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  • Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

    BY JIM THOMAS Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:10 am


    Your offseason's a month shorter than most since you've been playing all the way into early February. And once the new season begins, there's a bull's-eye on your chest, because 31 other teams want to get where you've been.

    "We talked so much about that coming into the season," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "Everybody wants to accomplish what you accomplished less than a year ago. I think we knew coming into the season that we were going to get everybody's best performance, and that everybody would mark us on the calendar as kind of the team to beat until you prove otherwise."

    For the first couple of months of this season the Saints sure looked a little groggy. In 2009, the Saints started 13-0 en route to a 31-17 victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

    This season, the Saints lurched out to a 4-3 start that included losses to a couple of less-than-stellar foes in Arizona and Cleveland. By New Orleans standards, the league's most dynamic offense of a year ago had to huff-and-puff its way to points.

    But just in time for the Rams, Sunday's opponent in the Louisiana Superdome, the Saints have started humming on offense. The Saints (9-3) have won five consecutive games, and during the last four victories have averaged 33 points. (They averaged a modest 21 points in their first eight contests.)

    "We're running the ball a little bit more effectively than maybe earlier in the season and that's been a point of emphasis for us," coach Sean Payton said. "I think that's helped us."

    Actually, the Saints have run it a lot more effectively. Through eight games, New Orleans averaged 84.8 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. Over the last four contests? Try 126 yards per game and 4.8 yards a carry.

    This has happened even though Pierre Thomas has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury in Game 3 against Atlanta. The University of Illinois product was full participation in Wednesday's practice and is expected to return against the Rams. Reggie Bush missed eight games with a fractured fibula. Since returning on Thanksgiving against Dallas, he has only 10 touches in two games.

    The player who has rescued the Saints' running game is unheralded Chris Ivory, an undrafted rookie from Tiffin (Ohio) University. When it was mentioned during a conference call that not many people had heard of Ivory, Brees quipped: "I hadn't heard of him either."

    Saints opponents are learning about him the hard way. Ivory has rushed for 636 yards and is averaging a robust 5.2 yards a carry. He is coming off a 117-yard, two-touchdown outing against Cincinnati.

    "He's doing great," Brees said. "Just a guy, and we have a lot of these guys, the undrafted free agent that just —you never know what you have until they all of a sudden get the opportunity to step in and get some carries. And then all of a sudden you realize, 'Man, we might have something special here.' "

    Brees, of course, has been special for years. After a bit of a rocky start by his standards this season, Brees has the New Orleans passing game clicking. Just about every other week, Brees surpasses one of Archie Manning's Saints career passing records.

    The team's 34-30 victory at Cincinnati was vintage Brees. He completed 24 of 29 passes for 313 yards and two TDs. In the process, he broke Manning's franchise record for career passing yards. He also reached 25 TD passes for the season, becoming the fourth player in NFL history to throw 25 or more TD passes in five consecutive seasons.

    The other QBs to accomplish that feat: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino. The Saints have all kinds of options in the passing game, and Brees spreads the ball around. Eight Saints caught passes Sunday.

    "He's got a real high standard and he's very competitive," Payton said. "Each offseason for him is always about improvement and what he can do better. One of his great strengths is always staying hungry and trying to evaluate how he can be a more efficient and a better player at that position. I think that's a big reason why he's enjoyed the success he's had to date."

    Even with the recent winning streak and improved offense play, winning isn't always coming easy for New Orleans. Five of the team's nine victories have been by five points or fewer, and Brees has four fourth-quarter comebacks, including last-second victories against Cincy and Dallas.

    The victories keep coming for the Saints, but nothing is coming easy in the Big Easy this season. Trailing Atlanta by a game in the NFC South standings, New Orleans can't afford to coast to the finish line like it did in 2009. The Saints' remaining schedule isn't conducive to coasting, anyway.

    "As we come down the stretch here, typically you might face a team in the month of December that has nothing to play for," Brees said. "In other words, they're out of the playoffs — that kind of thing.

    "But our situation right now, here we are playing the Rams who are right there in front and at the top with the opportunity to win the NFC West. Then we play the (Baltimore) Ravens next week who are fighting for their division and a playoff spot. Then we play the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Bucs, who are the two teams in our division that are right there at the top as well fighting for the playoffs."

    Nobody said repeating was easy.

