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News » St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-28

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-28

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-28
There were some sighs of relief when the Rams' first-team offense scored two touchdowns against Baltimore in the team's third preseason game.

"We still have a long way to go, but this was good progress," offensive coordinator Al Saunders said. "You always have to remember, these are practices in a game environment."

Saunders was hired by head coach Scott Linehan to raise the standards on offense, as well as develop continuity on the offensive line. For the Rams to compete for a division title, the offense has

to be a lot better than it was in 2007 when 13 different players started at 18 positions on the offensive line and quarterback Marc Bulger had his worst season as a starter.

As wide receiver Torry Holt said, reflecting on the arrival of Saunders, "I was definitely excited when Al got hired because I knew the expectation offensively was going to go here."

By "here," Holt meant the sky's the limit, as he put his hand on his chest, then raised it above his head.

Holt continued, "From meetings to walk-throughs, all that stuff will pick up. Because his thing is the way you practice is the way you're going to play. Unlike that '99 (Super Bowl) team, we're not good enough to just line up on Sunday and 'let's go.' We have to practice those habits to get to that point where we're dominant. It's almost like he's nursing a new baby."

Bulger's confidence appeared to improve, and the line was solid. The arrival of running back Steven Jackson after missing 27 days of training camp also seemed to give the team a lift, even though he

didn't play.

Asked what led to Bulger's improved play, Linehan said, "Our timing was better. Certainly the protection is crucial. If you can't protect the quarterback and he's feeling the pressure, he has to move and alter this throwing motion or his ability to stay in the pocket. All of

those things factor into it. Up front, they kept him clean, especially this last game. His trust in that and his ability to stand in there and just keep playing, he looked much more comfortable in the pocket than he has in the first two games.

"I felt he just went out and let it rip, which is the way he has to be. That's the Marc we're all accustomed to and used to. I just think his rhythm was really good and I give a lot of it to obviously our ability to throw and catch and the timing being better, but I give

a lot of credit to the offensive line to give him the time he needs to get that done."

The Rams had injury issues during training camp, but Linehan refused to dwell on them. He knows he didn't react well to the losing last season, and must be a better leader to the team.

"My biggest flaw is that you spend all week beating yourself up to the point where you can't let it go," he said. It's one of the main reasons Linehan handed over the offense to Saunders, so he could concentrate on being the head coach.

"I think it's important that I have a relationship with all the team," he said. "I always felt I had a good relationship with the players, but I'm not sure I could say I knew every player because I was pretty consumed with the offense.

"There has to be a sense of urgency from everybody within our organization, to not just do better, but do a lot better. Take it to a whole different standard. If by approaching it that way, it doesn't work - well, so be it."

COACHING: Scott Linehan, 3rd year (11-21).

REMEMBERING: 2007 record: 3-13 (4th in NFC West).

PREDICTING: 2008 regular season record: 7-9.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 28, 2008

La'Roi Glover Name: La'Roi Glover
Position: DT
Age: 34
Experience: 13 years
College: San Diego State
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