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  • The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

    ST. LOUIS -- The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams. Much like a couple of years ago, Rams offensive downs aren't just plays. They are shows. The pace is quick. The routes are imaginative. Overall, the old confidence has returned.

    Inside Rams camp
    RamsHow's the health of safety Adam Archuleta? Which newcomer should have a big impact in the front 7? Those are just a couple of the things John Clayton touches on in his observations from Rams camp.
    . Inside Rams camp
    "You need three or four receivers [for this offense] and we have four solid receivers now," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We brought back [tight end] Roland Williams, and he was with the team when we were the greatest show on turf. He still thinks it's that way. We had to go through a couple of rough years, and you hate to let that persona down."

    Training camp practices opened with that old flair the Rams had in their Super Bowl years (1999, 2001 seasons). Practice passes never hit the turf. Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald snatch passes out of the air and try to zip past corners. Running back Steven Jackson explodes through the line of scrimmage and then uses his 230-pound body to "shake-and-bake" a linebacker. A thin Marshall Faulk runs routes with renewed quickness.

    " When this offense is working well, we can move down the field so quickly teams don't have time to catch up. Normally in those situations, defenses try to get safe. Coach Martz is the best when teams start getting safety because he starts attacking them."
    -QB Marc Bulger

    Coach Mike Martz says the Rams' swagger is just confidence. Fans love it. Opponents view it as arrogance and hate it. Rams players say their confidence is a byproduct of having fun, and the fun is back because the Rams' offense has reloaded.

    "I was just saying it this morning that it was like it was when I came in during my first year," Holt said. "Then, we had a great mix of veterans with some young guys coming in to help. It's the same way now. As long as the guys up front on the offensive line hold, we have that swagger. The coaches have the swagger. Practices are fun. We are going out there and we are seeing the ability to click and jell at a high pace."

    Returning to the 500-point-a-year level of 1999-2001 might be tough, but the Rams make a case they are ready to make a run. Curtis and McDonald have evolved into significant role players who augment the 90-catch skills of Holt and Bruce. Each has three years of experience in the offense. Curtis offers blistering speed that inside corners can't match. McDonald isn't Az-Zahir Hakim, but he offers a little bit of the shiftiness and run-after-the catch ability.

    But the single most exciting addition to the offense this year is Jackson. This isn't the dreadlocked rookie who looked lost in 2004. Jackson dropped five pounds and added quickness. His body fat is a mere 5 percent. His impact as the featured back -- often sharing the backfield with Faulk -- could be one of the most watched changes in the NFC this fall.

    "He's 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, and he's got those scary-looking dreadlocks," Holt said. "He runs strong. He catches the ball well, and you know how critical it is. Running backs in this offense have to know the offense as well as the quarterback. If the back is getting 5 or 6 [yards] per carry, the impact is huge. Teams will have to bring an extra man in to handle it. That opens one-on-one matchups for the wide receivers. Steven's explosion is incredible."

    As a rookie, Jackson averaged 5 yards a carry, but got just a little more than eight carries a game. Now he's the starter, even though Faulk is considered 1-A.

    Running the football may not appear to be in the diabolical offensive mind of Martz, but don't be surprised. The re-signing of Williams to go with Brandon Manumaleuna offers the chance for the Rams to switch into two-tight end sets with two players adept at catching the ball. Martz isn't opposed to calling four or five running plays in a row to confuse a defense.

    The diabolical aspect of the running game is what Jackson and Faulk can do together, a feature Martz plans to exploit this season.

    "Steven came in here with that certain air about him that great players have," Martz said. "He's very confident without being cocky. His feeling is just give him the ball and put it on his shoulders just like Jerome Bettis. Marshall has helped him with that."

    This is the same Faulk who is also the best receiving back in this era. Because Martz can let Jackson pound the ball into the middle of the defense, Faulk lost weight in order to enhance his quickness in running routes. in addition, Manumaleuna can line up at fullback at 288 pounds.

    It's not that the Rams are going to be a running offense. That will never happen. Martz is all about passing. But running plays set up bigger pass plays, and the components of the 2005 offense should keep defenses guessing.

    But it's Jackson who catches your eye.

    "We are coming back to that form of being a threat on offense and being dangerous on all sides of the ball," Jackson said. "I bring that youth in there. I'm hungry. I'm not going to let up on any play. With Marshall out there with me at times, no team is going to be able to pick up on the formations and how we line up. I like being the hard runner. Marshall is more of a slasher and the elusive guy. I'm bringing back the Jerome Bettis-Eric Dickerson days. I'm a hard runner inside the tackle."

