St. Louis Rams – Blog

Rams Thank Fans at Sunday’s Game

Posted by nickwagoner on December 30, 2011 – 7:07 PM

- The Rams will thank their fans with plenty of good stuff at Sunday’s game against San Francisco. Below is some information about what to expect:

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Rams will celebrate their fans at Sunday’s regular season home finale versus the San Francisco 49ers.  Sunday’s “Fan Appreciation Game” is presented by Missouri Lottery and Russell Athletic.  

Beginning at 10:30 am when doors open, Rams players on injured reserve will be signing autographs for fans in the Bud Light Party Zone, Rams Club and in sections 111 and 141 on the concourse level and 414 and 441 on the terrace level. 

During player introductions, 50 charter season ticket holders and their guests will join the Rams cheerleaders to form the player tunnel. Charter season ticket holders will also serve as the coin toss captains, starter of the game, and flag carriers. 

At halftime, 50 charter season ticket holders with perfect attendance for the entire 2011 season will be recognized on the field and receive authentic autographed jerseys. 

The Rams will also be hosting the top 16 finalists from the season-long Rams Ultimate Fan Facebook contest.  These Ultimate Fans were voted on by Official St. Louis Rams Facebook followers and the overall winner will be announced at Sunday’s game and awarded the grand prize, an all expense paid trip to this year’s Pro Bowl in Hawaii. 

Throughout the game, the team will also be recognizing randomly selected season ticket holders with incredible giveaways including seat upgrades, official autographed merchandise and home entertainment packages.

 Other highlights for randomly selected fans will include lucky section and lucky row drawings and t-shirt tosses. 

All Rams merchandise will be at least 50 percent off at retail stands located throughout the Edward Jones Dome and discounted concessions will include 50 percent off soft drinks and hot dogs. Upon exit, all fans will receive a Rams poster. 

 “We all recognize that this season has not delivered the results our fans deserve on the field, but the passion of this fan base never wavers,” said Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer, St. Louis Rams. “We feel fortunate to have such great fans, from those that have been with us since the first days at Busch Stadium to our record number of new season ticket holders this year. Fan Appreciation Day may never have more meaning to this organization than it does this year.”

 A limited number of tickets are still available for Sunday’s game and can be purchased by calling 314-RAMS-TIX or visiting stlouisrams.com or ticketmaster.com.  The Edward Jones Dome box office will also open Sunday beginning at 9 am. 

 


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Rams Hope to Spring Upset

Posted by nickwagoner on December 30, 2011 – 7:02 PM

- The Rams just finished Friday’s practice, significant only in that it’s the final practice of the season for a team that isn’t going to be going to the postseason.

- Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo re-iterated this week that there is no sigh of relief that this difficult season will be over. As a coach, he’s wired to want to compete and with no games until 2012, there will be an empty feeling this offseason for the coaches and the players.

- One way to at least find a sliver of satisfaction would be to pull off the upset win against the heavily favored 49ers on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. San Francisco has a lot on the line – the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye – and will come in determined to get the victory to make that happen.

- The Rams, on the other hand, find themselves perched in the precarious position of possibly getting the No. 1 pick for the second time in three years. A Rams win would take them out of the running but a loss and a Colts win against Jacksonville would put the Rams at the top of the draft order. For those conspiracy theorists out there, let me assure you, there is no such thing as tanking in the NFL. It just doesn’t happen and it won’t happen with the Rams on Sunday. They want to get a win to have something to build on in the offseason. Draft picks mean nothing to players and coaches who in a results oriented league are technically always fighting for their jobs every time they step on the field.

- So expect nothing less than the Rams leaving it all on the field. San Francisco is an outstanding football team, certainly one of the best of the many good ones the Rams have played this year. But even though the score didn’t show it the first time, the Rams hung with the Niners in the first meeting and have every intention of doing so again on Sunday.

- On the injury front, not much in the way of surprises for the Rams.
Doubtful: QB A.J. Feeley (thumb), QB Sam Bradford (ankle)
Questionable: DE Chris Long (ankle)
Probable: RB Jerious Norwood, LB Brady Poppinga, CB Josh Gordy


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Harris Heads to Next Phase

Posted by nickwagoner on December 29, 2011 – 8:13 PM

- Rams CB Al Harris held a bit of an impromptu retirement press conference in front of his locker on Wednesday afternoon. I wrote about it at length last night in a story that can be found on the front page of this very website. But I wanted to give him a little more recognition for an outstanding 14 year career.

