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Rams Finish Season With 7-9 Record, Look Toward Next Year

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 6:30 am | Updated: 8:31 am, Wed Jan 8, 2014.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — If the Rams had any games left on the schedule, rookie Tavon Austin said he would have definitely been back from a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him three games.

And that would have at least made for some more excitement for St. Louis.

“I hope in the future we have a lot of big plays coming up for me,” Austin said while cleaning out his locker.

The Rams (7-9) were eliminated from postseason contention, but many felt their time to contend was coming. Defensive end Chris Long says the youngest team in the NFL needs to grow up and prove it on game day.

“Hey, listen, every year the community, the media, everybody is always trying to make predictions for how close we are,” Long said. “We feel like we’re right there, but obviously we’ve said that before, so I’m not going to get caught up in preaching.”

The Rams were more competitive in the second season under coach Jeff Fisher and Les Snead, and soldiered through some tough injuries, including the loss of quarterback Sam Bradford. The bottom line: stuck on seven wins.

Given the franchise’s recent sorry history, 7-9 isn’t a terrible pill to swallow. Prior to the new regime, the Rams totaled 15 wins in five seasons.

Fisher said this team is “significantly better than the team we took in last year.”

“We’re closing the gap,” Fisher said. “We’re not there yet.”

The gap actually appears to have increased in the NFC West. They were 1-5 against Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona and had double-figure penalty totals on the road against all those teams, perhaps reflecting frustration.

Last season, the Rams were 4-1-1 in the division.

“I think defensively, we can compete with these teams,” Fisher said.

Certainly getting manhandled by the Seahawks in the 27-9 finale could leave a sour taste for a while. The Rams were held to 158 yards and lost their cool with 12 penalties for 87 yards, plus nine other calls that were offset or not accepted.

St. Louis was the second-most penalized team in the NFL.

“We’ll address that, we’ll correct that, we’ll get it fixed,” Fisher said. “Games we had too many penalties were not successful.”

Fisher anticipated no coaching changes, and less roster churn than a year earlier. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, who started the final nine games, wants to be back but noted “it’s a little different than my senior prom” and “I have to have a date for this one.”

The Rams may not get much younger next year given they have two first-round draft picks, including the second overall selection as the final payment in the Robert Griffin III deal with Washington. Areas of concern are offensive tackle and secondary, although Fisher shed no light on that.

They may need help at both tackles, especially at the start of 2014. Jake Long might need more time to recover from an ACL injury delayed for another month or so to allow an MCL tear to heal first, and Rodger Saffold, who was shuttled around before ending the year at left tackle, could leave in free agency.

“It’s not ideal but it’s all part of the game,” Long said. “You’ve got to deal with it and I’ll come back stronger for it.”

The Rams may need a cornerback depending on whether Cortland Finnegan can return from an eye injury, and they’re not heavily invested in safety.

The pass rush led by Robert Quinn, who set a franchise record with 19 sacks and was voted MVP by teammates, at times minimized those deficiencies.

“It’s a great honor for them to do that, it means a lot,” Quinn said. “We’ve got to be a little more consistent.”

Finnegan remains a question mark, visiting with doctors for a progress report on a cracked orbital bone after the team meeting.

“I’ll be back,” Finnegan said, “and let you know.”

The Rams guessed right letting running back Steven Jackson leave in free agency and turning that job over to kids. Zac Stacy fell 27 yards shy of giving the franchise a ninth consecutive 1,000-yard rusher when the Seahawks held him to 15 yards on 15 carries, but was a find in the fifth round.

“I was given an opportunity and I pretty much took advantage of it,” Stacy said. “One thing I’ve taken from guys like Chris Long and James Laurinaitis, one they told me, just be a true pro about yourself.”

Fellow rookie Benny Cunningham, who was undrafted, had a 100-yard game and averaged 5.6 yards in limited work.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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