St. Louis Rams – Blog

Wrapping Up Oakland

Posted by nickwagoner on September 20, 2010 – 8:12 PM

– Welcome to this week’s edition of Wrapping Up. Let’s get down to business.

– The Rams took some more bumps and bruises this week that could limit the roster again this weekend against Washington. Coach Steve Spagnuolo gave the full injury report and it looked like this…

– TE Billy Bajema has a mild MCL sprain and is expected to miss two to four weeks. That injury is believed to be similar to the one suffered by safety James Butler.

– Fellow TE Daniel Fells also has an MCL injury though it’s not as serious and he’s going to be day to day this week.

– DT Darell Scott probably has the most serious ailment, suffering a high ankle sprain in the same category as the one suffered by TE Michael Hoomanawanui last week. He’s expected to miss some extended time with that injury.

– DT Clifton Ryan will have a second opinion on his migraine headache issues this week after he was unable to play against the Raiders. The Rams are hopeful everything will come back OK from that ailment, especially with Scott out this week. The Rams could bring DT Jermelle Cudjo back to the varsity if Ryan and Scott are both not likely to play.

– LB Chris Chamberlain (foot) and Hoomanawanui (ankle) are out of their casts and in walking boots. They are still a ways away from getting back on the field but that’s a good sign for each of their recoveries.

– CBs Kevin Dockery and Justin King are making progress and could both return to practice this week with King’s return more likely earlier in the week than Dockery.

– As for the game, Spagnuolo expressed his disappointment at many of the same things that he was upset with in the immediate aftermath of the game. The penalties, the Rams’ inability to run the ball in the second half and the Raiders’ success running in the second half were the main culprits, according to Spagnuolo.

– Spagnuolo also put the blame on himself and the coaching staff, saying the Rams need to be better prepared, especially in the second half and come out with the same energy and intensity they had in the first half.

– The biggest issue to Spagnuolo in terms of the inability to run the ball is how that correlates to an inability to convert on third down. The Rams were just two-of-10 on third down against the Raiders, mostly because they rarely found themselves in manageable third down situations.

– “The combination of not being able to convert on third down and not being effective in running the ball on first and second kind of did us in a little bit,” Spagnuolo said. ” I don’t think they did anything different. They did it a little bit better and we probably blocked a little better in the first than we did in the second. And here we are.”

– As for the penalties and mistakes that have plagued the Rams in the first two weeks, Spagnuolo says they’re doing everything they can to correct them…”We are in there knocking out the mistakes,” Spagnuolo said. “I talked to the team this morning about some of the things that happened that shouldn’t happen. But after that it’s on to the next game.”

– On further review of some of the calls that went against them, particularly the close personal fouls, Spagnuolo did not want to address. He did say that he wants to team to be “aggressive but smart.”

– Spagnuolo was asked directly about the possibility of the Rams making a trade for a wide receiver, particularly one from a West Coast team that is currently suspended. Spagnuolo had this to say in response: “Billy and I always talk about that (stuff). Usually today, this afternoon is where we sit down and evaluate where we are at with injuries and who is available and all those other things. So we will have that this afternoon.”

– On the topic of receivers, Spagnuolo indicated that rookie Mardy Gilyard is closer to being ready to contribute to the offense, saying he will “get involved” and complimenting Gilyard’s work as a gunner on special teams.

– In the final evaluation of QB Sam Bradford’s second NFL start, Spagnuolo said he was pretty pleased with the way the rookie fought through the struggles he had in the third quarter…”There were a couple of things in there obviously he needed to do better. But he knows that. All in all, the offense that took the ball from the minus 3, all the way down to the 5, that was pretty impressive for a bunch of young players. I was proud of the way Sam, after struggling a little bit in the third quarter, then all of a sudden putting that together and being able to score to put us in a position to have a chance.”

– Spagnuolo acknowledged Bradford’s comfort level in the no huddle offense at the end of the game, an area Bradford excelled at Oklahoma.

– On the other side of the ball, Spagnuolo was pleased with how rookie CB Jerome Murphy competed in his first NFL playing time as he worked extensively in the nickel position. While Murphy was targeted a lot by the Raiders, he battled and came up with an important interception to keep the Rams alive. For his first game, Spagnuolo thought Murphy did pretty well.

– Back on the injury front for a moment, the Rams seem to continue to get hit at the same positions over and over. Here’s the way things look right now at a few positions and how the Rams figure to go about handling the personnel at those spots:
DT: (Healthy) Fred Robbins, Gary Gibson.  (Hurt or sick) Clifton Ryan, Darell Scott – Should those two be out this week, Cudjo could get called back up from the practice squad to the active roster.
CB: (Healthy) Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher, Jerome Murphy, Marquis Johnson. (Banged up) Dockery, King – It appears the Rams are about to get King and Dockery back. That would perhaps allow Johnson to return to the practice squad and free a roster spot somewhere else.
TE: (Healthy) Darcy Johnson, Fendi Onobun. (Injured) Hoomanawanui, Bajema, Fells – Pending the way Fells responds to treatment this week, the Rams might again have a need at this position. For at least the next two weeks, Hoomanawanui and Bajema will be out and likely longer. Spagnuolo said Onobun still has some work to do to be ready to contribute so that could also factor into this equation.
S: (Healthy) Oshiomogho Atogwe, Darian Stewart. (Mostly healthy) James Butler. (Injured) Craig Dahl – It’s possible Dahl could recover from the concussion in time to play this week but the Rams won’t rush anyone back from a head injury. Butler stepped in for Dahl at the end of the Oakland game and appears to be slowly getting back into football shape. Spagnuolo indicated he’d be the top option to fill in for Dahl but it also remains to be seen if Butler is ready to take on a full workload, meaning another body could be brought in to help at safety or Stewart could see a more active role.

– That’s going to do it for this week. Back with updates throughout the week and don’t forget to send your questions to Nick’s Mailbag which goes down every Tuesday right here at 12:30. Thanks for stoppin’ by.

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