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Rams getting an earful from fans.

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. -X-

    -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Jim Thomas

    The way things have been going lately at the Edward Jones Dome, maybe it's a good thing the Rams are playing their next two games on the road, because the natives are restless. Very, very restless.

    The St. Louis sports fan has long been known as a patient sort. But that patience has been sorely tested by the trials and tribulations of the Rams.

    Boos cascaded down from the stands early and often during Sunday's wrenching 23-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Coach Steve Spagnuolo says he doesn't always hear the boos when he has the headsets on during games. But he understands the fans' displeasure.

    "I'd rather have that than people not caring," Spagnuolo said. "I want to thank the fans for their passion, and I mean that sincerely. I know with that it goes both ways. Frustration and disappointment, and their reactions to that. I understand it. I get it."

    But he thinks Rams players are just as passionate.

    "I mean the work I see, and when they go out (on game day) — I don't think it's a lack of effort," he said. "We know we're short-handed in some spots. We know what has happened; it's pretty documented. In some way we've got to find a way over that."

    He cited the work of safety Quintin Mikell, coming from the back side to run down Cardinals running back Beanie Wells on a 53-yard run as a telling example that his team isn't dogging it or giving in to the situation.

    "You saw there that Quintin Mikell made a tremendous effort to get him on the ground," Spagnuolo said. "He was back side, he was a ways away from the play. But the never-say-never, the never-die, the always-fight — I thought Quintin did that. I think our football team does that."

    Arizona still ended up kicking what turned out to be the game-winning field goal, but Mikell did save a touchdown with his diving tackle.

    "I do want to point out, I think that's very reflective of the guys in that locker room," Spagnuolo said.

    Professional athletes don't always try hard, especially when a season is going down the tubes. So that's commendable. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is winning games, not trying hard. And in a season where many observers, including many now-disgruntled Rams fans, thought the team would compete for the NFC West title, the Rams (2-9) have the second-worst record in the NFL.

    So the frustrated fans booed when the offense sputtered, which was quite frequently. They booed when Spagnuolo let the clock run down at the end of the first half instead of aggressively trying to score a touchdown. They booed when he opted to punt the ball on a pair of fourth-and-1 situations instead of going for it. The booed when Wells ran roughshod over the Rams for an Arizona franchise record of 228 yards.

    Spagnuolo may not have heard it all the time. But the players did.

    "It's frustrating," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "It drives me nuts. I understand it. I understand the fans are frustrated. I understand that they expected and want more out of us. I can tell them that I expect and want more out of this offense — 10 times more than they do.

    "With as much work as we put into it, we think that we should be able to come out here and execute at a much higher level. When you get booed in the first half and you continue to get booed in the second half, it's not a good feeling. It's something that I really wish wouldn't happen."

    But many of the younger Rams, even veterans who have joined the team in the last year or two, don't understand the depth of the fans' frustration. It runs much deeper than what's happening this season.

    In the six seasons from 1999 through 2004, the Rams made the playoffs five times, won three NFC West titles, appeared in two Super Bowls and won one Super Bowl. No Rams fan expected that run of success to last forever, but they certainly expected more — much more — than what has followed.

    Since that last playoff season, 2004, the Rams are 29-78, for a .271 winning percentage. Only one Rams player is left from that last playoff season, running back Steven Jackson. He was a rookie in '04 and since then has seen it all at Rams Park.

    He has been through coaching staff changes, front office shakeups, new coordinators, dozens of new teammates, as well as those 78 losses in the last 107 games. And in the midst of this injury-plagued 2-9 campaign, he's tired of the losing. Tired of it all.

    "We're tired of giving the same excuses," Jackson said. "We're tired of having the same results. I think we as a team practice really hard and I think we prepare week in and week out. We position ourselves a lot of times in these games — especially the last four or five weeks — to win the game.

    "We keep coming up short. We keep coming up short in areas, to be quite honest with you, on the offensive side of the ball, which is very frustrating. So me being a part of that side of the ball, I'm definitely embarrassed. I take responsibility in that area as well. I don't know what we need to do but hopefully we find an answer to it."

    Until then, there will almost certainly be more boo-bird sightings in the dome.

    2 join practice squad

    The Rams added two former Texas Longhorns to their practice squad Tuesday, wide receiver John Chiles and linebacker Eddie Jones. Both entered the league as undrafted rookies; Chiles was with New Orleans during training camp this season, and Jones with the New York Jets. Chiles and Jones replace linebacker Scott Lutrus, who was signed by Indianapolis to its active roster, and wide receiver David Gilreath, who was released from the Rams' practice squad.

    The Rams also had offensive guard Roger Allen III plus wide receivers Wesley Lyons and Owen Spencer in for workouts Tuesday, but none of the three was signed. Allen, who had been waived with an injury settlement earlier this season in New Orleans, appeared in two games for the Rams in 2009 with one start.

    Read more: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.stltoday.com/sports/football/professional/rams-getting-an-earful-from-fans/article_977760f6-cf3a-5ec6-8837-b90ee3ab9ac3.html#ixzz1fCt8loT8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.stltoday.com/sports/football ... z1fCt8loT8</a>
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