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Rams Team Report - USA Today

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. -X-

    -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/rams/notes.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... /notes.htm</a>

    After the Rams' 13-12 victory over Cleveland on Sunday, defensive end Chris Long talked about how "brutal" the gusting wind was during the game. That wasn't the only thing that could be termed brutal.

    A St. Louis team already depleted by injuries suffered even more Sunday, including season-ending knee injuries to cornerback Al Harris and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Both were placed on injured reserve Monday.

    Harris went out on Cleveland's sixth offensive play of the game. He is the ninth cornerback placed on injured reserve by the Rams since the start of training camp. Harris' injury left the Rams with Justin King, Marquis Johnson and Josh Gordy at cornerback. Rod Hood was inactive Sunday. Nate Ness is on the practice squad.

    Hoomanawanui suffered his knee injury as he gained 15 yards on a reception on the final play of the third quarter. With Lance Kendricks out due to a foot injury, the Rams' healthy tight ends are Billy Bajema and Stephen Spach. Ben Guidugli is on the practice squad.

    But, there's more. With the Rams already playing without right tackle Jason Smith, who missed his third game because of a concussion, left tackle Rodger Saffold exited on the second official snap of the third quarter with a head injury and did not return.

    Spagnuolo said Saffold was symptom-free Monday, and there is the hope Saffold will be able to practice at some point during the week.

    Mark LeVoir, signed by the Rams on Oct. 26, took Saffold's place.

    Once again, the Rams could be faced with a difficult roster decision if Saffold will miss some time but not the rest of the season. When Smith was originally hurt, it wasn't known how long he would be on the shelf. To sign LeVoir, the Rams waived promising linebacker Jabara Williams, who was then claimed by the Bears. If Saffold and Smith aren't available this Sunday against Seattle, there is no backup tackle on the roster, although Ryan McKee is on the practice squad.

    Safety Darian Stewart suffered a neck injury, but he felt better Monday. Linebacker Chris Chamberlain had a stinger, and wide receiver Brandon Gibson was hampered by a groin injury during the game. Quarterback Sam Bradford left for one play in the third quarter when he took a helmet to his thigh.

    Cornerback Justin King suffered a blow to the head on the final defensive play of the game, but he was symptom-free Monday.

    Of course, the most bizarre injury happened when running back Cadillac Williams hurt his quad as he was running onto the field to give Jackson a breather.

    "That one's hard to believe," Spagnuolo said.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —A man possessed was the description of Steven Jackson offered by quarterback Sam Bradford after the running back's third consecutive 100-yard game. Jackson carried 27 times for 128 yards Sunday at Cleveland. In his past three games, he has 417 rushing yards on 81 attempts (5.1 yards a carry). He has added 67 yards on receptions for a total of 484 yards from scrimmage, an average of 161.3 per game.

    "He's running possessed," Bradford said. "He's been huge for us over these last three games."

    Told of that comment, Jackson laughed and said, "It is kinda scary. But I look forward to Sunday. I look forward to taking over. I am a man possessed on Sunday. I think that's the way you should play."

    —One of the new guys playing Sunday was linebacker David Nixon, who was signed last Wednesday because of injuries to Bryan Kehl (ankle) and Josh Hull (hamstring), both of whom were inactive Sunday. It was Nixon who stripped the ball from Josh Cribbs on the fourth-quarter punt return that linebacker Ben Leber recovered. That led to what turned out to be Josh Brown's game-winning 34-yard field goal.

    "During film preparation, we saw that he likes to have the ball exposed and he doesn't secure the ball very well," Nixon said. "We ran him down, and he was trying to avoid Craig Dahl, and I saw the ball exposed, so I went for the ball knowing that we needed a big play, and I got it out."

    —In his first game action since Oct. 10, 2010, wide receiver Mark Clayton got limited plays (about nine or 10) and was targeted once, but he did not catch the pass. Clayton's salary doubled from $500,000 to $1 million when he was added to the 53-man roster, and he now receives a bonus of $19,689 for every game he is on the 46-man game-day roster.

