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  • Rams Team Report

    USA TODY


    It's obvious what the focus will be for the Rams this week as they travel to Tampa Bay for a game against the Buccaneers. Even in the celebratory locker room Sunday afternoon following their 20-17 win over San Diego, the focus was already being directed ahead seven days.
    Everyone knows the Rams won't be taken seriously as a legitimate threat to win the NFC West until they show they can win on the road.

    Of course, entering this season, they first had to show they could win anywhere after totaling just six wins in three seasons. The Rams have now shown they can win at home, having won three straight after an opening-day loss to Arizona.

    It's why within minutes after defeating the Chargers, the trip to Tampa Bay was already on everyone's mind.

    Said running back Steven Jackson, "I think this is an example of what we can be. We're only going to get better as the season goes on, after weeks go by. We're going to celebrate. We're going to take this in today, but to be an elite team and to get ourselves in position to be in the playoffs, we have to learn how to win on the road. And I think that's our next challenge. That's the one good things about this team is we're always looking ahead. We're always looking for the next challenge."

    When defensive end Chris Long was asked about rebounding from the previous week's 44-6 loss in Detroit, he said, "It's funny. You say you move past a game like that, and some teams might pay it lip service, but I really don't feel like anybody in here was thinking about Detroit. No one in here was looking back.

    "I actually thought to myself right before the game when the ball was about to be kicked off, I said, 'Man, I haven't even thought about that game.' We're just moving forward. We won't be thinking about San Diego next week. We'll be trying to win a road game, which is a whole new challenge."

    Of course, there might be lingering thoughts of the Detroit debacle now that another road game is ahead. Since 2007, the Rams have lost 22 of 26 road games, and the losses have mostly been ugly.

    In 12 of the losses, the Rams have scored fewer than 10 points. In 13 of the losses, they have allowed 30 or more points, including four of 40 or more. Only six of the 22 losses have been within one score.

    Last season, the seven losses were by a combined score of 190-53. In 2008, it was 245-88 in seven losses and 181-48 in six 2007 losses. This season, two losses have been by a 60-20 count, making the total score for the 22 defeats an astounding 676-209.

    With a 3-3 record, the Rams are one-half game behind first-place Arizona and Seattle, both 3-2. After a home game Oct. 31 against Carolina, followed by the Rams' bye, the second half of the season features five road games, including three straight at Denver, Arizona and New Orleans. Four of the final eight games are in the division, including a road game against each of their division rivals.

    "We're going to make it a focus," coach Steve Spagnuolo said of this week's approach in preparing for the Buccaneers. "In order to do the things you want to do, the goals you set at the beginning of the season, you have to win on the road, and that's what we're going to try to do this week."

    Knowing there likely will be adversity at some point, Spagnuolo was asked about getting a young team to "weather the storm" on the road.

    "To me, you do it by staying together," he said. "Do all the little things right, that's what we'll be preaching. Teams are always going to throw something at you new at the beginning of the game. They've got their first 15 offensive plays and they scheme up, so if they hit them, you just rally together, chip away and come back kind of like what we did I know it was a preseason game but kind of like we did up in New England, try to answer."

    They weren't able to answer in Detroit. Very soon, we will see if they find the answer Sunday in Tampa.

    SERIES HISTORY: 17th regular-season meeting. Rams lead series, 9-7. The Buccaneers have won five of the last six meetings in the regular season, with the Rams' only win at home in 2004. Four of those five Buccaneers wins have been in Tampa. The two teams also played 20 years apart in two NFC Championship Games, with the Rams winning 9-0 in the 1979 season and 11-6 in the 1999 season.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    In addition to playing 17 snaps on offense in his first NFL game, receiver Danario Alexander also played special teams. But he wasn't the only one going above and beyond.

    Asked about Alexander on special teams, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "Tom McMahon (special teams coordinator) has been excited about Danario for months now. So I had to not only deal with Danario screaming at me to get up but coach McMahon. We had seen some things. He's accepted that role. We need that out of everybody. Laurent Robinson hopped in there yesterday on a punt pressure team and did a great job. Sometimes when you get banged up in the middle of the game, guys got to step up. James Butler went in there and played a position on special teams that he hadn't, but he said, 'Hey I've got to go in and help the team.' "

    Spagnuolo doesn't take long to begin looking ahead to the next game. When he was asked Monday whether the play of the defense against San Diego reaffirmed the unit's progress following a poor performance the week before in Detroit, he said, "We reaffirmed it for a day. Tomorrow will be another day."

