The Rams are talking

What the St. Louis Rams were saying throughout the week about themselves, the 49ers and Sunday's game between the two teams at the Edward Jones Dome, including comments from quarterback Marc Bulger, coach Scott Linehan, defensive tackle La'Roi Glover, defensive end Leonard Little, wide receiver Torry Holt, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and running back Steven Jackson.


On how to reverse a five-game losing streak: "I don't know. We're working hard. We're preparing the same. We just can't get it done. We've been close every game besides this last one, but it's not a time to make excuses. We just have to dig in and try to get this thing reversed."

On whether there has been a concurrent theme in the losing streak: "Every week has been something different. Last week, our offense didn't score a point. We've struggled at other times when our defense couldn't hold people. Three or four weeks ago, we struggled on special teams. We've all been taking our turns playing bad. We just haven't been consistent."

On the impact of losing OT Orlando Pace: "We just lost him in the last week or two and I don't think we realized how much we were going to miss him until last week. I don't think he's a dominant running lineman, but certainly in the pass rush, you take him for granted. Guys can't bull-rush him and they rarely get around him. When you lose a Hall of Fame guy like that, it's definitely going to affect us. He's been healthy for a while, so he's been kind of taken for granted."

On whether RB Steven Jackson is running the ball enough: "I think Coach Linehan would be the first to admit, we probably should have stuck with him more last week, but that's 20/20 (hindsight). There were situations where we just couldn't get drives going last week. We were 3-and-out on a bunch. It's definitely going to be a point of emphasis this week. It's no secret. He's playing well, not only running the ball, but he's doing a good job out of the backfield catching the ball, too."

On what he's seen from the 49ers defense recently: "I think they've gotten a little more simple. That's not to say that they'll be simple against us. I think they found out what their personnel is good at and they're sticking with it. They're playing with a lot of confidence. We've struggled with them as of late, so they've played well against us every time. We expect that again."

On whether the 49ers are a better team than they were facing the Rams earlier this season: "Sure. The NFL is about momentum and it's about confidence. They certainly have a lot more momentum and a lot more confidence than we do right now. I'm sure they'll say the same thing, too: that it doesn't mean anything. Any week in the NFL something can happen. We certainly don't have the momentum, but we know that we can play with anyone. It's just a matter of making more plays. Any week in the NFL, anyone can beat anyone."

On a possible St. Louis home-field advantage: "That's a question we get asked about every week. I don't know the reason. We've done really well here at home since I've been here, but for some reason we struggled this year. We lost to Kansas City. We lost to Seattle. We're having some problems at home. Hopefully, we get those turned around this week. We definitely are happy that we're playing them at home, but we're not exactly lighting it up at home, either."


On what Rams need to do to get out of funk: "We've got to win a game. It's pretty simple. We didn't show up on offense last week. That can't happen. We've got to stop the run. The bad news is that we have to play the 49ers who have a groove running the ball run now. It's a challenge for us, but we're excited about getting out and putting out a good effort this week."

On the difference in 49ers' defense from early part of the year: "They're just improving. The guys have done a great job from the start. They played pretty good, I thought, when we played them the first time. I know there were a couple bad days in between there, but these last few games they're just playing sound, sharp football. They're tackling well, not giving up any big plays. Consequently, they're keeping the score down."

On his impressions of RB Frank Gore: "I was at Miami when Frank was coming out and we thought pretty highly of him, but we ended up drafting (Dolphins RB) Ronnie Brown with the second pick. He was down there and we worked him out individually. You could see he was going to have the potential to be what he is now. He certainly would have been a high, high round pick if he hadn't had those injuries coming out. He's proving to everybody that they should have taken the chance with the way he's playing now for the Niners."

If the Dolphins had passed on Ronnie Brown, would they have taken Frank in the second round?: "I don't know. You would have to ask (Dolphins Coach) Nick Saban that one. He was rated right up there. We had him very high. You know how you always look for what's wrong with a player and his injury background was one of those red flags, but that's neither here nor there now. It doesn't matter what round you get drafted in; it just matters how you play once you get there. He's playing as good as anyone."

On the Rams' difficulty stopping the run "It's a number of things. One, is that we played a couple really good running backs and some really good offenses."

On how the team's work week carries into Sunday's game: "I think if you could figure that out you would probably never, ever lose. I think a lot of it is just…when you get humbled, and we got humbled last week, I think the pride and the competitor in everyone comes out. I certainly think that's the way we came out this week as far as our emotional level and those kinds of things."

