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Chiefs Pantalones
11-05-2006, 02:00 AM
Rams seek redemption against KC

By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
11/05/2006



It's not often in life that you get a chance to redeem yourself. The Rams get just that chance Sunday against Kansas City.

Last week in San Diego, the Rams faced a power running team that featured an elite running back and a premier tight end. They were embarrassed defensively, yielding 183 yards to LaDainian Tomlinson and 216 rushing yards overall in a 38-24 loss.

The challenge is very similar Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome.

"It's the same challenge because of one of the premier backs in the league, and arguably the best tight end in the league," coach Scott Linehan said. "We've got our work cut out for us when it comes to taking that on, just because it was the same problem we had last week."

If Tomlinson is the No. 1 back in the NFL, the Chiefs' Larry Johnson is 1A.

At tight end, it's probably a tossup between San Diego's Antonio Gates and Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez as the best in the league.

You get the point. Sunday's game could prove to be sweet redemption for the Rams. Or it could disintegrate into another San Diego-like nightmare.

"It's a point of pride," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "It's all about how you respond. If you play long enough, you're going to get your teeth kicked in a little bit. It's not about getting your teeth kicked in; it's how you respond to it."

Make no mistake, the Rams know exactly what's coming at them Sunday: Larry Johnson left; Larry Johnson right; Larry Johnson up the middle. (With an occasional pass to Gonzalez and former Rams wide receiver Eddie Kennison.)

If anything, the Chiefs are more conservative and more ground-oriented since Herm Edwards replaced Dick Vermeil as head coach. Last week against Seattle, Kansas City ran the ball 53 times, including a franchise-record 39 carries by Johnson. The Chiefs dominated in time of possession, controlling the ball for more than 42 minutes.

"So we already know what they're going to try to do to us, because we gave up 200-something rushing (yards against San Diego)," Rams defensive end Leonard Little said. "So why not run the ball every play?"

In his conference call Wednesday with St. Louis reporters,

Johnson talked tough, saying among other things that he doesn't get hit he gives out hits at running back.

When informed of those comments, Glover said: "Obviously, he has a pretty high opinion of himself. But he does run hard. I'll leave it at that."

The Rams have little room to talk, or talk back. Not after Tomlinson aka LT ran circles around them on an afternoon of missed tackles, missed gaps and poor run fits.

The Rams spent $73.5 million on four free-agent defensive starters in the offseason, yet their run defense looked suspiciously like the substandard 2005 version last week against the Chargers.

"What they did to us hit our pride, and guys are taking it personal," defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said. "We have to go out there and stop the Chiefs."

Easier said than done.

No one at Rams Park doubts that Johnson is the real deal.

"LT is a little bit faster and quicker," Little said. "But their styles are similar because both of them break tackles and can take it the distance any time. ... I think (Johnson) is more physical. He's a bigger guy, and he's more patient, and when he gets downhill, he's hard to bring down."

Linehan refers to Johnson as an "X-factor" player, a player who can't be totally taken away but must be contained in order to win the game.

"Larry Johnson is going to get yards in the game on Sunday," Linehan said. "What you can't do is give up the big, big plays, and that's what we've got to get better at."

They've also got to get better at forcing turnovers.

En route to a 4-1 start, coordinator Jim Haslett's defense piled up 15 turnovers. But that defense produced only one takeaway total in losses to Seattle and San Diego.

"Takeaways come in bunches," safety Corey Chavous said. "Certainly we talk about getting them all the time. Coach Haslett stresses that, stresses us being a defense that plays fast and creates havoc.

"We didn't do that the last couple of weeks as much as we would've liked. I think that's something that's still the mantra of our defense, and something we plan on continuing to make happen."

There's no time like the present. The Rams' 4-1 start will deteriorate to 4-4 with a loss to Kansas City. And that's nowhere to be with tough road games to follow against Seattle and Carolina over the next two weeks. The Rams have to hold serve at home Sunday in order to have legitimate postseason hopes.

"In the league, period, you've got to win at home," Little said. "It's a must-win for us."

"It's an opportunity for us to be 5-3 at the (midpoint), which would put us in great position," Glover said. "So that's what our focus is, and that's what we've got to do."

StcChief
11-05-2006, 05:51 AM
"In the league, period, you've got to win at home," Little said. "It's a must-win for us."

We have to keep this 'should be' Jailbird contained.

HemiEd
11-05-2006, 06:03 AM
Johnson talked tough, saying among other things that he doesn't get hit he gives out hits at running back.

When informed of those comments, Glover said: "Obviously, he has a pretty high opinion of himself. But he does run hard. I'll leave it at that."



Oops, I hope LJ does not end up regretting that boasting.

StcChief
11-05-2006, 06:28 AM
Oops, I hope LJ does not end up regretting that boasting.
I was thinking that too....I guess he will learn once he gets knocked down a peg. I doubt it's this week vs. weak Lambs D.

HemiEd
11-05-2006, 06:38 AM
I was thinking that too....I guess he will learn once he gets knocked down a peg. I doubt it's this week vs. weak Lambs D.

He is a tough guy for sure. I am hope he can take whatever they dish out.
I remember Priest saying something about the defensive players potentially hurting him. It happened the next game.

the Talking Can
11-05-2006, 06:44 AM
Glover was afraid to talk shit on LJ...

milkman
11-05-2006, 07:21 AM
Oops, I hope LJ does not end up regretting that boasting.

I didn't think it was boasting in the context that he said this, but it certainly lends itself to bulletin board material when taken out of context.

Skip Towne
11-05-2006, 07:58 AM
I think LJ does that to get them to talk back. That pisses him off which is just what we want. Watch LJ talk to the D players after a play. He does it most every play.

CupidStunt
11-05-2006, 08:25 AM
He'll run over La'Roi Glover just like he ran right through Bryant Young.