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  • Long's ascent no laughing matter

    Wagoner/Rams site



    Through nine games in the 2010 NFL season, the Rams sit tied for first in the NFL in sacks with 28.

    Considering the pedigree of coach Steve Spagnuolo and his reputation for generating pass rush as a coordinator in New York, that stat in itself might not be too surprising. As the resident expert on the subject, Spagnuolo offers a pretty reasonable explanation for his team’s success bringing down the quarterback.

    “To me sacks always come back to 80 percent want (to),” Spagnuolo said. “You can draw up all different kinds of things and so that comes back to the players. We have some guys that can find their way to the quarterback and get it done.”

    Of course, desire and effort are a big part of rushing the passer but if you ask the assembled, diverse collection of players providing most of that pressure, you’ll find there’s another extremely important ingredient to successfully creating havoc for opposing quarterbacks.

    “We have a lot of different personalities,” end C.J. Ah You said. “You’ve got to have fun and we have a great group of core guys and some young guys. Everyone is cracking jokes and just trying to keep it fun. When you have fun, you play a lot better.”

    It’s no coincidence that the player who is perhaps having the most success of the Rams’ pass rushers is also the one who keeps the jokes coming on a regular basis.
    Now in his third season in the league, defensive end Chris Long is fulfilling the monumental expectations that go with being the son of a Hall of Famer and the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
    On the field, Long has developed into a devastating, relentless pass rusher who spends nearly as much time in an opposing backfield as the quarterback. He’s posted 5.5 sacks, including at least one in each of the past four games. He also leads the Rams in quarterback hits (14) and pressures (13).

    “It’s been fun to watch him develop,” veteran defensive end and noted Long mentor James Hall said. “I would say since the first game against Arizona he did some things that I noticed that I am impressed with. It’s just fun to see him develop week in and week out. It’s fun watching him just developing his own style of rushing the passer and having success.”

    Off the field, it’s Long who has taken it upon himself to keep his teammates loose with well executed jokes and pranks in the right situations.
    Long’s propensity for keeping the mood light is limited to when he deems the situation to be appropriate. But he also does not discriminate in his targets.
    Veteran tackle Fred Robbins has been on the receiving end of a number of those jokes as has Ah You, who is Long’s roommate on the road.

    During the Oklahoma-Missouri football game on Oct. 23, Long attacked OU alum Ah You via Twitter saying on the social networking site that “my roommate CJ Ah You is so mad about Oklahoma, his alma mater he just threw a bottle at me that struck me ... some people have no class.”

    Long went on to play “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat for Ah You for most of the rest of the night.

    “He’s like a little brother that’s like really annoying,” Ah You said, laughing. “He’s definitely the prankster, always making us laugh or doing something. If it’s not him, it’s somebody else. We are always having a good time.”

    Keeping things light and having fun is imperative over the course of a long season, which Long says is the impetus for his playful jabs.

    “We have got to have fun,” Long said. “We have to have fun because it’s a long, rigorous season. If you don’t have fun at the right times and keep it light at the right times, you will probably lose your mind. Defensive linemen by nature are supposed to be a little bit off anyway. I have heard D line coaches say if there’s not something wrong with you, I don’t want to coach you. There are definitely some unique personalities in our D line room and that helps a lot.”

    While Long is second on the team in sacks (behind Hall’s 7.5), his breakthrough performance so far in 2010 can in essence be traced directly to the bond he shares with his defensive teammates.
    When asked about his effort this year, Long points to a number of factors, not least of which is the performance of his teammates undoubtedly spawned from the amount of fun the group has together.

    “I think it’s a team thing,” Long said. “I think we all feed off each other. We are all making plays because one play Fred will get great push and I might benefit from it or James and vice versa. It’s really a team thing. When we are winning and things are rolling and we have leads, it’s really helpful for the defense. It’s been fun to play team defense.”

    Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole concurs that part of Long’s success is directly correlated to the work of his teammates but also offers the normal improvement of a player as talented as Long, particularly in his second season in the system.

    “I think anytime you are in the second year of the same scheme, guys are more comfortable,” Flajole said. “I think the fact that some other guys around him have played well have opened things up. I don’t think people are able to necessarily chip or double to Chris because James Hall is doing a nice job and Freddie Robbins is rushing the passer.

    “Chris is on a natural progression. We are real proud of what he’s done and what he’s accomplished. I think the thing that gets lost is that some of the other guys around him are playing better too which allows people to have to spend time on those guys and not necessarily Chris get all the attention. He gets more single blocked and he does a good job of taking advantage of it.”