    He then did acknowledge that "The credit goes to the players and the coaches. I do think it has a lot to do with second year, I do. In any scheme. I think you see that around the league. And a lot has to do with the players. I think they've embraced it. They're playing really good together because it is the second year and they've been around each other. And this group likes each other. I mentioned that the other day. For the first six games, which resulted in good defense, we'll see what happens going forward. I hope it continues."

    After having his purchase of the Rams approved in August, Stan Kroenke officially became the team's majority owner when the deal was closed and money exchanged in early October.

    Kroenke now owns 70 percent of the team, while Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez own the remaining 30 percent. At a later time, Kroenke will acquire most of the other 30 percent, with Rosenbloom and Rodriguez retaining an unknown small percentage.

    QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) and WR Danario Alexander (Missouri) have been doing some friendly trash-talking with their two undefeated schools playing this Saturday. Oklahoma is currently No. 1 in the BCS rankings, while Missouri is 11th.

    Said Alexander, "Let's just say I don't expect to be wearing Sooner stuff next week."

    When Bradford was told Alexander said he'd look good in a Missouri black and gold T-shirt, he responded, "I don't think that's happening. I think he'll look good in crimson."

    DE Chris Long was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his play in last Sunday's win over San Diego. Long had two of the team's seven sacks of QB Philip Rivers.

    Said Long, "I look at this as a group award."

    Added coach Steve Spagnuolo, "He said it best. I told the players in meetings this morning that I didn't get a chance to congratulate him until out on the field, and he kind of shook his head and said, 'Coach, that's everybody's award.' That's how he feels, so credit to him. But he played a good game. He was recognized for it, and that's good."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 1 Road wins the Rams have in September or October since 2007. In 2008, the Rams won in Washington on Oct. 12. Their other three road wins since '07 have all been in November. Since the start of the '07 season, the Rams are 4-22 on the road, including two losses this season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told 'Jack' after the game that he has unbelievable ability, but even greater willpower and effort. To see the way he strives to compete and to win it fuels us. It fuels the line. It fuels the offense. I mean, I was beyond impressed with him today." OG Jacob Bell, on the play of RB Steven Jackson against San Diego.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    PLAYER NOTES

    DT Clifton Ryan had another setback when he experienced another migraine this week and did not practice Wednesday. He was kept inside during practice.

    CB Ron Bartell did not practice Wednesday because of a sore quad.

    CB Justin King did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

    S Darian Stewart did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

    CB Kevin Dockery, who has played in just two games because of a hamstring injury, participated fully in practice Wednesday.

    DT Darell Scott, who has been sidelined since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2, fully participated in practice Wednesday.

    LB Chris Chamberlain was limited Wednesday as he recovers from a toe injury. He did do work on special teams, and it is hoped he will be active Sunday against Tampa Bay.

    LB Curtis Johnson was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.

    LB Na'il Diggs was limited because of a knee injury Wednesday, but is expected to play Sunday against the Buccaneers.

    WR Mardy Gilyard was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

    WR Danario Alexander said he had nothing more than normal soreness after Sunday's game and practiced Wednesday.

    CB Jerome Murphy was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

    LB David Vobora was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

    GAME PLAN: Protect the ball. At first glance, it's difficult to figure out how the Buccaneers are 3-2. They are ranked 23rd on offense (27th running) and 26th on defense (31st against the run). The defense has just four sacks and the run defense has allowed 157.0 yards per game and 5.3 yards per rush.

    However, the Bucs are tied for fifth in the league with a plus-5 turnover differential and their 13 takeaways are the third-most in the league. The Rams will look to run the ball with Steven Jackson against that defense.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams DTs Fred Robbins and Gary Gibson vs. Buccaneers interior line of OGs Keydrick Vincent and Davin Joseph and C Jeremy Zuttah. Robbins has been string against the run and also has gotten push inside that has helped create sacks. He has two sacks and six quarterback hits. Zuttah has replaced the usual center, Jeff Faine.

    Rams RB Steven Jackson vs. Buccaneers run defense. The Buccaneers are young at defensive tackle with rookie Gerald McCoy and second-year man Roy Miller. Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud did not practice Wednesday because of a toe injury. Jackson needs 32 yards to pass Eric Dickerson and become the franchise's all-time leading rusher.