    Can the Rams get back to that 500-point level? A soft schedule helps, and the Rams could end up with the league's easiest -- just as they did during their first Super Bowl year. The Rams play only seven games against teams with 8-8 records or better last season. Their opponents this season went a combined 114-142 last year, making for the lowest record-against schedule in the league. To get 500 points, a team needs some 40-point games against easy opponents.

    The Rams showed signs of that explosiveness at times last year but left a lot of points on the field, which tends to be frustrating.

    "It was tough," Holt said. "At times, it was there. At times, it wasn't there. There is a transition of getting new guys in the system who have to understand what it takes to be a St. Louis Ram. This is a new generation of Rams. I think the guys now have a better understanding of what it takes. But when it was missing, it was frustrating."

    While Jackson expects to be the breakout runner this year, Curtis should be the breakout wide receiver. It's year three for Curtis and McDonald and it takes about three years to get comfortable with the many formations and adjustments. Though Holt and Bruce will get most of the catches, Curtis, who caught 32 passes for 421 yards last season, should become a big-play threat who should gain chunks of yards.

    "Kevin is a rocket and he usually gets the third defensive back, which is not your best defensive back," Bulger said. "A guy is a nickel back for a reason. Kevin could start for at least half the teams in the NFL. He can run by anyone. A lot of teams playing the Tampa cover two take the middle linebacker to run with the inside receiver. Kevin can run by that. That guy may be a 4.4, but Kevin is a 4.2 or a 4.3, and he's going to beat them every time."

    The big worry, though, is the offensive line, which is once again precariously thin. Rex Tucker has to handle the left guard position. Blaine Saipaia is going to right tackle. Any injury or two along the line could be a disaster.

    "If we keep everybody healthy, I think we are going to score a lot more points," Bulger said. "When this offense is working well, we can move down the field so quickly teams don't have time to catch up. Normally in those situations, defenses try to get safe. Coach Martz is the best when teams start getting safety because he starts attacking them."

    The Show is ready to return.

    John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com

  • #2
    Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

    Good article with lots of positive outlooks for the Rams offense!



    in addition, Manumaleuna can line up at fullback at 288 pounds.
    Um - Been there, done that. Please don't do it again, it's ugly!!



    :helmet:
    Curly ~ Horns

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

      I like it! Things sound upbeat and optimistic. Comparing this camp to GSOT days means things seem to be moving in the right direction. I can't wait! Let's get this thing started! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!! :football:

      Go Rams!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

        Like myself i bet every Ram fan that read this had a grin on their face from ear to ear!................................Well?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

          Originally posted by talkstoangels61
          Like myself i bet every Ram fan that read this had a grin on their face from ear to ear!................................Well?
          One of the best reads in a long time thanks Wraith.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

            It fun to read good stuff from what should be neutral parties isn't P!


            Originally posted by psycho9985
            One of the best reads in a long time thanks Wraith.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

              I'm looking forward to seeing that swagger continue into the regular season. I agree with Martz that it comes from confidence, and if it's percieved as arrogance, that's a good thing if it's backed up. We need to get back to the point where teams dread playing us and fear the scoring barrages that used to be our trademark. I want to see the unbridled spirit and in your face attitude that brought us the "bob and weave", the "GSOT", players streaking side by side down the field while laughing it up all the way to the end zone and of course those "bull crap plays" that Jim Haslett used to love so much.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                Man, I can't wait for the season to begin. If HALF of what I hear from camp reports is true, we will be kicking some serious butt this year....

                GO RAMS!!!:clanram:
                temp_4394_1467243487543_20
                RAMS!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                  Does anybody have a pill I can take that puts me to sleep until the start of the season? I can wait, but its killing me. Great article, thanks a bunch.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                    If HALF of what I hear from camp reports is true, we will be kicking some serious butt this year... --RamsFanSam
                    Let's do it!


                    :angryram: I hope Claude Terrell does his part well in adding depth to the OL. He certainly has the size to play a tough G. What about Darnell Allford? Isn't he in?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                      Although I am VERY excited for the season to start I still think our right tackle postion will make or break this season. Barron better get his head out of his :moon: and get to camp soon!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                        O-line is the problem... Straight from the article.

                        Looks look our sure-fire First-round draft pick isn't going to help out at all.

                        Didn't like the Barron pick then and don't like it now.

                        Everyone else wrote that he would STEP RIGHT IN AND START FOR 10-12 years.