    Helping Long’s cause even further was a simple position switch that instantly made him feel more comfortable this season.

    Coming out of Virginia three season ago, Long not only had to make the adjustment from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense but also from a more natural spot on the left side to the right side.

    With end Leonard Little opting not to return this year, Long was moved to his more natural spot on the left side. That might seem like a small thing but being able to get to the place he knows where his dominant (right) hand can be used on the inside has also made a noticeable difference.

    “It makes a difference,” Long said. “Just like any player has a side they prefer, I am on that side now and that’s not to take away from the fact that I wasn’t as good of a football player as I am now for the first two years of my career, period. Whether it was the left or right side. It’s comfortable for me and I appreciate being over there.”

    Although Long is well aware of the perceptions and expectations that come with the territory of being who he is, he’s never let that affect his approach to the game.
    His teammates regularly compliment him for the all out effort he gives on every play, be it in practice or a game. And for all of those outside expectations, nobody sets the bar high for Chris Long than Chris Long himself.

    “I’ve always had high expectations around me but that’s good,” Long said. “I just do what I can in that respect to please the people around me. But at the end of the day, are you comfortable with your effort? Are you comfortable with what you are doing for your team or the way you are viewed as a teammate? These are all really important things and those are the No. 1 things for me.”

    And that’s no joking matter.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -11-19-2010, 10:21 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

    What a bust.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

      Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
      The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
      I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

        Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
        Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
        The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
        I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
        Why cant it be that Rivers had a bad day because he faced the rams Defense.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

          Actually I found it hilarious.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

            Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
            Chris Long is still not there yet! Yeah he's progressing, but for a high draft pick...has he really lived up to expectations? It's always waiting for C Long to come into his own to finally become a 'fearsome Force' on the Rams D Line.
            The Rams have the weakest schedule this season and have not faced Peyton, Farve, Brees, Big Ben, Brady, A Rodg, Eli, Vick and the caught Phillip Rivers on a bad day. So can we take much stock in the Sack count?
            I'll agree Chris long is not a bust, but as a differencemaker...He's Not there Yet!
            The crack pipe is always half empty for you,huh?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

              Originally posted by Azul e Oro View Post
              The crack pipe is always half empty for you,huh?
              OH, YOU'RE a Riot! TWO shows nightly, Right? :|
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
                OH, YOU'RE a Riot! TWO shows nightly, Right? :|
                Oh...you wanted a serious answer ? My bad....

                Long is tied with guys like Jared Allen & Mario Williams in the stats so far. He has sacks in four straight games & leads the team in QB hits & hurries.Name the DE in his draft class you'd rather have right now? Especially taking into account the motor, work ethic,durability, and , according to this article, great teammate skills that have been critical in molding this DL into a whole that is greater than the sum of its motley parts, for sure.

                Yes, he still has upside, one would hope, but being disappointed in Long is either sour grapes or typically provocative contrariness,imo, & unsubstantiated by this asinine argument that he hasn't sacked QBs whose teams The Rams haven't played. And why not name the OTs he hasn't beaten? All of those guys can & have been sacked this year & probably by lesser players than Long when their pro has been beaten/broken down.They are not protected by forcefields.

                The difference maker thing is equally silly,imo. Take Long away from The Rams & see how well that D stands up in any game without his multifaceted contributions.
                Plenty of other defensive players that I'd classify as having fallen short of expectations before Chris Long. Grant,for eg, and Darell Scott.
                Last edited by Azul e Oro; -11-21-2010, 02:16 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                  What is wrong with you all? Our D is as good as anyones out there. Has anyone noticed we are just 3 wins below the best team in the league? As for Long, he is doing great things out there. Nuff Said.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                    Remember, Long has been facing double teams for most of the season, sometimes even triple teams.
                    @EssexRam_

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                      Originally posted by Azul e Oro View Post
                      Oh...you wanted a serious answer ? My bad....

                      Long is tied with guys like Jared Allen & Mario Williams in the stats so far. He has sacks in four straight games & leads the team in QB hits & hurries.Name the DE in his draft class you'd rather have right now? Especially taking into account the motor, work ethic,durability, and , according to this article, great teammate skills that have been critical in molding this DL into a whole that is greater than the sum of its motley parts, for sure.