- Also, I was unable to catch up with coach Steve Spagnuolo last night to get comment from him on Harris. Those two have a special bond formed long ago in Philly and nobody has better perspective on what Harris was able to accomplish in his career. I’ll have the comments he offered today here in a moment but first I wanted to put a little perspective on Harris’ short stint with the Rams.

- By the time Harris signed with the Rams before training camp, the bulk of his best football was behind him. He’d given his best years to the Eagles and Packers, earning a reputation as the prototype “press” corner. Harris wasn’t the fastest player and he didn’t have the smoothest hips around like a Champ Bailey or Deion Sanders. What he had was a pair of long arms capable of powerfully striking receivers at the line of scrimmage, nearly flawless technique and an insatiable desire to prepare for opponents so that nothing would faze him on game days.

- Add all of that up and Harris was one of the league’s most feared corners, not necessarily by opposing quarterbacks (he had a solid if unspectacular 21 interceptions in his career) but by opposing receivers. If Harris got his hands on you, he had an uncanny knack for knocking you off your route and making it nearly impossible for you to make a play or complete a pass. Receivers who went against Harris would come out almost as bruised from Harris’ jamming techniques as a running back would from a day of getting tackled.

- Harris was a natural student of the game. He spent extra time in the film room and when he was done, he’d go back in for me. This endeared him to Spagnuolo, other coaches and his teammates for the entirety of his career.

- It’s also what’s going to make Harris excel in his next endeavor. Harris is used to putting the hours in grinding tape and studying opponents. That part of it should be easy. What won’t be easy is walking away from playing the game he loves but at least he knows he has another outlet for his competitive desires.

- Here’s what Spagnuolo had to say about Harris making the decision to retire:

“I am very close to Al. I am touched that he was even a part of all of this. I am glad he was. He’s done so much more than what you guys even have seen on the field. What he’s done off the field and with these young guys, especially the defensive backs…(Minnesota coach) Leslie Frazier and I were having a conversation the other night and Leslie and I were in Philadelphia when Al was a rookie or second year and to see where he’s come (from) and the guy that he is, I’m not talking about just the player, I’m talking about the character of the man, I’m just proud to see. I am really happy for him.”

- Spagnuolo was then asked what type of coach he thinks Harris will be.

“He’s a knowledgable football guy. He loves the game. He’s very passionate about it. He’s been practicing  a little bit coaching his son down there in Florida. He’s got a son who is a good football player. He’s been into the coaching part of it for a long time so it’ll be good to see.”

- Harris hopes to make the transition quickly into coaching. It’s a shame he couldn’t go out on his own terms as a knee injury ended his season early but let us make no mistake, that does nothing to blemish the essence of Al Harris: a true professional who set an example for everyone who followed in his footsteps. Best of luck in the phase.


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Bradford Holding Out Hope

Posted by nickwagoner on December 28, 2011 – 10:43 PM

- Rams QB Sam Bradford did not practice on Wednesday after testing his sprained left ankle out on Monday and Tuesday.

- That light work did not lead to a positive reaction in the ankle and kept Bradford out of practice again Wednesday after missing the past two weeks.

“This week was really the first time that we had done much and to be honest it didn’t feel great in the little that we did do, so as far as that, until it gets better, until we do some more I really can’t tell you,” Bradford said.

- Bradford has made it very clear that he badly wants to play in the season finale against San Francisco but it remains to be seen if that will happen.

“It’s important to me to play in every game,” Bradford said. “Obviously this is my last opportunity to play with this team this year, so it’s very important for me to get out there this Sunday and just finish the season strong with my guys.”

- Most likely, Kellen Clemens will start his third game of the season and Bradford won’t get the chance to do it. The team still hopes to see if Bradford can do any work in practice before the week is over.


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Wrapping Up Pittsburgh

Posted by nickwagoner on December 26, 2011 – 7:03 PM

- With one day of extra time to review the film, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo just completed his after game press conference.