On getting the response he was looking for from the team: "I've said it, and I will always say it. Our character's excellent. Our guys take full responsibility for mistakes or for things that didn't go right, and they put a lot of effort into correcting those mistakes. I think that's really been the focus, on top of just having our emotional state ready to go. I would be surprised if we weren't charged up, ready to go this week."

On having excuse-makers on the team: "I would be surprised if there was. I'd be disappointed if there was. That's the thing that's going to get us through; the accountability thing I always talk about. We all have to take accountability, and then turn our focus into what's going to make it better and give us the best chance of winning."

On how they can get off to a quicker start offensively: "You've got to stay on the field on third down. We've been able to move the ball up until last week, really, on opening drives and things. Fast start is the tempo you play at. Your ability to execute, like I said, third down. You've got to be able to execute all phases. Two weeks ago, our last home game, we moved the ball right down the field. We had a pretty decent third down, and we had a negative play with a sack. We have to eliminate the negative plays. That will give us the ability to stay on the field, and that's the biggest thing."

On what gives him hope that the run defense can improve: "That the players and the coaches and everybody are working very hard to get it right. I think I've put a lot on personal pride this week as far as how we play, the accountability of the gap we play, the effort we play with, all those things have to kind of fall into play for us. I'm an optimist. We're going to stay positive about it, and we're going to get this thing headed in the right direction."


On 49ers G Larry Allen: "He's a massive man. He's 6'3, 340 pounds and probably the strongest man in the history of the NFL. He has a very powerful punch and they really like to run behind him and Jonas Jennings on their left side. If he's in front of you and you're in front of him you need to buckle it up because he's coming full-speed ahead and his intentions aren't going to be good."

On how you attack Larry Allen: "Great technique, low pad level, and just the mentality. You need to know before you get to the stadium that you're going to have to bring it to this guy. You have to bring all of your tools with you and you have to pack a lunch pale."

On 49ers RB Frank Gore: "He's running extremely hard, he's carrying people, one guy has a lot of trouble bringing him down. I think he's been getting better and better every game."

On making big plays, like the two sacks he had last week against Carolina: "I've always said that they come in bunches. Big plays, especially for a defensive tackle. When you have an opportunity to get one-on-one with a guy, you have to take advantage of them and that's what I've been trying to do here as of late."

On the importance of this week's game: "This is probably the biggest game for us because we're at the bend, but don't break part of the season. We have to start playing our best ball now, like today. I think guys realize that and how big this game is and hopefully we'll see results of that."

On the Rams defensive players being out of position on certain plays: "The situation has been unfortunate. One guy makes a mistake on one play and another guy makes a mistake on another play. When we play the defense properly we have success, but when those breakdowns occur, big plays are the result of those."

On 49ers QB Alex Smith: "I think he's managing the offense better than he was earlier, and that's a direct result of them being able to run the ball. He can get out on the edge on waggles and bootlegs and things of that nature and look for the deep ball. All of those bootlegs and waggles help if you're running the ball. If you're not running the ball well teams aren't going to respect a naked bootleg or something like that."


On the 49ers defense: "At this point of the season, you hear that a lot of teams, at least defensively, are simplifying things. I think they've identified what they do well. They're a very good zone team. With the leadership in the secondary from Walt Harris has given them a tremendous amount of confidence. (Brandon) Moore, the linebacker that replaced (Jeff) Ulbrich, is playing well. They have a lot of talent. They have talent in the right areas along with the mix of the veteran guys and they are playing very well as a group. It's glaring on film. You can tell their communication and how they're challenging one another."

On what types of defenses the 49ers run: "They mix it up. They play some Cover 2, they play some zone out of their middle-field closed, and they mix some 3-4 in their where they may spread everybody out in and underneath zone to try to take away your passing lanes. They do a good job of mixing up their defenses on a consistent basis throughout the course of the game."

On 49ers CB Walt Harris: "He's having a Pro Bowl year. I think that was probably one of the biggest pickups for that football team in the secondary and also one of the biggest pickups in the league. I think he's playing phenomenal so it'll be another great challenge for our football team and especially for me because he's a guy that I see regularly throughout the course of the game."

On the importance of this week's game: "It's huge. I guess our backs have been against the wall and now we're sticking to the wall. We have to do something. We have to make more plays and play like we know how to play and how we played early on. I was watching film last night because I'm trying to get as prepared as I possibly can. This will probably the most prepared that I've ever been for a game, and I've been pretty prepared for a lot of games. This game I've really been digging in, trying to make sure that when I step out on the football field I'm ready to go and I know my assignment and I know what they're doing. That's going to give this football team a better chance of being successful on Sunday."


