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Battleline: Rams Start to Make Good Impressions

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:00 am

I like a lot of what I’m seeing from the St. Louis Rams, especially from the younger players right now.

The Rams have rolled to two consecutive convincing victories in a row after holding off the Chicago Bears Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams have rallied since losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury, and it’s been for a lot of reasons.

The team has developed a running game around rookies Zac Stacy, Bennie Cunningham and Daryl Richardson, although only two can be expected to be healthy at any given moment.

It’s not because they are necessarily fragile. Stacy and Cunningham are inside-the-tackles style runners who run hard, take hits and come back for more.

I saw Cunningham get hit so hard Sunday that I think he lost some letters from his last name. But, he was right back and ready to go for the next play.

The development of a running game has eased the transition to Kellen Clemens, which has made him a more effective quarterback.

Clemens benefits because teams will buy the play-action fakes and that gives him some extra time to find receivers. The staff also has him roll out at times, which extends the plays.

Despite injuries, the offensive line has done an effective job in giving him the time to look.

Because Clemens doesn’t seem to have a favorite target, teams have to defend everyone. It seems that all receivers and ends have come up with big grabs at different times. That allows Clemens to find favorable matchups.

Because there is nobody to key on defensively, Tavon Austin is developing into a multiple threat running, catching and returning the ball.

Defense has played a huge role in the turnaround. Alec Ogletree seems to be the proper player to wear Mike Jones’ 52 because he has made a number of touchdown-saving tackles near the goal line.

Robert Quinn is becoming the star the team envisioned when it drafted him in the first round. Chris Long is a leader and Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford make a good defensive tackle pairing.

The return of Jo-Lonn Dunbar at outside linebacker has helped to solidify the tackling and James Laurinaitis remains a strong middle linebacker.

The Rams are forcing turnovers as well and two set the tone for Sunday’s win. The fumble forced by Trumaine Johnson and recovered by Laurinaitis gave the Rams a 14-0 lead early in the game. Quinn’s strip and recovery with a touchdown return in the fourth quarter sealed the game.

At times, Sunday’s game seemed to be a road contest. The Bears fans traveled very well and there was a lot of orange in the stands. I don’t know why that’s the case. Would St. Louis fans allow Cubs fans to inhabit a great number of seats in Busch Stadium without making sure to drown them out? Would the Blues allow Black Hawks fans to hold a majority at the Scottrade Center? Then rally behind the Rams and fill the seats.

The Rams have fought back to 5-6, but still stand last in the NFC West at this time in one of the league’s best divisions. If the Rams can continue their recent success, who knows what could happen?

The schedule doesn’t get any easier. The Rams are on the road at San Francisco and Arizona over the next two weeks before returning home for games against New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

The Rams close the season on the road at Seattle.

It’s not going to be an easy stretch by any imagination. The three division games in San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle are going to be extremely tough. The Tampa Bay game definitely is winnable and we all remember the last visit of the Saints, a gem of a game by the Rams.

If the Rams could win the two home games and take one of the road contests, that would give the team a .500 season, one win more than 2012.

Also consider that the team dropped very winnable home games against Seattle and Tennessee and you have the potential for a strong team in the future.


Area Scoreboard


Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Friday, Aug. 29

Washington at Sullivan    7 p.m.

Union at Borgia     7 p.m.

St. Clair at Ozark    7 p.m.

Potosi at Pacific    7 p.m.

Cuba at Hermann    7 p.m.

Blair Oaks at Owensville    7 p.m.

Houston at St. James    7 p.m.

Troy at Warrenton    7 p.m.

Wright City at Orchard Farm    7 p.m.


Friday, Aug. 22

@Neosho Co def. ECC, 26-24, 25-14, 25-23

Marquette def. Washington 25-19, 25-20

@ECC def. Labette, 25-15, 13-15, 25-20, 25-18

Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. St. Louis Panthers    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23

@ECC vs. Fort Scott    11 a.m.

@ECC vs. Pratt    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Windsor Tny    TBA

Monday, Aug. 25

Steelville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann at Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Pacific at Seckman    4:15 p.m.

Union at Potosi    5 p.m.

Washington at Francis Howell C    5 p.m.

Pacific at Farmington    5 p.m.

New Haven at Cuba    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Bourbon    5:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    5:30 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Central Methodist JV at ECC    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Potosi at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Notre Dame at Borgia, 5 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    5 p.m.

Battle at Union    5:30 p.m.

Hermann at Jefferson City    5:30 p.m.

Belle at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Linn at Owensville    6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    5 p.m.


Friday, Aug. 22

Rolla at St. James    7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23

New Haven Tournament    8 a.m.

Lutheran South at Sullivan    10 a.m.

Union Tournament

Union Sports Complex

G1 Washington 21, St. Clair 0

G2 Pacific 15, Liberty 3

G3 Farmington 15, Union 0

G4 Park Hills Central 4, Borgia 2

G5 Liberty 6, St. Clair 5

G6 Union 9, Borgia 2

G7 Washington 5, Pacific 4

G8 Farmington 5, Park Hills Central 2

Consolation — Union vs. Liberty Postponed due to heat

Seventh Place — Borgia 16, St. Clair 0

Championship — Farmington 5, Washington 0

Third Place — Park Hills Central 7, Pacific 6

Monday, Aug. 25

*Notre Dame at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

Union 14, Rolla 7

New Haven at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Belle at Owensville    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Westminster Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

Warrenton at Union    6 p.m.

Duchesne at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Steelville at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

Vienna at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Wright City at St. Clair    6 p.m.

New Bloomfield at New Haven    5 p.m.

Hermann at Montgomery Co    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt N at Washington    4:30 p.m.

Bourbon at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Linn    4:30 p.m.

Fulton St. Albans at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Pacific at Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    4:30 p.m.

Belle at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Boys Soccer

Friday, Aug. 22

Crosspoint at ER    4:30 p.m.

Festus at Union PPD, Rescheduled for Oct. 13

#Washington 2, Bishop DuBourg 1

Fulton SA at Rock Bridge Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 23

#Rockwood Summit 8, Washington 0

Fulton SA at Rock Bridge Tny    TBA

Sunday, Aug. 24

Heartland at ECC    1 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Union at St. James    5 p.m.

St. Clair at Fredericktown    5 p.m.

Pacific at Hillsboro    5 p.m.

Sullivan at SLUH    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Union    7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Union at De Soto    5 p.m.

Pacific at North County    5 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5 p.m.

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:15 p.m.

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

ECC at McKendree JV    7 p.m.

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Friday, Aug. 22

Sullivan at Fleet Feet Inv    4 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia at Parkway Central Inv    TBA

Friday, Aug. 29

St. Clair at First Capitol Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Lafayette Inv    9 a.m.

Girls Golf

Monday, Aug. 25

Washington at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Washington at Troy    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

*Borgia at Kennedy    TBA

Boys Swimming

Friday, Aug. 29

Borgia, Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E Inv    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

@Fort Scott Tournament

#Parkway West/Northwest Tournament

Racing News