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Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

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  • Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

    Feisty Rams ready for Cardinals

    9 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS • [email protected]

    With the expansion of the NFL Network's Thursday night football package, all 32 teams get a crack at a prime-time game in 2012.

    So when it came to the woebegone Rams and the post-Kurt Warner Arizona Cardinals, you could almost hear the network executives saying back at scheduling time: Let's pair these two, just to get them out of the way.

    Lo and behold, the NFC West has grown fangs this season. It's the best division in football over the first month of the season. The Cardinals at 4-0 are one of only three unbeaten teams; the Rams at 2-2 are suddenly feisty under new coach Jeff Fisher.

    Just like that, tonight's 7:20 kickoff at the Edward Jones Dome is a pretty good matchup. The Rams haven't been host to a Thursday night game since late in the 2007 season, a 41-24 loss to Pittsburgh. With thousands of Steelers fans in the dome that night waving Terrible Towels, Marshall Faulk had his jersey number retired, Isaac Bruce played his last home game as a Ram — and oh yeah — Torry Holt could be seen screaming at then-coach Scott Linehan on the St. Louis sideline.

    There will be a lot going today as well, including a lunchtime pep rally featuring Faulk at Kiener Plaza. Instead of Terrible Towels, fans will be waving pink rally towels as part of the NFL efforts at breast cancer awareness.

    And as usually is the case when St. Louis' football past (Cardinals) meets its football present (Rams) in the Gateway City, Bill Bidwill's Big Red will host a reception for former St. Louis Cardinals. Fitting then, that the Rams will introduce Rams — and Cardinals — legend Warner, an NFL Network commentator, to the dome crowd during a break in the first quarter.

    As for what happens on the field, the Rams will be trying to get above the .500 mark for the first time in more than 2,100 days.

    "Geez," defensive end Chris Long said, jolted by that number. "I was a sophomore in college. I've never been over .500 (as a Ram). Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think I have."

    He's not wrong.

    The Rams haven't been above .500 — not even 1-0 — since sporting a 4-3 record on Nov. 4, 2006, or nearly a year and a half before drafting Long No. 2 overall in 2008.

    "It's a new day here," Long said. "Certainly, the past four years — they were tough. For us it's just nice to be able to move on and compete in football games every Sunday and have an opportunity to win 'em."

    Or Thursday, as the case may be. But as the rest of the league begins to take notice of the NFL's new black-and-blue division — the NFC West — the Rams remain largely off the radar.

    "The media likes to point out Seattle," safety Craig Dahl said. "They like to point out how Arizona's undefeated. They like to point out how San Francisco won the division last year, and they're doing well this year. I think we often get overlooked. So this will be a chance for us to really show the rest of the league and the rest of the NFL fan base that we have a good team."

    "There's nothing wrong with being the underdog, or the one in the back corner not being looked at," added defensive end Robert Quinn. "That's when you show up and surprise people."

    Of course, the best way to get noticed or earn respect is by winning. The Rams did that Sunday, defeating Seattle 19-13 after losing 13 of the previous 14 meetings with the Seahawks.

    Arizona presents a similar challenge. The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 11 against the Rams and haven't lost in St. Louis since 2004. The Big Red have won seven in a row in St. Louis — the longest road winning streak against an opponent in franchise history.

    It seems a natural that the Cardinals should be a Rams rival, simply because they left St. Louis for the Arizona desert in 1988 and they're in the same division. But as Fisher points out, it's hard to call it a "rivalry" if you're not winning any games against your rival.

    "Yeah, I mean you establish rivalries," Fisher said. "But I wouldn't imagine we have one based on past history over the last four or five years. We haven't had much of a rivalry with anybody, so we have to work towards that. And that comes from having competitive, great games, and close games and those kind of things."

    Beating the division-leading Cardinals would be a step in that direction. Their 4-0 record marks the franchise's best start since the 1974 "Cardiac Cards" started 7-0 in St. Louis. The 2012 edition is winning games with strong defense and opportunistic play.

    It's certainly not a result of overwhelming offense because the Cardinals are the first NFL team since 1941 to start a season 4-0 without as much as 300 yards gained in any of those games.