                        That was the hype, this is the reality.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                          Originally posted by RamWraith
                          Although I am VERY excited for the season to start I still think our right tackle postion will make or break this season. Barron better get his head out of his :moon: and get to camp soon!!
                          Its like Martz says"Missing any camp time will put light years behind"
                          Last edited by ; -08-01-2005, 08:47 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                            I just love this article.. but I agree the RT will make or break us this season!! for the O


                            steve:clanram:
                            "The breakfast Club":helmet:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams

                              Originally posted by Tony Soprano
                              O-line is the problem... Straight from the article.

                              Looks look our sure-fire First-round draft pick isn't going to help out at all.

                              Didn't like the Barron pick then and don't like it now.

                              Everyone else wrote that he would STEP RIGHT IN AND START FOR 10-12 years.

                              That was the hype, this is the reality.
                              Great plan..the kid misses a few days so let's right off his whole career. :drunk: He'll get to camp and he'll be behind. No question there. He will spend most of camp completely lost. Very little question there. He won't be the starting RT in Week 1. Not much question there either. He won't have a productive career. Whooooooa, hold the phone. Let's give him a chance to actually see the field before we put him out to pasture, shall we? He's the most physically talented OL in the rookie crop. If he can gain a little maturity, he will be more than serviceable on our line.

                              Maybe we shouldn't pull the plug, just yet.
                              "I'm not going to hide my opinions. They're coming to you between 7000-4000 Angstroms for all the world to see. Oh yes, you will be enlightened."

                              Comment

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                              • psycho9985
                                Mike to get madder
                                by psycho9985
                                Thursday, August 25, 2005
                                Martz plotting more madness
                                Rams' offensive skills second to none
                                By CLARE FARNSWORTH
                                SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
                                ST. LOUIS -- No question, Steven Jackson is emerging as a beast of a running back in his second season, providing the St. Louis Rams' already potent offense with the perfect counter to the NFL's best collection of wide receivers.
                                But will rookie Alex Barron be able to slam the revolving door that has been the right tackle spot?
                                No question, the Rams defense will be improved with the free-agent additions of linebackers Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne, the improvement of tackles Jimmy Kennedy and Ryan Pickett and the move of Adam Archuleta from strong to free safety.
                                But can right guard Adam Timmerman hold up through an entire season after having surgery on both shoulders and a foot during the offseason?
                                That is the way things are going for Mike Martz in his sixth season as Rams head coach. Every time he seemingly finds the answer for one problem, another pops up.
                                "It's nice to have all the options we do, but the biggest issue is the offensive line," the Rams coach offered.
                                Martz -- aka "Mad Mike" because of his throw-everything-into-the-wind approach to play calling -- does have options. From quarterback Marc Bulger, to wide receivers Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald, to Jackson and former league MVP Marshall Faulk, the Rams have as much talent at the skill positions as any team in the league.
                                "Those things don't mean anything if you can't block them," Martz said. "The quarterback can't throw it, and it doesn't make any difference who's out there (to catch it) if the protection isn't there.
                                "And if you're not blocking them, it doesn't make any difference who the runner is," he added. "So, as I've said many times, everything on this football team -- offense, defense, special teams -- all starts from the offensive line. If we're good there, it sets the tone for everything else."
                                http://ads.nwsource.com/ads/adv.gif http://dist.belnk.com/4/placement/1963/alt_offer/var campaignID = "Claria_0705_TM_PI_NWS-300"; var maxViews = 1; var maxMinutes = 1440; var classID = "remnant300"; var capit = 1; Talk about pressure. Isn't that assessment just the latest example of Martz taking things to the extreme?
                                "I think there's a lot to that," Timmerman said when asked about the burden that's being placed on the line. "If we can't give Marc time to throw deep or just throw the ball at all, he can't do anything. Or Steven can't run without us. So it's a lot of pressure, but it's needed. We know it's on us. We have that pressure. We have to respond to it."
                                So far, not so good.
                                Barron, the team's first-round draft choice, finally reported, after missing 19 days and 21 full-squad practices. But rather...
                                -08-25-2005, 10:35 PM
                              • RamDez
                                Rams' defense is fine, but real show is on offense
                                by RamDez
                                By Bryan Burwell
                                Of the Post-Dispatch
                                Saturday, Jul. 30 2005

                                Like the rest of you, I must confess to being momentarily distracted. Like the
                                rest of you, I have allowed such arcane terms as "run stuffer," "space eater"
                                and "gunner" to infiltrate my football lexicon, and it disturbs me greatly.
                                Like the rest of you, I've spent too much of the NFL offseason immersed in all
                                these urgent conversations concerning Mike Martz's Rams, almost every one of
                                them either beginning or ending with chatter about linebackers and cornerbacks,
                                safeties and special-teams guys.

