Rams preach patience in midst of losing

First the Vikings had the Lions on a long losing streak. Now it's the Rams, who are starting to lobby fans to be patient. It would appear that is the case with the way the Rams offense has been operating.

The Rams are 0-4 for the third straight season. They have lost 15 of their last 17 home games. They are 5-31 since the start of the 2007 season.

And the Minnesota Vikings are coming to town this weekend with a 4-0 record, fresh off a Monday night win over the Green Bay Packers.

That doesn't bode well for a team ranked 30th in offense, going against a team ranked 11th on defense and that sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times on Monday.

The Rams' defense has shown some life, but will face quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson Sunday.

While coach Steve Spagnuolo has taken a consistent approach of concentrating only on the game at hand, the team is facing a difficult road once again. And the players have started preaching patience to the fans.

"I'm asking our fans to be patient," nose tackle Clifton Ryan said. "I'm asking you guys in the media to be patient. We can't turn it around overnight. It's going to be a work in progress.

"When the Rams first got here they won the Super Bowl and went to two Super Bowls - a lot of success in their first 10 years. I think our fans and the media got real spoiled.

"But we're going to get it back because we've got a lot of young guys dedicated to getting this show back on the road, and getting this franchise back to being one of the top franchises in this league."

Ryan was named a defensive captain for this week's game and has been a bright spot on what appears to be an improving defense.

He added, "It hurts me, and it hurts all these guys to lose 14 straight. Because we work real hard and we take pride in the product we put on the field. I don't want you guys to think that this is not important to us. It's very important to us. We're hurting inside.

"We deserve so much more, as a team, as a city, and as a franchise. Because we put a lot of hard work and dedication into playing each and every Sunday."

The Rams opened practice Wednesday with quarterback Kyle Boller taking snaps with the first unit. Marc Bulger, who suffered a bruised rotator cuff against Green Bay Sept. 27 threw in practice Wednesday, but only short passes and is listed as questionable, although he isn't expected to start.

Spagnuolo says the team just has to execute the offense, Asked if the offensive approach will be different this week, Spagnuolo said, "I don't think so. I don't think you can do that - you stop bailing out on things like that. We believe in the system, we believe in the coaches, we believe in the players, we believe in each other, and if you stick with that, some things eventually will turn. I don't know any other way."

SERIES HISTORY: 34th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead, 17-14-2. The Rams have won three of the last four games in the series, but the last game in St. Louis was 2003. In their three wins, the Rams scored at least 40 points.

NOTES

  • The names of Dave Checketts and Rush Limbaugh have the most sizzle, but they comprise merely one of six groups that have made a bid to buy the Rams from owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriquez.

    Checketts is the managing partner of the NHL's St. Louis Blues, while Limbaugh is a controversial talk-radio host.

    The value of the bids has not been revealed, and while numerous numbers have been tossed out as speculation, Rosenbloom and Rodriguez are believed only to be willing to sell if the price is right.

  • It is often said that the biggest adjustment for a new head coach is dealing with losing. Steve Spagnuolo is getting a lot of experience in that early.

    The Rams have lost four straight games to start the season, but Spagnuolo said his message remains the same.

    He said, "I only know that, again I know I said this yesterday when somebody tried to attach the first three games to this one, I don't go that route. I don't attach different seasons; we take it one week at a time. It is going to sound like a broken record, but it is not going to change. Once we start winning, it is not going to change then either. I don't know any other way to do it.

    "The season is long and you take them one at a time and know we will just be focusing on Minnesota. I believe that the guys believe it the same way. Hopefully we stay together and believe in what we are doing, something positive will happen."

    He added, "Nothing I'm going to say is going to be different than what I've been saying all year long. I believe in this group. I believe we can get out of this, work our way out of it."

    When asked if the volume attached to the message remains the same, Spagnuolo said, "If it gets louder, they don't listen at all. No, the message is the message. I don't have to yell and scream about it."

  • In Sunday's loss to San Francisco, the Rams were faced with a third-down play where less than a yard was needed for a first down. RB Steven Jackson was on the sideline for the play and RB Samkon Gado lost one yard.

    Asked about why Jackson wasn't in the game, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "I'm not a hundred percent sure. I want to say - don't quote me on this - that there was an equipment issue (with Jackson). I don't know that."

    Even so, the coach claimed that wasn't an issue on the play's result.

    "I'm not so sure it would've mattered who was carrying the ball," Spagnuolo said. "The guy came off the corner. They had the right call in that situation. It set us back a little bit."

  • Coach Steve Spagnuolo named DT Clifton Ryan, OG Richie Incognito and RB Kenneth Darby (special teams) as game captains for this week.

    Incognito was benched for two series in the season opener after incurring his second personal foul.

    "It shows the confidence the coach has in me," Incognito said.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 395-160 — Margin the Rams have been outscored in their losing streak.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Yeah, but you don't want to hurt your football team, either. There's all different ways to do it. In that particular instance, I thought that was the way to do it." — Coach Steve Spagnuolo, explaining why LT Alex Barron is back in the starting lineup after being benched Sunday against San Francisco.



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