    Fisher is pulling out all the stops to get the most out of his team tonight. On Monday, there was a team yoga session to stretch out the soreness from a physical Seattle team on a short work week. The Rams practiced later in the day, then had an evening walk-through at the dome Wednesday, to get the players' body clocks used to night football.

    Fisher has even taken notice of the fact that the Rams are 2-0 this season when wearing blue jerseys and blue pants at home.

    "Oh, there's a really good chance we'll be blue-on-blue (tonight)," Fisher said earlier in the week. "And it has nothing to do with me being superstitious."

    Of course not.

  • #2
    Re: Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

    I don't like the Blue on Blue but if we win wearing those colors I'm all for it.
    sigpic :ram::helmet:


    • #3
      Re: Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

      Originally posted by LAram0 View Post
      I don't like the Blue on Blue but if we win wearing those colors I'm all for it.
      Absolutely. I despise that combo! As far as uniforms, that one to me is repugnant. But yes, I can live with it if that is what it takes. ^_^

      BTW, "Feisty Rams" ... what an understatement that turned out to be!

      Last edited by RealRam; -10-05-2012, 05:33 AM. Reason: Ram


      • #4
        Re: Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

        The Rams record in all blue this year? 3-0. Im guessing we'll see them a few more times!


        • #5
          Re: Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

          If the blue on blue keeps us undefeated at home and within the division, then lets keep it going!


          • #6
            Re: Thomas: Feisty Rams Ready For Cardinals

            Originally posted by LARAM0 View Post
            I don't like the Blue on Blue but if we win wearing those colors I'm all for it.
            BTW, found this on the Internet by chance and then I did some detail refining on the picture.

            For those of us that keep remembering that unique 1965-72 uniform of the L.A. Rams. This is an approximation of what it would look like on our current Rams!

            Maybe we'd go undefeated the rest of the season...

            Clic and compare 1st image of Bradford & Jackson with the rest: Actual 1965-72 colors.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by RealRam; -10-07-2012, 02:27 PM. Reason: Further refining of picture


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            • RamWraith
              Former St. Louis football Cardinals can clinch title -- against St. Louis Rams
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              Thursday, Dec. 04 2008
              For Bill Bidwill's football franchise, moments like this appear with the
              frequency of Halley's comet. But a victory Sunday by Bidwill's Arizona
              Cardinals clinches the franchise's first home playoff game since Harry S.
              Truman was president.

              One must go back to Dec. 28, 1947, when the Chicago Cardinals defeated
              Philadelphia 28-21 in the NFL championship game at Comiskey Park, to find the
              one and only Cardinals home playoff game.

              That's not the only long playoff drought that's about to end for the team known
              as the Big Red during its 28-season stay in St. Louis.

              — The Cardinals haven't appeared in a playoff game since 1998, the longest
              active playoff drought in the league.

              — They haven't won a division title since 1975, when coach Don Coryell's St.
              Louis Cardinals went 11-3 in the regular season.

              Jim Hanifan, current Rams radio analyst, was offensive line coach for that '75
              team, which featured three Hall of Famers (offensive tackle Dan Dierdorf, tight
              end Jackie Smith and cornerback Roger Wehrli).

              The thunder-and-lightning backfield consisted of Jim Otis and Terry Metcalf.
              Mel Gray was the deep threat at wide receiver, with Jim Hart at quarterback.
              The offensive line yielded only eight sacks, which was an NFL record until the
              1988 Miami Dolphins allowed only seven. Jim Bakken was the clutch place-kicker
              for a team known as the Cardiac Cards: five of their 11 victories came by a
              touchdown or less.

              "It was a fun team and it had a tremendous attitude about itself," Hanifan
              said. "They felt, as time went on in that season, that they would not ever be
              denied. That they were going to win every game."

              But back then, only four teams made the playoffs in each conference, so winning
              your division didn't guarantee a home game. Alas, the Cardinals were the No. 3
              seed and lost their first-round game at Los Angeles against the Rams 35-23.

              Between 1974-76, the Cardinals went 31-11. That was the best it would get for
              pro football in St. Louis until a group known as the Greatest Show on Turf
              arrived in town a quarter-century later.

              But back then, in the mid '70s, "I thought we were going to continue on,"
              Hanifan recalled. "We had a great nucleus of football players."