- Let’s hit injuries first and then a few quick thoughts of his from the game:

- CB Justin King wil have shoulder surgery and his season will come to an end with one game to play. King had not played in the past two weeks. Chalk up another injury at cornerback for a team that’s been destroyed at that spot this year.

- QBs Sam Bradford and A.J. Feeley will be day to day this week as they continue to recover from ankle and thumb injuries, respectively. Spagnuolo said he has no designs one way or another on if they’ll be able to go this week.

- DE Chris Long and CB Josh Gordy, ankle and oblique, did not have any major setbacks against the Steelers and should be able to fight through to play this week even if they are again limited in practice.

- DT Fred Robbins is ill but expected to be OK for Wednesday’s practice.

- Because of the holiday and following two short weeks of work, Spagnuolo gave the players a bit more time to recover. They had Sunday off as well as Monday and Tuesday and will return to practice Wednesday.

- As for the game, Spagnuolo expressed disappointment in the long, 52-yard run by Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall.

- Spagnuolo said that run was a cutback run that came when the Rams brought pressure from the nickel back. Mendenhall happened to cut back to where the pressure came from and there was nobody there. Still, SPagnuolo said, a play like that can be stopped for a 6 or 7 yard gain and doesn’t need to be as much of a big play.

- One thing Spagnuolo preached to his team was the importance of getting turnovers against the Steelers. One interception wasn’t good enough, according to the coach.

- On offense, Spagnuolo saw many of the same issues that have plagued the Rams all season including penalties, missed throws, a few protection issues, etc.

- On the brighter side, Spagnuolo acknowledged good efforts from CBs Josh Gordy and especially Rod Hood. That duo hasn’t played a ton this year but did hold up well. Hood was particularly tough in coverage and helping against the run.

- As for potential roster moves in the coming days, the Rams will likely make at least one. They won’t have WR Austin Pettis or King available which means they have 51 available players right now. Where that move comes from, be it practice squad or waiver wire is yet to be determined.

- Chat tomorrow, back with updates this week on Wednesday.


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In Appreciation of No. 39

Posted by nickwagoner on December 24, 2011 – 11:37 PM

PITTSBURGH -

- The Rams fell to Pittsburgh by a score of 27-0 on Saturday at Heinz Field. By now, you’ve seen this movie before. The defense kept the Rams in it but the offense couldn’t generate points against an outstanding defense.

- This time, the Rams made it out injury free at least on first glance.

- So let’s take a different tone after this one and focus on the brightest spot for the Rams on Saturday and many times over the past eight years: RB Steven Jackson.

- Jackson, of course, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh consecutive season against Pittsburgh. He became just the seventh player in league history to achieve the feat.

- Think about that for a moment: Jackson is one of seven players in league history to reach that mark. He’s done it on a team that hasn’t had much success where he’s been the focal point of opposing defensive game plans for the bulk of his career. He’s done it through pain like a herniated disc in his back. He’s never complained. He’s matured before our very eyes and he’s done it all while trying to lead the Rams out of their struggles and into better times.

- Even now when things are bleak and he’s probably closer to the end than the beginning, Jackson isn’t asking for a trade or a way out. Quite the opposite, in fact. Jackson recently stated that he wants to end his career as a Ram and be one of the few premiere athletes to say he’s done so.

- On Saturday, Jackson faced one of the league’s nastiest defenses and – with the help of a solid game from his offensive line and other blockers -became just the third back to break 100 yards against the Steelers.

- Jackson also surpassed the 9,000 yard mark for his career. That’s quite a number and puts him in position to make a legitimate run at 10K next year.

- After the game, Jackson was asked if he ever thought about what his career would be like had he played in a place like Pittsburgh where grind it out runners become folk heroes. His response told you everything you need to know about who Jackson is and has become:

“That’s one of those questions I will reflect on after my career,” Jackson said. “I am one of those people that has a list of goals and I check them off as I accomplish them. Who knows what happens? I am in a great city in St. Louis. When you follow tradition I share with a list of guys who have been Rams over the years, I think being a running back with that group of guys is just as impressive.”

- Maybe none more impressive than Mr. Jackson, himself. Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, those are Hall of Fame backs and rightfully so. But neither played an entire career with the adversity Jackson has faced. He joined elite company by hitting the 1K mark again on Saturday but all that did was confirm something I – and all Rams fans already know – he already belonged.