    Asked about Clayton's playing time, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "You want to be a little careful. You get him too many (reps), and you get a little fatigued at the end. He didn't have any training camp. Mark and I talked yesterday, and I thought he did a great job during the week. I saw more of the old Mark Clayton just last week. I hadn't seen it up that point. Hopefully, with a game under his belt, some reps and whatnot, we'll try to get him oiled up and up to speed as quick as we can."

    —As expected, Tony Wragge started at center in place of Jason Brown, whose 84-game starting streak was snapped. Brown didn't play at all, not even on any special teams units.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    PLAYER NOTES

    —CB Al Harris was confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL in his right knee against Cleveland. He was placed on injured reserve Monday.

    —TE Mike Hoomanawanui was confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL in his knee. He was placed on injured reserve Monday.

    —OT Jason Smith, who has missed three games because of a concussion, experienced symptoms when he was put through an exertion test Monday, so it's still unknown when he will be able to return.

    —OT Rodger Saffold, who suffered a blow to the head Sunday against Cleveland, was symptom-free Monday, according to coach Steve Spagnuolo. The hope is Saffold will be able to practice at some point this week.

    —CB Justin King, who suffered a blow to the head on the final defensive play of the game Sunday, was symptom-free Monday, according to coach Steve Spagnuolo. The hope is King will be able to practice at some point this week.

    —LB Josh Hull (hamstring) was inactive for Sunday's game against Cleveland, but he is expected to be able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

    —LB Bryan Kehl (ankle) was inactive for Sunday's game against Cleveland, but he is expected to be able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

    —WR Danario Alexander has been battling a hamstring injury and has been inactive for three games. It is hoped he will be able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

    —S Darian Stewart suffered a neck injury in Sunday's game against Cleveland, but he felt better Monday and is expected to be able to practice Wednesday.

    —TE Lance Kendricks (foot) was inactive Sunday. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Kendricks should be available on a limited basis Wednesday and that "his strength's doing a little bit better."

    —RB Jerious Norwood, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, might be available for practice Wednesday.

    —RB Cadillac Williams suffered a strained calf Sunday and is considered day-to-day, although he's not expected to practice Wednesday.

    REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS

    PASSING OFFENSE: C — QB Sam Bradford passed for 155 yards, and he completed just seven passes for 79 yards to wide receivers. But one was a 7-yard pass to Brandon Gibson for the only touchdown of the game, and Lloyd made a one-handed catch for 24 yards on that scoring drive. Bradford was only sacked once, but that came on third-and-3 from the Cleveland 9-yard line on the possession that resulted in the game-winning field goal.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: A — RB Steven Jackson had another big day, rushing for 128 yards on 27 carries and averaging 4.7 yards per attempts. He also gained 11 yards on two rushes late in the game that iced the game for the Rams after the Browns missed a 22-yard field-goal attempt.

    PASS DEFENSE: — C — Perhaps the grade should be higher, considering how undermanned the secondary is. A mix-up late in the first half resulted in a 52-yard pass from Colt McCoy to Greg Little and led to a field goal. McCoy completed 20 of 27 passes for 218 yards and a passer rating of 97.5. He did not have an interception.

    RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Browns had 39 yard rushing at halftime, but a 32-yard run by Chris Ogbonnaya helped the Browns drive to the field goal that put them ahead late in the third quarter. Ogbonnaya rushed for 90 yards on 19 carries.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus — It was a failing grade the week before, but in this game, the Rams won on special teams. The biggest play was a strip of Josh Cribbs on a punt return that led to the winning field goal. K Josh Brown made the decisive 34-yard field goal, although his kick out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff set the Browns up at the 40-yard line. P Donnie Jones had a net average of 42.0 yards.

    COACHING: B-plus — The coaches deserve credit for getting new players prepared to play and getting the team to compete despite the dwindling numbers due to injuries. Making adjustments when multiple players go out during the game can be difficult, but the team persevered and got a win on the road.
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