              The success didn't last, nor did the Cardinals in St. Louis. The franchise
              moved to the Phoenix area after the 1987 season, where the best record it could
              manage was a 9-7 wild-card finish in '98.

              But that's all about to change. If the heavily favored Cardinals (7-5) defeat
              the Rams (2-10) Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, they...
              -12-04-2008, 05:37 AM
            • RamWraith
              Rams hope to end season with a win over Cardinals
              by RamWraith
              Arizona won earlier meeting
              BY STEVE KORTE

              It's a merciful ending to disappointing and injury-riddled seasons for both the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals.

              Yet Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said he was looking forward to his team's season-ending matchup against the Cardinals at 3:15 p.m. today at University of Phoenix Stadium.

              "I am looking to have fun," Bulger said. "It doesn't mean anything as far as playoffs and all that, but anytime you go out there, you enjoy yourself and you remember the times when you weren't on a team, or that people are in hospitals or in different countries or Iraq. I mean, just be thankful."

              Bulger said he had time to reflect on his blessings as the Rams had a sort of Christmas break with three of the next four days off after their 41-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 20.

              "You get family in, and they tell you about their problems, so maybe your problems aren't that bad," Bugler said. "I had a friend whose mother had to go into the hospital yesterday with something life-threatening out of the blue. Things can happen. When you are in the day-to-day grind, you don't realize it.

              "But getting those couple days off, you don't shut down football and think that it is not important anymore, but you kind of do put it into perspective a little bit."

              With a 3-12 record, the Rams need a win just to tie their 1998 squad for the worst record since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995.

              Rams coach Scott Linehan, who was given a vote of confidence from team President John Shaw a couple of weeks ago, wants to end the season with a win before beginning what figures to be a busy offseason.

              "You want to finish what you start, and have a good last game regardless," Linehan said. "We're playing a division opponent on the road. It would be nice for us to be able to go there and perform well and go away with a victory."

              The Cardinals are 7-8 and hoping to post their best record since 1998 and their third nonlosing season since 1984 by finishing at .500.

              Arizona has dealt with the loss of quarterback Matt Leinart to a season-ending collar bone injury during a 34-31 win over the Rams on Oct. 7 at the Edward Jones Dome and the loss of strong safety Adrian Wilson to a season-ending heel injury a few weeks later.

              Former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner has assumed a full-time role since Leinart's injury. The Arizona Republic reported this week that Warner could earn as much as $1.5 million in incentive bonuses if he plays well against the Rams.

              Bulger said he consulted Warner earlier this month when he was deciding whether it was safe for him to play after suffering a concussion.

              "A lot of times you can get pressured in this business...
              -12-30-2007, 08:20 AM
            • Nick
              Arizona looks like (gulp) playoff contender
              by Nick
              Arizona looks like (gulp) playoff contender
              By Scott Bordow, Tribune Columnist

              EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE (Mesa, Ariz.) Where's the key? Oh, there it is. Top row, right-hand corner.
              I've used the letter P before when writing about the Cardinals. But usually I have to buy a vowel after hitting it.
              Pathetic. Putrid. Pitiful.


              Yeah, way back in 1998, when Jake Plummer was still the darling of Arizona sports fans.

              Since then, however, I've avoided the wishful thinking that comes with a Cardinals victory.

              If they can win next week they'll be right back in it. Look at their schedule.
              They can win those games.

              Then, of course, Arizona loses that winnable game, and the elevator lands with a thud. Or, to put it in football vernacular, the Cardinals 49er it. So, with full awareness of how fragile the limb is that I'm climbing on, I hereby proclaim that the Cardinals are — oh, goodness, am I really saying it? — playoff contenders.

              Someone get me a drink to calm my nerves.

              Yes, it sounds crazy. Arizona is 4-5 after its 17-14 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday. That's not playoff material. That's a Las Vegas lounge act.

              But in the low tide pool that's the NFC, the Cardinals can spread their wings and take flight to parts unknown.

              Arizona is one game out of the final wild card spot. More amazingly, it's just one game out of the lead in the NFC Worst, er, West.

              If the Cardinals can beat 2-7 Carolina this Sunday, they'll be a .500 team and . . .