  • #2
    Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

    so what are we to roll over and assume the fetal position? i say heck na! the media is really bashing the rams badly. (or i should say the nfc west, but heck we are a part of it)

    come sunday heavy dose of SJax and steady dose of bradford to dX factor. i'm ready we are beatin and bruised but we will come to play!:8
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

      Originally posted by LA Rammer View Post
      so what are we to roll over and assume the fetal position? i say heck na! the media is really bashing the rams badly. (or i should say the nfc west, but heck we are a part of it)

      come sunday heavy dose of SJax and steady dose of bradford to dX factor. i'm ready we are beatin and bruised but we will come to play!:8
      This +10000000x 10. I hope the Rams bring their A game, which they most likely will.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

        The month of December is when the cream rises to the top in the NFL. It's time for us to make a statement and beat them Saints!

        GO RAMS!
        sigpic :ram::helmet:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

          I'm treating this as a measurement of how we can stand up to the big boys, and how resilient we are. We won't be able to shy away from teams like this if we expect to do anything in the playoffs, or even get there for that matter.

          We need to have faith in how we've played to this point and know that it isn't just working against lesser teams. In short, leave the intimidation at the door and come out swinging.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

            according to the "yahoo experts" we have about the same chance to beat the saints as the panthers do to beat the falcons...
            LA RAMMER

            It's Jim not Chris
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

              Saying the Rams have about the same chance, to beat the Saints. As Carolina has in beating the Falcons?
              That yahoo expert is very mistaken. He must not have watched many of the Ram games.
              I do suspect its maybe down to ingnorance. The majority of the fans around the whole NFL still wont have much respect for this young team. Which is understandable given their seasons in the doldrums. We'll make them take notice you watch fans?
              Last edited by GroundDog39; -12-09-2010, 01:59 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..

                Originally posted by GROUND DOG 39 View Post
                Saying the Rams have about the same chance, to beat the Saints. As Carolina has in beating the Falcons?
                That yahoo expert is very mistaken. He must not have watched many of the Ram games.
                I do suspect its maybe down to ingnorance. The majority of the fans around the whole NFL still wont have much respect for this young team. Which is understandable given their seasons in the doldrums. We'll make them take notice you watch fans?
                Your'e dang skippy! And I'll be right here two three years from now remembering this same post!!!

                Comment

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                • r8rh8rmike
                  Round Two: Saints Marching In...Any Chance For Rams?
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  11.09.2009 1:53 pm
                  Saints marching in … any chance for Rams?
                  By Roger Hensley


                  THE WATERCOOLER

                  QUESTION: If the Rams are to have any chance against the 8-0 New Orleans Saints this weekend, what are the keys to the game plan?

                  JIM THOMAS
                  1. Ball control on offense, the Saints are a modest 19th in run defense.
                  2. Takeaways on defense, easier said than done against Drew Brees.
                  3. Something special on special teams, be it long returns, blocked kicks, etc.

                  This is a challenge similar to what the Rams faced against Minnesota and Indianapolis — but New Orleans may be the most high-powered offense of the three.

                  JEFF GORDON
                  If the Rams can consistently throw the ball downfield to balance their offense, maintain time of possession and finish off scoring drives, they can stay in the game. But apparently this is an impossible task for this offense, so the Rams are doomed to a blowout loss. Even if the Saints turn the ball over again and again, they will win this game unless the Rams used their bye week to reinvent their offense.

                  BRYAN BURWELL
                  After seeing Carolina run up and down the field against the Saints, the run-oriented Rams certainly have a chance. If the Rams can stick to a Steven Jackson rushing attack and keep Drew Brees off the field, the home crowd could become a huge factor.

                  KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
                  Call Tonya Harding and ask for some advice on how to “handle” competition? Lock the doors of the Dome just before the Saints arrive and lose the keys?

                  Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Seriously, there is no way this game is competitive. None. The Saints are the highest-scoring team in the league averaging 38 points per game and the Rams are the lowest-scoring team in the league at just over 9 points per game. Heck, the Saints are 59 points better than the next highest-scoring team this season (Minnesota). The Rams have scored a total of 77 points as a point of reference.

                  But wait, there’s more. The Saints are +129 when points scored are compared to points allowed and the Rams are -144. That’s a 273 point difference between these two teams over eight games. That’s a 34-point-per-game difference in case you were wondering.