    INJURY IMPACT: The latest position group to be hit by the injury bug is the linebackers. Earlier in the season, Chris Chamberlain was sidelined by a fractured toe and Josh Hull went on injured reserve because of a knee injury. Chamberlain returned to practice Wednesday, but limited were strong-side starter Na'il Diggs (knee) and David Vobora (hamstring). Curtis Johnson was added to the roster from the practice squad.
    :ramlogo:

  • #2
    Re: Rams Team Report

    Originally posted by eldfan View Post

    Of course, entering this season, they first had to show they could win anywhere after totaling just six wins in three seasons.

    Will this EVER go away?! Ugh...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams Team Report

      Originally posted by shower beers View Post
      Will this EVER go away?! Ugh...
      It sucks to say the least. I hate how they always bring that crap up. Which is why I said in another thread that to get rid of that type of talk, we simply have to keep winning and have a good season.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams Team Report

        Originally posted by eldfan View Post
        LB Curtis Johnson was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.
        I'm happy for Curtis! He grew up in the same neighborhood as me and is friends with my younger brother. I hope he sticks around and can become a contributer to our special teams and defense.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams Team Report

          It's good to see Chris Long's play recognized. Right on time. Good work.
          Look away. I'm hideous. __ Cozmo Kramer

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rams Team Report

            Different year, different team.....the talking heads will learn eventually.

            Comment

            Related Topics

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            • eldfan
              Rams Team Report
              by eldfan
              USA TODAY

              After four days to get refreshed, the Rams returned to practice Monday tied for first place in the NFC West and ready to prepare for Sunday's showdown against the ***** in San Francisco.
              Seattle's loss to the Giants left the Seahawks and Rams tied with 4-4 records, although the Rams technically have the edge over Seattle because they won the one game played so far this season between the two teams.

              But the ***** are knocking on the door, despite their poor start to their season. The Rams are well aware that a San Francisco victory this week would move the ***** one game behind the Rams. Meanwhile, Seattle is at 3-5 Arizona this week.

              While coach Steve Spagnuolo has talked about the goal of winning the division before, he has also made sure to keep his team's eyes on the task at hand: the next game. That focus has helped the Rams bounce back from an 0-2 start to the season and beat Washington; rebound from a convincing loss in Detroit to defeat San Diego; and recover from a crushing last-second loss to Tampa Bay to beat Carolina.

              Says running back Steven Jackson about Spagnuolo, "I think in (his) leadership, we've learned how to deal with adversity in a manner that we don't panic. We kind of embrace it. We accept that things are going to happen, but we also know that it's also about the 53 guys with Rams helmets on who are going to change it. I think guys have really embraced that thought and philosophy."

              Added linebacker James Laurinaitis, "Team is a lot like the coach, a lot like Spags. He's a tough guy who preaches it all the time, playing hard, playing with passion, and that's what these guys do. There are a lot of guys in this locker room that care about this football team and this organization, and that's what they try to show every Sunday."

              The Rams have been able to stay competitive in games despite injuries that have cost units multiple lost players, like the secondary and receivers. Tight ends Billy Bajema and Michael Hoomanawanui missed a succession of games at the same time.

              The team could have felt "woe is me," especially when wide receiver Mark Clayton was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the Week 5 game against Detroit. Rookie Danario Alexander stepped in and had a huge game against San Diego the following week, only to reinjure his knee in practice two days prior to the Week 8 game against Carolina.

              Yet, younger players have stepped up and the team stayed together. Jackson points to a preseason game against New England in August when the Patriots kept their starters in the game well after the Rams' first-stringers had departed. St. Louis' backups went toe-to-toe with New England's starters and added to the Rams' lead.

              Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Coach just kept our young guys in there. The way our young guys handled them...
              -11-09-2010, 12:18 PM
            • eldfan
              Rams report
              by eldfan
              USA TODAY

              It seems clear any hope the Rams have of winning the NFC West could be essentially decided in the next three weeks.
              After Sunday's loss to Atlanta, the Rams dropped to 4-6 after being 4-4 at the season's halfway point. Coaches usually look at each season in quarters, and the Rams were also 2-2 after the "first quarter." They were able to get to 2-2 after losing their first two games, but the next two were at home.

              To win the next two and even their record at 6-6 after the "third quarter" would mean doing something they haven't been able to do so far this season: win on the road.

              The road losses have been excruciating. Save for a 44-6 thrashing by Detroit, the Rams have lost by two points in Oakland, one point in Tampa and three points in San Francisco in overtime.