                      Yes, he still has upside, one would hope, but being disappointed in Long is either sour grapes or typically provocative contrariness,imo, & unsubstantiated by this asinine argument that he hasn't sacked QBs whose teams The Rams haven't played. And why not name the OTs he hasn't beaten? All of those guys can & have been sacked this year & probably by lesser players than Long when their pro has been beaten/broken down.They are not protected by forcefields.

                      The difference maker thing is equally silly,imo. Take Long away from The Rams & see how well that D stands up in any game without his multifaceted contributions.
                      Plenty of other defensive players that I'd classify as having fallen short of expectations before Chris Long. Grant,for eg, and Darell Scott.
                      'Silly', 'Asinine'....Why so Hostile? Btw, I'm not disappointed in C Long, he's decent. Just a matter of opinions.... Try not to get Bent out of shape over ones assessments.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                        Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
                        'Silly', 'Asinine'....Why so Hostile? Btw, I'm not disappointed in C Long, he's decent. Just a matter of opinions.... Try not to get Bent out of shape over ones assessments.
                        It's because your assessment is fairly poor. Do you even watch the games? Or do you just see the number in Long's sack column?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                          Originally posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
                          It's because your assessment is fairly poor. Do you even watch the games? Or do you just see the number in Long's sack column?
                          C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
                          sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                            Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
                            C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
                            Yep, he's a strong run defender, effective and improving at rushing the passer, and he has the ability to drop pass and defend the pass ...

                            You sidestepped the question. Do you watch the games?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Long's ascent no laughing matter

                              Originally posted by dgr828 View Post
                              C Long, he is what he is, waiting for the day when he can be compared to his Ol' Man. Chris is coming along, though! No complaints!
                              Chris needs 3.5 sacks to match Howie's total for his first three years in the league. Considering the relative strengths of the team Chris has worked with (the early 80s Raiders were dominant on both sides of the ball before he got there & won the SB in Howie's 3rd year), I think that's remarkable.

                              Define what these expectations are that you think he has failed to meet, considering the team situation. Or do you really believe that individual players achieve their stats in a vacuum?

                              If you don't understand why kvetching vaguely about a failure to meet high pick expectations is such an irritating wet blanket, please let me know what the expected numbers for a #2 picked DE should be.

                              And for the record, the hostility is towards the nonsensical arguments, not you.I don't really know how to explain any more clearly than I did why I felt those arguments made no sense so we'll just have to leave it there if you have nothing of substance to offer in rebuttal.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Long Working To Bag Sacks
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Long Working To Bag Sacks
                                Wednesday, October 14, 2009


                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                Nobody places higher expectations on Chris Long than Long himself.

                                Sure, there is a certain amount of inherent pressure that goes with being the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. And there’s even more when you are the son of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long.

                                Chris Long has never let any of that get to him, though. That’s why, now five games into his second season in the league, Long is focusing on nothing but doing all of the little things that can help make him a better player and in turn make the Rams a better team.

                                “My role is my role no matter what it is,” Long said. “Spags dictates that role. I am open to embrace any role.”

                                So far in 2009, Long has been asked to embrace plenty. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo asks a lot of his defensive linemen, regularly asking them to move around, drop into coverage and react to various offensive packages at the drop of a hat.

                                It’s all designed to make his linemen more versatile and effective. So far, it’s worked out pretty well for Long. In five games, Long has racked up 22 tackles, tied for most among defensive linemen and tied for fourth on the team in that category.

                                Long has been instrumental in a greatly improved run defense that only seems to get better with each passing week.

                                “He is solid,” Spagnuolo said. “He is like a lot of those defensive linemen. They are playing together as a group. There are some things we are going to change along the way, by that I mean scheme-wise, that I think will help him out but we are not at that point yet.”

                                After a solid rookie campaign in which Long flashed his immense potential but by his own account didn’t play to the level he believed he was capable of, Long like the rest of the defense was asked to learn an entirely new system.

                                For as hard as it is to learn any NFL defense and adjust to the nuances of playing at the game’s highest level, the educational curve only gets sharper when Spagnuolo is involved.

                                In each of the five games, Long has come in a rotation behind veterans James Hall and Leonard Little at defensive end. But that doesn’t mean Long isn’t getting a starter’s repetitions.

                                In total, Long is still get the bulk of the work and he’s playing around 45 or 50 snaps every game. The only difference is he’s doing it in a variety of places.
                                That means he will alternately sub in for Hall or Little regardless of sides for the majority of his work. But Long can also be seen standing up over an interior offensive lineman in certain packages or even dropping back into coverage like a linebacker in others.