                                Like the rest of you, I am fully aware how bizarre these conversations are. I
                                know that talking about the Rams but only bringing up defense and special teams
                                is a lot like talking about Pamela Anderson and only bringing up her bubbling
                                personality.

                                Yet now that I've sat on the sidelines at Rams Park for the first three days of
                                training camp, I feel a flush of normalcy sweeping over me. When the players
                                break into position-specific drills, my eyes quickly go past the grunting
                                defensive linemen, the colliding linebackers and all those defensive backs
                                engaging in their hand-to-hand combat at the line of scrimmage. I yawn just a
                                bit when the air horn signals the start of the special-teams session of
                                practice.

                                'Scuse me boys, but can you sort of move a little to the left so that we can
                                see the offense do its thing?

                                For all the preoccupation with the importance of upgrading special teams and
                                defense during the offseason, I know where my bread is buttered. These are
                                still the Rams, and that is still Mike Martz roaming the sideline, and the
                                airspace above the perfectly manicured Rams Park practice fields still ought to
                                be regulated by the control tower at nearby Lambert Field. Which is to say
                                that, although I am extremely pleased that the Rams have concentrated on those
                                other areas of improvement, dwelling on them further is, well, kind of boring.

                                I know they are essential to the long-term success of this 2005 season.

                                I know that if the run defense is stingy and the special teams can dominate,
                                the Rams will be a more competitive ballclub this season.

                                I will watch them with great interest as soon as the games start to count, but
                                in the meantime, as long as Martz is breathing, the Rams' offense forever will
                                be our fast and furious fascination. And again, the Rams offense appears to be
                                armed and potentially extremely dangerous.

                                "We say that every year, don't we?" quarterback Marc Bulger said with a sly
                                grin.

                                Well, yes, but you have to admit that as long as the offensive line can hold
                                up, the potential for this offense is rather...
                                -07-31-2005, 12:48 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Air Martz reloads with young guns
                                by RamWraith
                                BY JEFF GORDON
                                Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
                                Monday, Oct. 11 2004

                                NFL defensive coordinators aren’t feeling so good today.

                                The Rams offense has officially reloaded. Air Martz flew again Sunday in
                                Seattle, blitzing the previously stringent Seahawks defense with a 23-point
                                outburst.

                                Rookie running back Steven Jackson has given this team a power running element
                                to complement all the speed – and he can bust some big plays of his own.

                                Young receivers Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis have finally arrived, albeit a
                                year later than hoped because of injuries.

                                Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna had a special Kellen Winslow Moment in Seattle,
                                suggesting he could earn a bigger role. Receiver Isaac Bruce has turned back
                                the clock to ’99, playing at a Pro Bowl level.

                                Quarterback Marc Bulger beat the Seahawks with an accurate deep throw –
                                something we haven’t seen much of – and receiver Torry Holt is the third- or
                                fourth-best player in the league at his position.

                                Many positives emerged from Sunday’s comeback victory, including a sturdy
                                second half from a battered defense and a rare big play from the special teams.

                                But the most encouraging development was the big-play arrival of McDonald,
                                Curtis and Jackson. McDonald and Curtis provide explosiveness the Rams have
                                sought since losing slot receiver Az Zahir-Hakim to free agency.

                                When did Mike realize these kids were ready for more heavy lifting?

                                “You don’t know, really, until you put them on the field in key situations like
                                this where they have to make a play to win a game,” Martz said at his Monday
                                news conference. “They can kind of blend in and make a play during the game,
                                but when they make plays that are a major reason why you win games, then you
                                know they are at that point where everybody gets excited.”

                                With the NFL cracking down on the clutching and grabbing of receivers coming
                                out of their break, the Rams can create serious match-up problems for most
                                teams.

                                The Seahawks believed they had the secondary depth to match up against the
                                Rams. And Bulger strafed them during the frantic rally, spreading the ball to
                                various targets.

                                The Rams mounted that historic rally without getting much from running back
                                Marshall Faulk, who ran ineffectively and dropped a couple of key passes late.
                                But as we’ve seen earlier this season, Faulk still has plenty to give.

                                Think of the possibilities. The Rams can attack with their four-receiver set,
                                with six guys (including reliable Dane Looker) to choose from. They can throw
                                to tight ends, since Manumaleuna and Cam Cleeland can both catch the ball.

                                The two-back set...
                                -10-12-2004, 06:18 AM
                              • thoey
                                Football Diehards: Steven Jackson
                                by thoey
                                Confident, Conditioned Jackson Ready For Featured Role...