              In both the losses to the Buccaneers and *****, the Rams held leads in the fourth quarter but were beaten on last-minute drives. While the defense wasn't able to put the brakes on those long drives, the offense had opportunities to put those games away but wasn't able to.

              For the season, the Rams have been outscored 64-35 in the fourth quarter. They have scored 111 first-half points, but only 66 in the second half.

              The offense has been more efficient and productive than last season, but except for the 30 points scored against Washington in Week 3, the team hasn't scored more than 20 points in any game, and the Rams are one of only five teams in the NFL that hasn't scored a defensive or special teams touchdown.

              While the loss to the Falcons showed where the Rams come up short against the league's best teams, it also showed they are not that far away.

              Said wide receiver Brandon Gibson, "I feel like if that's the best NFC team, then we're not that far off. It's not like their defense is that incredible. They played a good game, credit them. Matt Ryan and Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez as well. They did a great job controlling the clock, keeping us off the field.

              "They're explosive on offense and they made some plays, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We kind of let ourselves down. But we feel like we're going to come back this next week and show everybody we belong at the top of the NFC West."

              The next two opponents are Denver and Arizona, teams that are both 3-7. The Broncos followed a dismantling of Kansas City at home by losing big to San Diego on the road Monday night.

              SERIES HISTORY: 12th regular-season meeting. Rams lead series, 6-5. After the Rams won two straight games in the series in 1974 and 1979, the teams have alternated wins. Since moving to St. Louis in 1995, the teams have split four games, with the Broncos winning in Denver in 1997 and 2002 and the Rams winning in St. Louis in 2000 and 2006.

              NOTES, QUOTES

              ...
              -11-25-2010, 01:23 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report - Oct 29
              by r8rh8rmike
              Rams Team Report
              Yahoo! Sports - Oct 29, 2:56 am EDT


              INSIDE SLANT

              It surely hasn't been the start of his NFL head coaching career that Steve Spagnuolo envisioned.

              The Rams have lost their first seven games and now face for the second straight week a team coming off their bye. Last week, it was the 5-0 Colts at home, and this week it's the 1-5 Lions on the road.

              Teams playing after their bye have won 52.5 percent of the time since byes were added to the schedule in 1990.

              In addition, the way the schedule has worked for the Rams has had the better teams at home and the arguably more winnable games on the road. The current combined records of the home games -- Green Bay (4-2), Minnesota (6-1) and Indianapolis (6-0) -- is 16-3.

              Conversely, the total record for the road games -- Seattle (2-4), Washington (2-5), San Francisco (3-3) and Jacksonville (3-3) -- is 10-15.

              The trend continues this week with Detroit on the road and New Orleans (6-0) at home on Nov. 8 after the Rams' bye.

              By(e) the way, the Rams are one of only five teams that have two consecutive games against teams coming off their bye. They are one of only two teams that opened the season with two games on the road, and one of four teams that played four of their first six games on the road.

              When those numbers were presented to Spagnuolo on Monday, he smiled and said, "I appreciate all your info. It's enlightening in a way, but it doesn't change what we've got to do."

              He later added, "I don't get wrapped up in (scheduling). And I really learned that from (Philadelphia coach) Andy Reid. Andy had a unique way when the schedules came out ... there would always be positives about the way he looked at the schedule."

              Perhaps the only positive are the three straight home games in November after the bye, but the best the Rams will be then is 1-7.

              Asked if he gets advice from fans in emails or at the gas station, Spagnuolo said, "When you're winning, you get a lot of phone calls. When you're not, everybody is afraid (to call). But really that's when you want them. That's when you need them. It works the other way. I don't know why. I have some very good people that will hang in there. It's much appreciated. As long as I have my wife still on my side, I'll be OK."

              Spagnuolo has managed to maintain an even-keel attitude despite the gloom and doom, and seemingly has his players battling and not pointing fingers at each other.

              Said free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "We stay together. In tough times like this the only thing you can do is stay together and continue to press on forward and that's what we're going to do because we have guys of character in here. Things will turn around and that's what we're fighting for."

              Rookie middle...
              -10-29-2009, 04:50 PM
            • eldfan
              Rams Report
              by eldfan
              USA TODAY

              The Rams have begun to re-establish the Edward Jones Dome as a home-field advantage. It was a long time coming. Sunday's 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers was the team's third consecutive win at home, the first time they have fashioned such an in-season streak since 2004.
              "When the fans get into it, guys feed off that," defensive tackle Fred Robbins said. "Making big plays, sacks, interception, blocked field goal. Guys feed off that. They feed off the energy of the fans. Anytime the fans behind you are screaming and yelling, it gives us an advantage at home, and we feel good about it."