                  There is nothing the Rams can do to be competitive in this game. Nothing legal anyway.
                  -11-09-2009, 08:28 PM
                • dgr828
                  Beating the Saints will require 53 RAMS playing as ONE
                  by dgr828
                  The past few weeks has seen the New Orleans Saints fall behind early in ballgames. A very dangerous trend that the Saints were able to overcome against the Dolphins and Panthers. The Saints were challenged to a dogfight wth the Falcons on Monday Night, a few weeks ago, and still prevailed to stay undefeated with an (8-0) record, heading into Saint Louis to matchup with the RAMS.

                  Surely, we can't expect the Saints to rest on their laurels and look pass the Rams (Week 10). The Saints most likely have learnt their lesson of not taking any team lightly and will come into the ED to try to make statement that says they're for real.

                  Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Jeremy Shockey and Pierre Thomas are just a few of the Saints that will be leading the attack against the Rams. Defensively, the Saints have had their hands full stopping the run, going up against Miami's "Wildcat", Atlanta's Micheal "Burner" Turner and Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, all having huge rushing games against New Orleans only to have the Saints win, in the end.

                  Will Steven Jackson also find success against a Saints defense that tends to be soft against the run?

                  If JAX can pickup where he left off from the Lions game it would greatly enhance the Rams chances for success.

                  When will MARC put together a meaningful, productive and crowd pleasing ballgame? What are we paying him for, Again?!

                  Ofcourse, Its not all on Bulger....Does anyone have his back?
                  Its time for the Rams offensive line to 'Chock their Blocks' and step up to protect their QB. AB, J-Smooth and the rest of the line have to be monsters in the trenches.

                  The Rams young receivers, Keenan Burton and Donnie Avery should now consider themselves veterans and act accordingly, by running the right routes. Avery for one has to focus and cut down his tendencies for turning the ball over.

                  A more balanced offense that's more open to the pass as well as the run, along with effiecent play calling will go a long way to help out Bulger & Crew against the Saints.

                  Josh Brown, with the Rams woes in the redzone, will need to be 'Money' whenever called upon. Donnie Jones has seen his share of shanks as of late, he needs to come through as before with the big time punts.

                  McMike and Daniel Fells could be the secret weapons at TE that Marc Bulger can use against New Orleans.

                  The Rams defense has a major task on its hands going up against an explosive offense lead by Drew Brees.
                  The Rams might want to think about becoming more physical or maybe a little bit nastier.

                  Long, Little and Laurinaitis will have to lead the charge up front and up the middle, Bartell hopefully has taken time to sharpen his skills at the corners, and OJ must continue to be the Rams safety net in the defensive backfield.

                  Last but not least, you don't...
                  -11-14-2009, 11:53 PM
                • megas711
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                • RamDez
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                • eldfan
                  Rams prepare for a strong Brees
                  by eldfan
                  QUESTION: What must the Rams do to slow down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend?

                  JIM THOMAS

                  Ball control by the Rams’ offense, like the 7 1/2-minute edge in time of possession they had Sunday in Arizona – or more. That’ll help but it won’t be enough given the quick-strike capabilities that the Saints possess. The Rams’ defense needs a big turnover game – maybe three or four or more. And Brees has thrown some INTs (16). And if ever the Rams were going to get a punt or kickoff return for a score, it would come in handy this week. Scoring 19 points won’t beat New Orleans.

                  JEFF GORDON

                  One, keep Brees off the field by actually running the football with some consistency and sustaining a ball-control offense. Two, take away the Saints running game – which won’t be easy with Na’il Diggs out for the year and the Rams lacking strong OLB play. Three, generate a consistent pass rush in the base defense to lessen the reliance on the blitz. Brees has seen it all, so the Rams will have to mix up their defenses. They won’t be able to blitz the Saints into submission liked they blitzed the Cardinals into submission.

                  BRYAN BURWELL

                  The Rams were able to stay competitive with New Orleans last year by winning time of possession. Barring some genius defensive game plan that will cover up the injuries in the secondary, keeping Brees off the field is the key.

                  KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)

                  Run the ball effectively all game long. The Saints pose matchup problems for most defenses because of their offensive depth and versatility, not to mention their Pro Bowl quarterback, so the best defense will be a consistent clock-chewing offense.

                  On that note, it would help if the Rams jumped out to an early lead. If you fall behind the Saints you end up right where they want you, chasing your tail trying to keep up with them in an air-war when you’re outgunned. Staying within one score entering the 3rd and 4th quarters will be key. If you’re down double digits at the half and have to come out throwing, that plays right into Sean Payton’s hands.
                  -12-07-2010, 01:50 PM
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