                                “It’s cool because the more you can do, in the future when I am asked to do anything, I can always embrace a different role,” Long said....
                                -10-14-2009, 11:05 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Long Looks To Make The Leap
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Long Looks to Make the Leap
                                Wednesday, August 19, 2009


                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                The expectations that go with being the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft are too numerous to count. When you’re Howie Long’s kid and you’re the No. 2 pick, you can forget about trying to satisfy everyone.

                                With the bar placed higher than any reasonable person could jump, Rams defensive end Chris Long simply wanted to get accustomed to the nuances of the NFL game in his rookie season.

                                Now that he has, he’s hoping to attack 2009 with the knowledge and understanding that can help him at least start down the path to meeting some of those lofty prospects.

                                “It’s a great leap and it’s positive because it feels like football again,” Long said. “The first year, it’s definitely football, but the game just involves a lot more thinking than you’d like it to and a lot less reacting. Now it’s just kind of react and have fun playing again.”

                                Ask any coach in the NFL about the transition from college to the NFL and they will tell you there is a long adjustment period that has to be made. The old adage says the closer to the line of scrimmage you are, the harder the adjustment.

                                Still, Long finished his rookie year with four sacks and led the Rams in quarterback pressures with 16. By his own admission, though, Long has much bigger plans for his second season now that he’s been in the league for a year and nobody expects more from him than him.

                                “I just want to get there more,” Long said. “I think we all want to get there more. Pressures are good but as a defensive front, we have to be dominant. I think we have the pass rushers and the ability to be dominant.”

                                This year, the expectations and pressure do remain for Long but much of that has been transferred to this year’s No. 2 overall pick, offensive tackle Jason Smith.

                                Fortunately for Smith, he has someone in Long around who has been through a year of expectation and he is able to seek out Long’s advice whenever he has a question.

                                Long says he simply tells Smith to be himself and has great faith that Smith will become a great player because of his work ethic and attitude.

                                “We all feel that pressure and being the No. 2 pick sure it’s good to see Jason have to go through it now instead of me but that’s the cycle of it,” Long said. “I am sure he will cope with it fine and like I told him ‘you will survive, it will be all right.’”

                                While Long is admittedly more comfortable in his second training camp, he’s also going through the adjustment of learning a new defense.

                                Of course, the prospect of playing defensive line in a Steve Spagnuolo defense comes with its share of, here’s that word again, expectation.

                                Considering the way defensive linemen have performed for Spagnuolo in the past and the...
                                -08-20-2009, 10:30 AM
                              • eldfan
                                Rams' Long stays positive despi
                                by eldfan
                                Rams' Long stays positive despi


                                By Jim Thomas
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                11/08/2009

                                When the Rams' snapped their 17-game losing streak last Sunday in Detroit, it wasn't the only dubious streak to end that day at Ford Field.

                                Rams defensive end Chris Long had gone 16 consecutive games without a sack before dropping Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for a four-yard loss in the third quarter.

                                "It's a big weight (lifted), I'm not going to lie," Long said. "It's just crazy to go through seven games with zero sacks (this season). It just doesn't make sense. You're playing better ball than last year and you've got less sacks."

                                Long was almost sheepish talking about the sack, because it wouldn't have been his had not teammate Clifton Ryan whiffed on tackling Stafford after busting through the line.

                                "Cliff made a really nice rush, and I was just able to clean it up," Long said. "There's been times when people clean up my trash, so that's the way it goes."

                                Long had come close on a few occasions, and there have been a couple of times this season when his pressure flushed the quarterback into the waiting arms of a teammate.

                                Such was the case against San Francisco, when linebacker Larry Grant registered his first NFL sack because pressure by Long forced the quarterback in his direction.

                                "Nobody cares when you're getting close," Long said. "They care about the stats. And then you get one, and you're like, 'OK, so now it'll happen more.' It is important just to get the pressure off you, and just start playing."

                                Although it's nice to end the streak, one sack obviously isn't enough. Especially when you're the No. 2 overall pick in the draft — as was the case with Long in 2008. Particularly when one of the stated reasons for picking Long over defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was Long's ability to rush the passer.

                                For a while during Long's rookie season, all was well. A two-sack outing against New England on Oct. 26, 2008, gave Long four for the season. He appeared well on his way to an eight-to-10 sack season.

