since the first preseason magazines hit the newsstands in June and July, the Seattle Seahawks have been portrayed as the team to beat in the NFC West and an up-and-coming power in the NFC.

        "There's been a lot of talk that they're going to overtake the NFC West, and that the Rams are fading," Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said. "It doesn't bother me none."

        Holt, in fact, agrees with that assessment. To a point.

        "They are an up-and-coming team in the National Football League," he said. "But we won 12 games (last season). We still are the champs of the NFC West. And until somebody dethrones us, then that's the way we're going to carry ourselves."

        And one last thing.

        "You still have to play," Holt said. "No matter what's being said in the papers and the magazines, we still have to go out there and strap it on. And they have to beat us, and we have to beat them."

        So the NFC West sorting process begins in earnest Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field. A victory by Seattle, which is coming of its bye week, puts the Seahawks at 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. It also puts the Seahawks three games up on the loss side against the Rams.

        But a Rams victory puts them at 3-2, and Seattle at 3-1 with the Seahawks traveling to New England on Oct. 17. A loss doesn't eliminate the Rams, but a victory means the division race is on.

        "This one will tell a lot about who's got early control of the division," Rams defensive captain Tyoka Jackson said. "The season's not over after this game, but. ..."

        As for all the Seattle hype?

        "Well, we heard the same thing last year, so what does that mean?" Jackson asked. "It means absolutely nothing, it's just talk. The game's played on the field. ... If we go out and play Rams football, it doesn't really matter."

        In their two victories this season, "Rams football" has meant a mix of running and passing on offense, zero sacks allowed by Rams blockers, and stingy defense.

        In their two losses, the Rams have been pass-happy on offense, allowed five sacks in both contests, and been overly generous on defense.

        There's no doubt Rams players like the more balanced approach on offense. They've been dropping hints whenever asked about the importance of the running game, as if they're almost hoping the head coach is listening.

        "To be balanced is great," offensive tackle Grant
        ...
        -10-10-2004, 01:13 AM
      • RamDez
        The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
        by RamDez
        The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
        By Seahawks.net Doug Farrar

        However, before the Seahawks can take their “rightful place” at the top of the NFC West, there’s a bit of knocking off to do…the 2003 Division Champion St. Louis Rams are still a serious threat, they’re the established winners, and they’ll be a headache all year. So, in the spirit of competition (and to hopefully establish a friendly rivalry between Seahawks.NET and GridironGateway), I thought it was high time that a fan of each team state their case. You’ll read the take of my esteemed adversary David Spalter (also known as "AvengerRam" on the ClanRam forums) not to mention my rebuttal…and here’s why I believe that the NFC West crown in 2004 can only go to our Seahawks.

        Let’s get the obvious out of the way first…the Seahawks and the Rams are the only two teams with a real shot at the division, a fact to which even the most ardent ***** and Cardinals fans would have to bend. The Cardinals might be a team to look out for down the road (hiring Denny Green and drafting Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett will do that…they might even play spoiler this year), but the Niners are smack-dab in the middle of what they want their fanbase to believe is an intelligent, reasoned “rebuilding program”. Uhhh…sure. According to .NET salary cap guru “The Hawkstorian”, SF has around $20 million in total 2004 cap hit reserved for players that aren’t even on their ROSTER…what else are they going to say? All I know is that the next time I’m playing poker, I want at least one ***** executive at the table. It’s clean-up time!

        The Draft/Free Agency: The Rams’ first-round pick of RB Steven Jackson may have been a good choice in theory, but in practice, this is a case where going “Best Player Available” may hurt them in the end. By taking Jackson and passing over several notable (and desperately needed) defensive players, St. Louis, in the words of Little Richard, “got what they wanted and lost what they had”. With Grant Wistrom off to Seattle and Leonard Little’s future in serious doubt (a situation which had availed itself at the time of the draft), the Rams come into 2004 with major potential deficiencies on the line. The Rams pulled off what could be their best reach pick in the sixth round with QB Jeff Smoker, who could be great and only dropped so far due to personal issues that Smoker himself sorted out. Don’t know why, but there’s a little part of me that’s rooting for him to make it work.

        The Seahawks, in passing up Jackson and selecting Texas DT Marcus Tubbs, addressed need first. Seattle also drafted for potential (FSU linebacker Michael Boulware, who will be converted to safety), and depth in the offensive line (T/G Sean Locklear). They may have a steal of their own with fifth-round pick WR D.J. Hackett, a tough, smart potential possession receiver.

        While it’s difficult to grade drafts at the time they happen...
        -05-27-2004, 11:47 PM
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