On having three home games in a row: "It's seems like forever since we've had a home game. It's a good thing that we have a three-game home stretch here because we play a little bit better at home than we do on the road. Hopefully, we can get things together and get a win at home"

On 49ers QB Alex Smith: "He's playing a lot better than he did the first time we met them. Especially, because they're running the ball very well now and that leaves other things open. He's becoming a pretty good quarterback out there and he's going to continue to get better. Our main goal this week is to try to stop Frank Gore because we know they're probably going to run the ball four downs if they have to in order to get the first down. It's going to be a challenge for us on defense to try to stop the run."

On 49ers RB Frank Gore: "He's getting better and better. He had a knee injury in college, but it seems like his knee is fine now. He's running how people expected him to run while he was in college when he got hurt. He's a great running back. I'd put him in the top five in the league right now because of the way he's running the ball, making people miss, getting those long gains. He's a downhill runner, but he has the cutback ability you need as a running back if he doesn't see anything downhill. He can make you miss, which he wasn't trying to do at the beginning of the year he wasn't trying to do, but now he's making a lot of guys miss and breaking a lot of tackles. He's doing the things that a running back has to do."


On the Rams run defense: "I think when you look at the yardage you might think, ‘Wow, these guys are giving up so much yardage,' but it's the big play yardage, those big runs that we're giving up that are hurting. That's where that one guy is messing up and that's why we're emphasizing getting more than one guy to try to tackle the running back."

On what causes the big running plays given up by the Rams defense: "There are different reasons and everybody has a different reason for why they weren't there. It just happens, and it happens to every team."

On how the Rams feel about their losing streak: "We're not angry at all. But then again, we know we can't change it until we do it. That's the only way we'll be able to change it."

On the current mindset of the Rams: "I think we have the right attitude, but emotion, I don't know. We have a bunch of competitors who play hard and what to do the right thing, so we'll just stick to that."

On 49ers RB Frank Gore: "He's a great running back and he's always had talent. It's good to know that he's fought through all of that adversity and is finally becoming the back that everybody knew he could be."


On having this week's game at home: "It feels very good. It's a big thing to be able to play at home and have the home crowd behind you because sometimes they give you that extra boost you need to get over the hump."

On being involved in games where the offense couldn't get anything going: "I have been involved in some games like that. Like I said Sunday after the game, it's hats off to the defensive coordinator and their defense for being on top of our tendencies, things we like to do in specific downs, and formations. They were on top of their game on Sunday."

On the 49ers defense: "They're very good, very stout, and are solid tacklers. They're a solid defensive group, with no true standout, but they play together well and you have to respect what they do. As of late, they've been able to make guys check the ball down, ride to the ball and tackle, and they're able to put the pressure on as well."

On how the Rams feel about the situation they are in because of their record: "We just feel like our backs are against the wall and there's nothing else to do but fight. There's no running away from it. We have to fight our way out to a win."

On why he's been so involved in the passing game: "The new offense (is one reason). We're not putting so much pressure on Marc (Bulger) to throw those risky passes that he's been known to do. Coach Scott Linehan has really been emphasizing to take what the defense gives us and a lot of times it's been the checkdown to the running backs."

On receiving a lot more attention from defenses in the passing game: "I noticed that when I saw Julius Peppers spying me. I noticed that I'm getting a lot more attention in the passing game than I have been. It's just a challenge for me now to work on some down the field moves and separate myself as a receiver now."

On being satisfied with the amount of touches he's received: "I am very satisfied with what I've been able to contribute to the offense thus far. I'm never at peace. I always play with that edge and that chip, which is what I think allows me to come out and play so aggressively. This week, hopefully we'll get things turned back around and put those big numbers up in the running game."

On the importance of protecting QB Marc Bulger because of the injuries on the offensive line: "Our line is banged up right now, but the first thing we need to do is protect Marc (Bulger). I expect for us to help protect Marc by running the ball. It doesn't matter that guys are banged up because we all have a job to do and that's not an excuse for it. We have to go out and protect Marc and move the ball on the ground and that's what we're going to do on Sunday."

On the 49ers defense heavily blitzing the Rams: "I expect them to. We haven't done a good job of protecting Marc (Bulger) and taking hits off him when he was able to throw the ball. I expect a lot of pressure from San Francisco and the rest of the year I expect it, until we hold up on it."

On the 49ers defense: "Coach Mike Nolan and coach Mike Singletary plugged in some guys that weren't there when we first played them. I think that with them looking for that right niche and gel on defense, I think they've found it with some guys that were third or second string at the beginning of the season, but they're starters now. I think those guys worked hard in practice, showed up being hard tacklers in the open field. From my understanding, they're putting guys out there who want to play and I think they've found it."

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