In sports, winning breeds confidence. It’s just that simple when it comes right down to it. It doesn’t matter how you win, just win and grow from it. While learning comes from losing, it’s a heck of a lot more fun to learn from winning. Maybe, just maybe, the much more enjoyable way to learn is starting to happen to the St. Louis Rams. With only six wins in their last 50 contests, the Rams have written an encyclopedia on losing and as the 2010 season began, it looked as though they were ready to start on Volume Two. Two close defeats, first to division rival Arizona at home, then in Oakland. Both were games the Rams had their chances to come out on top, but were shut down with second half collapses and mental miscues.
“Here we go again!” could be heard from the rooftops in St. Louis.
But QB Sam Bradford thought differently. In Week Three, he really began to lead and it showed in his play. Even with an injury to All-Pro runningback Steven Jackson during the game with Washington, Bradford successfully moved the offense in the second half, while the defense shut out Donovan McNabb and the Redskins after an early third quarter field goal to briefly give them a two-point lead. Bradford at that point to took over, and noticeably began to develop some chemistry with newly acquired WR Mark Clayton. The Rams moved the ball without Jackson in the line-up, and the success continued this past week against Seattle. While Bradford continues to have problems with accuracy, his poise in the pocket and ability to read defensive coverages and blitz packages have noticeable improved over these past two weeks. Thus, his O-line blocks better in front of him, his backs run harder behind him. They want to win for this guy.
On defense, a leader has been born as well in second-year LB James Laurinaitis. Actually, Rams fans started to see this as last season wore on late in November and December. Laurinaitis flies to the ball, fills his gaps against the run and pursues well in the open field on passing plays. In addition, the defensive line as a whole has shown improvement. DT Fred Robbins has shown a veteran presence not seen in St. Louis for quite some time. The Rams are blitzing more or are at least more “creative” when it comes to their blitz packages. Finally, the secondary has shown marked improvement, especially from starting corners Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher. Both are playing more physical and completions against them are down considerably. Yet talk to any coach or player in that locker room and no one is looking too far ahead, but rather, only one week at a time.
These Rams are beginning to show confindence. A confindence that comes from winning. What a novel concept.
About the Author
Written by Chad Craghead
A 1988 graduate from Wichita State University, Chad has followed WSU as well as Kansas State athletics for over 30 years, along with being a lifelong Boston Red Sox and L.A./St. Louis Rams fan.