- Merry Christmas, all.


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Rams vs. Steelers: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on December 24, 2011 – 4:42 PM

PITTSBURGH -

Fourth Quarter

- Brown missed a 33-yard gield goal to keep it at 13-0.

- Batch hit Wallace for a 46-yard gain to the Rams’ 1.

- Mendenhall punched it in on the next play for a 20-0 lead with 8:58 to go.

- Isaac Redman scored from 2 yards out to make it 27-0 Steelers with 3:14 to play.

- The Rams fall 27-0.

Third Quarter

- The Steelers started from their 27 and got big chunks on an 18-yard pass to Brown and a 20-yarder to Wallace. They settled for a 49-yard field goal from Suisham.

- That boot made it 13-0 with 9:19 to go in the third.

- The Rams got one of their best drives of the day going as Jackson asserted himself with runs all over the place, including a 15-yarder.

- On second down in Pittsburgh territory, Clemens was dropped for a loss of 6 to Pittsburgh’s 33.

- On third-and-13, Jackson ripped off a 15-yard run for a first down to Pittsburgh’s 18.

- At the end of the quarter, the Steelers lead 13-0.

Second Quarter

- On third-and-5, Clemens hit Lloyd for 8 yards and a first down at Pittsburgh’s 44.

- Two incompletions set up a third and 10.

- Jones took off running on a fake and was stopped just short of the first down to give it back to Pittsburgh at its 35.

- Batch hit Ward for 19 yards to the Rams’ 46 on first down.

- Antonio Brown picked up 8 yards on a reverse to the Rams’ 38.

- Mendenhall picked up the first down with a gain of 4 to the 34.

- Interception by CB Josh Gordy deep in Rams territory. His third of the season and second in as many games.

- The Rams get it back at their 20.

- On second and 10, Clemens hit Alexander for 9 yards to setup a third and 1.

- Clemens threw incomplete and the Rams punted it away.

- Pittsburgh takes over at its 25.

- Mendenhall gained 9 on first down.

- He gained 4 on second down to move the chains.

- On first and 10 at the 38, Mendenhall broke loose off the right side for a gain of 52.

- On first and goal, John Clay ran off the right side for 10 yards and a touchdown to make it 10-0 Pittsburgh with 6:50 to go in the half.

- Rams start from their 20 after a touchback.

- A 17-yard completion to Jackson gave the Rams a first down at the 37.

- On the next play, Jackson ran into history with a 3-yard gain up the middle.

- With that run, Jackson broke the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh consecutive season. He’s only the seventh player in league history to achieve that feat.

- That would do it for that drive though and the Rams punted it back. Pittsburgh takes over at its 23.

- The Rams got a quick three and out and got it back at their 46.

- Jackson got the Rams into Pittsburgh territory with two runs for 17 yards.

- A defensive holding gave the Rams first down at Pittsburgh’s 29.

- James Harrison dropped Clemens for a loss of 6 to make it third and 16 at the 35.

- K Josh Brown came on for a 52-yard field goal attempt. He hooked it left.

- At the half, the Steelers lead 10-0.

First Quarter

- Pittsburgh won the toss and deferred. Rams get it first.

- The Rams got a quick third down conversion as Jackson ripped off a 15 yard run on third and 12.

- Another third down conversion came as Cadillac Williams picked up 2 yards on third and 1 at the Rams 42.

- On third-and-2 at Pittsburgh’s 48, Clemens hit WR Brandon Lloyd over the middle. Lloyd picked it up and gained 22 yards on the play.

- Pittsburgh challenged that Lloyd caught the ball. That challenge was upheld and the pass ruled incomplete.

- P Donnie Jones barely got off his attempt and the Steelers get their first possession at their 21.

- On second and 3, the Rams seemed to have Batch dead to rights but James Hall attempted for a strip and missed Batch, who escaped pressure and found Rashard Mendenhall for 35 yards to the Rams’ 37.

- Batch hit Wallace for 11 yards and Mendenhall had runs of 7 and 6 yards before Batch hit Wallace again for 5 yards to the Rams’ 6.

- As they have multiple times this year, the Rams defense held up in the red zone and forced Pittsburgh to settle for a 21-yard field goal to make it 3-0 Steelers with 4:43 to go in the first quarter.