                                Written By Bob Harris | Football Diehards | Posted 11-Aug-05 @ 23:00 PM PT


                                As Belleville News Democrat beat man Steve Korte recently framed it, "Steven Jackson felt like Lance Armstrong donning the yellow jersey in the Tour de France after being handed a bright gold No. 37 jersey at the start of the St. Louis Rams' training camp."
                                "We had to report and get our jerseys and grab our equipment, and they handed me that one," Jackson said. "I didn't know if it was something for a photo shoot or what."

                                Jackson and fellow running back Marshall Faulk are wearing yellow jerseys as a reminder to their teammates to keep any contact to a minimum. Not that Jackson has spent much time in camp avoiding contact.

                                In fact, as he begins his tenure as the Rams' starting running back, Jackson isn't shying away from much of anything.

                                "It's early, but I would say 'Big Train' is working hard," running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said of the former first-round draft pick. "It's like he's picked up right where he's left off in mini-camp. He came back with the right attitude. The intensity is great. He's focused. He wants to be a young leader. He's showing a lot of toughness right now."

                                And according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer Jim Thomas, Jackson is showing all that and more. Almost all elite runners in the NFL have a certain confidence about them and Jackson has that air about him as well.

                                "Steven came in here with that certain air about him that great players have," head coach Mike Martz said. "He's very confident without being cocky. His feeling is just give him the ball and put it on his shoulders just like Jerome Bettis. Marshall has helped him with that."

                                "I'm sure he knows he still has stuff to learn, but from where he was at this point last year, it's obvious that he feels comfortable and he has that attitude that all good backs have," quarterback Marc Bulger said of Jackson. "They want the ball every down. Even in practice, he's starting to be a lot more vocal in the huddle. It's great to have that."

                                Of course, the passing of the torch from Faulk to Jackson comes as the Rams try to revive a running game that tied for 25th among the NFL's 32 teams last season. They averaged only 4.3 yards per carry and had only 11 rushing touchdowns. Bulger believes the more physical Jackson will allow the rushing game take some pressure off the passing attack this season.

                                As Martz put it: "[Jackson] has the quickness, the agility of that little guy. And he's that power runner as well. He can run through those arm tackles and be very physical. We can play power football with him down after down. He can take that punishment."

                                As a first-year...
                                -08-21-2005, 01:12 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat
                                by RamWraith
                                By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

                                ST. LOUIS — Imagine the St. Louis Rams with a big, power rusher featured in a grind-it-out offense and a coach willing to call one running play after the next. The first part is a reality called Steven Jackson. The second is almost too weird to consider. And that last suggestion? Mike Martz in love with the run? Maybe next lifetime.
                                But it could happen considerably sooner than that. Like now. Revolution is in the air, or on the ground. With the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson stepping in as the starting running back in place of Marshall Faulk, the Rams, with a hammer in the backfield rather than a slasher, may change their philosophy.

                                "You try to take advantage of whatever your strengths are," says Martz, whose team closes out the preseason Friday night at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. "We've retooled our offensive line, and I'd love to give that ball to Steven and pound it in there and pound it in there and take our shots downfield when we feel like it. That's fun football. That means we've got control of the game."

                                The Rams lacked that last season, when they were 8-8 and a wild-card playoff qualifier. They scored 319 points, down from 447 in 2003, and were held to 17 or fewer in half of their games. Their quarterbacks were sacked 50 times, the most since Martz became head coach in 2000.

                                If Monday night's 37-13 preseason victory against the Detroit Lions means anything, this new model works. Jackson carried 12 times for 105 yards in the first half and finished with 14 for 108. Faulk added three carries for 22 yards in the first two quarters. The Rams ran 39 times and passed 25 on their way to 453 yards of total offense, 183 on the ground.

                                "Steven can put a lot of pressure on people," Martz says. "You'll see a different type of approach offensively."

                                The Rams under Martz have always thrown before they ran. Martz says he derived his philosophy in part from Norv Turner. He was on Turner's staff with the Washington Redskins in 1997-98 and says he carefully studied the way Turner, now the Oakland Raiders' head coach, attacked as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys (1991-93), when the Cowboys won consecutive Super Bowls.

                                Turner, Martz says, threw the ball on 70% of the first-half snaps and ran it on 70% of the second-half plays. The rationale: "You throw the ball in the first half and they're rushing the passer, rushing the passer, and you start running the ball when you're fresh."

                                The switch to Jackson as a starter was suggested by Faulk late last season. While Jackson is younger and less physically worn than Faulk, he must sharpen parts of his game to become a more complete player.

                                "I'm still working on my pass routes," says Jackson, the club's No. 1 pick in 2004. "I never had to do it to this extent. In college...
                                -09-01-2005, 11:21 AM
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