              Hey, Bordow, didn't you read what you wrote a few paragraphs up? Quit dreaming. These are the Cardinals.

              Yeah, I know that.

              But at some point, we have to acknowledge coach Dennis Green is onto something.

              The Cardinals have gone 4-2 since starting the season 0-3.

              They're 3-1 at Sun Devil Stadium and have won three straight at home for the first time since 1999.

              Of their final seven opponents, only three — the New York Jets, St. Louis and Seattle — have winning records.

              It's enough to make an overgrown man get too big for his britches.

              “Winning two straight games is nothing to get excited about,” said nose tackle Russell Davis. “We'll look back on that after our playoff game and say that's
              where the streak got started.”

              OK, this may be a good time for a few rational thoughts:

              - The Cardinals are 4-5, not 6-3. Who isn't 4-5 in the NFL?

              - Had Arizona not successfully navigated the game-winning, fourth-quarter drive in Miami last week, we'd already have written its obituary.

              - The Cardinals were 4-2 in 2002 and 6-6 in 1999. They finished 5-11 and 6-10, respectively.

              “Man, anything can happen,” said tackle...
              -11-16-2004, 07:38 AM
            • ILRamfan
              Arizona Cardinals
              by ILRamfan
              Due to the recent re-alignment, the St. Louis Rams 2001 NFC Champions, 1999 Super Bowl Champs are placed in the same division with the Arizona Cardinals. I don't think I need to remind everyone that these are the same Cardinals owned by the lying, stinking, coniving, greedy, moronic, Bill Bidwell. If the Rams do anything in the 2003 season, they MUST humiliate Arizona at every given opportunity! This must be our imperitive!

              Does anyone out there agree?

              Remember 1987!
              -04-06-2002, 07:59 AM
            • DJRamFan
              [Cardinals] Cards feeling defeated
              by DJRamFan
              4-9 record takes its toll on Green

              Tim Tyers
              The Arizona Republic
              Dec. 14, 2004 12:00 AM

              The demeanor of Cardinals coach Dennis Green on Monday was that of a man ready to cut loose with a refrain from an old country song: "You ripped my heart out and stomped that sucker flat."

              The man who predicted a winning season and possible playoff berth upon his arrival had nothing good to say about his four-win team, or the way the season has transpired during his first season with the Cardinals.

              San Francisco, with only two wins, is considered the worst team in pro football. But both of its wins have come against the Cardinals, including Sunday's 31-28 win in overtime, so where does that leave the Cardinals? advertisement

              Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader, said after Sunday's loss that the team is making elementary mistakes and insinuated that some of the problem is coaching.

              "You know," Green said, "everybody has their own opinion. I will reserve mine."

              To his credit, Green didn't dodge the issue when asked if he was worried about losing the attention of his team.

              "Absolutely," he said. "You worry about losing everybody. I don't think (owner) Mr. Bill Bidwill is very happy right now. I don't think he counted on hiring a new coach and having the new coach be 4-9. It's everybody. I don't think the fans counted on being 4-9. I know I didn't count on being 4-9 . . .

              "There is a chance to lose everybody when you get into a situation where you are not winning . . . "

              Green took on a huge task when he came to Arizona in January to rebuild the franchise. Yet, Sunday's loss guaranteed the Cardinals their 15th losing season in the past 17 years. The question now is, how much progress has been made?

              "I would hope to say a lot of things are better, but you know . . . sometimes we are in a bottom line business. In fact, most of the time we are.

              "We only had 35,000 people there (Sunday). That's not a very big crowd, not a lot of people for the fifth-largest city in America. That's not a lot of people who want to come and watch you play in your stadium."

              In Sunday's game there were five major errors on special teams, the offense didn't report for duty until the second half and Arizona's gambling defense was once again porous against the run. Nondescript Maurice Hicks, an undrafted free agent, not only became the eighth rusher to top 100 yards against Arizona, but his 139 yards came within 5 yards of matching his season total entering the game.

              Green said the Cardinals are not physical enough at the point of attack against the run. They've tried to offset that with blitzes, but sometimes the formation takes away the blitz and the lack of physicality...
              -12-14-2004, 10:30 AM