- Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo just finished discussing his team’s loss to New Orleans on Sunday and again expressed disappointment that his team beat itself up with self inflicted mistakes.
– Spagnuolo truly believes in his team and he is always going to be upset when it doesn’t live up to the standard that has been set and that he knows it is capable of. He thinks the Rams aren’t that far off against a team like the Saints and he wants them to see that by winning.
– Still, Spagnuolo was able to acknowledge that despite the 31-13 loss, the Rams are right smack in the middle of the race. He still won’t use the word playoffs and bristles at the mere mention of the word but he did give credence to the concept that this week’s game against Kansas City is the biggest of the season and that each week is only going to get bigger.
– That said, Spagnuolo is expecting his team not to dwell on the loss to the Saints. Rather, he wants to see his team come back more focused and sharper than ever before in Wednesday’s practice.
– On the injury front, linebacker David Nixon’s hand is indeed fractured. He will be monitored day to day but likely won’t be able to return to practice in a cast until later in the week. He was scheduled for surgery Monday afternoon.
– Guard Jacob Bell was the only other ailment to come out of the game. He has a bruised knee and will also be day to day though Spagnuolo indicated that it didn’t appear to be anything too serious.
– As for players returning from injury, Spagnuolo said he was hopeful that CBs Ron Bartell and Justin King – both of whom are battling shoulder ailments – should be able to return to practice this week at least in a limited capacity. He also said King is “ahead” of Bartell in terms of a return though Bartell’s injury is such that he could wake up and feel better and stronger instantly.
– With that treacherous three game road swing in the rearview, the Rams now move on to the next step which is Kansas City this week.
– It remains to be seen if the Chiefs will have QB Matt Cassel at their disposal against the Rams as he comes off an appendectomy. Most people coming off that particular surgery miss physical activity for at least two weeks. If he were to play Sunday, it would be right at 10 days. That doesn’t mean he won’t be available but it’s going to be difficult.
– The Rams then close with two division opponents, at home against San Francisco and on the road against Seattle.
– The quick breakdown of what those two teams have left on the schedule as Seattle sits tied with the Rams and the 49ers are just a game back:
Seattle: vs. Atlanta, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Rams.
San Francisco: @ San Diego, @ Rams, vs. Arizona.
– For the Rams to come out of that stretch with a divisional crown, Spagnuolo wants to see his team get back to the basics of winning the turnover battle, blocking and tackling.
– One area that must improve used to be a strength. In the past three games, the Rams have been outscored 30-0 in the first quarter. This team built a reputation for starting fast early in the year and must reclaim that in the coming weeks.
“It’s not good,” Spagnuolo said.
– The other thing is the Rams must return to getting off the field on third downs defensively and staying on it offensively.
– For now, the focus for the Rams is on moving on and preparing for a good Chiefs team that boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the league. It’s a tall order but it’s an important one.
– That’s all for this one. The Rams get back to practice on Wednesday. Be sure to send in your questions to the mailbag by tomorrow.
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