- The Rams started again from their 25.

- They picked up a first down when Clemens connected with Alexander for a gain of 16 to the 47.

- But the drive died there after a false start penalty turned third and 7 into third and 12.

- The Steelers get it back at their 17.

- The Rams got a quick three and out and a 17-yard return from Nick Miller to give the Rams a first down at their 43.

- Jackson ran for 4 yards on first down.

- He’s now just 1 yard away from hitting 1,000 yards rushing for the seventh consecutive season. That would make him the seventh player in league history to achieve that.

- At the end of the first quarter, the Steelers lead 3-0.

Pregame Notes

- Greetings from Heinz Field where the Rams and Steelers are warming up for today’s game.

- Merry Christmas to all of you following along to start.

- No surprises here, Kellen Clemens will start at QB in place of Sam Bradford, who is inactive with an ankle injury.

- The Steelers announced Friday that Ben Roethlisberger also will not play as he is dealing with a high ankle sprain as well.

- The Rams inactives: Bradford, QB A.J. Feeley (thumb), CB Justin King, T Kevin Hughes, DE C.J. Ah You and TE Mike McNeill.

- There are only six inactives because the Rams did not fill the roster spot for suspended WR Austin Pettis

- Pittsburgh’s inactives: RB Mewelde Moore, C Maurkice Pouncey, LB Chris Carter, LB LaMarr Woodley, DE Al Woods, OT Jamon Meredith and WR Emmanuel Sanders.

- Roethlisberger won’t start but is active and available.

- Pittsburgh will wear the black jerseys with yellow pants. The Rams are in white jerseys with blue pants.


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Clemens Likely to Start

Posted by nickwagoner on December 22, 2011 – 7:36 PM

- The Rams just finished their practice week, a short one at that, and will head to Pittsburgh tomorrow to take on the Steelers.

- All signs are pointing to Kellen Clemens making his second consecutive start in place of Sam Bradford this week. He took all the reps on Thursday and has taken them all this week.

- Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford would be considered doubtful.

- Meanwhile, at cornerback, the Rams got Josh Gordy back in the mix a little on THursday. He’ll likely be able to play through his abdominal injury which is big for the Rams considering how thin they are at corner already.

“I know he’s not at 100 percent,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s kind of battling that thing. Luckily we’ve got 48 more hours.”

- Spagnuolo said the Rams would not make a roster move to replace suspended WR Austin Pettis. Whoever would come up would likely be inactive anyway. He said a move next week would be possible.

- CB Justin King (shoulder) and QB A.J. Feeley (thumb) are not expected to play.


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NFL Suspends Pettis

Posted by nickwagoner on December 21, 2011 – 10:52 PM

- Rams rookie WR Austin Pettis has been suspended for four games by the NFL today for violation of the league’s rules on performance enhancing drugs.

- The following is a statement from Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo released moments ago:

“Austin’s situation is unfortunate,” said St. Louis Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo.  “Obviously, we are disappointed and will miss him during this suspension, but the NFL’s policies are very clear and we respect the League’s decision in this matter. We are unable to comment further on this matter or any aspect of the NFL’s Drug Policy.”

 


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Rams Thin At Corner

Posted by nickwagoner on December 21, 2011 – 9:41 PM

- The headline of this blog isn’t anything new so I’m sure you’re not surprised. But it seems that the injuries at corner have reached a sort of critical mass.

- With CBs Josh Gordy (abdominal) and Justin King (shoulder) nursing injuries, the Rams are down to a final three of Rod Hood and undrafted rookies Chris Smith and Nate Ness on the outside.

- The Rams and coach Steve Spagnuolo are hopeful that Gordy will be able to return to practice Thursday after missing workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday. If he returns, it can alleviate some of the depth issues but it still leaves the Rams a bit light on the perimeter.

- Spagnuolo indicated Wednesday that King wouldn’t likely be ready to go. They hope to have him practice Thursday but signs point to that not happening. Spagnuolo said if King doesn’t practice Thursday, he probably won’t play Saturday in Pittsburgh.

- As for Smith and Ness, they are working to get caught up on the defensive scheme and hoping to contribute if need be. In the meantime, Spagnuolo said he expects them to help on special teams and continue to keep their heads in their playbooks so they can chip in if called upon.


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