                                As fate would have it, that Patriots game marked the start of the Rams' 17-game losing streak.

                                For Long, he wouldn't get another sack for an entire calendar year. But if Long has been frustrated during the drought, it hasn't shown in his effort or attitude.

                                "And that's a credit to Chris," Rams defensive line coach Brendan Daly said. "He comes to work every day, he battles. He's done the things we've asked him to do. From a developmental standpoint, he's been through two defensive schemes here over the course of two years. And we've asked him to do a number of things."

                                Included in his altered role under a new staff has been coming off the bench...
                                -11-08-2009, 01:48 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Long Moves Past Pressure
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                Through the magic of television, Rams defensive end Chris Long is never far removed from his father Howie, the former Oakland Raider and Hall of Fame defensive lineman.

                                And when his famous dad pops up in one of the incessant Chevrolet advertisements on the tube, Long doesn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to crack wise.

                                “About 12 at night, 1 in the morning, I’ll text him a random line from his commercials,” Long said.

                                His favorite is the ad in which Howie talks to a customer who has recently purchased a foreign pickup truck and Howie tells the man to “have fun being a real trucker.”

                                “Real tough lines, dad,” Long said.

                                It’s not all fun and games for Long now as he enters his second season in the NFL but there’s no doubt that with one season under his belt the pressure placed on him has at least regressed a bit.

                                After the Rams used the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft to make Long one of the building blocks of their defense, the expectations and demands placed on Long would have been enough to make even the most steel-minded buckle from the weight.

                                Adding to the lofty draft status was a lavish contract and the fact that Long is the son of the aforementioned Hall of Famer.

                                “Sometimes it bothers you but it’s your job as a football player to weather that storm of pressure and there’s going to be pressure no matter what situation you’re in whether you’re 2-14, a rookie, not starting, battling for a position, whatever it is,” Long said. “I believe everybody has got their own battles to fight.”

                                Long fought his share of battles in his rookie season. Although the expectations placed on him would have been impossible to meet anyway, nobody has higher standards for Long than Long himself.

                                During training camp and the offseason program, Long worked to learn the nuances of playing end in a 4-3 defense rather than the 3-4 he came from at Virginia. Instead of occupying two gaps (the B and C), Long was asked to learn to penetrate the backfield by rushing from the edge.

                                That process took Long some time because he had to unlearn the basic tenets of the defense he spent four years playing for the Cavaliers.

                                In spite of the pressure and expectations, Long made great strides in his first season. Although he finished with just four sacks, Long led the team with 16 quarterback pressures and had 57 tackles and a fumble recovery.

                                With some time to reflect on his debut performance, Long believes he made strides in his first season and is excited about what his second season could bring.

                                “I think it was good for me,” Long said. “I’ve been blessed enough to be a part of a great defensive line. Sure, I got thrown into the fire, but heavy is the head that wears the crown and being a high pick; you...
                                -05-11-2009, 06:48 PM
                              • Rampingitup
                                Chri Long Vs Howie Long
                                by Rampingitup
                                I still remember the people BLASTING Chris Long and talking about how he needed to step things up, compete better, give more effort, get more sacks. All from Day one. So I decided to take a look back at this issue and compare his stats to his Hall of Fame father. Some of the stats we track no like tackles apparently were not recorded during Howie's playing career so I am just comparing what was tracked.

                                Howie Long Rookie Season
                                Games Played 16 Sacks 0 Forced fumbles 0 fumble Recoveries 0

                                Chris Long Rookie Season
                                Games Played 16 Sacks 4 Forced Fumbles 1 Recoveries 0

                                Howie Long 2nd Season
                                Games Played 9 (I am assuming he was injured) Sacks 5.5 FF 0 FR 0

                                Chris Long 2nd Season
                                Games played 16 Sacks 5 FF 1 FR 0

                                Howie Long Season 3
                                GP 16 Sacks 13 FF 0 FR 2

                                Chris Long Season 3
                                GP 16 Sacks 8.5 FF 3 FR 0

                                Totals for the first 3 years

                                Howie Long
                                GP 41 Sacks 18.5 FF 0 FR 2

                                Chris Long
                                GP 48 Sacks 17.5 FF 5 FR 0

                                Not enough data to compare for this season yet, but Chris already has 3 sacks this year. So I hope this puts to rest and BURIES the idea that Chris is not a good DE. So far he has performed as well or better than his Dad
                                -09-29-2011, 09:07 AM
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