Rams Ready to Move On Quickly

Posted Oct 11, 2010


For the past two weeks, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has made it a point to emphasize to his team that it can’t rest on its laurels after it has some success.

Before that, Spagnuolo reminded his team regularly not to get too down itself after close losses in the opening two weeks.

After Sunday’s disappointing 44-6 loss to Detroit, Spagnuolo’s message remains the constant.

“Every team is different,” Spagnuolo said Monday afternoon. “For the most part, I treat every week the same. I tweak it based on what we are facing so when I got in front of them a little while ago I certainly tweaked it. It’s disappointment. We evaluate. We acknowledge the mistakes, we correct it and we move on to the next challenge.”

The next challenge for the Rams is to regroup this week, come prepared to practice on Wednesday and be ready for a talented San Diego team this week at the Edward Jones Dome.

The first step in that process is discarding the remnants of Sunday’s loss, a process that many Rams began working on before they even boarded the plane to head back to St. Louis.

“I don’t think it’s a setback,” middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “I am not going to go down that road at all. I think this team is better than the way we played…we will look at it and correct it. That’s all we can really do. We have to correct it and move forward. You don’t have time in this league to sit there and talk about it. You fix it and we’ll do that tomorrow and then rest up on Tuesday and then get ready on Wednesday for another NFL Wednesday like we always have.”

Adversity is a common loop in the NFL rollercoaster, something that the Rams have seen plenty of, even in this young season.

After dropping two heartbreakers to start the season, the Rams blew an early lead against Washington and had people wondering if they were going to find a way to bounce back.

In that game, the Rams did bounce back with a stirring second half performance and showed that they are capable of fighting through adversity and moving on to the next play.

By no means, according to defensive end Chris Long, does that mean they thought they were past the point where something like Sunday’s game could happen because they won a couple of games in a row.
“That would be a heck of a thing to assume after two games,” Long said. “I understand the ebb and flow of momentum. You win a couple of games and all of a sudden you are the favorite to do this and that then all of a sudden the sky is falling. We are going to try to keep it even keel. We have to take our medicine and move on.”

The Rams did take their medicine on Monday afternoon, going through their usual corrections period and watching the sobering reality that was the game tape from the loss. But as soon as that tape stopped running, they were focused on getting back to business.

“There’s going to be a lot of things that we are going to have to look for on tape to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I don’t know if I have ever been a part of a loss like this before. I don’t think this is what this team is about. I think we are better than what we showed today so we are going to have to bounce back, learn from our mistakes and get ready for San Diego next week.”

One thing that will make that task a bit more difficult is the loss of receiver Mark Clayton to a season-ending knee injury. Clayton tore the patella tendon in his right now on the team’s fifth offensive play of the game and will require surgery.

Clayton will go on injured reserve in the coming days and the Rams will need some of their other receiving options to fill the void created by the player who had been the Rams’ most productive wideout. 

“You’re always trying to develop the players that are in the program here, and (Wide Receiver Coach) Nolan (Cromwell) has been doing that with all these guys,” Spagnuolo said. “Mardy Gilyard has been getting more reps every game.  He’s been getting more touches, and he’s been getting better.  Laurent (Robinson) is just coming off an injury, so he’s kind of fighting that.  We certainly don’t feel good about losing Mark because he made a lot of plays for us, but we’re going to find a way to overcome that somehow.”

Spagnuolo has been around a lot of teams with various personalities in his time in the NFL and says each unit develops its own personality.

As a coach, he bases what he says and does with each team on his perception of that personality. So Spagnuolo might not necessarily approach this year’s version of the Rams the same as last year’s incarnation.

That’s part of the reason Spagnuolo prefers not to look back and always looks ahead. With this team, he doesn’t believe there’s going to be a “here we go again” reaction to Sunday’s result.

“I don’t think this team will do that,” Spagnuolo said. “I might be way off but I don’t think this team will do that. The mindset of this team, I like it. I like the look in their eye, I like the way they work. It doesn’t guarantee a win but in what you’re asking, I don’t see the team doing that.”

The moment Spagnuolo concluded his Monday news conference; he said Detroit would be a distant memory. He and the coaching staff were spending Monday beginning the game plan for a San Diego team coming off a disappointing loss of its own against Oakland on Sunday.

“I am just on to the next one,” Spagnuolo said. “You get to Wednesday, you do the same thing. You go bang, bang, bang, you get to the end of the year, you add them all up and hope you have enough to get to the playoffs then you start over again and take them one at a time. It sounds simple, sounds like a copout but that’s the way I have learned to do it.”