              Joked safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, "No place like home. Isn't that what Dorothy said?"

              Sacking Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers seven times, limiting an offense that was averaging 461.8 yards a game to 287, and then finishing the game with two first-down runs by running back Steven Jackson gave the Rams a 3-3 record with Tampa Bay and Carolina up next before their bye.

              The win washed away the bad taste from the previous week's 44-6 loss to Detroit, but also accentuated what the Rams must now prove they can do: Win on the road.

              Said Jackson, who rushed for 109 yards, leaving him 31 behind franchise leader Eric Dickerson, "I think this is an example of what we can be. We're only going to get better as the season goes on, after weeks go by. We're going to celebrate. We're going to take this in today, but to be an elite team and to get ourselves in position to be in the playoffs, we have to learn how to win on the road. And I think that's our next challenge. That's the one good thing about this team is we're always looking ahead. We're always looking for the next challenge, but everyone's pretty proud of what we accomplished today."

              Quarterback Sam Bradford, who threw one touchdown pass and did not have an interception for the first time this season, said, "I think we're capable of a lot of things, but we can't dwell on this. Obviously it was a great win. We want a lot more than three victories though.

              "We do seem to be much more comfortable playing here than on the road. I think that one of the steps from being an average team to being a good team is being able to play well on the road. So if we do want to become a good team, then we're going to have to learn to play well on the road."

              NOTES, QUOTES

              LINEUP WATCH: No one knew what to expect from wide receiver Danario Alexander, who was signed Aug. 22 after rehabbing a Senior Bowl knee injury the entire offseason and then added to the practice squad after the cut-down to 53 players. Alexander was signed to the active roster last week after Mark Clayton suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Lions. Playing his first game since the University of Missouri's bowl game last season, Alexander had four first-half...
              -10-18-2010, 12:07 PM
            • eldfan
              Rams Report Monday 11-1-10
              by eldfan
              USA Today


              In 2007, the Rams won three games and then won two in 2008 and one last season. That's six in three seasons.
              That one last year enabled them to select quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick in the draft, and he is one of the big reasons the Rams are now 4-4 after Sunday's 20-10 win over Carolina and heading into their bye just a half game behind first-place Seattle in the NFC West.

              The week before, Bradford completed just 50 percent of his passes in a one-point loss to Tampa Bay and was hyper critical of himself. He rebounded with a 25-for-32 day against the Panthers (78.1 percent), had two touchdown passes on third-down plays and had a 112.4 passer rating.

              Bradford said Sunday's win "gives us some momentum going into the second half of the season. Four-and-four is good, it's not great. We have a chance to have a couple more wins, but we're right in the mix. If we can put together a string of wins in the second half of the season, we've got a shot to be in the playoffs."

              Coach Steve Spagnuolo concurred. He said, "Everything that we had in front of us vision-wise to achieve this particular year is still there."

              To achieve that, winning on the road is their next hurdle. The win over Carolina put the Rams at 4-1 at home, and their four takeaways gave them 13 at home. However, they have just two in three road losses, and five of their final eight games are away from the Edward Jones Dome with three against each team in the NFC West.

              Three of their losses have been by a total of seven points, and the defense has allowed 18 points or less in seven of their eight games.

              Said middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, "You know the way I am. I'm going to look back and still be the guy that says, 'Gosh, we could be this or could be that.' We'll have a chance to reflect a little bit and really know that this back eight here is pretty tough so we'll enjoy this for the day."

              Running back Steven Jackson played with a soft cast on his hand to protect the ring finger on his left hand he broke in Week 7. He grinded for 59 yards on 23 carries and said, "To be 4-4 at the break is pretty good. We've put ourselves in a good position. It's not ideal where we want to be, but it allows for us to take the bye week and really get revved up for the last eight."

              He paused and added, "If we learn how to win on the road, we're going to be a dangerous team."

              NOTES, QUOTES

              LINEUP WATCH: Right tackle Jason Smith suffered a concussion when he banged helmets with defensive end Chris Long in practice four days before the game and was inactive. Renardo Foster took his place. Said Bradford, "Renardo was absolutely awesome today. If you didn't know he hadn't been playing, I don't think you would have said, 'That guy looks new this week.' He fit...
              -11-01-2010, 09:22 AM
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